Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen shared on Facebook on May 20 that “true to our Singapore Spirit, this year’s NDP will turn an adversity into triumph.”
He sounds more like a magician than a Defence Minister.
Sounds truly miraculous, doesn’t it?
Just like that, a National Day Parade can turn adversity, the collective distress and hardship of a country, into a national triumph.
What planet is the Minister coming from?
But that declaration from the Minister is not surprising at all.
Make no bones about it, when the eye of the storm has passed and the COVID-19 situation turns calmer, the government will seek to regain the initiative.
It will sound the drumbeat and rally Singaporeans round the flag. It will declare that Singapore has successfully overcome its greatest challenge since independence.
The message will be that SG United has emerged stronger – as one people, one nation, we defeated the virus.
All failings and shortcomings will be swept under the carpet.
There will be plenty of thank-yous, to add to the many thank-yous already dished out.
But there will not be a single sorry.
Too cynical? Or entirely plausible?
It is widely believed one eye on the election left the government with one foot – perhaps even two feet – off the pedal in the COVID-19 fight.
But instead of paying a price for its failings, what if the ruling People’s Action Party were to instead profit from the pandemic?
Although many of us would flinch from such a possibility, it is indeed more more than a possibility, it could even be a probability.
When a general election is called, the government will stress that it needs a fresh mandate, the stronger the better, so that it can forge ahead with the people to overcome the challenges.
The government is perfectly capable of trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
It will be left to the people to decide if they can pull it off successfully.