Of late, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been pledging that each and every Singaporean will be cared for, which sounds very comforting and reassuring.
In his May Day message, he gave the promise that “we will look after every worker.”
On 26 May, he stressed that “no one will be left behind” as the country continues to battle the pandemic.
Over a week later, on 7 June, PM Lee assured that “in Singapore, no one will be left to walk his journey alone.”
Wow! Wonderful! But wait a second . . . there’s a saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
In our society, there are many who struggle to get out of the poverty trap, who fall by the wayside. Can the Prime Minister possibly fulfil his pledges of looking after every worker and making sure no one is left behind, no one is left to journey alone?
In 2016, not long after the People’s Action Action scored a landslide victory at the polls, Chan Chun Sing, then the labour chief, warned Singaporeans that “no one owes us a living.”
The following year, in 2017, PM Lee told union leaders “you must make sure you steal somebody else’s lunch.”
This sounds more like the PAP we know, doesn’t it?
Many Singaporeans have had to take on more than one job to survive but with the pandemic, they make do with one – being a Grab food rider. The lower-wage earners are ironically the ones hardest hit by the crisis.
All around us, has there ever been a time when we do not see hordes of senior citizens slogging away for peanuts? They are the men and women we see as cleaners, sweepers, security guards, kitchen helpers, and scrap and cardboard collectors.
If no one is left behind, why are they left to toil and sweat well into their twilight years, many in frail health, many in their 70s and 80s?
The PAP leadership seems to have an answer for this. In 2018, when Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was asked at a dialogue session why so many elderly end up clearing tables at hawker centres, he replied: “If the old lady and old men do not clean the tables, who are going to clean the tables?”
So much for leaving no one behind!
But we mustn’t forget that a general election is around the corner. So be prepared to hear more of such pledges – we will look after every worker! no one will be left behind! no one will be left to walk his journey alone!