The Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) has come other fire for using an analogy involving spousal abuse to have a pop at the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan over an issue that came up in a televised debate involving the PAP, the SDP, the Workers’ Party (WP) and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) a few nights ago.
In that debate the issue of whether or not the PAP had endorsed having 10 million people in Singapore came up which saw Chee and the PAP’s Vivian Balakrishnan locking horns.
In a bid to criticise Chee, the PAP issued a statement which contained the following:
“Imagine this: Dr Chee claims you said you want to beat up your spouse. You deny it, and show proof that you neither said this nor have beaten your spouse. Instead of apologising, Dr Chee says, ‘Victory! I extracted a promise from you that you will never beat your spouse”
It is certainly a tad strange for the PAP to use an example such as this to make its point. Spousal abuse is not something that should be taken lightly or casually. It is a very serious issue that affects many people. It is also a potentially socially stigmatising situation that people tend to hide and suffer in silence. To use such a grave social ill to score political points is truly reprehensible. Besides being absolutely tone deaf, it trivialises the suffering of victims and survivors alike. Who OKed such a stupidly misguided analogy?
Or, is the PAP trying to somehow give voters the impression that Chee condones spousal violence? If so, who is misleading who?
The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) has rightly called out the PAP for its shockingly insensitive and poorly thought out comments.
It said: “Domestic violence is a serious and devastating issue for many in Singapore, and millions more around the world. It is not something to be invoked lightly — especially not during the Covid-19 pandemic, when domestic violence has seen a sharp increase.”
Is the PAP going to apologise for its misguided and below the belt analogy?
This is sadly not the first faux pas that the PAP has made in the lead up to this general election.
Earlier in the process, a PAP candidate, Ivan Lim, had to withdraw from the contest because of online allegations made about Lim’s fitness to be a member of parliament (MP). Instead of apologising for its error in judgement in fielding him in the first place, Secretary-General of the PAP, Lee Hsien Loong appeared to defend Lim.
Next we had Heng Swee Keat’s now infamous “East Coast Plan”. That was a boo boo of epic proportions. While we have to thank Heng for being the muse to many a meme and giving us plenty of entertainment, it did showcase Singapore’s prime minister designate like a deer caught in the headlights. Instead of addressing this misstep, the PAP has sought to pretend that it never happened.
What about Masagos Zulkifli public blunder when he referred to Lee Hsien Yang as the country’s Prime Minister instead of Lee Hsien Loong at a PAP e-rally for the Tampines Group Representative Constituency (GRC)? Remember, this is the GRC that Heng left in order to prevent a gap in East Coast GRC. So, this means that in both GRCs that the PAP want to hold on to (so much so that they would risk their prime minister designate), public boos boos have been made by the PAP.
So far, the PAP has still not addressed Masagos’ error. Was it a Freudian slip on Masagos’ part?
The PAP is more than just a political party. It is a political machine with seemingly unlimited resources. It is therefore shocking that a party with so much at its disposal could make such rookie mistakes.
The world and its values has changed. Yet the PAP holds on to the past stubbornly, seemingly refusing to evolve. It is not acceptable to make light of spousal violence. It is not okay to use spousal violence (a very real issue that affects women disproportionately) especially in the wake of the #metoo movement where our politicians cannot pretend that they are unaware of violence to women.
Is the PAP going to acknowledge is mistakes? Is the PAP going to apologise? Most of all, is it going to evolve?