As far as a writer is concerned, the Critical Spectator (CS) is the gift that does not stop giving. It’s bountiful illogical wisdom is one that surpasses even my expectations. It’s latest “contribution” to “education” deals with why the popular Tharman Shanmugaratnam cannot be Prime Minister.
One of the reasons the Polish blogger spouts, is that the timing is wrong.
According to the CS, Singapore’s leaders are handpicked in their 20s and groomed. The CS evidently credits this process as it says: “There’s no other country that has a similarly rigorous process, which – most importantly – allows for retention of immense experience in the service of public administration.” Even if this is indeed the process, how is this “rigorous”? If one is chosen to lead and given the portfolios and training to help you learn, one could argue that this is called “spoon feeding”? Something that is definitely not looked upon favourably in any context.
Despite its glowing review for this “rigorous” process, one issue the CS has not dealt with is the perennial “who”?
Who chooses? What is the criteria? Who decides the criteria? The list goes on.
Is the unseen “who” that chooses infallible? Does the “who” choose for self gain? How do we ensure that the “who” chooses altruistically? As stakeholders in the country, why do we not get a say in all of this?
According to CS’s erudite pearls of wisdom, Tharman cannot be PM because he was not groomed to be. A motherhood statement that completely ignores the integral ingredients of an individual’s desire to serve in that capacity coupled with innate ability. If Tharman does not want to be PM, fair enough. But to say that he cannot be PM because he was not groomed to be so is completely ridiculous!
One could say that Heng Swee Keat has been well groomed by this “rigorous process” and many are of the opinion that he could be the future PM as selected by the “who”. But for all his “grooming”, he caved under pressure and presented an East Coast Plan that is only understood by his good self. So much for the grooming that the CS waxes lyrical about.
While the CS sees it “as part of its mission and ambition to educate”, it doesn’t seem to dissect or evaluate very well. All it does is to make seemingly establishment friendly statements. Is this education or is this propaganda?
The CS also claims that Tharman cannot be PM because he took a different career path and “became a parliamentarian quite late – at age 44 – after spending almost his entire preceding career at Monetary Authority of Singapore “.
Since when has career switches ever affected one’s ascension in the corridors of power?
By that logic, does Ho Ching qualify to be CEO of Temasek Holdings? She is after all an engineer by training with zero experience in economics and finance prior to joining Temasek. What about all the ex army chiefs who have suddenly joined the People’s Action Party and who are now MPs?
If the CS wants to be the establishment’s mouthpiece, that’s its prerogative. But please don’t give itself the lofty ambition of being “educational”. It is anything but.
Besides, the CS is a foreign publication. Given the establishment’s strong stance against “foreign interference”, why is the CS allowed to exist? Could it be because it is establishment friendly?