The opinion piece by former Straits Times editor Leslie Fong is akin to using a tiny feather to tickle the conscience of the government.
Let’s get to some hard truths.
When Singaporeans question the merits of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and the wisdom of letting in high-risk visitors during the pandemic, we are accused of being racist and xenophobic.
When Singaporeans call out foreigners for blatantly flouting COVID-19 rules, we are also branded racists and xenophobic.
When opposition Members of Parliament seek clarification about CECA and ask for breakdown in employment figures for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and foreigners, the retort is that they are trying to play politics.
Either put up or shut up!
Is this the message?
The fact is, Singaporeans have never demanded that the country be closed to foreigners. It has always been about managing the influx of foreigners and ensuring that Singaporeans are not discriminated against in our own country.
Late Lee Kuan Yew was famous for speaking hard truths. His son and ministers have tried to follow his example. After Minister Chan Chun Sing was caught scolding Singaporeans “sia suay” for panic buying, he explained that he “does not mince words when presenting hard truths and trade-offs.”
So the People’s Action Party (PAP) government can speak hard truths but Singaporeans are not allowed to do so?
They go to the extent of being extremely tactful and gentle with foreigners. So the COVID-19 Indian variants had to be called the South Asia variants, and visitors from India importing the virus had to be termed visitors from South Asia.
But what did we get in return? The recent explosive, damaging comments from the Chief Minister of Delhi must surely be a wake-up call.
With others, the PAP shies away from calling a spade a spade. With its own citizens, the PAP does not mince words and always presents what it calls hard truths.
We have been called all manner of names – from “racist” and “xenophobic” to “selfish idiots,” “sia suay” and “free riders”.
Isn’t it time to stop this obsession with name-calling of Singaporeans?