Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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A comedy of chicanery

by Yoong Siew Wah

Tharman Shanmugaratnam has relinquished his PAP membership and ministerial position to contest the presidential election as an independent candidate.

This has taken Singapore by storm and boggles the mind how a deeply tainted establishment figure can portray himself as an independent.

The die is cast and he is seen to be animatedly perambulating, thrusting himself into all and sundry the uncles and aunties to twinkle his charms to beguile them to cast their votes for him as an independent candidate.

What takes the cake are MediaCorps and Straits Times, who give such humiliating grandiose propaganda accompaniment that gives an obscene impression that they are treating him still as an establishment figure with lofty rank.

Is this at the enjoinment of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as Tharman is his pet choice as president?

It’s true that publicity service is extended to the other two candidates, George Goh Ching Wah and Ng Kok Song, but it is done in a perfunctory manner and pale in comparison with the VIP amenities accorded to Tharman.

Do the public thank that this is just and fair to the two rival prospective candidates? I do not think they want to see this gross disparity going further.

If MediaCorps and Straits Times do not see this as a hint to desist or at least to curb its obscene magnitude, I think it is possible that public patience may snap and Lee Hsien Loong will be landed with a sudden mammoth political ruckus.

No doubt MediaCorps offered its obeisant service to arrange the paraphernalia and audience to give it a captivating effect.

With due respect to Tharman’s professed oratorical skills and so-called magnetic personality, I think I find his speeches to be quite drab and is amazing that they did not cause any somnolence to the audience.

It sounds incomprehensible that he is acclaimed for his oratorical persuasiveness. With humility, I think I can do no worse than him in my humble oratorical talent. No disrespect to Tharman.

Tharman has to arrange an array of prominent assenters to prop up his precarious artificial independent image. How the Jamiyah CEO can be muscled in by him is quite a scream.

Is he absolutely sure that the Malay rakyat understands his action? There is a Malay saying: usah memterdaykan akal rakyat (Do not cheat or trick the intelligence of the rakyat (people). Is the Jamiyah CEO trying to bumsucks Lee Hsien Loong?

Ho Kwong Ping has a pristine public persona, and he cannot be so benevolent to give a self-sacrificial spin to his antic. Is he having some kind of opaque gratitude to the befuddled Lee Hsien Loong?

To top it all, Tharman cannot, with all his effort, masquerade as an independent candidate with the decades-old establishment stain. He may try, and he has a strong vainglorious persona and will not accept defeat.

If in spite of all the unfavourable forecast of questionable assertion of independence, he is elected as president, I think the people will be charitable enough to accept it.

So good luck to Tharman, and may God bless you.

Mr Yoong Siew Wah, was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. He was Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in the 1960s, and had a distinguished career in the Singapore Special Branch in the 1950s. Mr Yoong, who is in his 90s, keeps a blog called Singapore Recalcitrant.

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