Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love and politics - Singapore style !

Suppose you are male student studying in the Normal Academic Stream in Bukit Batok Secondary school. You've become infatuated with a girl from St. Nicholas Secondary school in the express stream ( she is at least a C cup ). You really want her to be your girlfriend but, heaven forbid, you have a love rival.

Your love rival is a Gifted boy athlete studying in Raffles Institution who is on his way to an Ivy League university direct after 'O' levels.

What do you think is the best course of action ?

a) You call the girl and bad mouth your rival. You say that he does not love her and is seeing other women, some from MGS, and others from TKGS ( Many foreign, with D cups ). You say that he does not have emotional intelligence. You insinuate that he is cold like a robot. You paint scenarios where he leaves the girl for a hotter SCGS girl 5 years down the road.

b) You improve yourself. You strive to discover your strengths, overcome your academic fallings with your streetwise and carve a career as a successful man. You convince her that you have what it takes to looks after her for life and demonstrate that you can protect her from harm.

In any love scenario, it's better to go for (b) rather than (a). When you choose (a), you fail to address the woman's security needs. When you choose (b), you build yourself up to become a credible alternative for the woman of your dreams.

Once you substitute the girl for the Singapore population, the love rival for the PAP and you as an opposition party, you will begin to understand why every election has been a constant disappointment for people who want an alternative government.

The blogosphere is full of liberal commentators who can point out where the problems are. when asked for a solution, they fall back to the common defense "but I'm not a minister who makes millions of dollars, they tell me what the solution is." Because of this attitude, Singaporeans have no choice but to keep themselves in that relationship with the cold but smart RI boy.

Because the government has the solutions and the opposition don't.

I think politicians understand that the silent majority of voters do not really care for the following :

a) Minimum wages, because that will create inflation and up costs for everybody else.
b) Welfare, because that will increase the tax rate and make the whole pie smaller.
c) Human rights, because you simply cannot eat human rights to fill up your stomach.

I want a strong opposition.

My template for credible opposition should function like this, let's just call this the People's Reaction Party / People's Republican Party (PRP).

This party will be moderate right wing to counter PAP's centrist policy making. The party will focus on the following :

a) Immigration. The incumbent government has gone too far and will seek to lower admission rates. This will require a balanced compromise between workers and businessmen. There is a difference between getting 1 million workers to flood the market and meeting the need for skills Singaporeans lack.

b) Wage insurance through CPF. CPF money belongs to the people, they have the right to invest it as they wish and draw upon an amount to maintain their own dignity when they lose their jobs. Singaporean also have the right to lose their money. Come on, we're adults and its our money.

c) Accountability for Singaporean's money. It does not make sense for people not to even have an idea of the risk breakdown of GIC's investments, you can expose the credit risk and market risk variables without exposing actual positions.

d) Laws to reinforce private ownership. Why are Singapore business men taking 60+ days to pay off their accounts payable ? There has to be a convenient avenue for entrepreneurs to get paid for their services quickly to speed up the velocity of money in this economy.

e) Be super harsh on white collar crimes. Time to treat the Durai's, Joachim Kang's and Ming Yi's like rapists and murderers. The damage done to charitable institutions are permanent and the party should support capital punishment.

f) With wage insurance and immigration, we can squash workfare and find ways to make the civil service more efficient and lower tax rates further.

In summary, if social democrats keep rehashing the same issues encountered in kopitiams, they will remain in the kopitiams. Political change cannot come from the left-wing, they've disappointed us for so many decades.

It is now time to shift gears towards the political right, where the focus on keeping Singaporeans competitive with harsh laws and strong families may create the alternative that we've been dying for all this while.

And this time, maybe this time, the RI boy will need to get a new girlfriend.


  1. Nice analogy. I agree that this is what opposition parties should do. In fact, the Workers' Party came up with a 50+ page manifesto full of alternative ideas before the last election. Alas, the poor boy didn't show off his strengths well and the girl believed the rich boy's sneers that he was full of time bombs and poisons.

  2. The Workers Party is on the right track. I'm a just a little disappointed at some of the finer points that they are fighting for.

    I doubt Singaporeans want minimum wages or welfare. The painful issue is foreign talent and I hope the opposition parties come up with better alternatives for this.

  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    hey i just happened to stumble upon your blog, and i have to say that was nicely written =D pretty amusing analogy to RI boys, but we're not all like that (:

    all the same though, i'd really like to find out from you a bit further on your proposed policies for opposition parties. in addition to the conservative slant on aforementioned issues, what would be your stance on things like elderly care which have traditionally been tackled with left-wing policy?

    assuming you were planning a 5 to 10 year strategy for opposition parties to seize power, how'd you get in talent and then garner support from public, especially with regard to campaign promises on a constituency level, because it is highly unlikely that the opposition can win in such a short time :) sorry i just had the urge to ask, but really nice piece, and i think you could really enlighten me on this!

  4. Exuviate,

    I don't think we can be conservative for the sake of being conservative.

    Eldershield can be opted out and some Singaporeans can add more riders to it by going to the private sector. We should not try to change something which, in my opinion, is working fine.

    As for planning a 5-10 year campaign, my opinion is that the Workers Party has the best approach so far. They can't be too radical as that would turn off mainstream Singaporeans, you will also notice that they are slowly purging the more radical elements within the party (IMHO) for more moderate and reasonable politicians who are likely to work closely with the PAP even if they are not on the same side.

    A right-winged conservative party should adopt the same principles. Target one or two constituencies and build up ground support. Then use minor successes to grow slowly focusing on municipal concerns between elections and giving people working alternatives to one or two key issues which the PAP does not do too well. ( This next election is going to almost all about immigration )

    It's also vitally important to act with maturity. We can be opposing political parties but we're all still Singaporeans at the end of the day.