Monday, August 15, 2011

Has the Prime Minister run out of ideas?

Having sat through about three hours of the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally 2011, I was reminded of some words that an opposition politician had shared at an event a day earlier.

The opposition politician had suggested the ruling party has run out of solutions to offer Singaporeans and, like its dying founding fathers, it is ailing. The Minister present at the event naturally disagreed reflexively, “He has been very political today!”

I thought, “If politicians are not political, who else would be?”

At the National Day Rally, the Prime Minister added new meaning to being political. He had nothing new to offer, except certain enhancements to his policies here and there. The more the Prime Minister talked, the more his words sounded like an opposition party manifesto.

Yet, the solutions he offered fell just short of the solutions proposed by the opposition. Perhaps, just like the blue he wore - some shades darker than the blue of the Workers’ Party - a feeble attempt by the Prime Minister to be different?

If that was not enough, he reverted to the usual fear-mongering tactics, which has become the bulwark of dominant Singapore politics. Investors will pack up and leave. Jobs will be lost. The country will falter.

While emphasising that Singapore is not a welfare state, he announced welfare-driven changes to Singapore’s health policies.

Dismissing the suggestion that the government of the day is not populist, he paved the way for populist measures to improve access to housing and universities. The ultimate populist move came when he pandered to an opposition theme of “putting Singaporeans first” and announced a slew of initiatives to stem the flow of immigration into Singapore.

To me, the National Day Rally did not reflect a Prime Minister speaking from a position of power. It reflected a Prime Minister frightened and bullied by the electorate. His real message to Singaporeans like me was however not lost.

In encouraging Singaporeans to come forward and share ideas, in urging Singaporeans to seek different paths to success, in pleading with young Singaporeans to listen and follow the example of their elders, all the Prime Minister was effectively emphasising was that it is time to be bold and masters of our own destinies.

Behind his words, the Prime Minister was underscoring the urgency of taking a page from our forefathers to allow a new person to bring fresh ideas to the table.

If these are the kinds of things that the Prime Minister is going to champion for the next five years, the only real change likely to happen is the Prime Minister himself or the government in power.

Dharmendra Yadav

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Do leave a comment as it will make a difference.


Anonymous said...

Before internet and alternative media came about, what the PM said sound like perfect wisdom and the absolute truths.

In the digital age, whatever the PM says sounds ordinary because all those connected knows just as much. Our highly paid but lowly productive senior servants have run out of new ideas to supply to their masters. So what you can expect henceforth is always the same old same old stuff.

PM Lee's initiatives are mainly trawled and copied from the proposals initiated by the opposition during the recent GE; he have nothing new or original to offer.

I sense that he could see the writings on the wall in 5 years time. Pathetic and lacking self conviction.

Anonymous said...

You sat through all 3 hours!!??

I just spent 5 minutes scanning through the Straits Times headlines.

And waited for the internet to give me the executive summary.

Same old, same old.

If we find ourselves in a hole.
Just continue digging.
Only "cheaperer, betterer and fasterer".

Auto-pilot mode is still switched on. This team seems to lack a real pilot. Just a bunch of technicians running around servicing the current auto-pilot.

Anonymous said...

agreed with Anonymous #1. We know as much as the politicians and the pronouncements sound ordinary. If we share with them our ideas do we get paid too? After all they view they positions as transactional.

Anonymous said...

I thought this year will be different - so I made myself to watch the rally - using a HDD video recorder - some parts I do fast forward. But yes, it was a great disapointment - I will be back to just scanning the headlines as in the past

FedUp said...

I had never missed a National Day Rally speech in the last 20 years. This is the most boring one without real substance and solutions to address Singaporean concerns. Real Crap.

The said...

I have never missed a National Day Rally Speech, except this one. Looks like I didn't miss much.