Stupid Genius

- Making mistakes is our rights, learning from them is our responsibilty.

- "I have no choice" is another way of saying "I've have chosen the easier option"

- Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Thomas A Edison

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Location: Singapore

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Singapore has recently concluded it's elections with the PAP winning. A lot of people were saying that PAP has done a good job and that it's good that they continue to do it for us. The opposition is also too weak.

Not only do we allow them to run the country, we give them a very free rein to do pretty much what they think is good for us, even if the rest of us disagrees. So the PAP functions like a parent to us. We obey what our parents wants us to do, because they know better and what they do, is always for our own good. If we give our parents troubles, we are giving ourselves troubles. But there is 1 big difference between PAP and most parents. Parents are not motivated by money. Parents are not paid for their efforts. They even have to pay their own money. Granted that most parents get to enjoy the fruits of their efforts/'investments' if their son makes it good and is filial, but the efforts they put in can never be measured in terms of money. Anyway, I digressed. I am not talking about parents here.

Power corrupts. For long periods, PAP has been given a lot of powers. And a lot of money. I am not saying they are corrupted, though there are a number of articles out there that suggests so. But surely, we all run the risks of corrupting the PAP in the future. We had been giving them so much power and money for so long that 1 day, they may just crave for more and their actions may become to further their gains rather than to further Singapore as a nation. What I've said is just a conjecture, but I think we need to guard ourselves against this possibility.

I think we need a check and balance in the government, and that is the presence of good opposition party candidates in the parliament. The job of the opposition in the parliament is to give a voice to the Singaporeans on the streets, and to give alternative views. Even though the PAP is perfectly aboveboard, surely there can exist blind spots which they cannot see. Hopefully, the opposition can also help them see more of the blind spots.

But our oppositions are weak and inexperienced. Regarding the inexperience issues, how can they have the experience if we do not vote them into office? The PAP can use GRC to let their inexperienced candidates into parliament under the umbrella of senior ministers. The inexperienced opposition candidates only have us.

Regarding them being too weak, yes we need good oppositions, not just any opposition. But in order to have good opposition politicians, we need to have opposition politicians first. Meaning, the climate to be an opposition politician has to be right, will the good people willing to be one. Right now, too many opposition party members are being sued and exiled, and too little are receiving enough votes. To run for election, they have to pay a certain amount of money as deposits. And if they do not meet a certain percentage of votes, they lose their deposits.

Although some of those who are sued/exiled may not deserve much sympathy, all these spell a very bad climate for being an opposition politician. We need to give more votes to the opposition so that in the future more good people are willing to be one.

Recently, our Prime Minister says something like this during the election campaign. He says the opposition's job is not to make his job easier, but to make his job difficult. Currently, there are 3 oppositions in the parliament, and he can handle them. If there are more, say 10 to 20, he will have to spend all his time and efforts thinking about how to fix them rather than on how to improve Singapore. There is quite a cry about what he means by fixing the oppositions. I think the issue is not about fixing the oppositions here. I agree the opposition's job is not to make his job easier. It's to make him do his job better. I am a programmer. I can't imagine myself telling my boss to sack the test engineer because I can't concentrate on doing a good job because I have to spend all my efforts on handling the test engineer.

The PAP has done a very good job for us in the past. But we have to judge them on how good they are 20 years ago. We have to judge them on their performance for the past 5 years. By saying this, I am not accusing them of not doing a bad job. I have not done enough research and analysis to give a good assessment. But in my myopic and gut feel, the past few years has not been too good to the average Singaporeans.

We owe PAP what we have now. They deserve any respect we can give them. But in elections, it concerns our futures and our sons and daughters futures. Sentiments have to be put aside and do what is right for Singapore.

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