A Political Forum on Singapore’​s Future

Dear Mr Tharman and Ms Josephine,

I refer to the 2 Apr 2011 television broadcast “A Political Forum on Singapore’s Future”.

You said this election is about the future. Which election hasn’t been about the future? You said we have achieved a lot even for those lower down. But real incomes for those lower down have remained stagnant. What achievement is that?

You said we may be required to force land from time to time even though we are a well-engineered aircraft steered by competent pilots because we can’t cushion ourselves against shocks all the time. But the unmitigated import of foreign workers leading to soaring housing prices and hardship for the people is not an external shock but a self-created problem by the PAP. So far from being competent pilots, ours are actually ferry captains who tried too hard to overload their ferries which ended up capsizing. So with regards to quality leadership who can help us through tough times, we don’t need ferry captains who pretend to be pilots.

You sought to remind us of all the other achievements such as good quality healthcare and education accumulated over the many years through good quality leadership. But global comparisons of healthcare, education, crime rate and even how much per capita GDP has multiplied over the years show Singapore to be merely on par with fellow East Asian societies like Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. If our excellence is merely a reflection of East Asian excellence, what special reason do we have to attribute them to good quality leadership?

You said every independent international observer knows that Singapore wouldn’t be where it is if not for its leaders and the PAP. But every independent international observer depends on Singapore media for information. Since Singapore media is largely state owned through state owned shares or chaired by important ex-PAP ministers, it is hardly surprising that what the independent international observer thinks it knows matches so closely with what is being churned out by the Singapore media. But there have been occasions when the independent international observer gets to read the other side of the story for which he expresses appreciation and in the process acknowledges how he might have been oversold on the state version of the Singapore story.

You claimed that the UBS report has many faults. Madam Halimah tried to find fault with the UBS report some time in Mar 2010 but failed. Every incrimination that she put forth could be put down. You are most welcome to try again

You claimed that IMF and World Bank data show Singapore median income to be much higher than anywhere in Asia. Actually, IMF and World Bank do not provide median income information, only GDP or GNI information. Also, our median income has been boosted by the influx of Indian professionals which doesn’t actually boost our own incomes.

Owning homes is meaningless if it means emptying our retirement nest to pay for them.


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