About Chen: Time will tell

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 14 Apr 2011 letter by Mr Benjamin Chow.

Mr Chow questions Mr Chen Shao Mao’s decision to return home after being abroad for so long. Why is Mr Chow questioning a Singaporean returning home? Is Mr Chen no more Singaporean after being away for so long? Mr Chow seems to apply a psychological expiry date to the Singapore citizenship and the Singapore identity. There is no expiry date to Singapore citizenship and Singapore identity. Mr Chen is as Singaporean as Mr Chow. Mr Chow is in no position to question Mr Chen.

Mr Chow defends government policies as being made to tackle problems as they unfold. On that basis, Mr Chow criticises Mr Chen’s 20/20 hindsight vision of government policies as unrealistic. Firstly, Mr Chow is defending the fire fighting nature our government which is to tackle problems as they unfold, not look ahead and see far. Secondly, Mr Chow seems to imply that there could be no better vision at the point in time when the government made those policies. But four years ago, when property prices first shot up, the people were already seeing the problem and flagging out the problem. But the government brushed us aside. So it is not true that there could be no better vision. There were many who saw the problem before the government did and who therefore earned the right to criticise the government for those policies.

Mr Chow praises government policies as wise and decisive which led to our exponential economic growth. But Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea didn’t have to resort to mass import of workers to achieve exponential economic growth. So is our policy any wiser given that it has caused so many other problems?

Mr Chow implies that Mr Chen is back for ripe pickings. The sad miserable truth is that we still have only 2 opposition out of 84 MPs. The picking is far from ripe.

Mr Chow says he has seen our government fight tooth and nail for Singapore’s achievement today. But our government has never lost a tooth or a nail. On the other hand, those who fought our government ended up bankrupt or locked away for thirty over years. They lost more than a tooth or a nail. They lost nearly their entire life time or their entire life’s work. Also, our achievement is so uncannily similar to those of Hong Kong’s, Taiwan’s and South Korea’s to be so readily attributable to our government.

Mr Chow leaves it to time to tell Mr Chen’s motives. If Mr Chow can’t see the PAP motive after decades, I wonder if given time, he would be able to see anything at all.


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