Rebutting TodayOnline letter by Melvyn Chong

I refer to the 29 Jul 2014 TodayOnline letter “Open discussion of politics, religion part of becoming developed country” by Mr Melvyn Chong.

Singapore’s initial phase of experience didn’t happen after our independence. It happened after our founding in 1819. After blossoming for more than a hundred years under the guiding hand of our British administrators, Singapore could hardly be called a start-up by the time of our independence.

A start-up neither operates through press control nor through social engineering. Did Google founders Larry Page or Sergey Brin try to control what each other read or tried to engineer each other during Google’s start-up? Did Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen or Apples’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak try to do the same to each other respectively? It is ridiculous to characterize start-ups as operating through press control and social engineering. Start-ups start with few cooks not because they are afraid too many would spoil the broth but because there isn’t much broth to cook at first when customers are few.

It is a perpetual lie that Singapore went from Third World to First in less than 50 years. The truth is that Singapore went from Middle Income status back in 1965 to First.

Social media hasn’t pulled discussion in a different direction. Social media merely provides the truth that has been absent all these years. Would people flock to social media if the newspaper and television had been speaking the truth and speaking for the people all this while?

Positive change cannot help but create disunity when there are those who stubbornly cling on to the negative past.

Who is to say who the trolls, bigots or haters are? Given some of the nonsense that Mr Chong uttered, is he not a troll, bigot or hater himself?

Accepting diversity doesn’t mean accepting the continuous increase in diversity.

Why should our falling birth rate be compensated for by the influx of foreigners? According to Minister Tan Chuan Jin, Singapore’s CPF is supposed to ensure everyone has enough to retire so we need not worry about the aging of our population, we need not compensate for our falling birthrate.

The goodness of diversity cannot be the excuse to continuously import people beyond the point of overcrowding, beyond diminishing returns to diversity. No matter how diverse our people becomes, we still rush for the same trains and bid for the same COEs.

Why should Singapore’s dependence on migrant workers become our debt to them? Do we not pay them wages that are many times better than what they would get back home that is the reason why they come in the first place? Do they not come willingly? Do we not house them in good condition dormitories? Do we not fight for their welfare? The examples of First World nations like Australia and Hong Kong show that if pay is right, if industry practices are right, if social norms are right, there is no reason why Singaporeans cannot take up construction jobs.

In order to look up to the American dream for inspiration, we must first eradiate press control because press control is the ultimate antithesis to the American dream.

The interesting creation of a Singapore identity going beyond race and religion has already been experienced during colonial times. But any supposed Singapore identity that goes beyond nationality should not blur the difference between owners and visitors in Singapore. If visitors are elevated to the same status as owners in Singapore, the Singapore nationality will become worthless and the land of Singapore will cease to be worth defending.

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