Rebutting Tam Chen Hee and Edmund Lam

Heed call for political culture of moderation

I refer to the 6 Aug 2014 Straits Times letter “Heed call for political culture of moderation” by Tam Chen Hee (Dr).

Professor Chan Heng Chee’s analysis of post war Singapore sums up the false perceptions of that period. If the regurgitation of these false perceptions demonstrates the intellectual prowess of the foremost minds in Singapore history and politics, Singapore history and politics are hopeless.

The PAP wasn’t supposed to be an alliance of strange bed fellows for both Lee Kuan Yew and Lim Chin Siong were supposed to be socialists. But we know what Lee Kuan Yew turned out to be and how Lim Chin Siong had been maligned till this day.

Singapore’s history was such that Goliath hammered David to smithereens, not the other way round. The British and its Special Branch all but wiped out communism in Singapore. The Lim Yew Hock and the PAP government also effectively used the might of the ISD to crush the Leftists.

How to moderate between truth and falsehood? 50% truth, 50% falsehood? Dr Tan might want to refer to the 21 May 2014 Straits Times report “Asean Sec-Gen rebuts remarks on neutrality” for Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh’s remarks:

“Neutrality does not mean standing in the middle between right and wrong”.

Similarly, moderation cannot be standing between right and wrong, between truth and falsehood.

If contending voices lacked sensibility, are establishment views that have led to our current problems the sensible ones instead?

If our earlier political vision included all Singaporeans, how come Hougang and Potong Pasir were excluded from HDB upgrading for as long as anyone could remember?

Mark of a mature society: Being civil even when we disagree

I refer to the 6 Aug 2014 Straits Times letter “Mark of a mature society: Being civil even when we disagree” by Edmund Lam (Dr).

It is wrong to say that Singapore’s past had been single handedly molded by founding leaders. Our leaders in 1965 weren’t founding leaders for Singapore was never founded in 1965 but in 1819 instead. Receiving our independence in 1965 is not the same as founding. Moreover, much of post 1965 Singapore had been the mere continuation of our modus operandi since colonial days as our preeminent Dr Goh Keng Swee admitted. The only extra punch that drove Singapore even faster was the economic plan by Dr Albert Winsemius.

Our nation’s society isn’t so young any more having continuously evolved since 1819 for close to 200 years already. There is no need for a variety of visions for fairness, our GINI coefficient already clearly and unambiguously shows how unfair our society is.

Considering different views and not just that of the ruling party’s isn’t just the hope of the young but the right of all modern civilized societies.

For too long, the PAP elites have never had to listen. Dr Lam’s call for listening as a core tenet to conflict resolution should start with PAP elites.

The government’s internet brigade is the first and foremost who should heed Dr Lam’s call for civility and a stop to bullying and demonizing behavior.

Why should Singaporeans commit to working on diversity when it is not our prerogative but those of the PAP’s?

Dr Lam’s advice of avoiding fighting and of talking through differences should start with PM Lee and Roy Ngerng.

Valuing diversity doesn’t mean asking for more. Singapore is already quite diverse; there is no need to keep piling diversity upon diversity. Singaporeans value the old way of life, not the rapid and never ending push towards greater diversity.


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