Silent majority no longer silent

I refer to the 1 Apr 2015 Straits Times letter “Silent majority in half a paradise” by Madam Loh Lay San.

Madam Loh wrote:

I AM one of the “silent majority”.
I have never written or blogged or Facebooked about national issues. But there’s always a time for it.

A warm welcome to Madam Loh, she is no longer the silent majority; her loud voice has resonated across the nation.

Madam Loh wrote:

I mourn the loss of our national giant, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. My heart is saddened as if I have lost someone close to me. At the same time, my heart is bursting with pride at the unprecedented show of gratitude and patriotism.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew may be Madam Loh’s giant and that of many others, but there are others who do not share her view so it would have been better for Madam Loh to refer to Mr Lee as her giant instead of our national giant.

The same show of gratitude and patriotism was also displayed by North Koreans when Kim Jong-il passed away. It showed that a nation can be conditioned to show gratitude and patriotism despite gratitude and patriotism not being due.

Madam Loh wrote:

Once, as I was leaving my exercise class, I remarked that it was extremely humid outside. Quick as lightning, my exercise mate from Hong Kong told me: “Don’t complain, Singapore is half a paradise.” She is right. And this, in no small part, is due to the work of Mr Lee, who really could not have done more in his life for this nation.

Madam Loh’s friend forgot to add that Hong Kong too is half a paradise. Whether our half paradise is due in no small part to Mr Lee is a matter of debate, not fact. People somehow have come to automatically accept it as truth without bothering too much about the real factual details.

Madam Loh wrote:

To the “noisy minority” in relentless search of freedom of speech, political freedom and all, the acid test is this: Have you given 50 per cent of your life for this country? How about 25 per cent, 10 per cent or even 5 per cent? If not, why the noise?

How does Madam Loh define giving one’s life for this country? Must one be a prime minister or a minister to qualify as giving life for the country? If that is Madam Loh’s definition, then nearly all Singaporeans have not given their lives for the country. That would be most unfair to Singaporeans who would effectively be condemned as jiat liao bis.

Or perhaps Madam Loh defines giving one’s life for this country as having worked in the public sector. If that is Madam Loh’s definition and Madam Loh wants to encourage all to give life for this country, then either everyone has to work for the public sector or the private sector has to be completely nationalized. Either way is impossible without ruining the country.

So the only fair and sensible definition must be that anyone who has worked hard to contribute in his or her small way to nation building in whatever capacity should be deemed as having given one’s life for the country. That will mean that almost everyone has given his or her life for the country. Whether it is 50% or 25% will depend on the person’s age and life expectancy. But by the end of our lives, we would all have given the bulk of our lives for this country. Even Mr Lee himself never gave 100% of his life for the country for how could baby Lee Kuan Yew sucking milk from his mother’s breast be considered as giving his life for the country?

But even with that definition, we run into problems as youths who have not taken part time jobs would not qualify as giving their lives for the country. In that case, why does Straits Times provide youth forums for youths to make noise when they don’t meet the qualifying criteria of having given their lives to the country?

So in the end, the definition has to be that there is no life giving requirement before someone can qualify to make noise. Otherwise our children will be mutes until the day they start working.

Madam Loh wrote:

There are always places where such freedom can be found. But together with it, there will be freedom to be discriminated against, freedom to be raped, freedom to be mugged, freedom to be shot – complete freedom.

Madam Loh shouldn’t automatically associate freedom with high crime rate because there are countries or places that enjoy the best of both worlds like Liechtenstein, Monaco, Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and so on.

Madam Loh wrote:

As for me, I am staying put, humidity and all. I am blessed and proud to be a Singaporean.

I am sure every Singaporean is proud to be a Singaporean. But whether or not they associate that pride with Lee Kuan Yew is a completely different matter altogether.


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