A chance conversation with a PAP voter friend

This PAP voter said she appreciates the stable life now compared to the tumultuous times of strikes during her growing up years. She doesn’t seem to appreciate that many of the labour laws that guarantee workers’ rights today including Sunday off arose from those strikes. Without those strikes, the British might conveniently have held on to Singapore for as long as they could like they did in Hong Kong. In any case, those strikes were during a time of power struggle. Once the victor emerged, regardless of which side won, the power struggle would stop and she would enjoy her peaceful life just the same.

She said Lee Kuan Yew had to do terrible things in order to push the country forward. I said Chia Thye Poh was imprisoned till 1989 and detained till 1998. What threat was Chia Thye Poh to the country’s progress in 1989 or 1998? I should have added that Singapore at that time was already embarking on the Swiss standard of living.

I pointed out that if the PAP’s stance is so defensible and unshakable, it should have no qualms freeing up newspapers and television for it could easily defend any argument from newspapers not within its control. PAP voter said press control is to guard against extremists who may destabilise the country through the press. I said the laws that allow the PAP to round up extremists still exist. It can by all means round up any extremists if it so desires. Let our voices speak for themselves. Let the people see if our voices are extremist or not.

She said CPF is good because if the money is put in a bank it only earns peanut interests. I said she isn’t comparing apples to apples. CPF funds are locked up for 20, 30 years, if the money is put in a similar bond with 20, 30 year maturity, the returns will be similar.

PAP voter said after Lee Li Lian took over Punggol East for a few years, the estate did not improve. I said that is because the PAP controls the purse springs so that any estate improvement over and above normal funds must come from the government. Any party who controls the national purse string will have access to these funds. Does she not feel it is unfair or unhealthy that estate improvement funds are being politicised?

She said WP did not do its job and allowed bad debts to accumulate. She said this was unfair to people like her who paid her estate maintenance bills regularly. I don’t know what to say.

She said WP used money from Punggol East to replenish overdrafts in Aljunied. I said that’s political smearing. Teo Chee Hian used an incomplete statement from within the stack of statements to claim accounting irregularities whereas Low Thia Khiang used the main page which is the summary page that showed all accounts are finally tallied.

She said she was relieved that Singapore voters proved wise. I said no, voters are not wise but are misinformed as there are clearly so many loop holes with her arguments which show an incomplete understanding of the truth to many political issues.

She said opposition only knows how to talk. I don’t know what to say. I can’t find a single evidence of opposition project so grand and outstanding it completely shuts the mouth of critics.

She remarked that I am an opposition voter. I said no, I merely wish to see balance in the parliament, 50% PAP – 50% opposition. In other words, I am the true middle ground. There are many false middle grounds today who even though are called swing voters are merely swinging from 2% opposition to 8% opposition and vice versa. She said if parliament has 50% opposition, Singapore liao lor. That is the crux of the opposition problem. The majority of Singaporean voters think opposition is good for nothing except talk only.

PAP voter said her studies were affected when the government suddenly changed the language of instruction from Chinese to English. Her teacher cried in class as the entire textbook changed from Chinese to English overnight. She said amongst her classmates, only one made good in life – some academic in Nantah. I said to her, your life has been turned topsy turvy as a result of PAP’s policies. Yet you continue to vote for PAP. If Barisan were in charge and you were able to make a living based on the Chinese language, would you not have done better in life?

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