Party symbiotic relationships

One of my friends (a strong critic of the Singapore administration) wrote this on his wall:

“Can the PAP operate without oppositions? Probably yes. The current government won’t need the opposition to remind everyone of the problems we faced from transport to housing.

On the other hand, the opposition cannot run Singapore without the PAP. There ain’t enough (high) caliber candidates. Which is a fact.

So the danger in this by-election is it gives citizens the false impression that by “getting rid” of the PAP, we will get a better government. Becareful, vote wisely.

It is easier to rant than to solve the problems at present.”

This is an interesting sentiment to reflect on. I do not agree that the PAP can operate without an opposition – doing so will make them flabby and complacent. We need competition to improve all manner of things in life: be it in work, relationships or politics.

In like manner, the opposition cannot operate without the PAP. This organization has operational, technical and diplomatic know-how of running a government. It has discipline, it is organized and it has zero tolerance for ill behavior. The entire modern civil service that we know today has been created by them.1 It would be naive to think that in the event of an opposition takeover, or run in coalition, nothing would change in our lives.

The sentiment on the internet and the sentiment on the ground is dangerous. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you: “I know the PAP is a better group to run the country, but I just want to give a voice to the opposition anyway”.

One vote, goes to opposition…

Two votes goes to opposition…

When does it stop? I don’t know what your vote is, neither do you know mine… how do we control acceleration?

If we believe that they’re doing an ok job, give them the mandate and let us, the people, give real pressure to them after that. We kick their ass and they’ll in turn kick the civil servant’s ass. They know their careers last only 4 years. They cannot risk doing a lousy job.

The ministers and members of parliament don’t wake up every morning thinking about how to ruin Singaporean lives. Just saying.

1 Yes I know that the civil service is adapted from the British. Just like how the CPF was adapted from the British. What this paragraph refers to is the modern civil service and it’s methods of operating, policies and discipline since 1965.

About the author

Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at www.rangosteen.com and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

View all posts

Share your thoughts!