Some readers have told us that the debate between the PM and the Opposition Leader were too “cheem” for their understanding.
We say, cut the fat. Cut the diplomacy. Let us have it lean and raw. The FsaaM team sat through the debate again and translated their passages into fluent Singlish!
LTK (Actual): …I also noted when the PAP makes a policy U-Turn, they call it policy shift. I don’t know whether that is a shift, or that is a [illegible].
LTK (Translated): Wah, y’all very clever ah. You gostan then say never gostan, only change lane.
PM (Actual): When we make a shift, we acknowledge a shift. When the WP changes position, they pretend they haven’t. As a leader, you (LTK) have a responsibility to state where does the party stand on the big issues. Is the Government doing right, is it doing wrong? Do you agree with the Government?
PM (Translated): Eh. We change lane always got signal hor. You jokers suka suka change lane never signal then act blur. Somemore never explain to your kaki liang you go where do what. Never tell us we salah turn or correct turn. You got use GPS anot?
LTK (Actual): …well yes, some of the problems as what the PM mentions. The WP MPs also acknowledge some of these in their speech, but also pointed out there are things that is still work in progress and the Government will have to focus on and improve. That is our position, I don’t see need for me to totally sum up.
LTK (Translated): Aiyah these things we also say already what. We say you still haven’t reach destination and must go mechanic also. And why must say where we going? You next to us, you cannot see meh?
PM (Actual): Well Mdm. Speaker, I’m very grateful for the extremely reasonable explanation from the Member. I hope he takes an equally reasonable approach when it comes to election rallies. Because the Workers Party takes a low profile and reasonable approach in Parliament, but turn into tigers and heroes during election time.
PM (Translated): Wah, liddat also can. Okay lor. Say already now, later don’t anyhow whack during gee-ruh-cee fever hor. I see you everytime so garang during election time then in Parliament sit down shake leg only, I sian half already.
LTK (Actual): I thank the Prime Minister for his praises for the Worker’s Party ability to fight at the elections. We don’t accuse the PAP of something we cannot substantiate, or not we get sued.The PAP can fight too, you got much more people than the Workers Party how can you say we are tiger or something else? I’m sure the PAP can be equally tiger or lions.
LTK (Translated): Abuden? Which sotong got sit down and shake leg at election time? You want us to garang in Parliament, anyhow say, then kena sued ah? Yah lah, of course you very tzai during GE, you got so many resources mah. We tiger then you what? Godzilla issit?
PM (Actual): It is eloquent explanation for why the Worker’s Party has been inarticulate (pause) about many things.
In a serious Parliament, the Government presents its policies, the Opposition presents its alternatives.
The Opposition may not have all the complexities of designing a Medishield scheme or an HDB scheme… but you do have a responsibility to say which direction we are going. And that direction is not to explain to the PAP, but to explain to Singaporeans WHAT YOU STAND FOR. And what you stand for cannot be “a little bit better” than what the PAP does. Whatever the PAP does, you ask them to do a little bit better.
Where do you stand, where are we totally wrong? Where do you think, in principal, you do not want Singapore to be like?
PM (Translated): Eh, want to say, say properly lah. In normal Parliament ah, we say this policy very steady. Then you say eh siao ah liddat how can, then you tell us why we salah. Got system leh.
We know doing all the sai kang policy things is very jialat until want to vomit blood already. But we never ask you to do. Just say lah – ai mai? Because hor, Singaporeans now dunno you going where also. Cannot just say eh we win PAP, then liddat finish. Must tell us to wake up our ideas leh. You sit here do what ah?
LTK (Actual): Mdm Speaker, I’d like to say the PM is reasonable to say that the Worker’s Party may not have come up with all the alternative policy… that’s true. But to say the Worker’s Party does not have a position on an issue, that’s not true. Where there is a concern, like the Population White paper we do so.
LTK (Translated): Mdm speaker, the PM okay anot? He want us to kai pei kao bu for every mother son policy issit? If got problem then we say lah. No problem then say what? We last time say the Population White paper damn kuku what. Simi no position?
PM (Actual): I think it’s good to bring it down to something very specific. Let’s talk about the Population White Paper.
During the debate the Worker’s Party has taken the position of “enough is enough, zero growth”. I had not heard the Worker’s Party demand zero growth today. Do you still demand that? Or do you think we should allow SMEs to survive in Singapore.
PM (Translated): Eh what you talking ah? Last time you not happy with the Population White paper, so you say “enough is enough, zero growth.” Now all tiam already. You still want zero growth issit? You want SMEs to die anot?
LTK (Actual): We had made a calculation at that point in time of debating the Population White Paper, that we will continue to allow the foreign workers to grow. We need to keep the population number in check – and one way of doing this is to freeze the foreign workers growth. Our calculation says that with the existing number of foreign workers, you can still move around with some sectors that need only so much of foreign workers and you can still get by with zero foreign workers growth.
We understand the possibility and the trade off – that is our position at that point in time.
LTK (Translated): Last time we calculate, need to let the foreign workers grow. Liddat cannot if got zero growth right. But we got solution. Some sectors no need so many foreign worker, but also got some sectors need more foreign worker, so you move here move there lah. Then still got zero growth. Okay lah, not everybody happy like bird but bo pian right?
PM (Actual): Mdm Speaker, after all this complicated explanation, I’m not sure Mr. Low Thia Khiang still stands on what was said in Parliament on the White Paper debate last year. If he really does, he should say “We have too many foreign workers now, send home 70k”. Then we will know where he stands. But when he says some sectors can do with less, others need more – that is easy to say, but who’s going to do the massaging?
That is the mark of a substandard opposition.
PM (Actual): Wah lau eh. Mdm Speaker you see lah this fella. If he last time say he want zero growth, no need to now so mah fan say move here move there. Just say 70K foreign workers must balik kampung. If he say liddat, ok lah, he steady. But he anyhow whack, say move here move there … say only easy, then who kena arrow to move here move there later?
Opposition liddat damn fail already sia.
LTK (Actual): Mdm. Speaker I disagree this is a mark of a substandard opposition, this is the mark of a responsible opposition. We don’t jam up the government, we allow them to do what they need to do. This is the mark of a First World Parliament.
LTK (Translated): Eh hallo where got fail? We damn on the ball one, you got see us kacau for fun anot? This kind of Parliament very tzai okay.
PM (Actual): Mdm. Speaker, we have to call a spade a spade. If you have to change a position, because your previous position was wrong – say so. But to weasel away, play with words, avoid the issue and then claim to be responsible – that is what we fear can drive Singapore’s politics into same place where many countries have gone.
PM (Translated): Wah piang eh. Salah turn then say salah turn lah. You salah turn then talk one grandfather story, never find the correct PIE exit, then can ownself say very tzai. I hear this ah, I headache already. Later macam other countries NATO parliament. No action talk only. Sianz.
Samantha De Silva develops and conducts courses in communication skills and also run writing workshops and mentorships. When she’s not doing this, she creates content, copy-edit and proofread for corporate, academic and creative projects. She also works on fun things like script analysis, writing for film and fiction projects and has been a contributing writer and voice talent on the satirical podcast, the mrbrown show, since 2008.
Samantha also blogs at: http://samanthadesilva.com