One has to have a knack for politics to do well as a Foreign Minister and Dr. Chee Soon Juan has demonstrated he has the potential.
When President Barack Obama was inaugurated as the President of the United States in January 2009, Dr. Chee and his colleagues from the Singapore Democratic Party made this congratulatory video.
The video is over 5 mins long, and I didn’t go beyond 23 seconds, but it shows Dr. Chee has a flair for establishing relations with foreign powers, and a world power, no less.
2009 was a particularly tough year. The world was still reeling from the effects of the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis and Singapore was facing its worst crisis in years, its government and unions were trying to find its feet through a series of measures to save jobs.
It was also opportunistic that Singapore was hosting APEC 2009, where the political and business leaders of the 21 member economies of APEC gathered in Singapore for a week long conference. President Obama also stopped by Singapore to attend the APEC dinner. It is obvious that the agenda of these 21 member economies was to spur trade, growth and jobs.
On the eve of the President’s visit, Dr. Chee Soon Juan then went on The Lionel Show in the US (via teleconference it seems) with a message for the President.
Dr. Chee called on President Obama to acknowledge that there are very serious human rights abuses in Singapore, and as the forumers highlighted, Dr. Chee called on President Obama to boycott Singapore businesses. But the forumers failed to see Dr. Chee’s point of view; that Singaporeans shouldn’t have jobs and livelihood when there’s no democracy and no human rights.
PAP on the other hand, has been panda-ring pandering to foreign powers. As recently as last week, Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Minister Chan Chun Sing quoted a Chinese businessman’s analogy of Squirrels and Panda to describe Singapore’s value-add to the humongous Chinese economy, in an obvious attempt to create job or business opportunities for Singapore.
I’m like most Chinese Singaporeans, a banana and don’t understand this analogy, but my dad tells me I should read it in Chinese then I’ll appreciate the meaning better. Heck, I don’t even understand why it’s called “One Belt One Road”, sounds so cheesy.
Observing how SDP understands politics, Singapore will probably stand up against larger countries and stop relying on these countries for trade, business and jobs.
With nomination day already announced to be on 27 April 2016, voters in Bukit Batok can decide for themselves if they need a new opposition MP to show us how foreign affairs should really be managed.
Dr. Chee won’t make a good Minister of Trade and Industry though, for investments and jobs we better let the PAP guys do it.
Image Credits: Singapore Democrats.