Several MPs have put forth their orations in Parliament today. Most rhetorical, some dramatic but for me, the more interesting words came from the Worker’s Party.
The Opposition did rather well. They distanced themselves from the private matter of the Lees, they chided the Government where there was a need to and on the whole, did the Prime Minister a big, big favour by addressing the elephant in the room: the overwhelming majority of PAP representation.
As Low Thia Khiang had pointed out, the acrimony between the Lee siblings must be rooted in something much deeper than merely a house. Although it is not out of the ordinary for wills to be fought over, sometimes even quite publicly and viciously, the Lees appear to be willing to risk national interesting by pushing a private matter into the public domain.
Across Parliament, all speeches have a common theme: that the entire saga has blurred the line between private and public, made worse by playing it all out on social media.
The Opposition leader delivered a swift rebuke to Mr. Lee Hsien Yang and Dr. Lee Wei Ling: that these vague allegations, based on scattered evidenced and centred on family displeasure do not belong in the public domain. Can you believe that? Even the leader of a normally rambunctious opposition thinks it below them to be puling the antics the siblings have done!
All parties in Opposition to the PAP would be delighted at substantial evidence about their abuse of power. They have tried for decades, but there never had been any. The reason for this is told to us by DPM Teo Chee Hean; that there never had been abuse of power. By being just, fair and to abide by due process and the rules, the unhappy loser of a battle would almost always cry “abuse of power”, when it is actually a means of due process.
Mr. Low did not kick the Prime Minister when he’s down. In fact, he chided the siblings – if there was any concrete evidence the PM had been lying and abusing his power, allowing his wife to influence appointment of public officials, all these would have been made public by now instead of waging a continuous media campaign to keep the nation in suspense.
We all need to move on.
Across the world, multitudes have been watching this fiasco – some with earnest, some with concern, many for entertainment.
“…but this is not a Korean drama show”, said the Opposition leader in a degree of candour usual to him. “It is a serious matter because it affects the credibility of our entire country”.
The Worker’s Party’s position is that Mr. Lee should take his siblings to Court. Hardly surprising as many a careless opposition voice had found themselves before an impartial Judge for less serious allegations. The siblings should escape this. However, the Prime Minister had in his statement said he would not do that.
“(By) suing my own brother and sister in court would further besmirch our parents names. At the end of the day, we are brother and sister, and we are all our parents’ children.”
It is hard to tell how this unhappy episode will conclude.
If this was Hollywood, Lee Hsien Yang and Dr. Lee would burst through the doors of Parliament and embrace the Prime Minister in warm hugs amidst applause and cheers. Everyone would be apologetic, tears would be wept from faces and all would be forgiven. The financial markets would respond positively, global leaders would send their congratulations, rouge states would disarm and there would be peace on earth.
But alas, in reality what we have is an observably tired Prime Minister. We have a Parliament that have much more pressing issues to discuss and decide on. We have a self-centred America and an ambitious China to manage. We have terror organisations weaponising everyday objects. We have unemployment, industrial displacements, easing economy and competitive neighbours to deal with.
And amidst all this, Lee Hsien Yang and Dr. Lee will certainly respond on Facebook. Perhaps in a more fiery, robust manner this time around.