The Office of the President had accomplished something already

Whether she is your President, or not your President…you can’t miss out one glaring point: she IS (going to be) the President.

If you are angry at the process, the means and methods, direct it at the right target. Say what you want, she had the best praises. A strong, independent woman. A person with a powerful handshake, forthrightness, good energy and able to connect with people quickly and sincerely.

Everyone will tell you the same thing: that she had the ability to win on her own accord.

We say all that in hindsight conveniently. Truth is, we wouldn’t know if she would ACTUALLY have won. It’s not her, many people are ready to cast revenge votes and that would have led to a result that Singaporeans didn’t really want. It’s kinda like Brexit and Trump, people did vote but now no one knows if these choices were made rationally.

Unifying the nation is the task at hand for Halimah Yaacob. It is not clear how she will go about doing this, but it won’t be an easy task. She has accepted the job, understood the challenges – all she needs to do now is get to work.

Then some say that this has been a racial disaster for Singapore and that it has “opened a can of worms” because people are now scrutinising races more than ever before. You know what? If this is the worst there is, then I am relieved. If all our quarrels are only online rants about how Malay someone is, then our system has worked.

In fact, what I saw was quite spectacular: all races have come out to defend the Malays – all their anger directed at one common enemy: “the system”. Everyone has spoken out and in so doing, all races have become brothers in arms.

Can no one appreciate the beauty of this?

More and more Chinese people are increasingly aware that there’s such a thing called “Chinese entitlement” and, whether or not you like it, racism does exist. This entire thing had made us uncomfortably aware of these ills and taken this very inconvenient discussion into the public. 

I am very glad the rhetoric had been “How can you piss on meritocracy”? and not “How can a Malay woman be the Head of State”.

And that… is something to be proud of, because it is a feat that not even the greatest, most liberal and inclusive nation on the planet can do.

 

About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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