The recent speeches of Heng Swee Keat ought to be noteworthy to all of us. It gives us a flavour of what would be important to him and his team under his leadership.
His very first as Deputy Prime Minister, is a pledge of commitment to the workers of Singapore. This message was delivered at the May Day Rally of 2019.
The second important speech, was themed “Singapore Together”. It discussed the importance of running Singapore hand-in-hand with the citizens, which means more collaboration and less confrontation.
4th generation Singapore leaders have a difficult task. This is no longer a country at battle with communists, this is no longer a country starved of jobs. The context is that many young Singaporeans are born into affluence, plenty and want.
But there is a problem: Politics, is necessarily divisive.
How then can leaders unite people, assuring them of the robustness of national policies… moving the country forward?
That’s the truth about politics and power. You divide the people against your political opponents so that they will lean to your side, giving you the power to lead them. It is only when power is given to leaders, then we pray that leaders have what it takes to lead people to goodness, and perhaps greatness. Inclusiveness will be one of such human greatness.
Heng, in his address, talked about the “democracy of deeds”. This was going to be a partnership as a “way of getting Singaporeans to not just share views but do things together.”
Democracy suspends when people are bashing the Government. You are not entitled to have your own opinion unless your opinion agrees with dissenters. If you persist, you are just pathetic brainwashed idiot.
So “democracy of deeds” is a good way forward; perhaps more of a cry to the people to ‘please exercise some humanity and embrace the spectrum of people around us‘. And look at issues more objectively. And better still, put your words to action.
One of the biggest concerns for Singapore, is the shifting geopolitical climate:
Gillian Koh, senior fellow from the Institute of Policy Studies, posed two questions to Heng:
Through the past months, what were his most critical reflections from interactions with foreign powers?
What would Heng like citizens to understand better so that Team Singapore can succeed and thrive in a changing world?
The DPM explained that there is a “delicate and complicated situation” between U.S. and China at the moment. Heng said that there can be a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to economic development and what each country should do to adjust to this.
“Every government in the world must want a better life for their people,” said Heng.
“Those in the bottom of the value chain must want to move up for their people. Those who are ahead must run faster…” said Heng, adding that Singaporeans must change as the world changes.
For Singaporeans, there is a need to see our multiculturalism as a strength to interact and adapt to the rest of the world.
In recent developments, a fragmented world is getting increasingly divisive. People are asked to chose and take sides. We in Singapore should not fall into this trap of political division.