4G political jargoning shows their lack of political competency & courage

Ong Ye Kong

The irony of the 4G politicians just got more ironic with each passing week. Except for Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who does come across as one of their better politicians, the rest are pretty much hopeless, preferring to hide their incompetency in their bliss of ignorance. His latest speech on the need for political leaders to strive to earn and retain public trust is revealing.

The one-party dominance of the PAP has made its politicians weak and irrelevant. Most of them are incapable of even an ounce of real leadership. That largely explains why Singapore is facing an unprecedented increase in lapses, breaches and structural failures, beside our growing frustration with the many imbalances created by their agenda-driven socio-economic policies.

Instead of addressing these issues and imbalances, the 4G politicians are largely coming across as being more interested in the prosperity of their own political party. This is self-serving and compounded the plights of the majority of suffering Singaporeans.

Their silence is also troubling. That is the irony – if they lack the competency or courage to speak, why do they want to stand for election? In his speech, Ong at least has the decency and courage to try to address the deficit of public trust that he and his political peers are experiencing.

Difference between Tension & Trust:
When he started his speech by framing the issue as a weakening of public trust experienced by institutions globally, his “gloss-over” has to be corrected. The tension between people and government does not necessarily mean that public trust in institutions is weakening. The two are not the same. It is also not a global phenomenon.

Loss of public trust as cited by Ong is the result of an explicit failure on the part of the government while tension is the implicit relationship, or rather the cautionary relationship, between people and powerful entities such as government and their related institutions.

In the case of our government, the loss of public trust is firstly due to the unprecedented increase in lapses, breaches and structural failures, the imbalances created by their agenda-driven socio-economic policies and the absent of any real effort to resolve these pressing issues. In the case of Ong, his courage to try to address these challenging issues will at least set him apart from his many other “courage-less” peers.

His advocacy of his four principles to preserve trust will not cut for many Singaporeans or heals the deep-seated rift that is dividing Singapore in its current form. It breaches the core principle underpinning trust.

Trust is a two-way relationship. Once lost, it must be earned. That means that the party responsible for the loss must first acknowledge their mistake that resulted in the loss and then make real effort to earn back the trust that was lost. Apologies without sincere effort to restore will not work. The same is true of effort without apologies.

The hallmark characteristic that is likely to disintegrate the PAP lies in the inability of their 3G and 4G politicians to apologize. The old guards (or the first Cabinet) with well respected politicians like Goh Keng Swee would not have hesitated in making their public apology, state their resolve publicly and make all efforts to resolve the issues before they became entrenched. That explains why trust and respect is only afforded upon real men like them but not the current 4G boys.

If Ong is sincere, he will be faced with the unpleasant task of firstly having to advocate his own four principles to his peers within the PAP Party and get them to wise up. Time will tell of his sincerity and commitment to his own advocacy, and its effectiveness.

He is however spot on in asserting that politicians must be competent, uphold codes of conduct, contribute back to society and stay true to the ethos to service. If only the incumbents currently in parliament have been putting these Confucius-principles into practice, Singapore would not have degenerated into being such a divided nation. Real leaders walk their talks with consistency.

His comparative between politician and medical profession, probably to try to tone down the political discourse, is a bit too far fetch as doctors, like lawyers, are referred publicly as professionals. They have public bodies to discipline them should any of them fall short of public expectation in term of conduct or ethic.

Politicians on the other hand do not have such a public body to keep them in check except at the ballot box. When they fall short in between elections, the onus is upon the “Court of Public Opinion” to hold them accountable. Unfortunately in Singapore, that is also not working as our political leaders are starting to ignore public opinion.

Again, when the old guards from our Old Cabinet had to take painful course of action to help steer Singapore forward, they have the trust and respect of the people to keep them in good order. The same can be true today but the problem with the present elected politicians is that more and more Singaporeans are losing trust and respect for them as we see how out of touch or indifference they have become.

However, most Singaporeans still trust and respect our doctors as compared to politicians. It is true that there is a growing frustration with the way our healthcare and hospitals are being managed. Singaporeans are concern with the increase in medical cost and accessibility. These are governed by our healthcare policies. These policies are the prerogative of the ruling government, not our doctors.

As such, simply equating the challenges faced as being the same is like our politicians are desperately trying to drag our doctors down into the quicksand together with them as they sink. In the words of Ong, our elected politicians must be “competent” in addressing the issues, challenges and frustration created by our present healthcare policies. It is time that our doctors are empowered with better healthcare policies so that they can do more to help fellow Singaporeans. That is more constructive and progressive an option.

The same is true of our civil services and related agencies. If policies are clear, well defined, designed with the interests of Singaporeans and communicated properly, our civil servants will also be able to do more, like in being empowered to step out of their comfort zone to do more for fellow-Singaporeans.

Real leadership matters here. For it to works, our politicians must walk their talks more consistently and stand on the side of these civil servants. Respect begets respect and that in turn will foster the growth of trust. After all, our civil servants are also Singaporeans too.

While Ong is trying to do his best, he is looking like a minority among his political peers. His effort ought to be appreciated but the rot may be beyond his singular effort. Nevertheless, I still applause his courage to speak up. The Hard Truth is that in reality, many of the issues that are plaguing Singapore may be beyond any singular person or party at this stage.

Singapore has reached a crossroad and we need to elect the best among us and not be misled by the political agenda of self-serving politicians. Singapore needs many more good men and women to step forward. Ong’s four principles, grounded in Confucius values, may be a helpful framework in this aspect.

Going Forward, the party-politics of any incumbent, if left to fester for a long time unabated can very quickly manifest like cancer. It is hygienic to periodically purge our parliament and remove useless and toxic politicians out of our political system. As such, it is time to bring in real political leaders, who like surgeons, can surgically help us to remove the many cancerous tumours that are plaguing our country.

Why do we want to continue electing “courage-less” politicians who cannot speak up on behalf of their constituents or who have the unique competency in staying blissfully ignorance while their fellow Singaporeans struggle? It may be too little, too late when the political incompetency of our current politicians ripe us apart as a nation.

It is time we think critically about our own future and that of our children. We cannot afford to be trivialized, fooled or blind-sided by self-serving politicians into becoming a nation of slaves, beggars and prosecuted people.

Time to wise up because Singaporeans truly deserve better.


Joseph Nathan




19 Responses to “4G political jargoning shows their lack of political competency & courage”

  • N.Jungne:

    Propaganda here and propaganda there, learn from the Commies

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  • No eyes see:

    The hardest truth is that all these so called 4Gs in particular ah Heng are hiding under pinky’s skirt, chuckling along and playing safe with their $m pay in tow. Why be smart alec and rock the cosy comfortable boat?

    Like disGraceFool whose nose is getting larger by the year uttered loud and clear, her family lifestyle comes first, you daft people ‘you die your business’.

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  • OPPO coalition New Government:

    When Dr Mahatir PH surfaced, najib IBs and naysayers all said, no chance.

    But look who is Prime Minister now and what is happening to najib and najib wife and najib stepson.

    When 30% OPPO say OPPO alliance to topple pap, clown IBs and naysayers all say, no chance, since Singapore 70% sheep is different from Msians.

    But wait a little while. Wait until GE2019 results are out. Then we shall see pap clown and S$m gang run road to swiss land for swiss cost of living.

    Sure to happen one. 70% sheep after all is flesh and blood no different from Msians who toppled najib and najib S$m gang.

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  • Harder Truths:

    The condition of this sorry little island is like a patient with cancer. The cancer will eventually kill the patient if not treated. Cancer does not take holidays or retire. It also does not give a sh*t who you are. Everyone is equally f*cked.

    Yet the patient believes and insists the cancer is good for him as he is able to get subsidised treatment with it.

    So you see – there is no cure for stupidity. say what you want – the cancer is too far gone to be dealt with.

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  • Asd:

    Yes man yes man three bag fool

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    Did he supported a bill that exempted themselves from [fakes]/spreading falsehoods [news bill]. So what is the use of cheap talking but acting differently when it counts? Thus, he is the same, no difference, “PAP”.

    Talk is cheap. Our law should apply to everybody and nobody, should be exempted. Our Notional pledge to be United, based on justice and Equality is abused. They now plight themselves as special higher being, over and above all of us beyond reproach.

    So, I ask, how do you trust ‘anyone’ who are insincere and dishonest? I mean, when someone who had intended to deceive without accountability? Can you be trusting them time and time again, believing they will listen and work with you, for you? but do another, time and time again? Can you?

    MiloIndianCumMalay + AGDAG + so many conflict of interests Husband&Wife appointments are clear evidences of the ‘Acts’ that breaches into public opinion and the fabric core principle of trust. NTUC makes billions, SP makes billions but tax and tariffs continued to unreasonably hikes despite election promises [or is it speech? or mere fakes?].

    And Talking about education – Why are we paying so much multi million dollars of our taxpayer money every year onto scholarship given to foreigners for free? That, up till this date with multi billions spent, multi billions spent, had proven ZERO beneficial to Singapore? They chided us for the lack of skills but forgotten we sacrificed TWO AND A HALF YEARS of serving the nation, taken for granted by them. Have they given us the chance, to groom its own citizen? or only groom theirs?

    Time to make 2nd/3rd G leaders to come door to door to beg us for time to listen to them.

    Time to Vote for Chance. No more Mandate, No 2nd Chance…… irregardless of anymore of those useless speeches. [Just shut the ears and the heart].

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  • TruBlu:

    Lets just say,a lousy leader tends to pick lousier successors;else how can he himself/herself look *good*?

    This is my humble but truthful observation.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Unlike the 4G IDIOTS, Ye Kung comes from a background of Political GRINDING…

    his father was a man of Principle, Believing what he deems as Patriotic & Nationalistic as an ex-PAP who broke away from the Bastard led and sided with the Barisan

    Sadly it will be one man and a few others against a Lie-ing Dynasty…

    Until the LeedDynasty is Destroyed along with the IDIOTIC PM and his spineless cronies…Singaporeans will have to HOLD their Breadth for a CHANGE Within or Without!!!

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Quote: “Except for Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who does come across as one of their better politicians” [End]

    Is he really “one of their better politicians”? I don’t think so! S’pore’s Educational Policies by any yardstick is a predictor for S’pore’s economic future as a relevant economic player! And Ong Ye Kung isn’t doing anything to prove that he is indeed “one of the better politicians”. Ong could be just one of the 4G boys mopping up their entitlements, privileges & benefits while attempting to look good ie. “going through the motions”. The rest of his peers aren’t even trying to disguise themselves with work nor that interested in doing so.

    All I have heard from him were narrating, fiddling & tinkering of the s’pore educational sacred cows re: stubbornly retaining Meritocracy Policy; tinkering educational streaming in form, not substance; no effective reforms to confront a daunting Artificial Intelligence future. Methinks that S’pore politicians are “blind” to the big shifts (technological tidal waves) that are coming over the horizon. The electorate themselves are placing their slim hopes on an “Omnipotent & Impeccable” 4G leadership who cleverly shuts out negative news (& critical analyses) & highlights only PR spin (Positive factors) for themselves. No need to say further. People have to make their own choices at the end.

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  • Mee Siam Mai hum:

    Ong is Ong. He is not his father.
    Just because a person is the skn does not mean he is the father.

    Example : Longan

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  • Memo to Ong & Co.:

    The 4 marks of rank hypocrisy:

    1) As he speaks to the people he is telling lies and half-lies.

    2) What he once promised the people he does not fulfill or had never intended to.

    3) The affairs which the people entrusted to him he betrays or acts upon them for his vested interests.

    4) Civic matters in which he differs from the people he finds cause for shaming and prosecuting them.

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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    In order to assess Ong Ye Kung’s leadership style I will analyze his ideas and actions pertaining to one significant aspect of Singapore: the building of a new Singaporean identity from a multi-ethnic pluralistic society. By such an analysis one could try to answer the bigger question of whether another leader can adopt Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership style as a guiding principle. Some leaders may aspire to bring a revolutionary change to the existing system while some others may be satisfied with maintaining the status quo system. Hence the biggest question will be: can another leader emulate Lee Kuan Yew style leadership? As a general rule, emulating another personality is a difficult task simply because of the vast differences in circumstances faced by each leader.

    What Lee Kuan Yew faced in 1960s is completely different from today’s world. If we just forget about these contextual differences then comes the question of how much worthy were those qualities to be replicated? Should a modern day leader become a cold-hearted disciplinarian? Another problem with adopting Lee’s style is that Lee was able to literally oversee almost all the aspects of the polity given the fact that he was presiding over a population of only 2 million and 716.2 km2 of land area. Will that level of intervention and scrutiny be possible in a large country with a much larger population?

    Political leadership operates on two distinct levels namely; internal domestic affairs and international affairs. Within each nation, political leadership can command and reach out widely and extensively, and the rulers of the most important nations have a resonance that carries an echo to all corners of the world. If one reduces politics to its bare bones, to what is most visible to most citizens, it is the national political leaders, both at home and abroad, that remain once everything else has been erased; they are the most universal, the most recognized, the most talked about elements of political life.

    Indeed, a leader should not shackle or chain up him(her)self to any single idea. There is a need to always try to see things with fresh eyes. If one can do this, one will be able to achieve progress and growth. To widen knowledge and open new horizons, there is also a need for humility and to learn from others which is truly lacking in our 4Gs.

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  • Haigen-Diaz:


    Indeed, the choice of group leaders may influence the nature of the political process itself, rather than merely the outcome of a well defined political process. Leadership clearly plays a considerable role in the determination of political outcomes, including the nature of the interaction between groups. We see the election of leaders by their fellow group members – rather than their emergence by some other means – as a process that will tend to encourage expressive behavior. Simply because the popular election of a single leader in a large group will almost automatically generate a situation in which individual group members are asymptotically indecisive while also creating a situation in which attention will focus on characteristics of potential leaders other than their strategic positions. To the extent that expressive behavior in the election of leaders increases the risk of costly conflict in at least some situations, this is a matter of some concern in the design of our democratic institutions.

    According to some scholars, the PAP government established by Lee was a de-facto soft authoritarian regime rather than a parliamentary democracy as he popularly claimed. Hence if a leader in a democratic country adopts Lee style leadership strategy it will be a regressive
    change rather than a progressive change in the political freedom.

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  • opposition dude:

    Sorry Joseph Nathan but Ong is most certainly not one of the better ones for sure. Just because he has spoken out on leadership does not make him better just like that. For one thing he is a party member and the second most important thing, has he practised what he has preached? Has he done his 4 advocates which he has spoken?

    In life there is no need to announce that you are incompetent because it will show up eventually. No one has quite forgotten the years that were plagued with train disruptions, train langgar, MRT tunnel flooding, failed AGO audits, SAF deaths and Singhealth hacking to name but a few. And no one certainly forgets that all these things have happened in the last few years alone. Sure you can say that PAP is allowed a few mistakes since no one is perfect but come on, a whole horde of mistakes in quick succession one after another?

    And another thing that has been conveniently forgotten is just how well these monkeys are paid. When you want a certain salary there is no way you are going to get away with it by not apologising, getting someone else to take the blame and not being accountable. We have not seen any minister resign but we do know that they are incompetent.

    So naturally the trust has gone down after so much has happened. These monkeys are out of touch with the common people but life always finds a way. When the day comes when these monkeys aren’t in charge anymore is when you will be reading loads of apologies in the papers day in day out. Only then will these donkeys wake the F up and suddenly come out with statements like “should have known better”, “should have listened more”, “please give me another chance I will do better”.

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  • LOL:

    This is state of our SG govt…aftr being in power for decades… it became rotten, top down, extremely out-of-touch, full of ‘YES’ people engaging in herd mentality & groupthink.

    Even if few daring PAP people are to disobey & speakout against this govt… thy’ll surely be marked & condemned.

    Are these ministers even thinking, when most of their scripts/speeches are drafted & written by govt scholars. Thats why most of what these fools say are simply out-of-touch & just for show only…Wayang party

    Do citizens here hv the guts to be like HK people ??? Doubt so…

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  • vote pap, die faster:

    remember george yeo who was voted out of Aljunied. george yeo said he would improve Singapore from the outside.

    what a ffffing lie. george yeo is so busy leveraging on his pap credentials in the private sector he completely forgot about improving Singapore.

    moral of the story is, believe pap, die fast fast.

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  • Truth Told:

    They got away with charging the world highest pay by claiming infallibility.
    The will not let any indication of such cheating by admitting mistakes.

    Actually if these overpaid lemmings are smart, which they are not, they can readily admit any failures as stupid dafts are the kindest and most forgiving lot.
    They will accept and rationalize any lies or excuses dished out to them.
    The track records speak for themselves, despite all the failures, a resounding 70% mandate.

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  • A Deeply Hurt Soul:

    vote pap, die faster:
    remember george yeo who was voted out of Aljunied. george yeo said he would improve Singapore from the outside.

    what a ffffing lie. george yeo is so busy leveraging on his pap credentials in the private sector he completely forgot about improving Singapore.

    moral of the story is, believe pap, die fast fast.

    Don’t take the idle talks of Pappies too much to heart.
    If you have taken another perspective, such as that from a liar, such remarks would have long forgotten.

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  • Jman:

    Like in many other countries, our 4G leadership is making the assumption that the tech and 4th Industrial Revolution is a forgone conclusion and that it is a path we must take in its current form.

    This is a bad and dangerous assumption as it allows tech and businesses to write the rules as they please. And it has already caused so many problems.

    Now the Govt is going to regulating private hire car Drivers. A full 5 to 6 years after Uber and Grab exploded into the scene and behaved like a bunch of wild and irresponsible pirates. Government in its existing form isn’t working.

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