To truly succeed, the opposition needs to rewire and inspire

Academic Lam Peng Er put it, do we want an opposition that can “attract in greater numbers and offer a narrative which counters the ruling party’s “hegemonic ideological discourse”?

What kind of opposition do we want? Really, what can they offer to us voters? Check and balance? Safeguarding? Keep the ruling party on their toes? But, what then? Towards what end?

Well, the boot can be on the other foot too: Can we trust PAP to self-govern, to lead as the dominant party in government and self-check-and-balance themselves; at times, even going out of their way to be candid and open to the people?

DPM Heng said yesterday that the PAP’s approach “hinges on going beyond working for Singaporeans to working with them in designing policies and implementing them.”

One such policy is combating against income and social inequality. He said: “We are now studying how we can better help lower- and lower-middle-income Singaporeans, including current and future seniors, to meet their retirement needs in a sustainable way.”

Incidentally, the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its findings on social mobility, one of the benchmarks used to measure inequality.

They have selected the Nordic countries (namely, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland) as the five countries being “the closest economies to the ideal state”, measured against a combination “of provision of access, quality and equity in education with provision of work opportunities and good working conditions, social protection and inclusive institutions.”

Unsurprisingly, Japan is ranked 15th and, Singapore takes the 20th spot, South Korea at 25th, US at 27th and China at 45th.

This work-in-progress achievement for our little island state reminded me of what DPM Heng said about what ultimately matters in government. “Our improbable success was made possible by exceptional governance – capable leaders, working together with a united people.”

He added: “People had a stake in the country and there was trust between them and the Government.”

Alas, we must not forget that democracy, however imperfect, arose because it is the only and surest vehicle to ensure – or at least, gives the assurance – that the voting citizenry will not be left out, sidelined or marginalised, by giving the people a stake in the country, that is, to allow their voices to be heard, so that trust between the people and their leaders elect can be developed, deepened and sustained.

In this age of rapid and unexpected technological changes, every government is challenged beyond their abilities and strengths. Unity has thus become fragile as the engagement of the politics of envy and resentment are heightened thanks to the volatile information era and the widening inequality gap.

Is our government sailing in uncharted waters here? How do the opposition parties come in and play their part? So, I am back to what kind of opposition do we want? What can they bring to the parliamentary table?

In the end, we need our citizenry to be critical not just of the ruling party, but the opposing ones too. At present, the opposition appears jaded and divided. There are many boats on the political sea, and some are barely keeping the water of political in-fightings out of their boats.

While the PAP tanker is navigating in one direction, striving to weather the coming wild winds of globalisation, technological changes and climate emergency, we need our opposition to choose their fights and join hands and close ranks against the common enemies of the people (eg. the divisive forces of identity politics, inequality and nativism).

And this naturally goes beyond checks and balances to not just inquire, but rewire and inspire.

Michael Han

 

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21 Responses to “To truly succeed, the opposition needs to rewire and inspire”

  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Nothing to do with the OPPOSITIONs POSITIONs…be it lousy IDIOTs, self-glorifying or TRUE Patriots…

    It has everything to do with the People… Sheeple or Patriots, The Fear factor is so deeply EMBEDDED in their minds by a Bastard NOW DEAD…it is almost impossible to change that MINDSET they will be watched with every step they take and The Blue Door stands waiting to welcome them…

    With Dr Paul T and Dr Tan Cheng Bok stepping up to the PLATE…Hopefully, the MINDSET of FEAR will be removed Permanently for the TRUE Republic of Singapore returning to the People including the stoopid sheeple and NOT a F…..g FAKE Lie Dynasty!!!

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  • Boh Kia See:

    We must not be talking about the kind of opposition we want.

    We should be talking the kind of Government this disparate group of parties can clobber together to lead Singapore forward.

    There should not be any place for the PAP if Singapore wants to move forward. Being second best amounts to a failure. So long as the PAP is ruling, there is no way you will know the size of our reserves or change any CPF rules or check on health costs etc. it would simply be extremism at a slower pace.

    In a first past the post system, only those that gain the most seats wins. Opposition parties should all aim to win the most seats they compete for in order to form the Government. Anything less is simply not doing justice to Singaporeans.

    Focus well, the aim is to remove the PAP from power, so that we can examine and check what has been going on for decades. Decouple the country from the party and plan afresh for the citizens.

    There is no other way, as PAP is not a party to accommodate any other watering down of its extremism.

    VTO the PAP for the sake of Singapore and its citizens.

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  • Gongkias will vote pap again:

    With the Wuhan virus spreading and cases on the rise worldwide, I’m guessing GE might have to be pushed back to a later date (won’t be in March any more). And the EBRC can’t be taking more than half a year to release the report, so once the boundaries have been drawn and known, probably and hopefully the opposition parties will join hands.

    First thing first, deny pap too many seats in the parliament, then oppositions can slowly make changes to unfair rules and practices. With a level playing field, then only will the deserving parties get to be in parliament to serve the people.

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  • Really or not?:

    GE approaching so we hear them spouting all these pro-citizens care initiatives.
    Will it really come to fruition for all citizens ?
    Remember our gov is also importing huge numbers of aliens to convert to citizens.
    So the pie gets smaller n smaller.
    Most of us enlightened trublus always take what they preach with a pinch of salt.
    U believe them u die faster.

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  • RDB:

    Good thinking and narratives Michael Han. But are our electorate voters aware and how many even understand what you have said?

    Some people never ever voted for this govt/ Due to they were marginalized and poor. Or for some other reasons like working in the civil service for example. All because they are good workers but did not carry their bosses. So, is our governance a joke in fair play or not due to linage at the those work places. Some say they don’t work smart. What does that mean too? Work well but not “carry” their bosses for “curry favors” like better pay increments and even job promotions inspite of their lack of abilities to work well enough for that? Meaning that a higher qualified employee is not necessarily a better worker to boot other less qualified colleages? So, what is the real hump drum here at work. Your guess views is as good as better vision about such things yah!

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  • We want oppo to be PAP lah:

    Aiyoh, talk until so much. The PAP is taking Singaporeans into deep shit.
    We want oppo to be PAP.
    VTO! VTO!
    Time for new leaders to make Singaporeans great again.

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  • Not About Oppositions, Stupid:

    PAP caused the decline and created the huge mess, the loss of jobs and cost of living escalation are all the results of greedy PAP policies.

    This election is not about oppositions.

    PAP must be removed first.

    PAP has proven that they cannot be trusted.

    How many more bad years you want?

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  • Pap has the mandate:

    After screwed by PAP and yet Singaporeans have the guts to ask more from oppositions. Stinkies are a nation of gutless and cowards. Stinkies deserve to be continue screwed by PAP as well as fallen talents. F$%k stinkies and their generations to come.

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  • Bapak:

    Absolutely correct. Go for the free chicken rice then kick PAP out. The rest talk later.

    Not About Oppositions, Stupid:
    PAP caused the decline and created the huge mess, the loss of jobs and cost of living escalation are all the results of greedy PAP policies.

    This election is not about oppositions.

    PAP must be removed first.

    PAP has proven that they cannot be trusted.

    How many more bad years you want?

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  • Asd:

    Working to take m$ for ownself

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  • Pap has the mandate:

    Gutless Stinkies are idiots to blame oppositions. There is no cure for cowardice.

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  • Ah Fah:

    Do opposition parties in Singapore get party subsidies from the government? If not, Singaporeans owe them a great deal. They participate in every election to maintain our democratic process.

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  • Ah Fah:

    When Heng Swee Keat suffered a serious stroke two years ago, almost everyone was shocked and some anxiously watched the reaction of the financial market. What does this tell us? We do need another team that could run the country. We should let two teams to compete and we choose the better one every four or five years. The Republic of China Taiwan is more democratic than us. Two teams fiercely compete for presidency and seats in parliament. Because of the competition, they force themselves to renew their ideology, policies, presentation etc. Improvement is then achieved. By the way, parties in Taiwan get election subsidies from the government.

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  • TruBlu:

    Let TRUTH shine forth.
    Only With TRUTH will there true justice.

    Do we want to be progressive people or back-slide from where we came?

    We have come a long way,lets not let our efforts go to waste.

    What is winning,what is losing?
    If we truly care,then we can together MAJU-LAH as ONE SINGAPORE.
    ERRANT CONDUCT MUST BE CORRECTED.
    WRONGS MUST BE RIGHTED.

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  • Stupid Guest @ #06-195:

    Just vote 600% oppo into parliament if you want change as in prices drop.

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  • Sweet-talk dirt-rich wireman:

    [“Our improbable success was made possible by exceptional governance – capable leaders, working together with a united people.” He added: “People had a stake in the country and there was trust between them and the Government.”]

    We the native citizens of Singapore trust that the Covert Salaries of the Temasek Holdings office holders and the PAP ministers and MPs in their other corporate capacities will be made public at the beginning of the next working week….in order to vouchsafe the possibility of unity under this exceptionally elitist and sneaky band of leaders.
    The people’s dignity and civic spirit is at stake, as in the past just so today.

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  • lying lky clown prints lies:

    as long as it is not pap, good enough.

    our votes never go to pap.

    our votes always go to anything as long as not pap.

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  • Jman:

    That is true.

    But that is asking for a lot more than what the opp currently is.

    As it stands, the TC issue is already a big flop. And this is a small local scale endeavour. The opp is a long way off any of what the Author is suggesting.

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  • @ China take care of retirees:

    https://m.weibo.cn/status/4463525030064035?
    #武汉肺炎# 新型冠状病毒肆虐武汉,六旬老人求医之路异常艰辛,住院无门!!!跪求帮助!!!

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  • xsedcrfvtgbyh:

    No, the first step for the opposition to succeed is to merge all and left with 2-3 parties only.

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  • Zombies authoritarian state:

    I think SG hopeless , tiada harapan, because the majority will protect papaya and ensure they do not question their leaders and live in the dark of the truth.

    This is why I never will hire any of the 70% even if they want to work for free.

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