Politics of fear leading to fear of politics

Recently a WhatsApp message had been making its rounds in the social media. Not to be concerned with who wrote it or what its contents are, a thought on why would suffice for now. Essentially it praises the PAP of having gotten its policies PERFECTLY RIGHT and in order, right from the 10th of August 1965, leaving no room for any policy missteps.

Such claims are not at all new and most Singaporeans are quite used to them. However, the question that may be bothering some, ‘Why such an unusually lengthy rhetoric, unabashedly bold and brazen to such an unprecedented extent, at a time like this?’. In all likelihood, it appears intended to soften the ground for an imminent general election, one largely based on FEAR.

Time immemorial, human beings had freedom to begin with. But they also had with them fear, which at times they sought to address by forgoing freedom. Fear of what? Fear of nature and its elements. Fear of their fellow human beings. And the fear of other creatures, big and small, perhaps as small as the virus too. And even the fear of the unknown when there was simply nothing that came to their minds to channel their fears onto.

In came the governments, proclaiming, ‘Fear not, we are here’. Were those words, seemingly the most assuring and endearing, the human race had taken to cherish thereafter? History, quite often, suggests otherwise.

First, what exactly is a government? A government consists of people, people who are motivated by all and any creature comforts just like any ordinary people. None, the special. They are deemed, or at least very capable of portraying themselves as, people who are superior in intellect and integrity beyond that of the ordinary men. Such a superiority of intellect would have informed them that the prime reason for their presence as a government was fear. That often supersedes their essential role as the provider of public goods, often forgotten. A re-orientation then is much needed.

In Singapore, it was often reminisced with pride that our heritage of the country originated around 700 years ago when Sang Nila Utama set foot on this island and sighted a lion. To this day the lion had been immortalised in all things Singapore. However, little did anyone realise that the qualities of the lion implied here is as mythical as the sighting of a lion in Singapore. In our local context, fear had largely persisted and had entrenched the political incumbent for more than 60 years. Fear is often heightened strategically at the most critical times, as many would recall, during the elections. Let us start from the elections conducted after 1965.

In 1968, the year in which the British military left Singapore, the then prime minister touched on the survivability of the country, both in defence and the economy. While all these challenges could indeed have had galvanised the people to overcome the odds, the fact that fear was the underlying theme in the messages of the government during GE 1968, was evident. Its irrefutable presence was evidenced in many writings and anecdotes. Clearly fear won the day, the polling day of the election in 1968. It was a clean sweep for the PAP.

Beyond 1968, the PAP made clean sweeps in three general elections that followed up to 1980 too. Alternative politics made a comeback in a 1981 by-election. The 1980s saw the further consolidation of the alternatives and could have perhaps reversed the fear of being deposed into the minds of the PAP. That probably saw the introduction of the GRCs to secure power. The 1990s saw the PAP resorting to the use of the fear of losing the economic well being, through the loss of property values and the loss of priority in their HDB upgrading. That secured their election outcomes. Though the elections were largely won, they were by means teeth and nail, especially in 1997. Then the tide seemed to have turned with the PAP fearing the increasing competence of the alternative politicians, and yet people were forced to ponder the future with fear.

Perhaps the clearest demonstration of fear being the obvious route to an election win came in the first general election of the century, GE 2001. On 11 September, there was a terrorist attack in the US. Worldwide fear and frayed nerves followed. Naturally, the cool cats saw the opportunity, and suavely stepped in with their soothing, ‘Fear not, fret not, for we are here’. To be sure, in that recession year an off-budget package totalling S$11.2 billion was announced. A mainstream press personality even predicted with utmost panache, the polling to be on 2 November. Needless to say, fear had overwhelmed the lions in just 52 days from that incident.

General elections 2006, 2011 and 2015 saw the further consolidation of the alternative parties. The standards of the alternative candidates who stood up to answer the call were in many ways already head and shoulders above those of the PAP. In 2006, the fear message was clearly articulated as having too many alternative politicians in the house would overwhelm the incumbent prime minister. In 2011, the fear message was further intensified with a plea not to have them as there would be many NCMPs and NMPs. In 2015, even with a wild card thrown in, the alternatives were expected to gain more grounds. In the final moments of the campaign period, a spanner was flung into the works, in the form a fear of the PAP being totally eclipsed by the alternative parties if allowed in large numbers. Fear, won again.

Would that, which had started in 1968, classically repeated in 2001, opportunistically replayed in 2015, be encored in 2020 too? Most importantly, would GE 2020 be an occasion when we could finally and collectively unshackle ourselves from fear, or would it be an occasion we would again witness the coronation of that very fear to reign supreme over us?


Sivakumaran Chellappa





18 Responses to “Politics of fear leading to fear of politics”

  • Trublu:

    Here politics is spelt poLEEtic$?

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  • oxygen:

    IF OUR ECONOMY HAS NOT YET FAILED AND RESILIENT as claimed by PAPpypolitics/PAPpynomics, how come this statements in Parly?

    B3. Last month, I committed $6.4 billion in the Unity Budget towards the Stabilisation and Support Package, the Care and Support Package, and to support our frontline agencies.

    B4. Today, I will introduce measures worth over $48 billion in this Resilience Budget, to deal decisively with the situation at hand. This is over seven times of the first tranche.

    B5. Altogether, we are dedicating close to $55 billion to support our people in this battle, amounting to 11% of our GDP



    - is the first one a bluff showbiz of a fakey

    - PAPpypolitics/PAPpynomics is proven incompetence of underestimating the risks and impact of coronas

    - is the 2nd tranche a vote-buying spree with an eye to election BEFORE THE ECONOMY CRASH IN DISINTEGRATION.

    ANYWAY, THE MATHS AND THE ACCOUNTING NUMBER DON’T ADD UP. Read this proclamation in Parly speech.

    B6. The Government has sought and obtained the President’s in-principle support to draw up to $17 billion from our Past Reserves to fund part of the Resilience Budget.

    SPENDING $48 BILLION in supplementary March budget BUT DIGGING ONLY $17 BILLION from past reserve, WHERE DID OR IS THE OTHER $31 BILLION GOING TO COME FROM?

    So is the first February budget is BIG BLUFF OR the 2nd supplementary March budget a bigger bluff of surplus/deficit estimation?


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  • N.Jungne:

    Now 2 SPF Officers tested positive. Don’t U think this time they should revealed, the location.

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  • Educating Singaporeans:

    Let me educate you, Singaporeans.

    Taiwanese (呆湾人)thought by voting in the Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and they will get more democratic than KMT.

    Alas, they were wrong.
    After DPP won the election, they get corrupted.

    DPP members fight for high paid position after election victory

    DPP appointed own people (Ka Kee nan) into top position.(用人唯亲)

    DPP stopped their own DPP ex President from entering election

    So, Singaporeans do you want to vote in Opposition who will corrupt just like DPP aka WP ?

    What can opposition do for you except corruption ?

    BTW, all those that like to chant freedom and human rights people are majority gay people. (you saw it at the beginning of video)

    So Singaporeans, beware of those who chant freedom, human right. They could be waiting to poke your backside later.

    Vote PAP, Vote for 9% GST to give PAP 9 months bonus.
    PAP Huat, Huat, Huat arh

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  • Clap, clap:

    Yes, call yourself “alternative parties”.

    Get rid of the degrading and loser term, “opposition parties.” Before elections, you call yourself “opposition”, how to win? That’s SPH’s propaganda.

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  • Educating Singaporeans:

    Let me educate you, Singaporeans.

    Many Taiwan people are seeking Singapore citizenship.
    These group of Taiwan people are smart people.

    If you know them well they would tell you that Taiwan is in a mess due to constant change of government resulting in policies inconsistency.

    Vote PAP, Vote for 9% GST to give PAP 9 months bonus.
    PAP Huat, Huat, Huat arh

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  • Great mind:

    Great mind think alike. Great parasitic mind also think alike. 你心中有我,我心中有你。

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  • Educating Singaporeans:

    Let me educate you, Singaporeans.

    Do not buy China made face mask, test Kit whatever.
    China citizens are greedy people with no morals.
    China is the source of world mess. 中国是世界乱像的源头。
    China produce toxic product and dump it onto the world in the name of helping you.

    Spain is one such victim. DO NOT ACCEPT CHINA HELP…. IT IS TOXIC!!!

    Spanish capital ditches ‘unreliable’ Chinese coronavirus test kits

    The Spanish should have come to PAP SG for help instead.

    Singaporeans, be proud of PAP SG.
    We are First World under millions dollars salaried Ministers, MPs and civil servants.
    收太少錢 不願為港人賣命 (Salary too little, Not Worth Scarificing for HK)

    Vote PAP, Vote for 9% GST to give PAP 9 months bonus.
    PAP Huat, Huat, Huat arh

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  • Tremendous:

    My vote orientation has nothing to do with fear, but everything to do with delivery. Deliver us from rock bottom fertility rates, with accountability of sovereign fund losses and solutions to housing rapid depreciations, and I have no issues voting for members of a certain party. Every chief claims to be doing his or her job yet our problems are so big. At the rate that we are going, we will not survive as a nation six years on even if covid 19 can be stopped in its tracks.

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  • Fear & Loathing:

    After LKY’s grand purge of the vanguard founding fathers during the 80′s, he transformed his 2G,3G parliamentarians into a mutant creature – the Parliamentarian CEO with partly “covert salaries”.
    The state of the Republic has since that time spiralled down into his business Corporation, much diminished in officialdom checks and balances – which has culminated in LHL’s recent handpicked so-called “elected president”.
    Democratic values are something to be loathed by these first-world republican mutants, not something to be engaged with in the service of the people they claim to represent.
    And Leroy Brown wants your CPF …. in the name of Sinchiapor hehehe.

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  • C’est la vie:

    Having consciously embraced, … been silenced, shackled and subservient for umpteen decades.

    Fear will win the day in SG, … every-bloody-f**king-day in fact !!!

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  • Mak Kia Bah Lee:

    ‘Lee Kuan Yew told me to take lessons from Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’: Goh Chok Tong’…..fr Goh’s book The Tall Order
    ‘Lee urged the younger man to subscribe to the tenets of the 16th century text by Niccolo Machiavelli: namely, that it is always better for those who govern to be feared’
    GE 2015 was called on SEPTEMBER 11…the day the planes flew into buildings in NY.
    Sep 11 2015 was a Friday….not the usual weekend for election.
    Perhaps GE 2020 will be held on Sep 11 2020; when we reach Wuhan infected cases of at least 2020.
    Fear is the currency of Pap since 1959 to buy votes; Lee totally absorbed the Principles of The Prince.The Princling and the Empress Dowager did likewise.

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  • Bad Boy:

    菲律賓華商施文界染新冠肺炎病逝 僑界震驚

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Fear is an emotion and it is natural. With intelligence and education we overcome this fear and motivates us to discover the truth.

    In the past, people worshiped the moon, we fear bad thing happened if we offended the moon. But now we have people landed on the moon. Very soon, people will be going to Mars too.

    7 out of 10 adult working Singaporeans are graduates from Universities all over the world. Yes, they are educated but are they intelligent enough to discover the truth to defeat fear?

    We are about to know soon in the coming GE! Are we still afraid of the Moon?

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  • APRelect:

    All points moot, conclusion already forgone, work pass holders long pass holders permanent residents foreign talented all new citizens power a ahead to clinch 80% mandate.

    Except that born and bred native indigenous TrueBlue Singaporean local citizens are prevented by covid viral fears from casting their votes thus denying full orchestrated mandate.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Ultimately it is the people who will decide whether they will continue as slaves. There is a GREAT DEPRESSION ALMOST HERE from the collapse of the US economy.

    $G locals will SUFFER A LOT MORE because of the oil trade and the retarded investment by GIC & TH. There MUST be MORE mass immigration to ‘grow’ the economy from SOUTH ASIA as Chinese moving back home for a better life.

    People in $G think the pappies will save them. They cannot. They can only make more slaves and you will be in a long queue for jobs, welfare (if it exists) or healthcare (if it available).

    This GE is the MOST IMPORTANT for Communist Island since 1965. Tell your friends and families. There is a GREAT DEPRESSION almost here and we are led by clowns and gangsters.

    Unless $G is led by decent people with COMMON SENSE and not TOILET PAPER QUALIFICATIONS, e will not survive. The citizens here may experience what life is like in Greece or Venezuela when their economies crashed.

    We have only one more chance – we had two previous chances since 2011 and the people stupidly caved in. One more loss is strike three and then we are out for good.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    To Elaborate on “FEAR” that goes two ways…

    ONE… the Evil Fear that they IMPLANT on silly sheeple

    TWO…the COWARDLY Fear of losing an Election i.e. a President who WON by a WHISKER owing to an Idiot name KL Tan…have, not the BALLs of Iron like the Oppositions namely Dr Chee & Dr Tan…pleading for an escape route by having the govt announced the Next PE is reserved for Malays a Fake also can leh!!!

    Both Fears are just plain POLITICAL & FEEBLE MINDED thinking…

    “THINK”… use COMMONSENSE and Eureka a “LightBULB” will brighten your Path from the Evil Past of Darkness…

    Where “Light SHINES” Darkness fades away!!!

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  • Leengam Hochinnaswamy:

    these old wrinkled half dead corpses also wiping tables and cleaning toilets. They are the victims of this old fart Lee sponsored ideology of no education – clean toilet. Got education – become minister. O level only – Ok settle for $1200 job. Degree _ ok u take $2500… above that? ok u take millions.

    ALl agreed yes sir. Now decades later still follow that old ideology and their children even though have degree are even worst – unemployed . Typical PAP voters. Smelly, stupid, scaredy cat. Quite justified call them idiots

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