The establishment’s normalisation of populist nationalism is worrying

What Cherian George says here is true – about how “the establishment’s normalisation of populist nationalism” is worrying.

In recent days, I’ve had either PAP IBs (akin to China’s wumaos) and PAP supporters come to my Facebook to say that because I’m no longer living in Singapore, I don’t have a right to comment on Singapore and the PAP’s management of the coronavirus.

I have deleted these comments and blocked these profiles. I am disinterested to engage with people who make personal attacks. I have better things to do, like sit by a river and enjoy the scenery, because in Taiwan, where critical voices are heard, the government has been responsive, and so Taiwan has not yet a need to undergo a lockdown, and I am still able to head out.

It’s actually very tempting for me to drop it all and live happily in Taiwan, while ignoring Singapore and watching how the government failed in managing the coronavirus. The only reason I’m still engaged is because there’s a part of me that still cares, and honestly, it’s falling away because my voice is very little valued and I am seen as a troublemaker. Also, it’s fun doing an analysis of the responses of the governments in Taiwan and Singapore – both countries which I am more familiar with.

Even in Taiwan, I have been analyzing the government’s policies. Does Taiwan’s government find critical voices irritating? Of course they do. Do they want to engage them? They try not to, but they know at some point, they have to, especially when the voices are loud enough and the problem at hand is so important that they have to act on it. Also, many of these critical voices are the people who actually know the ground. When enough people speak up, especially from people closer to the issue, it helps us recognize a problem, and then come out with solutions from all sides to deal with it.

This is especially important during COVID-19, when you need to make decisions even faster, and you therefore need to listen to more voices, from the media and public who question, and from academics who have been providing weekly analysis and updates.

So, when the PAP government want people to stand behind them quietly, and support them even as they make mistakes, sure, those who choose to follow can do so. But those of us who believe the PAP’s response has been slow will speak up, because we are concerned. We are not concerned about whether PAP will still be in power or whether Singapore’s reputation as defined by the PAP will be good. For me, I am just concerned the response is informed by science so that it can be effective. And for many, they are concerned that the vulnerable like the low-income and migrant workers, will be protected, be able to stay healthy and in this way, help to cut off transmission and reduce numbers in Singapore.

When Singapore eventually does well because critical voices speak up and allow the responses to be improved, this is what will allow Singapore’s COVID-19 response to be more effective, and would have allowed Singapore to look good – as it initially did. It is not by pretending that allows Singapore to look good.

The important thing to do therefore, is not to stand behind the PAP and cheerlead them even if there are gaps in their responses, because if they want to hide the problems, and we think that by helping them to hide the problems, then Singapore will look good… – but no, it doesn’t work that way.

The way to do it is to be open, transparent, point it out to the government, so that because of the efforts of citizens, Singapore develops a good response which will then allow it to stand out.

I’ve known of people on the fence/pro-PAP who were dismayed over the last few weeks with the PAP’s delayed response, but who eventually went back to telling themselves the PAP is doing an OK job, and who try to tell themselves, maybe PAP has its difficulties, maybe we should stop criticizing, maybe it’s difficult. They then even start explaining for the PAP, explaining away the problems. It was this complicit acceptance of their delayed response that resulted in a botched response in the first place. Pretending the problems don’t exist is only kicking the problems down the road, which will eventually explode in our faces, as the problems in the dormitories have.

I find this very disappointing. By trying to deceive yourself into thinking it’s OK, instead of look directly at the problem honestly, you are allowing problems to continue to fester. By thinking it’s OK that the PAP government messed up, because we’ve been held under that propaganda that if the PAP isn’t doing good enough, it means Singapore isn’t doing good enough, it means we or you as a person isn’t doing good enough – but it is exactly this mindset, this unwillingness to be honest about the situation with ourselves, and with the PAP that is crippling Singapore’s response. And it won’t stop at COVID-19.

We have conflated the notions of our identity with the identity of PAP and that of Singapore. They are very distinct things, at least they should be.

What I’m saying here is, as long as we keep trying to defend the PAP because we are not willing to face up to the situation, we are not willing to be honest with ourselves, then we will keep being mired in a situation of our own making. If COVID-19 is not yet bad enough for us to realize this, then something else worse will happen one day to help us realize – if it is not too late by then.

In any case, I’m in Taiwan, trying to make my life here. All I can do is write on my Facebook or news articles now and then, giving what I think is my analysis, because it is interesting studying society and how people are responding. People don’t have to take it and I’m also becoming less invested in the whole process. At the end of the day, people need to make the conscious decision to break away from the complicity of prolonging the problem, and decide at some point how brave they are willing to be to themselves, so that they can be brave enough to face up to the situation at hand.

Please read Cherian George’s article here:


Roy Ngerng




13 Responses to “The establishment’s normalisation of populist nationalism is worrying”

  • oxygen:

    PEOPLE LIVING OUTSIDE the cookie jar (food is rationed by vested corrupt political interests) ANYWHERE are able to supply full and frank views FAR MORE OBJECTIVE than those living inside the “pressured” (to conform to political correctness & WARPED REALITIES indoctrination) environment.

    Why is incumbency and their stooges afraid of transparency and accountability demand?


    Even todlers stealing sweet in their mouth learnt very quickly to hide that from mom.

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  • oxygen:

    POPULIST NATIONALISM is taking suicide pill – the Covid-19 pandemic spread globally prove that – because the flawed policy assumption and its handling just got swept under the POLITICAL CONVENIENT carpet.


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  • Orr:

    I am afraid 80% of Singaporeans will not understand what Cherian George is talking about, although he makes good sense. Gotta to bring it down a notch!

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  • Taiwan DPP Govt. tell lies:

    Dear Singaporeans,
    Do not trust Roy who knows little about Taiwan politics except poke backside.

    The truth is that it is not Taiwan DPP government that did well in managing the Covid 19 situation. It is stupid Commie China who help them.

    How you ask ?

    Well, backside poking DPP President Tsai had been antagonizing Commie China with independence talk since last year July.

    And, this anger China who retaliate by stopping loud month, uncivilized, unclean, virus infected mainlander tourists from visiting Taiwan. So, in a way, stupid Commie China help stop the virus spread to Taiwan.

    Facts: 大難復出的黃義霖醫師以真憑實據!重磅出擊!

    Quickly download this video before Taiwan DPP Govt. block it.

    DPP had blocked many truth telling video on their bad performance.
    DPP is using democracy as a front to silence all critics at the back.

    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • Taiwan DPP Govt. tell lies:

    Dear Roy,
    Honestly, there is no need for you to tell us PAP what to do.

    We PAP have all the talented, quality people at the top.

    And I quote on 23 January 2008 what our founding father LKY said.
    And we are meritocratic; we pay top money for top talent, both local and foreign. In other words we have quality people right on top,” said Mr Lee.

    You can screen capture it all you want.

    Josephine Teo is talented and is in touch with the ground where people live in one room flats.

    That why Josephine Teo know you can have sex even in small space like one room flat.

    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • Taiwan DPP Govt. Cover Up Fire:

    Dear All,
    Recently a fire broke out at a KTV PartyWorld and kill 5 people in Taiwan.

    Normally, DPP were quick to attack people who were not affiliated with them.

    Now, DPP is SILENCE and DARE NOTE attack the owner of KTV PartyWorld as:
    1. the owner operate a media company that everyday sing praise of DPP President Tsai. Praise and Praise everyday.
    2. the owner donate lots of money to DPP election campaign

    Do not trust and believe a single word of Roy.

    Unless you are keen in poke backside, then you can suck up to Roy.
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • PAP is NOT Singapore:

    It appears that when there is crisis PAP resorts to “spin” instead of accepting responsibility and admitting to its mistakes. For example, PAP “wraps itself with the flag” as shown by allowing the flag to be flown much earlier and longer. It calls the financial package to help Singaporeans with the pandemic “Solidarity Budget”.

    The truth is the highly-paid PAP politicians in Cabinet failed miserably. First, there was a shortage of masks so the advice was not to wear one unless sick. (Now it is required.) Second, the public health risk posed by the foreign workers dorms was obvious at the outset but PAP did not PROMPTLY take adequate PREVENTIVE measures. It waited for the virus to hit several of the dorms before it took drastic actions. Now almost all of the 43 dorms have virus clusters. The government has to SPEND MILLIONS DAILY to tackle he pandemic among foreign workers and the end of the tunnel is not even in sight. For sure, the foreign workers cannot continue to live in cramped dorms after the pandemic. Also sure local employers will ask the government for financial assistance (using taxpayers’ money) to improve the housing of foreign workers.

    Many Singaporeans seeing the PAP fumbling its way through the pandemic went “panic buying”. (This shows the lack of trust for PAP.) And what how a Singapore minister respond? With insults calling Singaporeans “idiots”.

    Singaporeans should think carefully and vote wisely at the coming GE. They must always remember SINGAPORE IS NOT PAP and PAP IS NOT SINGAPORE. There is NO DOWNSIDE to having a strong opposition in Parliament. Better still, vote for REGIME CHANGE to make PAP an opposition party.

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  • Rod:

    By discussing foreign workers’ dormitory issues in Parliament is to dilute the issue which was brought about by the ruling party’s greed for cheap labourers to maximise its coffers.

    This discussion was to leverage the problem as if it originates from the people of Singapore.

    In the first place, the people were never consulted whether the construction workers should be allowed to live in such squalid and inhumane conditions.

    Why then discuss this in Parliament as a Covid sideshow for Singaporeans when the issue falls squarely on the Ministry of Manpower and the ruling party.

    Inorder to make it cheap, the ruling party has brought some 300,000 migrant workers mostly from India and Bangladesh to carry out construction work.

    To intensify the returns for the Housing Board, these workers are mostly housed in unsanitary accommodation purpose-built in crammed living spaces to maximise returns.

    This is nothing to do with Singaporeans as a people but has something to do with the ruling party which looks set to have it’s ROD shortly.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Roy, be “Strong & Stoic”…
    you are young and can still contribute towards the land of your Birth…there are many like you who left under duress , pressured, persecuted and hounded by a Bastard…many died in foreign land dreaming and HOPING to return…

    …some will stand across the Causeway and see their “HOME”…

    “So Near and Yet so Far Away”…

    …some will RETURN in an Urn and I believe an ex-President Last Wish is yet to be Fulfilled though the Bastard is Now Dead…

    To all these Patriots-Nationalists-and Quits under Duress… from a system of Bastards with “NO Spiritual Father” and if they do “HYPOCRITES is the way to describe them…Accepting the Murder of Unborn is the way to Elitism & AristoCRAPcy…

    I dedicate these TWO songs:

    “Sailing” By Rod Stewart & “Home” By our very own Dick Lee

    The Lyrics and meaning is so soulful I can imagine how One Feels when listening to these two SONGS

    I am no IT savvy and if someone can upload the two songs alongside my comment you will Understand how Roy and the Patriots/Nationalists FEEL in their “HEARTS”

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  • Realistically:

    “I’ve known of people on the fence/pro-PAP who were dismayed over the last few weeks with the PAP’s delayed response, …”

    If you are referring to the “delayed” lockdown, then you do NOT quite understand the epic FAILURE of the emperor without clothes.

    To me it is criminal neglect that there was not more common-nonsensical response to the threat of the COVID-19 spread.

    I have given my justification for calling him the emperor without clothes NOT because of the “delayed” response.

    People should understand why one GE after another, the PAPies continue to occupy the Istana office…………..BECAUSE the so-called oppos have very little understanding of the ROOT CAUSE of SINKaPOOR’s problems, limitations – and not because we don’t hv mineral and other natural resources – and deficiencies.

    Of course everyone is entitled to his/her own views………………BUT the consequence affects the majority of sinkies. PATHETIC

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  • Trust comes with truth:

    “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.”

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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  • opposition dude:

    Roy, whatever you write will only reach out to a small number because the majority aren’t too concerned with politics or how Taiwan does things differently in Singapore. The majority have to look after their currently home based children, elderly parents or just relax by watching Netflix after work. Not too many will be bothered to go in depth into political matters because it just doesn’t interest them.

    There will always be people telling you off and not to interfere, it’s the real world we all live in after all. Just shrug them off and continue writing whatever you want to write. Don’t let them get to you.

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  • trublu:

    be it internet brigadier$ or grasLLOter$ or NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTS COMMITTEE members,all are a LIABILITY TO THE GOVT in reality.




    So,if you want GOLD 905 ‘MUSIC’,you py the price ultimately by getting all sorts of false n insincere feedback about sgs from ib,grasslooters n residents committees.

    go to sites like TRE n read sincerely n the ministers will BENEFIT FROM FORESIGHT!

    GD Star Rating

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