Democracy will fail if we do not think as a citizen

Excellent article by Martin Wolf of Financial Times on the key basic qualities needed in a successful and stable modern developed-economy democracy.

How many of these qualities do we have in our society and polity in Singapore and if not, why not ?

Vote wisely for the parties that will best bring about this kind of future for our children and grandchildren.

And do not be disheartened by just this weeks election freak, Covid election results, ill-timed to benefit the incumbent rather than the nation, whatever it might be.

Our journey to such a successful society is a long term one. The truth of the people’s will will emerge clearly in the next two elections, when the true quality of which political leaders can bring us there and really make the far reaching changes needed to meet these key basic social needs will be plain to see.

“ In a democracy, people are not just consumers, workers, business owners, savers or investors. We are citizens. This is the tie that binds people together in a shared endeavour.

In today’s world, citizenship needs to have three aspects: loyalty to democratic political and legal institutions and the values of open debate and mutual tolerance that underpin them; concern for the ability of all fellow citizens to lead a fulfilled life; and the wish to create an economy that allows the citizens and their institutions to flourish.

… Every citizen should have the reasonable possibility of acquiring an education that would allow them to participate as fully as possible in the life of a high-skilled modern economy. Every citizen should also have the security needed to thrive, even if afflicted by the ill luck of illness, disability or other misfortunes.

Every citizen should have the protection at work needed to be free from abuse, both physical and mental. Every citizen should also be able to co-operate with other workers in order to protect their collective rights.

Successful citizens should expect to pay taxes sufficient to sustain such a society. Corporations should understand that they have obligations to the societies that make their existence possible.

The institutions of politics must be susceptible to the influence of all citizens, not just that of the wealthiest. Policy should aim at creating and sustaining a vigorous middle class while ensuring a safety net for everybody. All citizens, whatever their race, ethnicity, religion or gender are entitled to equal treatment.

Citizens are entitled to decide who is allowed to come and work in their countries and who is entitled to share the obligations and rights of citizens with them.”


Yeoh Lam Keong


 * The author is a former GIC chief economist and adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.




14 Responses to “Democracy will fail if we do not think as a citizen”

  • Nothing is perfect:

    Democracy always creates rivalry!

    USA: Republicans vs Democrats

    Taiwan: DPP vs KMT……

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  • SG Opposition WIPE OUT:


    Following the precursor of NCMP scheme without Opposition elected MP, there could be a Constitution change or new law in the same fashion as EP that makes it almost impossible for Opposition to contest.

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    They created this rat race society so that people are too busy running on a threadmill with no time to think but just follow orders.

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  • To whom it may concern:

    Errr, I’d be the biggest hypocrite if I said I really worked very hard to make this nation because the founding fathers’ achievements were given to me on a silver platter. I can’t take much credit actually, but I just love crunching numbers and it impresses them to no end. Others could conceivably do much better but I’ll sooner fix them into oblivion heeheehee.

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    Straits Times: Singapore GE2020: Tharman sets out plans for a more united Singapore

    Tharman is counting “chickens before they hatch”. PAP hubris. Tharman proves (again) that PAP is arrogant. That is why it (and LKY) never acknowledge their mistakes (and they made plenty).

    PAP’s arrogance is also the reason it will NEVER CHANGE. Because any “change” will be to admit they made a mistake.

    Also note that today is the last day of campaigning. PAP never admitted it made mistakes over the last 5 years even though it is obvious to all it made plenty of big ones.

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  • Loyal Citizen:

    By disagreeing with the PAP policy is disloyal to the country!!
    Don`t be fool by PAP. The one who are disloyal to the country are those who allow and give PMET jobs to the foreigner and giving Education Scholarship to foreigner. Every Year over S$200 Million budgeted for the scholarship to foreigner.

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  • NoChange:

    Firstly democracy is a farce because the general public has been conditioned to think alike(same goals and objectives), even for opposition leaders. Secondly, this article is basically to instill group think by establishing common objectives which leads back to my first point.

    The deception of democratic process leads people to think they can make a difference or change(from what? From rich to poor? Equality, which is not possible through democracy either) when they just want improvement of the same(no change – fundamental pursuits no change by general populace)

    Hence, expect the PAP govt to change since day one when they came into power because the vision has always centred on the economy. If it is about the economy at the end of the day, the political process has to be dirty, unjust and unrighteous – no way around this. Anyone or any party/entity who enters into the fray has to be dirty,unjust and unrighteous because they all serve the economy which is what the people want – more money translates to the good life hence jobs jobs jobs, not just jobs but extremely good paying jobs and opportunity to make money (surely tremeritus needs money to run this site and to live well? you too manipulate the process, dont you?)

    No. No want really care for the losers or the as hypocritical lower classes struggling to survive which all politicians, especially during the hustling period which happens once every 5 years, including community/civil leaders would have us believe because there is no soul in the economy, it is purely business and doing your maths – which LHL/PAP is good at. What eventually happens or take precence in democratic process leads to the business of wealth creation as a society and ultimately the reelection PAP into power again because all in the same boat and don’t want to rock it. What these parties/people do is grumple and lying to themselves(the religious are very good at it). So what change? You don’t go to the poll for change. Hello, you need a revolution to change and even then, to what? Singaporeans all live in fear of the law(unrighteous/ hypocritical), including oppositions, so revolution is out. If that’s the case, everyone hustling during this period is deluded and telling sophisticated lies some don’t even aware.
    No, none of you care. SORRY for the people, for yourself, perhaps.

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  • Reality of Dafts:

    The fact that so many are worried singaporeans do not want democracy and don’t understand it proves there is something wrong with the minds of citizens who are told democracy is bad and never told why singaporeans must ensure Singapore is a democracy.

    Why the education system does not teach the right form of democracy?
    Why the reluctance or insincere democracy?

    Why no one realise this Social Engineering?

    If Singapore keeps saying what is bad about democracy, why no education on what citizens should do to preserve a good democracy ?

    I predict that Singapore can become a dictatorship eventually.

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  • Vote wisely:

    Vote wisely..A very tough and dangerous world ahead.
    Many factors will be beyond Singapore control.
    Singapore need a strong team to lead it…turbulent time ahead.
    We will bear the consequence for the next 5 years for our choice.
    No one to blame.

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  • TUMASIK Patriot:

    This a StateINC and Not a Country…the People are Digits NOT Citizens…

    We lost our Status as a Nation “The Republic of Singapore” 20+++ years ago when Elitism and Fake AristoCrap Creep in to replace Ordinary Citizenship…

    We were Told to go into a Rainbow an ILLUSION instead of going into Life with eyes Wide Open…

    There Mr Yeoh, Lies the Lie we have LIVE with, an “EVIL the reverse of LIVE” that perpetuate our life DAILY!!!

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  • Welcome to NKorea Pap93-0:

    –GE2020: Don’t rock the boat, says ESM Goh Chok Tong..July 08, 2020 asiaone.
    –’I come back very impressed’: Vivian Balakrishnan on trip to North Korea
    ..09 Jun 2018 CNA.
    —Pap93-0 ia a real possibility.
    —Fear of Covid will gives the piggies many votes.
    —That is the way piggies want sinkies to live their lives.
    —Jul 10 may be your last chance to break the chains of fear.
    —2 generations have live in fear
    —Many policies introduced are NKorean like.
    —Wrong choice will make us into another North Korea.
    —-Your children will not even know how to blame you; because they will be praying to the god-like Dear/Graet Leaders.

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  • trublu:

    Pathetic educated DAFTS who are not so daft when then own interests are affected?
    Immediatly,they cowpeh cowboo !
    Young educated sgs are simply too self-centred.

    They know many sgs are suffering becos of bad policies but they will not speak out unless their own arses got burnt!

    Such are the EDUCATED YOUNG SGS we now have unlike those in HK OR even MALAYSIA?

    Just anyhow vote,Go Ahead.
    And,if you lose your jobs to FTs,screw your ownselves.

    I can understand the OLD FOGGIES who struggle to change becos old habits are hard to change for older ones.
    But this old sg uncle with arthritic fingers can try to type n i dont see why youngsters cannot think,reflect n CHANGE?

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  • CCS is an IDIOT:

    Straits Times: Singapore GE2020: Inconsistent manpower policies and renegotiating FTAs will erode confidence in S’pore, says Chan Chun Sing

    It is more important for to have the RIGHT manpower policies for Singaporeans (not PAP) than to be “consistent”.

    Singapore’s current manpower policies are pro-alien. That is why THOUSANDS of Singaporean PMETs have lost their job to “cheap” (no CPF) foreign workers.

    The massive influx of the “cheap” foreign workers have also depressed local wages and took job security away from Singaporeans.


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  • Ideal Democracy Education:

    First, let me say upfront that I am not saying Singapore is now a Dictatorship.
    I also am not saying the PAP is dictatorship.

    I am saying there is a RISK SG has can become a country that abolished elections or elected MP or democracy.

    The NCMP scheme if adopted and the people buy the idea , one day, maybe this GE, the parliament may not have any Elected Alternative party MP. Only NCMP and NMP with 100% PAP MPs intact.

    SG keeps adding new always that stiffle freedom or free speech. It can only get worse.

    SG is internationally perceived to be very reluctant to allow democracy.

    We need a NGO to present a more ideal Democracy suitable for Singapore.
    This ideal democracy model should be taught to students so that they grow up having the right mindset . This mitigates the fear that Democracy will destroy Singapore. The media keeps portraying the ills of democracy or rather the issues in some democracies.

    SG can have its own superior democracy.

    I perceive there is no sincerity to promote democracy to teach people how a ideal democracy should be implemented.

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