An Open Letter to Opposition parties in Singapore

In his email from Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) James Gomez to the media, he made an excellent point that the choice of political system belongs to Singaporeans and not the ruling government. In the same letter, he demanded PAP to release its manifesto saying “We and the people want to scrutinize what programs the PAP is going to introduce to alleviate the suffering of Singaporeans.”

As much as I agree with SDP’s call, I ask the same of SDP and all Opposition parties in Singapore. Show us CONCRETE alternatives to what you claim to be bad policies, viable alternatives which will “alleviate the suffering of Singaporeans.”

We know the PAP is not perfect. We know they have made mistakes. At some point, the Opposition’s unrelentless repetition of this only serves to ANNOY and ALIENATE frustrated Singaporeans who are not contented with the status quo but have no viable, credible option. It is like rubbing salt into the wound. This does exactly what SDP claims the PM did when he said the PAP considered “splitting into two” – “belittling and patronising” Singaporeans’ sense of judgement and capacity to think critically.

Dear Opposition, you are asking Singaporeans to vote for you to do what? So that you can criticise the PAP on our behalf, be the VOICE of Singaporeans in your words?

What makes you think that you can TALK us into believing we have a better future waiting for us if we play along with you? Just because you keep throwing verbal punches at the PAP?

In case you have not noticed, Singaporeans’ cynicism is not even the point. We Singaporeans are a pragmatic lot. Like it or not, the tentacles of PAP are entrenched in the everyday fabric of every Singaporean’s life that we Singaporeans cannot imagine life without PAP in charge.

You can criticise all you want – that’s the easy part. Making others look bad is the easy part. The difficult part is to PROVE you are able to substantiate your words with actions. To win our hearts you have to offer concrete programs and ways to better Singaporeans’ lives. You cannot ask us to vote you in FIRST before you tell us what you can do. That seems to me – a complete political novice – extraordinarily naive.

Yes, we know your job is extremely tough; PAP made sure of it by setting a pretty high benchmark, in spite of all its shortcomings. You cannot erase the good the ruling government has done all these years by insisting they are flawed. We all are.

You need to show you can do better by raising the benchmark, not by dragging it down along with everything else. To borrow the SDP tagline, show us it is really “about the people” and not politicians drumming the right noises to win this game called General Elections of the Republic of Singapore.

Yours Truly
A PR who considers herself a Singaporean at heart

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21 Comments

Filed under Family & Friends, Live. Life., Wellbeing

21 responses to “An Open Letter to Opposition parties in Singapore

  1. anon

    Your are a PR?
    I consider your words VERY PRESUMPTUOUS.
    How long have you been around? Long enough to resume to
    tell us about our country? Then why have you not become a citizen?
    If you still do not qualify, then indeed you are presumptuous and arrogant to utter these words. I make no bones about not being happy with your attitude and an outsider tell us about our things when it is none of your business! Incidentally, from which country do you come from? Do you dare to reveal this? Come clean. Be open about it, so we all know from which country’s standpoint you are speaking from. Tell us too, why are you (are you?) considering to leave your country of origin. What’s bad about it that makes you consider leaving home, family and relatives and come here? Come clean, before we take you seriously what you said in this blog of yours? Otherwise, MYOB!

    We don’t own you an outsider, a foreigner, a guest, in OUR country any explanation. It’s the other way round. Explain yourself to us what give you the right or cheek to make such presumptuous remarks?

  2. auntielucia

    Great left hook! But why r you still sitting on the fence and not yet a citizen? 🙄

  3. Reema

    Not sure if you are aware about this but SDP has published an Alternative Economic Programme and a detailed Shadow Budget. You can look at them and criticize them if you wish, but don’t anyhow say that the Opposition has not provided alternative policies.

  4. Aljunied

    Show us CONCRETE alternatives to what you claim to be bad policies, viable alternatives which will “alleviate the suffering of Singaporeans.”

    Perhaps you should read the relevant manifestos of each political party? I did that before voting in 2006 . I argue that an informed electorate should read and critique those first, instead of sitting back and naively demanding to be spoon-fed with editorialized media soundbites.

  5. Overseas Singapore

    Have you read the Alternative Budget presented by the SDP? The suggestions on WP’s/NSP’s websites? Read their blogs?

    If you depend solely on the local mainstream mouthpieces for your news on opposition programs, its no wonder you’ll not find anything and think they only criticize without offering alternate solutions!

  6. A Singaporean

    You are a Permanent Resident.Any reasons for not taking up Singaporean Citizenship?You are not even eligible to vote.

    Why ask then?You owe us (Singaporeans) an answer for not taking up Citizenship.

    What stakes do you have over here in Singapore?

  7. DopeYas Machine

    Opposition parties tend to reserve their options from being voiced out in the open, at least by text, mostly because the ‘ruling party’ will probably steal the ideas after an election victory and become the people’s heroes; which we all know are not deservedly so.

    They do have -concrete- ideas – SDP and WP do at least. The Political Forum is one of the platforms that they managed to share the very things you mentioned are lacking, all within the strictly short air time they were provided. I don’t know what you have heard or read but clearly it isn’t enough.

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  10. jax

    well, you’v got cheek to make these demands when you can’t even vote.
    you do realise your demands are ridiculous don’t u? how on earth is someone supposed to prove they can govern unless they actually get to do it? and they cant do that unless they get voted in. on the other hand, u have clear proof that the PAP is falling on its face when it comes to governing. if they were not, you and thousands of others wouldn’t be whining the way you are. and if that’s not enough for you to realise change is need, you deserve the shit.

  11. alan

    Dear April, you make some good points. However, let me ask a simple question, you are (so are many S’poreans) unhappy with the status quo, what are you doing about it ? At least the oppositions have the courage to step forward and made theselves counted. The oppositions can’t grow strong overnight without the support of our people. Therefore, I think the least that we should and could do is to give them support. I believe that with the people’s support, more and more credible individuals will join oppositions. That paves the way for building a 2-party system that the ruling party will be forced to take accountability for their actions. Lack of transparency, debate and accountability lead to our current state.

  12. freckles

    Oh… without PAP, you might not have beomce a PR in Singapore so you should be thankful for that.
    Maybe you dont mind that our standard of living is going up – COE , GTS< ERPS, school fees, medical fees and even medical fees.. I think that could be the least of your concern because you can always ditch Singapore and go back to where you come from.

    Why dont you become a citizen? maybe I will regard that you are speaking on equal footing.

    BTW, I think the PAP is much better at making their opponents look bad or by speaking badly about them. This is politics and i see no reason why if PAP can do so and the opposition cant?
    At least opposiion dont use the ISA , send people to prison and make them go bankrupt.

  13. andy

    action speaks louder than words.. but we must first give the opposition the opportunity to do so.

  14. andy

    When they chose to retire in Malaysia as it was getting too expensive to stay in Singapore – have you realise that we, the “real ” dont have this option like your and your parents have?

    You sing the praises of PAP and thrashed the oppositions – because you can choose not to suffer the consequences come one day when the going gets tough.. be it whether you truly “care” for singapore or not, you will care for yourself more.

    if you can write this article , then be prepared for freedom of opinions from fellow singaporeans and PRs. Dont censore the message

  15. patriot

    Hi, I suspect u do not know Singapore political history and S’poreans feelings enough at all.

    And since u are not S’porean, you shldnt pretend to know and ‘k-poo’ in Singapore politics.

  16. patriot

    Btw, SDP already released their manifesto way before you wrote this article.
    Why dont u look at PAP 2006 manifesto and see how much they achieved them, if any at all.
    So dont to be a smart alec and criticize before checking the real facts.

    And yes, pls do read and understand more about Spore political history and climate more, I dont mean from PAP controlled media, before you criticize the oppositions.

  17. chris

    You have NO right to comment until you are a Singaporean ! Why Singaporean must listen to you , an OUTSIDER !

  18. Joseph

    I supposed you are not aware of the political landscape in Singapore? I presume you have not reached an age or else mental capacity to appreciate the differences between opposition and existing ruling party? have you notice the ruling party, PAP, has all the power and resources and yet fumbled time and again and made us (citizens only) suffered. Did you realise you are paying 2% extra GST from 2007 onwards becoz PAP say so w/o any sizeable opposition? if you are citizen and received $500 from growth and share package, it came from the $30,000 ($500/2%) you spent over the last 4-5 years. if you spent >$30K over last 4-5 years, congratulation! the Government has made made money from you that it has given you back. Credits goes to you for voting PAP in last GE.

    “Dear Opposition, you are asking Singaporeans to vote for you to do what?”. In case you missed this simple chart, you find all the parties manifesto here.

    I presume you are less than 30 years old with no concern for housing problem and do not travel much during peak hour. you seem to have no problem with many daily living concerns. Either you are fortunate to not to work and have chauffeur driving you or you are out of touch with reality.

    Have you been around in 2006? do you see the grotesque difference in PUBLIC housing prices and transport traffic volume? the HDB prices have shot up ~70% over 5 years. For 400K house in 2006, that is increase of 56K per year and by the way, how much do you earn annually? Why the increase in rates? all thanks to your support to your Mah Bow Tan, a.k.a PAP candidate!!! And why the increase was unchecked? Because there is no sizeable opposition in the parliament!

    The opposition cannot afford to be too specific at this point because they are not the ruling party nor do they control the cabinet. Getting specific at this point will cause them to be discredible on cross-examination of their power to execute, because they are not empowered by citizens yet. Unless the citizens vote them in strongly, they could not give you specific action plans. They only have as much power as you vote them to be. BUT at least, they will speak up against those who made us poorer and vote against them in parliament.

    You can continue to blabber on whatever you think opposition is not specific in action plan but one thing for sure, without them, cost of livings and uncontrolled foreigner influx by PAP will cost us, including you, dearly.

    • Hi. Thanks for your note. As yours is the latest to suggest that I don’t know what is going on in Singapore, I am using this opportunity to respond to all who shares your views. My original note – if you read it again – was written on the premise that I support the Opposition’s efforts to bring about a more egalitarian and fair country. What i was pointing out in the article was that talk is not enough, especially if you see how deeply entrenched PAP is in every Singaporean’s life. The PAP has dismissed past opposition efforts as unsubstantiated, just political verbal warfare, sensationalizing, making use of people’s emotions. I am saying – in an open plea to the opposition – to not fall in that “trap” again, to rely on people’s discontent on an emotional level (see what happened in GE2006 when WP’s well attended rallies did not translate into votes.) I was not criticising the Opposition from a lack of action. With the benefit of hindsight, you would see that the many manifestoes and plans the Opposition parties rolled out during GE2011 gave people a basis to compare, even if not all ideas are workable. This is important as it gives Opposition credibility, or more accurately, the impression that they are credible. This is important because it gave Singaporeans a chance to cast an informed vote, rather than to choose the default safe vote even when they are disillusioned and dissatisfied. It was not my intention to discredit Singaporeans’ unhappiness with my article. I do take responsibility that some of you thought that was what I was doing. For that I apologise unreservedly.

  19. kk

    someone speaking from a logical mind, and I appreciate all the thoughts and highly relevant points raised here.

  20. John

    Different government policies fit into different people. Should cast a vote base on whether has the existing policies benefitted yourself. If yes, why not maintain the current situation? If no, evaluate can the opposition do a better job with the limited amount of resources?

    I feel the vote should not be casted base on how I see others coping with their lives, since every family has their own problems. It’s hard to judge from the surface. Majority of votes were given to PAP yesterday, means many still find their current lives manageable.

    PAP won slightly this round. I believe whatever they going to do in the next 5 years are closely observed by everybody.

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