Monday, January 16, 2012

I Disagree With Catherine Lim

One of Singapore's best-known authors Catherine Lim, who is a frequent critic of the government, sparked controversy over the weekend when she said that she do not believe the ruling party People's Action Party (PAP) is capable of reinventing itself.

Speaking at socio-political blog The Online Citizen's (TOC) Awards Night, Ms. Lim was responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech at a PAP convention in November where he said that the PAP will reinvent itself to "build a new PAP for a new era". On the Singapore blogshere, most people seem to agree with Ms. Lim’s assessment.

I don’t.

In last year’s General Elections (GE), the PAP only got around 60% of the total votes and in the Presidential Election in August, Tony Tan (the PAP preferred candidate) won by only 2% of the votes. Everyone including the PAP knows that the PAP can’t do business as usual or their results will be even worse in the next GE.

I think the PAP will try to reinvent itself for one simple reason; it needs to! If it doesn’t, then they are fools and even the anti-PAP blogger in Singapore will admit that the PAP may be a lot of things but they are not stupid.

Of course the PAP may fail to reform but even if that’s the case, it won’t be due to lack of effort. Especially not when the directive comes from the PM himself! The reform will take time and it won’t be easy. However since the next GE is about 6 years away, there is more than enough time for the PM to put his mark on the party.

Time is on their side. With time and the acceptance of necessity, I would put money on the PAP managing to reinvent itself in time for the next GE. After all, history has shown that betting against the PAP is a losing proposition.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with Catherine Lim too.

It is Singaporeans taking action such as staging peaceful protests that will return basic human rights like the right to free speech and gathering to us, not the government deigning to grant these civil liberties.

Ghost said...

Then we disagree with her on different things. Personally I do feel that the Singapore government will slowly reform but it will take time. It will be evolution not revolution for the PAP.

The said...

/// Of course the PAP may fail to reform but even if that’s the case, it won’t be due to lack of effort. ///

Isn't that what Catherine is saying? Due to the PAP structure and core beliefs, they can't really reform. They are doomed to fail even if they try. And that is what Catherine meant - they are incapable of reform.

Anonymous said...

LKY has to die first; if he does not kick the bucket before 2016 then it will definitely be too late for PAP. Everyone in PAP is shit scared of him.

In any case, with or without LKY's help, PAP cannot reform simply because they cannot give up their sacred cows. They are not capable of thinking out of the box. They are still sprouting their same basic beliefs. Just look at what they are saying for the ministerial salaries. Incorrigible! I actually think they are greedy and heartless aside from Denise Phua. We have to assume that any minister or MP who does not speak against the ministerial pay system of pegging to top earners is for the system. So I will judge them accordingly. Truly incorrigible, greedy and aloof. Trouble for the country as long as they are around. Let's volunteer our services to WP to send PAP out of government.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Catherine Lim

PAP will try to do a few things different to win back more votes but is incapable of changing core belief. All discussions so far focus on style over substance. Their obsession with economic growth and subordinating all other considerations to this goal will cost Singapore dearly in long run.

Even if there are enlightened individuals within the party, they will have uphill battle with the people who have been attracted to PAP by the economic agenda and motivated by rewards that PAP offers. These people will resist any change to the core as long as they are there.

Ghost said...

That is what I disagree with Catherine Lim on. I do think the PAP is capable of reform base on 1 simple fact; they need to. Not only that, the PAP (or at least the PM) knows it. When given a choice of "Change or Die", only fools will choose death. And the people in the PAP are no fools.

Anonymous said...

Ermm...without death,there is no resurrection to life. Do you understand the meaning of "death" and how ONE must die?

The entire political machinery needs to be crucified. You think that's possible and the current rulers who pride themselves to be the best, and rightly deserving to be paid as such(demand), are willing to...die?

Anonymous said...

Precisely they are fools that they will not choose....death - which is the way out

Anonymous said...

The only way to keep PAP 'reinventing itself' is to vote in more opposition. The only reason that PAP has accepted the salary reductions, proposed more asssitance for the needy, built more HDB flats, acknowledged that they need to do something abt the income divide etc is out of the fear that they will lose more votes in 2016 not out of altusim or to serve the people. They are just politicians. And like politicians in any developed country, the way to ensure that the govt serves in the interests of the people is through a free press and democracy. Since this system is sadly lacking in Sgp the only way is to keep voting in more opposition members to paliament. Hopefully Sgpreans will not become complacent in 2016 and pls remember that PAP are merely politicians , they are NOT superhuman beings send to save us from a wretched exsistence as PAP would like us to beleive.

Ghost said...

And it is because they are just politicians that they will change. The PAP are not martyrs. I do not think they feel so strongly about any policy that they would rather risk their control of Singapore than change the policy. In short, the PAP is not and never have been an ideological party. And it is because of that, I feel they will change.

Anonymous said...

The question is will PAP keep changing to serve the people's interests if the majority of the 40% becomes complacent in 2016? I hihgly doubt so. Besides they still have a good 5 years to come up with more 'creative' ways to secure their power other than coming up with polcies that helps the people. One way is a suppression of information or censuring opinions .

Ghost said...

Look, people need to understand an important thing here. Like it or not, the vast majority of Singaporeans want the PAP in charge!
People keep talking about the 40% againest PAP but you need to understand that still means 60% of Singaporeans voted for them!
Not only that, people need to stop thinking of the opposition as an united front. They are not!
WP came in second in the GE with 12.8% of the vote which means the PAP had a lead of over 47% from the second place finisher. "Suppression of information", "censuring opinions"? Oh please, why would they bother? You cheat when you are in danger of losing, and the PAP is in no danger of that.