People ask why we don’t have a revolution in Singapore or at least some kind of reform like what we had in the past.
Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy.
So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?
What’s happening to Singaporeans?
Tthe working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has.
In earlier decades, we had labour unions that wanted reform.
Don’t we want to have a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, Social Security etc?
But we gone is our labour union.
No longer. Working people don’t dare.
The share of working-age Singaporeans holding jobs is now lower than at any time since 1990s and most of those employed are underemployed.
No one has any job security. The last thing they want to do is make a fuss and risk losing the little that they think they have with minimum sums raised more than often now.
When our major means of organizing and protecting ourselves — labour unions — have been decimated.
Instead of having Hock Lee bus riot, we’re having SMRT’s PRC’s bus riot?
Students don’t dare rock the boat.
In prior decades students were a major force for social change.
Remember in the 1970s, a fare hike would result in students going on the road?
But today’s students don’t want to make a ruckus. They’re laden with debt.
To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy.
Which is why record numbers are still living at home.
Were students taught to be politically critical or is the younger generation having political apathy?
Our Singaporean public has become so cynical about government that many no longer think reform is impossible.
When asked if they believe government will do the right thing most of the time, most disagree but rather, make you read the “right” thing.
Fifty years ago, when that question was asked people will be standing on their two feet shouting out loud.
If 40% are against them then should there be at least one million people at HLP showing unity?
It’s hard to get people worked up to change society or even to change a few laws when they don’t believe government can possibly work.
Isn’t this especially so when people have so much misunderstandings against each other with locally born Singaporeans thinking that new citizens won’t go against harmful policies such as the white paper and stand up for our country?
Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.
Han Hui Hui