My Dear Nicole,
First, you revealed to the public more than necessary about your private life.
Then, you wrote what many people regarded as negative comments on a popular fellow member of the opposition camp.
And now, just when people are still mad with the PAP (your political opponent) over its policies on CPF, you suddenly came out and voluntarily made some comments which gave many Singaporeans the impression that you were not on their side; worse, they interpreted that you were defending your political opponent – the PAP. Some feel that you have betrayed them on such an important issue concerning their retirement saving!
You see, dear, the CPF issue has become a very hot potato in the hands of your political opponent. Never before had the CPF issue raised so much anti-PAP sentiments. The baby-boom generation is entering retirement or pre-retirement phase; whether they are hardcore PAP, die-hard opposition or middle-ground voters, the knife is on their flesh – and it is painfully. Many of them, rightly or wrongly, are furious with the government’s policies on the repayment of their retirement saving, the amount of interest earned and the various hurdles put in place to lock up their life-savings. They feel there is a serious lack of transparency and this in turn raises doubt over the safety of their retirement money. Their resentment that has been building up over the years finally burst into flames and spread like wild fire, as can be seen in the recent protest in Hong Lim Park and their strong support for an unknown young blogger who was sued by the Prime Minister – even though they are aware that the blogger had admitted to and apologized for his defamatory comments on the CPF matters.
As you are a politician of the Opposition Camp, you stand to benefit from this strong anti-PAP sentiment – just like members of all other opposition parties. The more the voters hate a ruling party, the higher the chance that they will give their votes to opposition parties. It is common sense! It therefore came as a rude shock to many Singaporeans that you were seen as trying to extinguish the ferocious fire burning in the PAP camp!
Nicole, my dear, there are times when politicians strongly disagreed with the public. If you are a member of the ruling party, many a time, situation dictates you to state your disagreement with the public, e.g. when trying to implement a hard policy. But you are an opponent of the ruling party, and more importantly, you are not even elected into parliament! You need votes to be elected, my dear! And the CPF fire is burning away the PAP’s votes, with a good chance of diverting them to you and your friendly forces! So why do you want to stop that fire? Let the fire burns “700 miles” on the PAP Camp! (最好来个“火烧连营七百里”，再来一场“白帝城托孤”！)
The PAP is a formidable opponent and it doesn’t fight its opponents fairly. In fact, it has a track record of being ruthless to its opponents. If you try to be kind to the PAP, you are trying to be cruel to yourself! No doubt you will find it out when you have become a serious threat to the PAP. Politics in Singapore has always been played by the ruling party on the basis of “us-versus-them”; the only time the PAP will appeal to the sense of “we are all on the same boat” is when it is in trouble and needs Singaporeans’ sacrifices and support!
Has it occurred to you, my dear, that if for some reasons you managed to extinguish this CPF fire, you are not only depriving yourself a good chance to capture more votes, you are also denying other opposition parties the good opportunity to win seats from the PAP? This is also why many supporters of other opposition parties are screaming at you in the cyber space. You have, unintentionally, converted a fair number of friends to foes! My dear, many of these people used to love you, support you and hold high hope on you. But you must understand that in addition to you, they also have other heroes in the WP, SDP, SFP, RP and other opposition parties whom they are praying very hard will get elected into parliament. If you ruined their heroes’ chance to win an election, you lose their love and respect for you!
In a way, your facebook comments on this CPF inferno could be seen as you were not only rushing out with a fire extinguisher to help the PAP in fire-fighting, you were effectively giving the PAP a loaded pistol to shoot at you in future. If the need arises, the PAP could quote comments you had written in that article to defend itself or attack you in a future election. Why do you want to give your opponent a weapon to shoot at you? I had a look at your facebook the other day and I nearly fainted, dear! Why did you have to tell people that Singaporeans were so fortunate than the Thais who had to work so hard and very long hours? Such a comment is for members of the ruling party to make! Why did you have to write comments amounting to saying that the PAP was indispensable? You may or may not be correct in your views, but as a politician of the opposition camp, it is unwise of you to make those comments. You owe it to yourself, your party, your supporters and voters a duty to protect your image and not to expose yourself to unnecessary risk of being manipulated by your opponents! Surely there must be many other things you could write about Thailand? The weather, the beautiful sea, the culture, the food – no, leave out the “tiger-show”, if you happened to visit one!
I do not agree on several points raised by Roy in his analysis of the CPF issue. And I certainly think it was not very clever of him to make those allegations about the PM. Had the PM merely demanded for an apology and a withdrawal of the offensive comments, he would have gained respect and be seen as magnanimous. Roy would have probably responded quickly and sincerely with his apology, I believe. But, alas, the PM chose to follow the path of his two predecessors!
While it was no good of Roy to make those allegations without valid ground, we should not forget the efforts and time he had put in all these years reviewing and sharing with public his comments on government’s policies. Actually, I was quite surprised that many Singaporeans were willing to donate money to support his defence against the PM’s libel suit. Perhaps, those people saw him as a hero fighting to recover their CPF money from the government. Or perhaps some people hoped that a strong financial support from the public would serve a strong warning to the PAP that it is unacceptable to silence critics through legal suits.
Some members of the public are not comfortable with the generous outpouring of financial support for such a legal case. They fear it may possibly result in various forms of financial abuse or more such legal suits arising in the future. While I think this group’s concerns are valid, it is ultimately up to well-wishers to decide whether to donate their money and how much they trust the persons involved. Anyway, donation or no donation, Singaporeans still have to bear in mind that providing financial support could not solve the root problem; the most effective solution to such legal bullying lies in their votes.
Nicole, my dear, you are a politician. Whatever good intentions you have in mind are irrelevant, it is how the public or your voters perceived your message that is most important. All successful politicians in the world do not speak their minds. When, what and how much to say is often dictated by prospects of gaining or retaining political support (i.e. votes). At present, I believe you need political support much more than getting yourself entangled with voters and fellow members of interest groups. Get yourself into parliament first, my love! No doubt there will be many political battles ahead of you; there is no guarantee that in one of those battles, you may make a wrong decision in a hot pursuit and charge into your opponent’s killing zone. If that happens, you may need the public to rush to your rescue.
So, my love, if you do not wish to fan the CPF fire or add fuel to it, then stay away from it – relax, put aside your armour suit and enjoy the raging inferno in the PAP military camp.
I wish you good luck!