Dad passed on a week ago. He carries 2 photos in his wallet; my sister and someone else. After 4 sons in succession, you can understand why her photo.

The other photo is Lee Kuan Yew. Yes, LKY was his idol. Poor as we were, he never once lament it was the Government’s fault. Eventually, mum and dad manage to afford a 3-room HDB over our heads, housing 8 persons.

As the Greek stoic Epictetus put it: ‘He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.’ If dad is still alive as we move towards polling day, he would advise to:

• Stop talking about Minister’s salary. We should ask, are they trustworthy, corrupt? Do they have other undeclared income from elsewhere? Do you want them to go around in “loincloth, bare footed, insular” serving the people and fronting Singapore?

• Stop talking about 6.9 million or 10 million of whatever the number. If we need extra headcount to remain vibrant, relevant and taking care of our population, do we have enough of our own? Dad was slowly dying in the emergency room. The neuro-doctor was a soft-spoken man with a calm demeanor. His name is Sam, from Sri Lanka. The organization chart on the wall showed at least 60% with foreign names. Without them, who is going to run our ER department?

• Stop talking about things that break down, especially trains. Electro-mechanical stuff, through the passage of time, can and will break down. Instead, we should continue to step up, deal with it. We should talk less so experts can focus attention on solving problems instead of pandering to emotions on social media.

• Stop talking about upping more and more benefits especially without sensible considerations. Giving is always easy and popular. Unfortunately, any state, Singapore included, does not have a bottomless pit of money to give away.

• Stop regurgitating old issues, rehashing challenges on hand. Instead, spend more time discussing and generating options and possibilities. Talk is easy, solution is hard.
In all of the above, dad is quite aware that the not-so-engaged, disenchanted are always cock-sure of their own ideas and solutions. On the other hand, the more enlightened are always full of doubts.

Perhaps we can learn from the wise man Lao Tzu who puts it aptly by saying: ”To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think one knows will lead to difficulty.”

May you make a wise choice on polling day…..Majulah!

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