Dear Editors,

Fears hold us back. It is time we empower ourselves, our future.

Singapore’s ruling party had ruled Singapore through a climate of fear for the past 50 years, and such fear poisons our political and social climates even until this day. For every general election since Singapore’s independence, the ministers from the ruling party would hype up and harp upon the dangers of voting for the opposition, that the opposition would fail us, that Singapore’s economy and security would be in jeopardy, and that all that we had achieved would evaporate. A vast majority of Singaporeans in every election cycle fell for that, and sadly, this is how Singapore had come to be what it is today – a nation where very few brave souls dare to join the opposition political parties, most citizens dare not voice out their displeasure with the government policies in public or be filmed or interviewed uttering such displeasure on national TV or any other media, many voters still very much afraid that their votes are being monitored closely by the ruling party and misfortune will befall them if they were to vote for the opposition parties, the rich become richer, the poor become poorer, the opposition parties and dissenting citizens are routinely victimized, and our Parliament is filled with the ruling party MPs who can enact and pass laws that greatly affect our lives and lifestyles without much regard for the average citizens and without much opposition due to the very few elected opposition MPs that we have in Parliament.

Remember it was just some 20 odd years ago when a huge number of Singaporeans feared greatly what Singapore would become if Mr Lee Kuan Yew were no longer the Prime Minister? Many were fearful that Singapore would be doomed if that ever happened. Well, nothing of that sort happened when Mr Goh Chok Tong became the prime minister, although all the ministers’ salaries increased a lot since then. Remember it was not too long ago when many Singaporeans feared greatly what Singapore would become if Mr Lee Kuan Yew were no longer around? Many were again fearful that Singapore would be doomed if that ever happened. Well, he had been gone for almost half a year now and we are all still in one piece, although more and more Singaporeans are losing their jobs and becoming taxi drivers.

Such irrational fears are typical of Singaporeans because we are living in such a climate of fear where we are constantly brainwashed and frightened by all the doomsday propaganda from the ruling party. And who do we have to blame? Ourselves. It is because we voted for those very ministers who in turn scared us into voting for them again and again, so that they can continue to scare us into voting for them again and again. The politics of fear empowers those in power and takes away power from the people who become weak and mere pawns for keeping them in power. The only way to break this vicious cycle is to wake up and realise what is happening to us and around us, and ask ourselves why we are allowing that to happen to us.

Today, we only have 7 elected opposition MPs who can speak up for us in Parliament and vote on bills, laws and policies that are tabled in Parliament. That number is ineffective under Singapore laws, not because those elected opposition MPs are ineffective. We have to remember that it is 7 against 81, but it is a start because by empowering those 7 elected opposition MPs to speak up for us in Parliament, we are empowering ourselves in making our voices heard in Parliament. But that is not enough. The voices of 7 against 81 are not loud enough. We need more elected opposition MPs to speak up for us in Parliament so that their voices can become louder in Parliament, and when their voices become louder, our voices become louder and only then can we be heard loud and clear by the ruling party.

Today, even if we send 40 elected opposition MPs into Parliament, Singapore will not be doomed. This is because under Singapore’s constitution, as long as the ruling party gets more than half the seats in Parliament, they would still form the government. Therefore, our jobs, houses, monies and credit cards will not disappear overnight. But our lives and lifestyles will start to change for the better for the next 5 years because the ruling party will then have to start listening to us and make life better for us, the citizens of Singapore, instead of us listening to them. It is time we make the politics of fear work for us instead of against us. It is time we make the ruling party fear us. It is time we empower ourselves, our future. It is time we vote for the opposition and send more elected opposition MPs into Parliament.

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