Since some remind us to accept and look at the wisdom of the whole episode of a race based Presidential non-election, let me share what I heard, saw, reflected, learned and gathered to tell my children.

1. Meritocracy

– It is a good word thrown around to legitimise why some are not up there (just not ‘good’ enough i.e. PM, top civil servant, etc., etc.)
– It is a good word to justify high paying public salaries i.e. best in private sector will only be attracted to public service for equal salary
– It is good word to excuse clear conflict of interest situations i.e. no other choice as he/she is the best for the position, even though related to one another i.e. so many out there (nepotism?, cronyism?)
– It is a bad word used to apply selective affirmative action (symbolism i.e. Reserved PE, tokenism i.e. GRC – serving political interest)
– It is an abused word – all the while the sacred meritocratic claim is a sad joke

2. Racism Realities

– Acknowledged – Majority privilege exposé
– Racist – Chinese majority
– Excused – 70% Chinese majority for racial harmony
– Contradiction – GRC minority racial provision to assure minority representation is transferable to majority race (MYT GRC no By-election)
– Undesirable – Madrasah, for its religious exclusivism
– Legitimised – SAP school necessary for elitism
– Institutionalised – HDB only race quota good
– Ignored – i.e. Mindef unspoken security policy (Malays full loyalty doubted) poisoning wider society’s perceptions of Malays for the last 52 years of being inherently untrustworthy for no apparent reason
– Taboo – public not allowed to talk race
– Abused – government exploits race sentiments for political benefits

3. Democracy

– Institutionalised – the parliament
– Institutionalised – judiciary and legislative
– Process – election
– Symbolic – the pledge
– Reality – no press freedom (world press freedom ranking Singapore 151st position, worst than even Afghanistan at 120th)
– Reality – controlled on public debate on policies (Think-tanks not allowed to think, IPS, LKYSPP, etc.)
– Reality – political interest overrides democratic principles and foundations i.e. Constitutional changes with no referendum
– Reality – constant changing the rules and gaming the system eg. constitutional boundary changes, limited campaigning period, cooling day, reserved PE, etc.

4. Malays : Compliant Leadership and Voiceless Community

– Painted as desiring the Presidency even though never consulted and neither asked for it
– Supportive or silent Malay leadership in Government and community legitimising the reserved PE, not in sync with real community’s ground sentiment
– Leadership not willing to criticise Government policy as will impact on funding for their community based institutions – beholden to the Government
– Self-serving impression, prioritising community’s interest above that of the country’s interest to put the best independent individual to be President
– Leaders colluded in elaborate scheme to deny Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s genuine chance to be President that the people really wanted
– Sellout community i.e. easily bought and sold for cheaps

5. Future of Singapore Takeaways

– Political Maturity – undermined (vote denied), hindered (voiced-out), regressed (forced-acceptance)
– Democratic Principles – downplayed (not-ready excuse), worsened (power-dominance strengthened), brutalised (people’s rights-trampled)
– Multi-Racial Society – cosmetic (tokenism over real change), conflicting (racism politicised), compromised (racist policies unchallenged)
– Overall Feeling – shortchanged (Singaporeans choice denied), cheapened (Malay community’s integrity), sold-out (leadership of yes-man)

May we draw some wisdom for the sake of our country’s future.

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