04 May 2009

Lessons for the PAP from the Aware EOGM

Three observations I made of the Aware EOGM were: what kind of electorate; appeal to legalistic authority; and the choice of measures of success. All are issues relevant to a broader political canvas. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

This Thio lady's role was to trigger all sorts of comic relief in a very serious matter.

Gotta love Margaret in the
second video. Saw her making the
cuckoo sign? Split my sides laughing!

And naughty Constance with her
packet of feminist Mentos ...

Gawd I enjoyed myself!!!

Anonymous said...

Great article! Priceless video of Thio Su Mien mindless rants, I have viewed it 5 times already since Sunday to now. For the next GE, grandmas, mothers, wives, girlfriend, sisters, mistresses will be the group to watch in any contested constitutency, they will marshal their passionate forces to get their menfolk to vote Opposition if PAP continues to be cold & heartless.

Anonymous said...


I like how you compared the new Aware exco to the PAP.

But I think Josie & Co. is just an easy target.

If the Aware old guards had tried what Chee Soon Juan did to the PAP, they won't just be sued by the Lees, but condemned by the masses as well.

Lim Mingji said...

Well written~

I second your views~

Alan Wong said...

The "Where were you " question was spot on! It was obvious that Constance must have intentionally directed this question at this Dr. Thio.

It's a real joke that this shameless old lady chose to praise herself on her own achievements. I thought respect not only has to be earned, praise can only be meaningful if it comes from others.

She must be the greatest laughing stock now.

Kelly said...

I think the govt is exam-smart, knowing how to spot the questions, mug and practise to win the rankings.

When people feel that their life is out of sync with what is being portrayed in the mainstream media, such rankings lose credibility with them.

It's hard to wade through the propaganda, but we are reaching a tipping point.

Chee Wai Lee said...

I echo your views in general, Alex. The big difference, however, appears to be perceived competence in the opposite camp. The former leadership of AWARE seemed to be considered a competent leadership.

The current state of our opposition still appears, on the whole, a ragtag bunch unable to effectively demonstrate an (hell, even the remote) ability to govern the country. The PAP would have to degenerate into a state of gross incompetence (they are coming close, frankly) before I believe people would choose to vote members of the opposition in its current state. Just my thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...

What I found interesting from some of the comments from other blog sites was how some felt that the supporters of the old guard were an unruly bunch. As a foreigner, I found the opposition rather sedate and almost too polite sometimes. This extends to the spineless journalism I saw on Singapore TV. It almost appears that Singaporeans have been conditioned to believe that any display of passion should be viewed negatively, no matter what the content. Perhaps this is the result of the SDP's efforts in recent years. Through this fiasco, I stumbled upon Dr. Thio's daughter's speech in parliament. I was surprised to see that her speech wasn't ripped apart by anyone there. How no one would stop her in her tracks and scream "homophobe!" I wish not to come across patronizing, but I honestly think there is something wrong with this quiet approach. It gives one the impression of silent approval.

Anonymous said...

>> How no one would stop her in
>> her tracks
>> and scream "homophobe!"

Most Singaporeans don't know
what the word means. Or worse,
think you are calling her a homo.

Chee Wai Lee said...

Anonymous 05 May, 2009 12:21 -

You are right about that conditioning of passiveness. It might have something to do with the pervasive authoritarianism in all levels of society in Singapore. All my life I have been conditioned to avoid arguments (I still am) and I had always felt inhibited about engaging in discussions, particularly with "people in authority" (political leaders, bosses, seniors etc ...).

I feel this inhibition far less in the US. Most (not all) people with whom we traditionally associate "seniority" generally engage in discussion of any nature as a peer, recognizing the value of discussion and disagreement as equal partners in discourse and willing to yield if their own ideas are found false. They will also not hesitate to challenge what seems to be incorrect. I am far happier in this environment than back in Singapore where I can express my views, have them reinforced/challenged and changed as is necessary.

Anonymous said...

"How no one would stop her in her tracks and scream "homophobe!" Any "straight" MPs who would dare to utter any support would fear being branded as gay! especially as more than half the MPs are christian and would worry about how they would face their fellow christians in church.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, PAP is smarter than the "Thio Su Mien" inspired takeover. Their use of "calibrated coercion" (as coined by Cherian George) makes it hard for an "Old Guard" inspired rallying of troops. We need to think harder, and come up with smarter solutions...

Anonymous said...

The Josie's team was not politically savvy. Their opposition was smart to play down the moral issue and creat a big hoo-ha that a christian fanatic group had hijacked a secular organisation. The silly pastor unwittingly help the opposition by mis-using his pulpit. It worked because every other faiths including moderate christian were against Josie's team even they share same "moral value".

As to lessons for the PAP, this is like a teenager advising his dad what are the things he ought to do to produce a baby. This episode is nothing compared to what MM Lee and PAP had gone through in the 50's and 60s and when Barisan fought against PAP. In those days, long drawn acrimonous debates in Parliament; fighting for controls of unions; strikes everywhere; street demonstrations; communists real attempts (not threats) to assasinate some PAP leaders. It was chaotic which is why MM Lee is not going to allow this to happen again.

I am not a PAP supporter but I certainly would not want to see a repeat of the 50s and 60s. From the internet postings I sensed that many young people who never experience such chaotic time seem to think that being peaceful and docile is bad and we must create some excitement to prove real democracy. My advice is don't play with fire. What is happening in Thailand should be a lesson for all of us.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

The PAP of today is nothing like the PAP of the 1950s and 1960s. For one, very few of them can even speak competently in public, let alone eloquently sway a crowd. For two, they're technocrats, not a lot unlike the corporate types of Josie Lau's team.

The said...

/// As to lessons for the PAP, this is like a teenager advising his dad what are the things he ought to do to produce a baby. This episode is nothing compared to what MM Lee and PAP had gone through in the 50's and 60s and when Barisan fought against PAP.
06 May, 2009 12:24 ///

As Alex has said, the new generation leaders are a pale shade of the old. In any case, it is near impossible to hijack the PAP a la AWARE as the PAP went through that in the early years when the Barisan almost captured power - hence the CEC and cadre system. Or, as LKY put it, the cardinals electing the pope, and the pope electing the cardinals.

And as to your teenager analogy, I am afraid you are not keeping up with the time and again stuck in a time warp. With the internet and infomation available at your fingertips, the modern version is:

Dad: "Sonny, I think it is about time we talk about the birds and bees..."

Son: "Yes, Dad, what do you want to know?"

In case you haven't noticed, kids are very precocious nowadays and can teach you a thing or two.

The said...

Did not know that the "feminist mentor" was a prophet, a healer and saved Singapore from the Tsunami thanks to her prayers.!

Salvation is at hand - we should ask HER to save Singapore from the scourge of the swine flu...

"Last February, a USSPN Washington Regional Coordinator was present during a report given by an international lawyer from Singapore, Thio Su Mien (Su), who is gifted in prophetic intercession and healing. She shared about some of the things going on in the area of Indonesia before the tsunami.
She explained how the SARS virus hit Singapore a year prior to the earthquake/tsunami. The Lord alerted the intercessors and told them that if they did not get on their faces and repent on behalf of their nation's involvement in abortion as the contraceptive of choice, that the land would suffer from His hand of judgment.
Because they saw how devastating the SARS virus had been, the intercessors immediately took action to seek His mercy and forgiveness. Singapore was not touched by the earthquake disaster. The Malaysian intercessors joined them in diligent prayer and also opened healing rooms in Kuala Lampur. The area on the Northern Coast of Malaysia was hit hard. There are amazing stories of God's grace and mercy in saving souls and lives there.
It was the prayers of the intercessors that had saved the disaster from affecting an even larger area. She emphasized that the intercessors crying out with repentance and asking for mercy, along with declarations of the Word of God over the land (both written and rhema), released the curse upon the land and the people were spared. It was a plea for intercessors to step up to the plate and continue to press into God for mercy from judgment coming."

From http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=2997

abhtg said...

Maybe the one real problem with your analysis is this: Aware is not really relevant to a broader political canvas.

Far from it - it seems like hundreds flocked (like, you know, sheep) to exercise mob justice because they are busybodies, rather than because they care about exercising democratic rights on a spare weekend.

Perhaps the real lesson here is that the trivialisation of politics is finally opening up the sphere a bit. Like the news networks in the US, the "online revolution" is responsible for us thinking "smaller" and worrying about the details. You only need to see five minutes of Fox News and MSNBC to know how every last, pointless detail about American politics is discussed.

This is why low brow blogs like the Wayang Party blog are really gaining influence and stature. But thinking small on a national scale is one thing; having balls another.

Robox said...

Hi Alex,

"The PAP of today is nothing like the PAP of the 1950s and 1960s."

I'll also bet that Singaporeans of today are nothing like the Singaporeans of the 1950s and the 1960s.

Even more so, the economic and socio-political conditions of today's Singapore are nothing like those of the 1950s and 1960s.

If the PAP wishes to dispute my two points above and better still, produce concrete evidence to back their claims, then I would have to draw the only logical conclusion and that is the PAP has indeed been doing an absolutely shitty job in terms of nation building and improving the economic and socio-political conditions that would lead to the type of problems that they fear.

Or more accurately, the type of problems they fearmonger the Singapore population with.

And compulsively.

Like any addictive disorder.

Recruit Ong said...

The new generation of PAP leadership simply cannot make it, they have lost the people's mandate. If not, why the need to enact and hide behind new draconian laws like 20 years jail for hitting an MP and 6 months jail for angry phone conversation about MP. Now throwing a chair at a glass door resulting in no damage to property and person whatsoever can also get 6 month jail hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've seen both videos and although I've never read the whole article, I've to say that the speaker in that conference reminds me of my authoritarian aunt.