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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 6:58 am

Petales Soufflez! wrote:
The climate of fear does exist but often it exists in the minds of the people. And true that the Government often does not do anything to repel it - after all who cares why you vote for the PAP as long as you do it?

Nothing like repeating the obvious is it? :?

If you vote for the PAP because you fear and think that you may lose certain priviledges, then you only have to live with your own lack of conviction. But greed you sure have which is fine as elections are also about fulfilling certain and different expectations that people have. Question is what they may then actually do to fulfill their promises (or your fears).

I've been an active student political activist when I was in NUS, have been paid by 2 governments (one from the liberal West) to study politics in my lost youth and have done so in 3 institutions (2 postgrad). If anything, I no longer believe in the ideological battle per se because I think that it sometimes did more harm than good. What I have is faith in systems that have in their interest peace and the good of the people - for the natural survival of the regime(s). Everything else will be a question of adjustment, faith/fortitude of the people and the needs of the period. Not to forget local conditions, demographics, momentum, interactions with the outside world...Every country is unique as will be its political experience.

Look around us. How many countries are safe havens for their citizens? Where they will not disappear in the middle of the night never to return? Where they get assassinated for their beliefs? Not many. A handful in Europe, Australia, North America. I always say that for all the perils that they face in Singapore, at least those who oppose will live to return and fight again.

Unless the ruling dynasty feels otherwise don't you think? I know several who have been sued constantly for no other reason the to stop them from running (in a couple instances I agree that they shouldn't run, but that's not the point is it!

Oh, there's another instance of what I was talking about before, about the local penchant of trying to divert criticism away by pointing to other countries for comparison. It's almost second nature when one spends 43 years of being trained on how to do it effortlessly by the ruling party.
:P

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:24 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:the local penchant of trying to divert criticism away by pointing to other countries for comparison. It's almost second nature when one spends 43 years of being trained on how to do it effortlessly by the ruling party.

I've been thinking about this, since you've repeated this point more than once (sign of age, my friend? :wink: )

It's a valid point that we don't look ourselves squarely in the face to ask who we (as a nation) are, what we want to be etc. We do tend to compare. But that's not merely to deflect criticism. Our entire raison d'etre as a country has been a comparison. Our economy has to grow faster than those around us. Our people have to be smarter to attract businesses here. Our crime rate has to be lower etc.

Unlike the US which at some point in your history decided who you are and put this down in your constitution, we are very much defined by who we are not. Singapore started because we could not be Malaya anymore. So in a sense we have always known who we are by telling you who we are not.

So while your point is valid and we have a lot to learn from it, I think it is not quite fair to say that we use it as a tactic to defend ourselves against criticism. It's probably both better and worse than that - comparison is in our very psyche.

My thoughts for the moment anyway.

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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:47 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:the local penchant of trying to divert criticism away by pointing to other countries for comparison. It's almost second nature when one spends 43 years of being trained on how to do it effortlessly by the ruling party.

I've been thinking about this, since you've repeated this point more than once (sign of age, my friend? :wink: )

It's a valid point that we don't look ourselves squarely in the face to ask who we (as a nation) are, what we want to be etc. We do tend to compare. But that's not merely to deflect criticism. Our entire raison d'etre as a country has been a comparison. Our economy has to grow faster than those around us. Our people have to be smarter to attract businesses here. Our crime rate has to be lower etc.

Unlike the US which at some point in your history decided who you are and put this down in your constitution, we are very much defined by who we are not. Singapore started because we could not be Malaya anymore. So in a sense we have always known who we are by telling you who we are not.

So while your point is valid and we have a lot to learn from it, I think it is not quite fair to say that we use it as a tactic to defend ourselves against criticism. It's probably both better and worse than that - comparison is in our very psyche.

My thoughts for the moment anyway.


SMS may be old and set in his ways but he is right on the money with this one. So are you by the way.

In a sense, this compulsion to compare is both a gift and curse. It drives us to achieve what we have today but is also the cause for unhappiness both within the citizenry and without.

The question I'm pondering though, is whether this is a system of control by those in power (just like the whole Asian Values thing) or are we merely children living out the schoolyard ambitions of our founding empe..umm father. Or perhaps a bit of both.

Personally, I'm not inclined to discuss this on an expat board. Something about dirty laundry. Nevertheless, where else is there a more diverse mix of opinions?
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 11:07 am

banana wrote:SMS may be old and set in his ways but he is right on the money with this one. So are you by the way.

Oh swoon... don't know if my heart can take this... :lol:

banana wrote:Personally, I'm not inclined to discuss this on an expat board. Something about dirty laundry. Nevertheless, where else is there a more diverse mix of opinions?

Your laundry may be dirty but mine are all roses. :)

I like this board mainly because decent English is used here. Plus the views of 'outsiders' throw a clearer light on many issues (after we conquer our initial resistance to being bombarded by so much criticism at one go!). SMS knows this - I've wanted to leave this forum many times when the going got too tough for my tender little heart, but he's the reason I stayed. :in love:

I'd be happy to discuss this elsewhere - if you know a good site post it here or PM me. But I'm not too keen on blogs and fora which are clearly pro- or anti-establishment and where things get all frenzied and personal after a while.

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Postby banana » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 11:26 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:Oh swoon... don't know if my heart can take this... :lol:


I'm a natural charmer :lol:

Wind In My Hair wrote:Your laundry may be dirty but mine are all roses. :)


You know Outkast? As in the hip hop duo that brought to you such hits as Hey Ya! and Roses. The latter is pretty interesting ;)

Other than that, I pretty much share the same sentiments as you. Apart from SMS being the raison d'etre. :lol:

And no, sorry, don't know any other forums that meet these standards. At least not any that discuss topics in the context of Singapore. :(
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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 30 Jul 2008 5:36 pm

The ability to make comparisons is something that most people take for granted. But it is vital as part of a foundation that allows one to build up one's learning, cognitive and social skills. Even balance, visio-spatial awareness stem from one's ability to make comparisons or not.

I learnt about this recently when my eldest has been diagnosed as suffering from dyspraxia or motor sensory integration deficit. I have read interesting books about how to modify the brain and how to teach people bearing in mind the biology of learning. So out of something negative I have learnt something new. Such as life should be.

Even at graduate school (Singapore or Europe) part of consolidating our learning has to come from learning how to make constructive comparisons of systems and norms. I had my 1st job as a Market Analyst in a Parisian company that required comparison of technology, trends, competitors etc etc on a world-wide basis leading to synthesis, analysis and generation of opinion followed by action. Comparisons we bring with us into almost every part of our lives. It provides us with benchmarking, somewhere to situate ourselves and allows us to work out a strategy for action from there.

Criticism, comparison, reflection, integration all go hand in hand. Singapore is as much an avid student of the rest of the world as a generator of interest for others. We are criticised all the time, we integrate some of them, we reject others and we generate criticism in return. At school, I remember that we were never allowed to feel complacent. At work (when I started out in the Civil Service), we had external consultants evaluate and criticise our organisation (PS in the 21st Century) so that we could be even better. We compare ourselves with the best so that we could become better. And we compare ourselves with the worst so that we will remember what we have to do not to regress.

Back to SMS, opposition members in Singapore will not need to fear for their lives (reputation and money - yes, haha) and that is something I personally have faith in. There is no need to generate un unnecessary climate of fear and suspicion that critics accuse the government of but from which I could see is often perpetuated by the people (locals and foreigners alike) themselves.
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.


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