Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 - the boiling point

Singaporean society has officially reached its boiling point when a disgruntled citizen immolates a member of parliament in public and receives admiration - and not disgust - in return.

Seng Han Thong of the ruling People's Action Party was attending a community function when a disgruntled retiree threw thinner onto his face and back and promptly set him alight with a lighter. He had suffered 10-15% burns on his body and needs skin grafting.

The news had spread like wildfire, and the responses of Singaporeans have been even more shocking than the incident itself.

Most feel that Seng Han Thong had it coming - he had been physically attacked by a angry citizen 2 years ago. Others feel secretly proud of the attacker, for doing what many have fantasied about but did not dare to do.

There are many who feel the urge to lash out at the government, its representatives and its icons, and I can see where they're coming from.

People are angry about the apparent inaction of the government regarding inflation and the rising cost of living.

People are angry that our government-controlled media is looking more and more ridiculous as compared to the internationally-reputed news sources we find on the Internet.

People are angry that our government had 'privatised' most of our public services while maintaining majority ownership, so that it could charge 'private' market-rates for energy, transport and healthcare.

People are angry that our government had been largely apathetic about the DBS High Notes fiasco, despite repeated calls for the government to investigate if there had been mis-selling of the product.

People are angry that our government had been largely apathetic about the clandestine investments that the town councils had made using its sinking funds. It was only when losses had happened that citizens were informed of such investments. Until now, the magnitudes of profits and losses are still a mystery. People want to know how it links to their ever-increasing town council fees.

People are angry that our government has forsaken our local talents to fund generous scholarships for foreign academics and sportsmen in the hope that they will generate better returns for the country than the locals.

People are angry that our government was rude and callous about the death of one of our political heroes, just because he rallied for the opposition.

One of our national heroes of 2008 is Tan Kin Lian, former supporter of the PAP who is brave enough to disagree with the government's actions regarding its recent actions.

One of our national heroes of 2008 is well-respected criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan who is brave enough to express his doubts if the law applies equally to both the rich and poor.

People of prominent social standing are finally getting their voices heard. And for the first time, this is the voice that resonates with the people of Singapore, rather than the government of Singapore.

Singapore is gradually understanding the true meaning of the phrase in our pledge: 'democratic society'.

It means having a government that represents the people. Not one that represents itself.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

People are indeed angry.

Anonymous said...

u have summarised our frustrations nicely.
singaporeans have been easy to push around but push too much we will fight back.
even in these trying times, the greed of the govt know no bounds.