Don’t Be Fooled by Heng’s Rehashing of Old PAP Slogans-There’s Nothing New Here
Recently devoted family retainer and PM-in-waiting Heng Swee Keat called on Singaporeans to build a “democracy of deeds”. He was quoting LKY’s loyal and well rewarded sycophant, former Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam. If we look at the actual words he used we get a darker meaning than Heng’s words appear to bear on the surface:
“What you have done may not get as much publicity as the utterances of professional oppositionists, but long after these have gone, what you have done will strengthen the democracy of deeds and not words.”
So it is clear that what Rajaratnam was really doing was tapping into that long PAP tradition of belittling and ‘othering’ those who dare to criticise them. In particular those who stood in the way of Lee Kuan Yew’s and his family’s untrammelled entitlement to power, including the power to enrich themselves from their connections in a manner which, while it may not have wholly illegal by the standards of the times, was certainly morally reprehensible and definitely “not cricket” as my late father said about LKY’s enrichment of his family back in 1976.
Known as the ideologue among the first-generation Cabinet leaders, Mr Rajaratnam advocated what he termed a “problem-solving democracy”, oriented towards solving the problems of the people in practical ways – as opposed to a democracy of words, engaged in empty rhetoric and political confrontation...
This is intended to convey the impression of the PAP as ‘men of action’, in classic fascist terminology while anyone who criticises them can be derided as ‘oppositionists’ and shouted down with the words “don’t oppose for the sake of opposing”. Or the refrain which I often heard from PAP MPs in West Coast and Choa Chu Kang, “What’s your plan to improve residents’ lives?”
Ms Ng, Rajaratnam’s biographer, goes on to say that this is why Rajaratnam hailed the Government’s decision to set up town councils:
“This stage would be the most difficult because Singaporeans would have to learn to be responsible for their mistakes… They would also find that exercising authority would not mean popularity and total freedom,”
While many of the Workers Party’s problems are of their own making, the idea was to set up the Opposition for failure by giving them a job that turned them into mere estate managers while denying them the tools to do their jobs effectively. Only the PAP could solve problems since they controlled all the levers of power, would never relinquish them and Singaporeans would be fools to think any other way. Anyone who showed that it might be possible to take back control would be ruthlessly removed from Parliament as LKY, Goh and then LHL did with my father.
So when Heng talks about a partnership between the Government and the people, he is not talking about a partnership at all. I can supply a helpful translation for those who might not understand what he really means:
- Our idea of partnership is one in which we continue to have absolute power and you do as we say.
- We will control all the information and only release data to support the notion of a fake technocracy. In particular we will conceal from you what Singapore’s reserves are or the size of the accumulated surplus after 55 years of austerity. Either the Government is sitting on Croesus-like piles of gold or the PM’s wife and her cronies have blown everything through bad investing and trading decisions.
- Your rulers (Lee Hsien Loong and his wife) can appoint themselves to the most important posts such as head of the sovereign wealth fund built up over years of austerity and pay themselves whatever they want. Her remuneration (whether several billion or merely hundreds of millions) will remain a state secret which Singaporeans have no right to know. Similarly the size of the Lee dynasty’s fortune and how it was accumulated will remain not only a secret but so well hidden that no information will come to light as to what assets they own.
- We will use the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act as well as the new Protection from Online Falsehoods Act to stifle criticism and scare you into keeping quiet and meekly accepting the status quo.
Heng talks about working hard to improve Singaporeans’ lives. Who is he kidding?
- Economic growth. Despite its growth record being no better than Ireland, Singapore frequently bamboozles foreigners by saying “Who cares about human rights? You can’t argue with 10% growth”. However not only is Singapore’s growth fuelled by allowing employers to bring in dirt cheap foreign labour without any minimum wage or employment protections for Singaporeans but that growth has brought almost no benefits in terms of extra spending on public services or welfare.
- Instead of enjoying a bonus from what should be an exponentially growing pile of foreign assets, the Government keeps putting up taxes while shuffling money around in a sophisticated version of the shell game in a charade called the Budget. Finance Minister Heng is as adept at this as his predecessor Tharman.
- Subsidising wages to make Singaporeans competitive with cheap foreign labour has just trapped our economy in a low-wage low-productivity trap. Singapore’s productivity, properly measured, is mediocre compared to other developed countries and appalling if compared to leading global cities on a per-capita basis.
- How has the Government helped to reduce inequality when they have lied to Singaporeans about the value of their principal asset which they are forced to buy, when there is no old age pension despite what should be its easy affordability and there is no free or compulsory education and performance is artificially boosted by effectively excluding special needs or problem children from school?
In the PAP’s Orwellian Newspeak, “partnership” is dictatorship, “inclusive” is used to justify paying themselves more, “good governance” is Ho Ching’s remuneration remaining a state secret, helping Singaporeans is “ownself help ownself”, fake spending justifies raising regressive taxes like GST, “good jobs” are for foreign talent otherwise Singapore would not be competitive and “staying vigilant against forces that can drive society apart” is crushing dissent and keeping the PAP in office because of the enemies at the door. Singaporeans have been taken in by this humbug for fifty years. Will they allow themselves to be fooled for another 50?