Sunday, August 3, 2008

Singapore's success not about PAP or opposition
Singapore's success not about PAP or opposition
I AM from the same senior-citizen generation as Mr Lee Choon Wah, who wrote the laudatory letter last Saturday, 'Opposition yet to show it can deliver'.
In the past few decades, this generation lent its unquestioning support and blind loyalty to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) Government.
Taking its place will be a new generation of younger, better-educated and Internet-savvy Singaporeans who can think, read between the lines and add two and two to make five.
The PAP Government can rightly claim some but not all credit for Singapore's success so far.
Its hardworking people, favourable time zone and geographical location have also contributed to its development as a financial centre and an air and sea hub.
Put simply, had the PAP governed Timbuktu in Africa, would the outcome have been similar?
Singapore's continued survival must depend ultimately on the collective input and teamwork spirit of its politicians, civil servants and people. No one group has a monopoly on ideas or can claim all credit for Singapore's achievements. Each group makes its share of contribution, big or small.
The necessary ingredients for good political governance are:
Caring politicians, who know they are answerable to the people to earn public respect, as well as encourage people to speak up freely to understand their concerns and tap their contributions.
Competent civil servants, who try hard to serve the public better and accept responsibility for mistakes.
Active citizens, who must overcome their fear of speaking up to highlight society's shortcomings and know there are more important things in life than making money, asset enhancement and HDB upgrades - such as good health.
Only when people can speak freely will they have a sense of rootedness as citizens of Singapore. They will then not be 'quitters' but 'stayers' and will not be indifferent and leave everything to the Government.
This is one critical challenge facing Singapore. Politicians must make up their minds once and for all whether to continue breeding 'yes-man' citizens who will let them govern 'their country their way', or sincerely nurture thinking Singaporeans who will team up with them to govern 'our country our way'.
See Leong Kit

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