Round One: MM Lee, Goh Keng Swee etc had to talk sense to convince the people to elect them. Round two and after: they had to produce results.
Go to Chinatown, there’s an old shophouse in Temple Street, if I remember the road name correctly, which has been preserved as a museum to showcase how life/living conditions used to be. For those who have not been there, it is really worth going there at least once. Now, go to Marina Bay, take a walk along The Esplanade. Or maybe you might want to do your shopping at Bugis Junction? Or Junction 8? You drive? How about driving along one of the expressways? Going for a holiday? Do check in early and enjoy Changi Airport, which foreigners appreciate so much and said, if you have to be stranded due to delayed flights, the best place to be stranded is Changi. See the difference?
Look at our medical services, air quality, schools, parks, national libraries. Look at how vibrant this island city is, a red dot which never sleeps. The night life complementing the buzzling commercial activities, which other countries can only dream about, not because they lack bright people but a system of good governance, and as importantly, good government.
Today’s generation has gone beyond bread and butter issues. It’s no longer about our physiological needs, rather it’s about trying to discover ourselves, who we are, what we are, what’s really our national identity. There is a certain sense of disorientation when all of a sudden, we find ourselves having to share our living space with peoples of diverse cultures and backgrounds in the workplace and in and around our homes. This is of course not helped by the rocket speed at which Singapore was built which defined the way we live our lives. But that’s the price our forefathers paid and a price we’ll have to continue to pay if we want to keep ourselves ahead of the competition. It’s about our survival as a nation, as a red dot. Do not for a moment assume that we will remain No.1 (in a few areas) indefinitely because what we have done, other countries can also do, and do better, once they get their act together.
If we dissect the problem, we will notice that the vast majority of foreigners are here to do jobs which we don’t want to do anyway. It’s really a minority of Singaporeans who did lose their jobs to fake FTs or FTs who were not really needed in the first place, but that’s only because of the imperfection of the system, as any system is bound to have, which lent itself to abuse by some employers – not exactly and not always the boss himself – but some middle or junior-middle manager who’d been given a little power to hire job applicants for the job of making or selling bread, for example.
Now, do not confuse the cause of the undercurrents of disquiet which is really to do with the disorientation (paragraph in red above) among some Singaporeans with the problems of a small minority, which have been elevated to the national crisis that it is not. The resistance to change is inherent in people, and I’m sure you must have faced that at one point or another in your life, especially working life, when you tried to change the methodology for the better but got stonewalled by the corporate culture. Ditto for Singapore, when bitter medicine is necessary for our “progress and prosperity”, certain elements of the society will fight tooth and nail to preserve the familiar.
Reasoned arguments won’t persuade when we are dealing with abnormal psychology. If we’re going to debate these issues in Parliament, we will probably move at a pace 3 times slower when much time is spent in arguing and justifying certain actions, and while the rest of the world surge ahead, we will still be dealing with powerful lobby groups. Look at US politics for examples, and I shant digress too much. In the end, it’s really much like wanting to spring clean the flat, have the 20 year old electric cables changed, a total renovation in brief, but your grandmother would only allow you to discard even old newspapers dating back to the 1980s over her dead body.
So while it is being argued that the new generation wants change, the irony is that when faced with change, they are the very ones resisting it.