Home > Opposition candidates > Talk about Young candidates & Destruction of the Social Fabric

Talk about Young candidates & Destruction of the Social Fabric

And here we have another young female candidate. A contestant from NSP, Ms Nicole Seah is only 24 years old, barely out of university. Sharing almost similar educational background (both from NUS FASS and both from the USP program) as Tin Pei Ling, she will be competing in Marine Parade GRC according to her facebook to go heads on with Ms Tin. Despite her prettier face (Yes, I admit it’s a superficial point. But even looking good is an important factor in politics) I have to be fair in my criticism. She too does not reflect as much credentials as Ms Tin. The only thing working in her favor is she has yet to do much damage (unlike Ms Tin) since she hasn’t really come out to the media. She did managed to gain some points with a well written note on her facebook which carries a logical and straight-forward message, unlike the fluffy pointless note that Tin Pei Ling had wrote. While I can’t critic on Ms Nicole at the moment, at least she shows ability to present a more coherent and persuasive argument.

The ruling party always urge the opposition party to send out their candidates as soon as possible citing that the voters need time to assess the new candidates. While I agree that this is a fair statement, let us not forget that the ruling party controls as and when to call for election. There is asymmetric information and therefore gives the ruling party an unfair advantage. Introducing the candidates earlier allows voters to assess their capability earlier. Along with it comes not only a period of assessment but also a period of attack. The chinese has this saying: To understand the enemy is to our own advantage.

Once an opposition candidate is made known to PAP, the party will, in full rationality, study on the subject and find the weakest link to attack. It therefore only makes much sense for the opposition party to delay introducing their full candidates at the earliest date. In any case, as the ruling party, the PAP has only one strategy, and that is to lead the way in introducing their candidates for the elections.

When Chen Show Mao, a talent in WP came into foray, the only thing the PAP can pick on is his ’30 years away from Singapore’, choosing to ignore the reported fact that he came back to Singapore 4-5 times a year and had served NS despite being a non-naturalized citizen. However, the recent PAP attack on whether Mr Chen understands Singaporean’s aspirations carries a very huge backlash given that the PAP is contesting 2 new citizens. Asking a Singaporean to choose between a Singaporean who have served NS since young and a new citizen who just recently applied for citizenship after the NS-compulsory age of 35 is a no brainer. It is a fact that new citizen is just another term for ‘more permanent PR’ to Singaporeans who are born, bred, and lives in Singapore. 2 basic factors, National service and the ‘Singaporeaness’ differentiate a Singaporean and a new citizen.

National service forms a very unique, very important and very emotional part of all Singaporean males. We gave up 2.5 years of our precious youth and duty bound by law to serve reservists every year until the age of 45-50 years old. Youth that is given up for the nation, youth that can never be bought back no matter how much millions or billions you may have. It is something that connects all Singaporean males no matter what is your background (except maybe those white horses. Mah Bow Tan’s eldest son was the personal assistant to the commander of 1 PDF back in year 2005. Question is why is he the personal assistant to the highest power in the camp? And he drives in his expensive and exotic antique cars every day, in full view of all the NSFs, regulars and NSmen coming in for IPPT. Tell me that is not favoritism in play), something intangible and something that tug at our heart and soul. To put it simply, NS is something that connects Singaporeans.

Even female Singaporeans is connected by this factor. Females at the age of 18 or 19 who have male friends who served NS while they were studying in universities or were working will remember a period of their life when their male counterparts became almost bald, thin, tan and talk about nothing but NS stuff despite complaining so much about the sufferings and how much they hate it. Some females could also remember how they miss their boyfriends when their boyfriends got enlisted and the little precious hours per weekends they can be together a week. Wives will remember how they have to help their (generally pretty untidy and careless) husbands pack their reservist items when their husbands got called up to serve the nation. And lastly, mothers will remember the emotional moment in sending their sons for enlistment into Pulau Tekong and eventually became proud that their sons had grown into fine young men.

Then we talk about the Singaporeaness, the attitude, the behavior, the little things we did when we were young especially for the current young adults. The period when we had playgrounds with imported sand, the period when TCS is known as SBC, the period when our buses are non-air-conditioned, the kiasu-ism we so embrace, and so many other things that Singaporeans commonly share that is hard to put down in words. The link to the past when Singapore is still very Singapore with little foreigners, when people talk in Singlish and all kinds of dialects with the common accent. The connection then made us feel proud as Singaporeans. These are all quirky little stuff that may seem insignificant but when a Singaporean talks to another Singaporean, these are the things that connects. This connection is something new citizens can never see, learn and possess.

That is not to say that I am advocating anti-foreigners. I welcome foreigners as I believe in diversity and attracting talents. But I am against it when the influx starts to alters the social fabric of Singapore. Moreoever, experiences in the work place made me skeptical about whether all these foreigner talents are indeed talented. While some are definitely capable, I have seen a far larger share of incapable ‘talents’ that made you wonder why couldn’t other Singaporeans do this job (made worse when you happen to know some Singaporean that was not offered the same job). The top students in our local universities are usually Singaporeans, with a fair share of ‘scholars’ (such as those on Asean scholarship etc) from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India not getting exceptional results that scholars are expected to deliver. That makes Singaporean undergraduates wonder why these ‘scholars’ deserve to be given a scholarship that could be given to Singaporeans instead. The question we should ask is whether we are really getting the talents we are asking for or are we simply admitting self-professed-talents with a blind eye? How did the government agencies determine who is or not a talent?

Nowadays, everywhere you go in this tiny little island, you see faces you are unfamiliar with when you are young, you see a fashion different from yours, you see a cultural behavior different from yours, you hear different accented languages any where and every where. The explosion in the influx exacerbated the problem as all these differences became magnified in all directions. I dare say the national identity, the Singaporeaness has weakened significantly over the past 10 years. And it is a very dangerous thing because once the cohesion is broken, it is very hard to rebuilt that patriotism a citizen has towards his or her own country.

We have seen how a strong national identity allowed the Japanese to be considerate towards one another, to continue social order despite the horrible earthquake and tsumani disaster and come together to make things better. We have seen how a strong national identity allowed the Koreans to bounce back from the Asian Financial Crisis and emerge as an even stronger economy. Our open door policy had brought in economic growth at the expense of destroying the national identity Singaporeans shared without organic growth. The question we should ask is, is it worth it?

Taking a leaf from the Japanese experience, should Singapore encounter a disaster like Japan, foreign MNCs, foreign talents and foreign workers will not hesitate to leave the country. It makes logical sense when they have an alternative to escape to, and we should expect them to do so. If I am to be in Japan when the quake happens, I too will leave Japan and fly back to my safer country. We Singaporeans have no where to go except this small rock that only has an area of almost 700 km square.

To Singaporeans who are reading this blog, are you feeling as Singaporean as you are when you are younger? To new citizens who are reading this blog, can you say, swear to God, that you can understand the Singaporeaness (which is more than just kiasu-ism) I am talking about?

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