There seems to be more activities this National Day than previous years’. My conspiracy theorist friends suggest it’s to distract people from the shrinking realisation that things are about to go pear-shaped with the investiture of the new PM in two weeks. These are the same conspiracy theorists who suggest last month’s power failure was engineered to make Singaporeans make more babies on that one particular night. I have some paranoid friends.
I tell them there is nothing wrong in the new PM’s wife being at the helm of the most powerful conglomerate in the land, and she got there on her own accord, and there is nothing that could suggest otherwise.
I also tell them that the latest rumour of new stringent media laws being passed at the first sitting of the new parliament is completely unfounded and vicious, and designed to destabilise the new PM’s mandate.
I tell them I am proud of being in the most stable democracy in the region. Our Constitution protects us. If we don’t like what’s happening, we can always exercise our vote by moving to a constituency which will be contested in the next elections. We have access to alternative political views simply by walking to Holland Village or outside Centrepoint to buy a copy of The Hammer from our friendly Indian newsvendor, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam or visiting Singapore’s most popular website at Sammyboy.com.
Our leaders, who we elected in 1959 and in whom we’ve had so much faith that we’ve elected them again in every election since, are shining examples of how well our meritocratic society works. Every citizen can aim high and earn $100K a month if he or she worked hard, public sector or not. Just look at the incoming PM’s wife. Private sector.
Our laws are fair and just, and often designed to protect us from our own foolhardiness. We cop heavy fines for not wearing a seat belt in cars, but for people who are poor enough not to be able to ride in a car, there is no need to fear prosecution for riding in the back of a lorry with no seats to and from their workplaces. We also have a highly experienced Chief Justice who takes on the extra burden of being the judicial watchdog, stepping in where he sees justice needs to be expedited. And how about our wisdom in dispensing totally with a jury system because it inconveniences our work force? We also have a highly efficient prison system that deters and rehabilitates some of the most hardened of criminals by despatching the capital cases at the unmatched rate of 30 a year.
We have a united trade union movement that protects our workforce. Besides it’s own insurance arm, car rental services and supermarket chain, it even has it’s own office block in the CBD that offers leases at rates much lower than the surrounding private office blocks.
Public housing is also so successful that we have the only public housing scheme in the world that makes a profit.
Security is unquestionably high. Four bandits with one rusty pistol land on one outlying island, not even the mainland, and our armed forces dispatch 700 highly armed highly trained and dedicated National Servicemen to that island to impound their sampan and catch the buggers in the swamp. And remember in ’91 when dangerous Islamic hijackers commandeered an SQ plane? Our commandos took just 30 seconds to kill them all, not even waiting to negotiate with them to put down their butter knives.
I ask my friends, which other country can boast of these?
There is much to be said for Singapore, and most of it can be heard on the region’s premium news station, Channel Newsasia, between 6am and 1am daily. My conspiracy theorist friends can just quit for the long weekend. I’m gonna stay and celebrate our achievements.