Conversation? What We Need is A National Debate

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said government will engage all Singaporeans in a national conversation about how to take the country forward by "putting Singaporeans at the heart of our concerns". 

In his 10-minute speech, Heng touched on the details of "Our Singapore" -- an initiative that PM Lee Hsien Loong had tasked him to do in his National Day Message a fortnight ago.

He highlighted three goals that the national conversation will seek to achieve: reaffirm what is good and still relevant, see what has changed and recalibrate accordingly and, refresh and innovate by charting new directions. 

"It will be an opportunity for Singaporeans to come together, and ask: What matters most? Where do we want to go as a country, as a people?" [source]


Useless National Conversation

I ask of how a National Conversation between the government and Singaporeans will be of any significant assistance to take Singapore forward. Let's not kid ourselves. The government knows what Singaporeans want and had demonstrated that in GE 2011 and now again in the NDP Rally 2012. In these rallies, the government spoke about our biggest concerns: High cost housing, jobs, the impacts of the influx of foreigners, the difficulties of starting a family. It runs long down the list but I bet my last dollar that the government knows every detail.

What's the point of it all?

So why do we need a National Conversation to ask 'What matters most, where to we want to go as a country and as a people?' Who will the government invite to provide the output of what they already know? Bloggers? Common working class citizens? The unemployed? Are the feedback from the people reliable in the first place? How sure are we that the sharing will not be moderated, or even choreographed? How is the government going to ensure their re-calibrated policies based on their feedback are sound policies for the good of the country and people? Are common Singaporeans that the government is trying to reach out for even qualified to discuss policies and directions of the country?

Different monkeys, same old tricks

Let's forget about the National Conversation. The government knows very well what the people want. It is their job as national policies makers to come out with a master plan. In today's NDP Rally, we watched heart warming videos about grannies playing basketballs, we hear a Minister telling us how to be happy and buzz words like Hope, Heart and Home. Crowds in the audiences laughed mechanically at cold jokes, cameras perfectly timed to mismatch crowd reactions to events.

Let's do away with these.

Singaporeans do not need these anymore. We have grown out of happy circus.

A serious NDP Rally

What Singapore and its people could really benefit if PM Lee could take his selected team  to present their masterplan addressing the concerns of the people and the issues of our country, on this day every year. They will then face off in a 'live' debate on national television with the shadow cabinet formed by the opposition parties. Whose else are better qualified than the opposition team to debate the merits and fallacies of policies with the government? Not bloggers for sure, no matter how insightful some of us can be at times. Let this be between the professionals and rightly so. PM Lee and his team will prove the merits of their grand policies in the debate and even have the chance to put the opposition shadow cabinet to shame, to batter them into oblivion if they are worth their salt. It should be kept clean and fair. No subtle threat of suing a member of the opponent, no commercial break when someone in the wrong team hits a home run and the audience must be invited randomly from the Singapore public.

If PM Lee is adamant about snuffing out noises from the cyberspace, he should seriously consider the above. If The PM would lead his team to debate and emerge victorious with sound policies that the oppositions couldn't fault or better on national TV, broad casted 'live', I dare say even the harshest cyber critic will tip his hat at the PAP team. Many birds, one stone. Nothing to worry about, PM Sir.



  1. They only talk....nothing done as usual! I dont wish to hear them talk rubbish anymore. All lies!

    ah pook

  2. a heated debate between the labour party and liberal party in down under would be good to watch.

  3. As usual, same bunch of rubbish from the holier-than-white every day, every year, every decade, repackage to insult your intelligence. They really pay themselves extraordinarily to insult your intelligence because they can and they want.

  4. Hopeless, Heartless and Homeless is a more appropriate slogan.

    Hopeless leadership with heartless policies is causing sporeans to lose 'Singapore' their home to millions of immigrants.

  5. Why would anybody bother to listen to the lame PM Lee is beyond me. He says the same thing every year but get paid by the millions every year! I have seriously switch off him since last year!

  6. Congratulations for a year of fantastic blogging, I and many others have really enjoyed your posts. Thank you so much!

  7. The Ministers have ears that can't hear, eyes that can't see. Yet we pay them millions out of the national coffers. HOWEVER ONE THINGS FOR SURE THEY CAN ACT VERY WELL. Crocodile tears and apology during election!!! They can barely hold up a good public Q & A but with follow up on discipling the people who is turn off by their illogical talk. What's more a talk on what level, I am right u r wrong attitude. Stop kidding themselves.

  8. National conversation= PAP dictating what you all have to do, how you all can behave, what you all have to pay.

  9. My prediction on the outcome:

    The Government and the people of Singapore have engaged in fruitful conversations and discussions. In the process, Singaporeans have been convinced to look at the bigger picture and make self-sacrifices to ensure the continued prosperity of the Nation. Singaporeans must continue to be competitive amidst the rapidly-changing world and embrace more foreign talents to make up for the shortfall of skill sets that the economy desperately requires. Singaporeans must also integrate with the foreign talents and make them feel at home. This is the best way for Singapore to move forward into the future, amidst the Dark Clouds that looms ahead.

    I shall revisit this page to see how differences between my predictions and the outcomes. Yes, i have considered my sentences carefully based on my extensive experience with the Straits Times during my A Levels preparations.