The New Rule of the Game

I was born in the late 70s and grew up in the 80s. It was the period where the PAP was the most dominant, probably rightly so. It would be unreasonable to expect a perfect government, for there wasn't one in the history of mankind. There were governments which did a lot more good than bad for their people and I believe that the PAP I grew up with was one such government. I may even have to say I am grateful to the PAP for contributing indirectly to what I am having and where I am now. 

My childhood was amazing. I grew up at the age where Singapore was still known as a developing country. Playing was a cross between rustic and modernization. We climbed our fair share of trees, picked and ate our fruits and been our own fighting spiders evil ring lords. At the same time, we seen the last fun days of rain splashing into the manual transmission buses on rainy days, we watched the construction of the first EW MRT line and rubbed our faces excitedly on the new seats of the first MRT train we boarded. Life was great for us, as kids growing up in the 80s. The kids of the 60s, 70s and 90s might disagree with that. Everyone thought they went through the best generation of Singapore.

All of us grew up believing Singapore was the best country in the world to live in. We were constantly told how lucky we were - and probably were, in all fairness. I believed each and every one of my classmates thought that our futures were secured and our future successes would be purely capability specific. In short, how far we could go in this country would be in our own hands because we could trust the men who made our country great to do their jobs, leaving the people to concentrate on fulfilling their potential and living their lives to the fullest. "Do the best you can," was the second sentence in one of our favorite national song back then. So long as we did our best and contribute, we would have a taste of the pie, the smaller crust bits at least. "Leave no countryman behind," they said. A few decades later, we witnessed Singaporeans attaining recognition at the international level only after they were forced to move overseas because they were given little or no chance back home. How are the current batch of our young enjoying their childhood and what do their future hold?

Circumstances change. It would be irresponsible to push our personal failures to the government, some say. That is the lazy generalization of the retarded, not a fact. On every national day, each and every Singaporean will be reminded we are where we are because of the good work done by the government. Our personal successes have everything to do with their sound policies and their foresight to take us so far. Each of us has been told to be grateful to what our country has given us, especially Singaporeans who have moved overseas. We will never be where we are if the government did not forge the Singapore brand to its current exquisiteness. So tell me the the closely intertwined government policies and personal effort begets success but failures are exclusive.

Today, the number of Singaporeans unable to afford a shelter over their heads that their fathers in their prime could is increasing. The wages of the majority of Singaporeans have been stagnant for more than a decade. Wealth of the general public has been eroded by inflation, in a country which amasses more wealth than it ever does in history year on year. Personal or policies failing?

When a government in a democratic country like ours is capable of producing results, their electoral votes are their report cards. Like the way we face examinations so many times school, no one can put you in a place you don't want to be when you get a good result. These days, even getting straights 'A's may not get you a place where you want to be. We needed to seek other avenues such as intimate networking, private dealings, close contacts, involuntary volunteerism and viral self-whoring.

It is even tougher for the government, especially one which can not perform as well as its reputation. The current batch has found themselves incapable of getting hard yet they are expected to penetrate into the hearts of their voters under the same rules of the game. To remain seated, the rules must be change. There is no other way. After all, it is easier going after people than their hearts. Repression, suppression into submission is the new and only rule of the game. How many Singaporeans have not realised that the earth has moved under their feet?

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