Sunday, July 09, 2006

Thinkers and Ostriches

Well it appears that TODAY has succumbed to the pressure from authorities to “suspend” Mr Brown’s column. Bullshit.

If one stops to ponder the implications of the Government’s actions, our country is going down the drain. The government has put its safety and comfort over our society. Is this what we want our society and country to become?

The government’s position is if you do not have a solution to a particular problem, please keep your mouth shut.

The effective banning of alternative “non-constructive” opinions in the mainstream press has only one effect. In the long run, this is encourages Singaporeans to turn into ostriches who bury their heads in the sand whenever a problem crops up and hope someone solves their problem. If Singaporeans are discouraged from pointing out problems if they have no solution at hand, who is going to point out the problems?

In fact, there is a group of people in Singapore who are supposed to do exactly that. This is our governing elite, they may or may not be in government itself, but they are in the higher echelons of business organizations.

This incident hints at a deeper dichotomy in Singaporean society. It appears that the Government by using scholars sent to the best universities of the world is grooming the future thinking elite, the ones who would make the decisions for the rest of us. This is obvious enough, but what it implies is that the rest of Singaporeans should have minimal say over the decision making process. They should focus instead on their employability and families, in short satisfying Maslow’s lower hierarchy of needs first.

Any dissent among the elites is made within close doors and they are kept in their place by their massive remuneration. This is not to say that elites in Singapore are cowed into submission, on the contrary they are expected to take an active role in government and politics.

The mainstream newspapers are for the non-elites, hence any opinion piece that provokes unwanted thought and doubt in the minds of ordinary Singaporeans will not see the light of day. Creating a culture of cynicism and despondency, and pointing out obvious coincidences in government policy are both different interpretations of what Mr Brown wrote.

If the government is serious about encouraging active citizenship, it should be rebutting Mr Brown’s points, and not simply accuse Mr Brown of belittling the Government’s efforts to help the lower income group. If the Government aims to restrict serious and informed discussion about the pros and cons of Government policy to certain groups, our society will become polarized, as is already happening now.

For all our nation-building efforts, it increasingly appears that for every step we take forward, we are taking 2 steps back. The future of our country is at stake here, for it is society, even more so than economics or war, which make or break a nation. Forget about lack of reading culture, western consumerism or even the controlled media.

This is the true cause of Singapore’s apathy.

Written by Milli Vanilli
Edited by at82


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