My post-GE2015 thoughts: The aftermath

PAP emerging stronger

Although I had been expecting the RULING PARTY to retain dominance, but I wasn’t expecting that their overall popularity would bumped up to 69.9%.

With the benefit of looking from the GE trend from 2011 and now, it is more clear that the people wants the PAP as long as they are listening and are for the people.

This tells me that majority of Singaporeans would stick to the one-party rule system as long as it’s the PAP and it’s working. They aren’t looking for change in terms of a more democratic system as most of us thought so from GE2011.

After GE2011, PAP responded in an effective and timely manner before GE2015 and they made sure we knew they listened. And I must add that their move to take full advantage of SG50 and NDR to appeal to our hearts look to have paid off.

PAP went all out

It’s interesting to note that Vivian Balakrishnan and Lim Swee Say were singled out and praised by PM Lee during NDR before the elections and they were both in the hotly contested GRCs. So that shows PAP was well ahead in preparation for the elections.

This GE, the PAP did not just go for the minds and hearts of the people, but also went all out against their contest. A stark contrast to last GE2011 where they displayed complacency. A good example is how they have used social media to engage voters. A lesson they learnt from GE2011.

So despite the gerrymandering, that already gives them an advantage, I fully commend them for the great effort poured in to earn our mandate. Congrats!

Reflect and regroup for the opposition 

For the OPPOSITION, there’s a lot more work needed to be done in becoming a credible party. For a start, do not position yourself as an anti-PAP party. Please la… Winning by hatred votes won’t get you far. Work harder on finding credible reasons for Singaporeans to want to trust you.

Also please be more strategic when you field candidates. It has to be more than just credentials and heart. Study and understand the demographics of the voters in the area you are contesting, and put candidates that voters can easily build affinity to.

If you lack candidates, please aim small la… Focus on winning on a SMC first then gradually work your way up. Get a seat first better than no seat right?

We know the political conditions are not favourable for the opposition. Hence, there’s an extra need to do more and show more substance in how and what the party can contribute in a tangible manner to Singapore. No more lofty ideas and hot air talk.

The trend and results show that Singaporeans won’t vote for the opposition for the sake of opposing.

Thirdly, please harness the power of the social media to engage more with voters to discuss and sell your ideas. Do capitalise on this platform to gain credibility by showing what you are doing on the ground. Learn from LHL and his team.

They learnt from GE 2011, but some how (with the exception of SDP) you did not.

Moving forward as a people

To us VOTERS, PAP is not = Singapore. No party is bigger than Singapore and we cannot keep looking at our past and not aspire for a better future. Playing safe does not keep us safe.

On the contrary, it is more dangerous to play safe as we won’t evolve and become relevant (while retaining our values) in an ever changing world. But of cos, if the incumbent party is able to produce progressive leadership, then that’s alright.

Also do know that “opposition” does not mean anti establishment or anti PAP. But I understand this notion is further reinforced by the sort of opposition candidates that are borderline crazy or psycho.

Standing on the opposition camp means having an alternative view or philosophy. However, the goal is the same of that to make Singapore better and stronger.

So it would do well for us if we respect a diversity of views and move to a collaborative stance where we do not leave any Singaporean behind.

Majulah Singapura!

Lastly, its easy to forget that Singapore is considered young as a sovereign nation at 50 years old. There’s still a long way for us to grow.

Borrowing a line from Deputy PM Tharman, one thing is for sure we are growing and building from a place of strength and not weakness. There is hope for our future!

So let’s continue onwards and United as one people. Majulah Singapura!

The Next 50 Years

Singapore celebrates her 50th birthday.

The 50 years has passed with much accomplished in one generation. The question to ask ourselves now is WHAT’S NEXT?

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.”

Acts13:36

All of us will live and die like David. But not everyone lives to serve and fulfill God’s purpose in his own generation.

Today, will you and I serve the purpose of God in your own generation?

Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore

Today, I was at the Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore with more than 50,000 from the Body of Christ.

It was definitely an appointment from God for my wife and I to be there, especially it being shortly after our return to Singapore. And the tickets were given to us!

As the session started, I was constantly welling up with tears of joy and thanksgiving.

Who are we?

Singapore is but a small nation, a little red dot. Despite this, look at what we have accomplished?

Our small in size and lack of resources have not prevented us to be overachievers and to grow in affluence.

Today, we are able to punch above our weight and stand tall among the other giant nations in the world.

But make no mistake, we are where we are because of His grace alone.

As a people, the Church must never forget that our success is because of His grace. It’s by His grace. And we must continue to stay strong in His grace.

The peace and prosperity that we are enjoying is because of God’s grace and mercy.

Where we are?

Sitting there before Him and in the presence of 50,000, I am grateful that I can be part of God’s Church at this defining period of the Jubilee.

I’m grateful for those spiritual leaders who have gone before us. I do not know them, but we are where we are today because they paid the price in standing in the gap.

I wish I could thank them personally, but I’m grateful for the pioneering generation of the unsung heroes of faith who have took up the role of ‘watchmen’ for our nation.

Their lives spent on bended knees cannot be left unrecognised or ignored. Today, the Church stands tall now on their shoulders.

Without them trail blazing His kingdom, we would not have a spiritual heritage as a Church in Singapore and to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

What are we to do?

I believe the Church is flipping the page towards a new era for Singapore in the year of jubilee.

The torch of the pioneering generation is going to be passed on to the next generation. And that generation has to step up to grab that torch to lead this nation as the next custodian and watchmen for Singapore.

What we see today of Singapore after 50 years is nothing in comparison to what lies ahead. Because each generation goes further than the generation preceding it.

God is not finished with His plan and purpose for this nation. And the Church is the reason.

It is my desire to be counted and be part of whatever He’s doing in and through Singapore, for I believe this is the reason He called me back!

Church, we’ve messed up

Today in His presence I wept.

I felt the anguish and deep grieving of the Holy Spirit from the aftermath of the recent development of the Supreme Court in making same-sex marriage legal in America.

Truth be told, the grief I felt is not so much because of what Obama did or the Supreme Court or even the LGBT. Because the legal law has never been the answer to address the matter of homosexuality.

The grief I felt is because the Church has messed up. Instead of manning up, we have shifted blame and looked at all the possible perpetrators except ourselves.

God have always reminded us that judgement will fall upon His people first as the custodian of the Gospel who are responsible to shine His light in our dark and fallen world.

So we, as the Church have messed up.

We were (and still are) the answer but we never did provide the answer in being the light for the world.

We had and have the authority to define marriage which is based on truth; to accurately represent and strongly defend this institution. But we messed up.

How can the Church have authority when people in general perceives “Christians divorce are at the same rate as non-Christians”?

How can we defend the sacredness of marriage between man and woman when the Church is constantly afflicted with scandals of adultery or sexual abuse?

Clearly because we have failed to firmly define marriage in society that other people groups are stepping in to redefine marriage according to their own pleasure rather than God’s pleasure.

We’ve messed up. Forgive us Lord. We repent. Please heal our land.

At this point, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He is Immanuel- God is with us. He is with us even in the midst of darkness. That’s His promise.

As long as His light shines,there is Hope. Unless the Church stands in agreement on His truth, we cannot reflect the fullness of His light to disperse darkness.

Without light, people will remain in darkness. And currently, the world is not able to see the Light through the Church.

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Me remembering LKY

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This is the closest I got to LKY. His wax replica in HK.

On this final day as Singapore bade farewell to him, I just thought I penned my thoughts on his legacy and Singapore’s future from a Christian perspective.

Honestly, I’ve many unanswered questions of the real history of the emergence of PAP into power and Singapore’s independence. I do not subscribe “the end justifies the means” reasoning no matter how noble the end might be. However, on my unanswered questions, I believe I will gain more clarity on the accuracy and truth in the future with LKY’s demise.

But for now, I will focus on the present and there’s no denying that Singapore is a miracle. It’s a rags to riches story but one told by a nation and achieving first world status in 1-2 generations! Moreover achieved by a nation that is so tiny with absolutely no dependence of any natural resources to cash in! So Singapore’s prosperity and international status that we enjoy now is most credited to LKY’s vision, leadership and relentless pursuit in making it happen at all costs!

However, I know there’s a God who is sovereign and He determines who rises and who falls, which government gets elected and which gets thrown out. In all, God uses leaders or nations to achieve His purposes just as how He used king Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Therefore, I believe whatever the history accuracy ought to be, that is secondary in comparison to acknowledging and understanding how He is working through people and events to ultimately achieve His eternal purpose!

LKY’s era reminds me of how Moses led the Israelites when they were freed from Egypt as slaves. Like Moses, LKY introduced the rule of law to bring order towards becoming a civil society. He shaped them into a people and gave the people dignity that was lost. And facilitated a new way of life with independence. God was behind all these. He used LKY and is using Singapore for His purpose. No doubt.

So this begs the question why God has prospered Singapore in this season and among Asia? For the last 50 years the vision for Singapore was to secure it’s survival with economic prosperity. Now that has been achieved, what do we rightfully do with all the wealth and resources? Is it just for our indulgence and providing a false sense of security?

I believe that is what we as a people need to find out and chart into the next 50 years. And God to birth a new vision needed to aspire us to thrive as a people over just merely surviving!

The future of Singapore is now in the hands of the next generation. A new era has now open up to new opportunities to write HIS story. And to get a good reference of the future of Singapore and how we move into the next era we should study the book of Judges, Kings and Chronicles to glean on the wisdom through Israel’s tumultuous development as a nation before the exile.

Let us pray that Singapore continues to uphold integrity and righteousness zealously even with the passing of LKY. And pray that we will have a more overtly outward outlook beyond our own lives and beyond Singapore to fulfill our Antioch call for Asia- to be a beacon and blessing in advancing His kingdom of love, peace and righteousness. Amen!

GE 2011: My reflections… part 2

Moving forward into the next 5 years, my hope is to see a greater level of fair play in our political arena to avoid unjust results.

For instance, the loss of well-loved George Yeo and the election of the infamous Tin Pei Ling exposes the shortcomings of the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system that was meant to defend the PAP’s stronghold.

The GRC also doesn’t give an accurate reflection of the support to the team of candidates. As my vote is just not for him, but for the whole team which might include weak candidates. And that was what I had told my MP: “I know you personally and see the good work that you are doing for our residents, but I’m not able to say the same with your other team candidates.” 

Key changes to address

Moreover, the ruling party has been using this to their advantage in bringing in more numbers and newbies into the parliament. So abolishing the GRC system is the right way forward for fair results in future elections to reflect the true representations from the people.

And it is also a means to secure votes to its favour since the boundaries are drawn according to analysis from past GE results (read this TOC article). 

The other more obvious correction is to replace the state-controlled media with a free media that doesn’t report with biasness or favour towards the ruling party.

The PAP using the state-owned media to its advantage by shredding the opposition in pieces with smear tactics that cast doubt over their credibility. The PAP has the right to accuse while the oppositions mostly do not have the right to respond in clarifying.

But if the media still intends to control the media, the very least that could be done is allow more private media agencies to be set up as alternative voices. That would also allow fair play and give voters more sides of the story especially for the older voters who do not rely on the internet but hugely depend and trust on the mainstream media for news.

Finally, there is a need to de-politicised our grassroots groups and agencies which has largely been influenced by the PAP. This machinery has work successfully for the ruling party in garnering support and votes over the years (read this CIA report).

In conclusion

Having said all that, I’m not hopeful for these changes to happen. If these changes do take place, then I would say that the PAP has truly transformed as what has been said in order to be opened and to connect emotionally to the people.

So, in the next GE I think the best approach for opposition parties to contest next time around would be focusing on GRCs by concentrating strong and quality candidates in them instead of contesting SMCs that would spread their limited resources. Winning would accelerate the process towards a first world parliament.

But the true winners at the end of the day are Singaporeans (rich or poor, old or young, educated or not-so-educated, male or female). Because of this GE, many got to vote for the first time (including myself). And because of that became more politically awared and engaged due to the responsibility to vote seriously. 

As what good is it to be a citizen if we do not have the right to vote during elections? Therefore, much thanks ought to be given to the opposition for uniting and giving a good fight inspite of the adversities and risks involved in order that we can exercise our right to vote. THANK YOU!

And now for us Singaporeans to unite and move ahead with the newly elected govenment for the next 5 years!