My post-GE2015 thoughts: The aftermath

GE2015

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!

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Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore

Jubliee Prayer SG50.jpgToday, 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!

Thankful for my wife

IMG-20150511-WA0002Since late last year, God revealed to me that my season in Viet Nam would be coming to an end. And that the next chapter is to return to Singapore. Hence, I had made plans to return to Singapore next year.

However, God had other plans. He orchestrated a job opportunity for me that will allow me to return to Singapore much earlier as I would have anticipated. In addition, the new company was willing to wait out my 3-month resignation notice!

Thus, next month I would be returning to Singapore to start my new job.

This new development also prompted my wife to look for her job in Singapore. And recently she received an offer to a job that would further her career as a professional counsellor. She begins her new job in a week’s time! Praise God!

Thus far, it has been amazing to see how God is working ALL things for us to return to Singapore with such ease! Too much ease that we cannot deny we are in the will of God. So that is assuring that we know we walking with Him. And that’s all that truly matters to me- that we are following Jesus!

I’m also thankful to God for my wife.

Without her love and support, I would not be in Viet Nam for the last 4 years. My wife demonstrated her love for me when she resigned from her dream job which she was then a school counsellor. And she did that so that I could pursue the vision and purpose of God for my life!

I must admit I have often took her for granted and her sacrifice. That’s why I’m so delighted that she now has this new job where she can continue to pursue her vision and purpose of God in her life from where she had left off.

In our next season, I believe it is now my turn to rally behind her and to see to it that my wife becomes all that she is destined to be and achieved in Christ!

 

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!

My Read of the Month:

Title: A Nation Cheated
Author: Chee Soon Juan
Published: 2008
Genre: Singapore Politics
Ratings: 3.7 out of 5 stars

Without a doubt Dr Chee Soon Juan cuts a very controversial figure in Singapore politics. Some respect him while some or most loathe him, especially for his confrontational antics with civil disobedience.

However, we cannot deny that this man’s fortitude in standing for his democratic beliefs in spite of the constant hammering dished out by our PAP leaders baffles many of us. And it did provoke me to consider about this man’s intentions and aspirations for Singapore and to read this book.

This book surmises Singapore’s political history (based on historical records) and how the PAP came into absolute power that it is today. And unlike what we were mostly told by the media and in schools, Dr Chee attempts to present the untold version of the PAP’s unscrupulous mannerism in usurping power using the ISA to detain political opponents.

Many of these political opponents were imprisoned without trial as long as 25 years. One notable character whom should have been Singapore’s first prime minister was the late Lim Chin Siong. He was a respected leader of the masses who valiantly fought for the rights of Singaporeans and their desire for independence from the British rule.

Interestingly, he was against the meager with Malaysia. That allegedly led him to be detained by the ISA on grounds that he was a communist. He was locked up twice on accusations for his communist links but was never trialed and convicted. He was subsequently banished to London in 1969 and only allowed to return 10 years later.

With Lim and an opposition out of the way, Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP took control of the independent press and active trade union movement. And they say the rest is history. In 1996, Lim passed away unceremoniously.

Not everything in this book is about the late Lim, but his story and his fate is pivotal in how the tide turned in favour for the PAP to reign. The rest of the book recounts the history of the degenerating of our labour laws; the dependency of MNCs and use of GLCs; and the transparency of our sovereign wealth funds with Temasek Holdings and GIC.

Overall, this book appeals even to the average man on the street. It shares the other side of history which has been blacked out. So one ought to read with an open and discerning mind, and conclude for yourself the true Singapore story.

And the truth is important,  for history defines who we are as a people, and don’t we wonder why there is no true identity or true sense of belonging as a Singaporean?

Who should read it: All Singaporeans and anyone who’s interested in the making of Singapore’s success.

Thoughts on the Singapore GE 2011

Below is one of the best personal commentaries on Singapore’s politics and the elections that I’ve read. Best in terms of objectivity, humility, full knowledge (not half-truths) of history, Christian’s view, balanced and especially humanity. Please read on.

Even though I’m against the PAP, I do recognize that in the past the PAP has had to make hard decisions and they’ve had to pass unpopular policies for the benefit of the country.

Governing a country is certainly not easy. Some decisions are hard decisions, but they need to be made nevertheless. So I do think that in general the PAP has had the right intentions.

They are not out to enrich themselves and they have no intention to make the poor suffer. They are well-qualified people with our interests at heart.

As yet, I wouldn’t trust an opposition government to make the right decisions. I believe the opposition candidates have bigger hearts, but I don’t believe there are enough with the experience and knowledge to understand the complexity of decisions involved and to make the difficult “non-populist” decision when needed.

On the other hand, while the PAP have lots of talented people, that in no way means they always make the right decisions that are best for Singapore. And that is the great problem with a one-party dominated parliament. There may be debates within the party, but that’s not good enough.

We need more voices and alternatives to be discussed publicly, not just behind closed doors.

Read the full blog post here>>>

GE 2011: My reflections… part 1

For me, the General Elections’ results carry a mix of emotions- one of euphoric delight which is matched with indescribable sadness at the same time.

Not to mention the deep injustice of how the electoral process and contest are carried out.

Firstly, I’m delighted over the overall outcome of the elections. This GE finally marked a victory for the opposition and for Singaporeans who do not connect with an authoritarian-style government.

History was made when almost all constituencies (except one) were contested for the first time since independence. PAP didn’t win easily as it did in previous elections which was marked by massive walkovers.

More importantly, the opposition namely the Worker’s Party (WP) secured 6 seats in parliament with 81-6 with PAP the majority. Again, this is the record highest number of seats for the opposition since independence.

But the highlight has to be the historical breakthrough win of Aljunied GRC by WP. The first GRC ever to be won by the oppositon since the GRC system was introduced in 1988.

However the pursued of democracy in Singapore was dealt a heavy blow where Mr Chiam See Tong was ousted by the PAP team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

This was further aggravated with the marginal defeat (by 114 votes) of the Potong Pasir SMC to the PAP after 27 years. Now Chiam, the longest serving oppositioon is out of parliament.

What is upsetting was the 242 spoilt votes that were made in Potong Pasir SMC. Though the votes if had been decided could have cut both ways. At least the results would have been undisputed.

I hope this can be a lesson for those who had spoilt their votes not to do so the next time. Be responsible and make a decision.

That said, the votes of 2011 for the future of Singapore speaks a lot about our voters. This is what I’ve learnt:

  1. Singaporeans are rationale and pragmatic voters. They do not vote for opposition for the sake of an opposition in the name of democracy at the expense of poltical or economic instability. (Observation: From election results of SPP in spite of the overwhelming support of oppositions at rallies and 27 years in Potong Pasir ward).
  2. Voters do want a credible opposition towards a first world parliament. If oppositions can field better quality candidates than the ruling party, chances are high to win their votes. (Observation: From the Aljunied win which I believe was helped by the introduction of Chen Show Mao).
  3. Most voters fall in the middle-income group. Hence, more educated and affluent. Therefore, they cannot be cowed by dangling ‘carrots’ of upgrading and etc… (Observation: From the defiance of dismissing Lee Kuan Yew’s threats).
  4.  The demographics of the voters have changed with the addition of Gen Y. Hence the chasm between the incumbent and voters has widened. No longer can the PAP use old tactics to engage and win seats. (Observation: From the online protests and swelling of support towards the opposition when smeared with media attacks).

To be continued…