January 28, 2010

Of Desperation

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 10:58 am

What’s that smell? That sweet, sweet, aroma. No, it’s not teen spirit. Smells like… Desperation.

Desperation is perhaps one of the biggest faux pas anyone can make in politics. Or in any aspect of society, for that matter. It says that you’re at your wits end. It says that you’re out of ideas. It says, you’re as close to defeat as you’ve ever been. And it surprises me to say that I’m not at all surprised that it has come from Mr MM.

In what can only be described as a dire move, Mr MM has cautioned Singaporeans not to let the issue of rising housing costs swing their votes.

First, the usage of the word “cautioned” seems a little condescending, doesn’t it? Then again, it’s Mr MM. Who’s surprised? However, looking at it from a different angle, there seems to be an element of intimidation involved.


  • noun 1 care taken to avoid danger or mistakes. 2 warning: advisers sounded a note of caution. 3 Law, chiefly Brit. a formal warning given to someone who has committed a minor offence but has not been charged.
  • verb 1 warn or advise. 2 chiefly Brit. issue a legal caution to. 3 chiefly Brit. (of a police officer) advise (someone) of their legal rights when arresting them.

Is Mr MM genuinely trying to connect with the masses? Or is he powering up to tyrant mode? Is he offering sincere advice or is this a scare tactic? Tough choice.

Next, let’s look at the justification offered by Mr MM. He believes that citizens should not complain about the high housing costs as  “it adds to their wealth and is an asset-enhancing policy”. In his words, “….the Government sells them at a subsidised price, below market rate, so that they can own an asset that will appreciate in value over the years.”

Mr MM, of all people, should know that Singaporeans don’t ever own their flats. Singaporeans sign a Tenancy/Lease Agreement with HDB and the usual Sales and Purchase Agreement for private properties whenever they “purchase” a flat. This means that the government can reclaim their flats after a period of 99 years. Which in turn means that your grand children and great grand children can kiss that roof over their heads goodbye.

Not to mention, even if the value of the flat does appreciate, reclamation simply means the government absorbs whatever value there is. But Mr MM is not technically wrong. Notice he doesn’t mention anything about “claiming the excess value”.

Mr MM then goes on to reject the idea of having more rental flats for younger Singaporeans just starting out. In his own words, it would “create a dependency group”. I apologise in advanced if my concept of governance is flawed, but I’ve always thought that it was only right for citizens to rely on its government. After all, they’re running the country. They’re suppose to be the ones who care. Implying that Singaporeans should not depend on the government is tantamount to renouncing their responsibilities as leaders of this country. Why should anyone vote for a government that refuses help to it’s citizens?

Finally, Mr MM’s little anecdote. His closing line, “Well, remember that when voting comes”, makes me sick. I’d expect him to know better than to liken a single stewardess to an entire demographic. I cannot say for sure if that conversation with the stewardess really happened. What i will say is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to serve coffee and tea on a plane.

I assure you, votes will swing. But, they are not protest votes. They are “I’m really sick of this” votes. The insinuation that these votes are more a consequence of unhappiness than critical thinking is an example of the government’s severe underestimation of Singaporeans. I know i like to give Singaporeans crap for not thinking as much as they should be, but I also recognise when a decision is made after much consideration. Be very certain, it is on.

1 Comment »

  1. An unambiguous ‘Thanks’. Linked under, ‘Politics’.

    Comment by Singazine — January 28, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

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