23 Apr 2005

No end in sight to PAP's arrogance

Press statement by J B Jeyaretnam, 20 Apr 2005

There appears to be no end in sight to the PAP government's arrogance.

The latest is the statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs that "Singapore does not require a foreignerto tell Singapore and Singaporeans how our criminaljustice should function" (ST April 17).

The statement makes clear that the PAP will only accept praise and not any criticism from anyone outside Singapore. It is like the ostrich burying its head in the sand.
I said at the forum that our criminal justice system was taking a calculated risk of sending innocentpeople to death and to incarceration in the prisonfor long terms. If the PAP government is seriousabout its claim of the quality of Singapore justicein Singapore, the least the PAP government shouldtry and do is to answer my criticisms.

My previous calls to this government to debate have all been ignored. If the government continues toremain silent, then it must be deemed to accept mycriticism that our system of criminal justice may besending innocent people to death and to prison.

J B Jeyaretnam
20 April 2005

It is slowly beginning to look like a personality type after some but not all of the 'love letters' I have been receiving in the comments section.

I once had a discussion with a Singaporean social worker who argued that the inability to take criticism had something to do with an inferiority complex.

So now everyone can pick up on the phrase 'inferiority complex' mis-hear, mis-read and mis-interpret it out of context.


redrown said...

well i think u've achieved what you set out to do, which is to provoke an indignant response from the singapore blogosphere, but i don't think you can draw any reasoned conclusions from the variety of comments, simply because they are in no way conclusive representation for the 'research' you wish to undertake..

for every person you have evoked an indignant response from there are probably ten more siting snugly behind their screens chuckling at the ensuing antics from all sides, and hundreds more who couldn't even care less – the indifference to your label of 'infantilism', as opposed to general malaise towards 'mature' issues that you constantly extol.

And an attempt at self defence against criticism may but does not definitely point toward an inferiority complex...

but to your credit: it definitely unearthed some facets of the psyche of some people, who stand guilty as what you have charged them with: unfortunately it would seem most likely that similar phenomenons will be observed in any other social environment you may desire to experiment in.

and from this current article it would seem that the gov is similarly afflicted by this condition – but perhaps in their case it is to uphold their image – if they are visibly criticised and their flaws fleshed out to all, it could undermine their credibility in the eyes of its people with negative consequences to themselves.

Anonymous said...

The world "infantile" denotes young and growing. so, why get so worked up!

We all learn to crawl, to walk, to sit, to eat, to drink, etc since we are born. Day by day, we slowly learn from many experiences of failure until we are fully capable of doing all the actions independently and confidently until maturity, don't we? It is a true fact that we must learn we all learn from scratch, from the basics!

Even those businessmen succeed only thru failures, receiving criticisms and feeback and thru organisation learning from others all the time.

The most important thing is the driving force behind all actions - MOTIVIATION, from the originator as well as from the recipient.

For eg, when a drug addict wants to lure someone to join him in the drug addiction, he will always approach with big smile, sing praises and being nice and helpful to the innocent party. The originator's action appears to be positive but his motivation is obviously negative.

In contrast, when a mother sees her child does something wrong, for eg playing with fire. She scolds and beats her child. The mother's action is negative but she is doing out of love for her child - a good motivation.

So, in this context we are discussing now, criticism is not a bad thing. Be open and see the good side of it. Criticism, in a way, is trying to point out the flaws so that improvement can be made. So, can we Singaporeans be more receptive to learn from our infantry stage? I think only an open, humble and less egoistic mind will take the path to success. One of the Chinese idiom says “whor tau lau xue tau lau”

Be happy and have a nice weekend, everyone!!

Anonymous 1

Anonymous said...

yawn. when are these taunts gonna end?

Hecate said...

redrown>> governments are made up of individuals too, and while governments ought not to falter, there is room (though not much), for them to make mistakes (and not horribly gargantuous ones either).

"if they are visibly criticised and their flaws fleshed out to all, it could undermine their credibility in the eyes of its people with negative consequences to themselves."

I think if governments in general deliberately ignore criticisms especially from the opposition, it would do more harm in terms of undermining their credibility, because there would always be the small faction that would make use of this to say that the government is keeping quiet because it has nothing to say, because it is all true.

In the context of Singapore, while the PAP might still remain in power for many more years to come, the actions taken by the party may not be endorsed by many citizens. Indeed, Singaporeans do have the tendency to criticise the government for many things, regardless of whether we might be doing it for the sake of cricism itself. By refusing to answer criticisms, as JBJ suggested in his press release, PAP may be trying to keep up this "perfect" image of the party and its members. As the population becomes more educated and politically aware (I hope), I don't think many would buy in to this sort of image.

(Of course, many also have similar criticisms of the opposition in Singapore, but that's another story for another day.)

dks said...

i have very carefully nurtured my inferiority complex over many years, so i am deeply offended that you might think MY complex is common to my nationality, rather than being unique to myself.

many years, with the help of my parent state and the ever present cultural imperialism of the west.

you see. we don't have a millenia of recorded history propping up our civilization.

christ sakes, even the stories surrounding our nation's founding is centered around this one british wanker.

so pardon my complex; i've simply grown used to genuflecting to the master race.

+ + +

on a seperate note, i'm surprised you'd put so much faith in the statements issuing from old JB's office.

i mean, he's feisty, sure, but not much else.

contrary to popular (white) belief, singapore's voting population isn't quite cowed by our government's bullying on the field of politics.

if we re-install the same party, election after election, it's not on that party's merits, but on the dearth of plausible alternatives.

perhaps your honorable self ought to apply for citizenship and run as an independant candidate.

the colour of your skin alone will endear you to the disaffected under 30s segment, and most women under the age of 45.

think about it... you could be a hero; the western bleeding-heart liberal who singlehandedly effected a "regime change" in Asia!

that would be a story for the grandkids eh?

lady queer said...

my take on the issue of an infantile blogosphere. a lil outdated, but i've been busy with assignments =P


Hecate said...

dks>> i agree with you, the fact that we keep putting the same party in the same seat for the last few decades is a result of the fact that alternatives are less than desirable. JBJ used to be a formidable opponent for LKY and his part, sadly, most of us should know that he spends his days peddling books he writes.

But then again, I think this issue of us not having proper alternatives and us voting PAP over and over again election after election is one big circular argument. Its like the chicken and the egg, only this time, it's which came first: incompetent opposition or is it simply because the PAP has created an environment so unconducive that opposition simply cannot exist in proper forms.

as for the conspiracy theory that the opposition is something orchestrated by the govt, please save it, its just non-constructive

The Rational Neurotic said...

One of the reasons for a slow and small political culture Singapore is the ultimate lack of strong opposition. Even with PAP's so-called bullying, if one really cared for the people of Singapore rather than beating the Men in White down, they might just win the vote (like Chiam See Tong)..

So I say, the focus must be on the people, not where did the ruling party go wrong!

dks said...

/props neurotic.