Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Press Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

For Immediate Release
Press Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

1) The conclusion of the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has been announced by the President of United States as well as our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 5 Oct 2015. However the negotiation was done in total darkness of a black box operation in which, up till now, there is no formal public revelation of the details of all the 33 Chapters embedded in this agreement.

2) While the Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Lim Hng Khiang has painted a rosy picture for Singapore SMEs to benefit from this TPPA, but we know that for every Free Trade Agreement, there will always be tradeoffs for every country.

3) It is inadequate for our Prime Minister and Minister to only talk about the potential benefits of TPPA without telling Singaporeans the tradeoffs we are going to make in return.

4) We urge the PAP government to make public all information with regards to TPPA as early as possible so that debate on this extremely important FTA could be carried out rigorously. We note that the government is obliged to make public the details of this agreement within 30 days from the signing. We would expect PAP government to fulfill this obligation.

5) It would be more helpful if an independent panel of academia, economists and experts could be set up to explain the potential implications of all the 33 Chapters.

6) We are particularly concerned over the impact on the income growth as well as job prospects of all Singaporeans, medicine cost, cost of living and population growth.

7) We are also concerned on the social and national impact of TPPA. In particularly, will TPPA give overwhelming powers to big corporations and MNCs to dictate our local legislation based on compliance clauses stated in it?

8) People’s Power Party is against black box operations for any legislation or ratification of any Free Trade Agreement without much transparency, open debate and scrutiny. If TPPA was proven to be overly controversial, we would want a referendum over its final approval.

9) We hope that PAP is more forthcoming and transparent with all the information of TPPA and do not shy away from public debate over this agreement.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
For Pro-tem Committee People’s Power Party

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GE2015 Reflections - The Pendulum Swing

There are prominent people who have talked about the unfairness of the electoral system and blame this as the main reason for bad result of opposition in GE2015.

A letter has been sent to UN and a petition has been raised by Gilbert Goh while Dr Chee Soon Chuan has raised the point of the need to revamp the whole electoral system before we could have any meaningful contest.

While I agree that there are a lot of unfair practices within the current system, like PAP was given prior advanced knowledge of where the polling stations would be situated while opposition parties were made to wait. ... etc. , but the fundamental question is, 70% of Singaporeans allowed this to carry on. They didn't view these unfairness as a BIG DEAL.

In fact I think that this is a wakeup call to opposition parties that internet which has been viewed as the important tool for Democratic development is really over rated in Singapore's context.

The Myth that progressive increment of support for opposition from 2006 to 2011 is due to post-65 voters which will peak at 2017 and that will bring about political change for Singapore should be discarded. Even young voters, first time voters might have switched their votes to PAP.

The brutal truth derived from this year's GE is that majority of Singaporeans do not have a strong belief of the need of Democracy or Democratic development for our country. This is the fundamental reason why PAP can go on gerrymandering and vote buying using government funding but yet get away with all these nonsense; because Singaporeans allow it to do all these without repercussion from the poll.

This is why I concluded earlier that for my party, we may have to put in more effort in promoting our belief of Separation of Five Powers as the tenets of Real Democracy. When political education on Democracy is lacking, we will never have enough Singaporeans who really believe in Democracy to help us evolve and develop Democracy for Singapore.

Having said all these, PAP should not be too happy. The reason is that they will be facing an electorate who has no loyalty or political belief of any sort, except of self interests. The swing voters could swing as they like or dislike. They will become more demanding and policies will naturally have to become more populist.

Such a big swing signifies a bigger variance and may become a source of instability for PAP. It will become a big pendulum swinging to and fro. This may just become the biggest source of uncertainty and instability for us all.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Loss of Middle Ground's Confidence

Did opposition as a whole lose the confidence and trust of the middle ground voters? If so, what makes them lose confidence?

Following my previous posting on GE2015 reflections, the next pertinent question we need to ask ourselves is why would the middle ground voters abandon opposition parties altogether with that fear of PAP losing power?

Many opposition supporters took potshots at the front page report of PM Lee making the remark that if opposition party took power, Liao Lah (we are finished ) but I find that expression struck the core fear of the middle ground voters.

Whether we like it or not, the AHPETC saga has instilled doubts and even fear into middle ground voters' mind. While those supporters in WP wards were struggling on whether to keep opposition MPs in parliament or not, other middle ground voters were frighten with the prospect of having opposition parties forming the government with the lingering doubts over AHPETC saga.

AHPETC saga at best, will be viewed as an issue of competency. But even at this optimistic level, it is unacceptable to the middle ground voters.

Serangoon Gardens and Kovan area used to be WP strong ground even since GE 2006 and the swing towards a losing ward for WP is really alarming. By right Town Council management only affects HDB dwellers and these private house owners should not be affected at all. However these voters have swung against WP and this can only be explained by the erosion of confidence in WP's Corporate management of AHPETC.

Thus it is a gross understatement to say that AHPETC has little or no impact on GE2015. I believe that the AHPETC saga has in fact created fear and loss of confidence of most middle ground voters throughout Singapore.

Linking this AHPETC saga with the perceived prospect of PAP losing powerdue to reasons as explained in my previous posting, it created a massive swing of votes from the middle ground which leave us with only the base support of hardcore opposition supporters.

In GE2011, the entry of Chen Show Mao has instilled confidence in the middle ground voters and the whole opposition enjoyed a vote swing towards it. But this time round, unfortunately the reverse happened.

It may take us years or even more than a decade before we could restore such confidence again, unless we take pro active measures to win back their confidence during these few years.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Post- GE2015 reflections

I have been going through my thoughts over the GE results, the implications and what lies ahead for Singapore and opposition parties for these few days.

It is interesting to note a couple of important observations and contradictions:

While many people agree that the FEAR of PAP not forming the government made the middle ground swing their votes towards PAP, but we know PAP has been playing this card for past GEs as well. The most important comment made by Goh Chok Tong was "Freak Elections Result" in 1997.

Strange enough, instead of having that "cry wolf" effect, this time round this "cry wolf" tactic really worked. Was it because of LKY passing and this really made people scared? Was it because there was a coordinated effort by the Mainstream media which really projected that perception of "opposition gonna to win big" and this was echoed by the new media and opposition supporters themselves, coupled with huge turnout for WP and SDP rallies that made this "make belief" really turn out well?

The second strange thing is where everybody talks about the need to have "opposition unity" in terms of merger or alliance... whatever, orr even have shadow cabinet, just to show that opposition ready to take over the government, BUT won't this enhance the FEAR of PAP will lose power in the face of stronger opposition front?

Now, if this "freak election result" was the result of the middle ground voters being frighten off by the thought of PAP losing power, how would the projection of an even BIGGER and STRONGER unified opposition front help to convince them that PAP will not lose power? Can putting up a shadow cabinet help to assure and address these middle ground voters' Fear?

The other reasoning says that we should go back to "by election" strategy. That is a bit absurd. Comparing to GE2011, the only difference now is that Tg Pagar has been contested! But yet in GE2011, opposition as a whole fair pretty well!

Besides, I have said that it is important that we have all seats contested so that all Singaporeans can exercise their voting rights. It is an important process because no matter how the votes turn out to be, everyone will go through the process that empowers them and makes them think hard of the Nation's future. This process alone will enhance our citizenry (especially when we are having a lot of New Citizens since 2000) and make them realize that they have a stake in this country. It is part of building up National Identity. Thus I do not agree to compromise on that in return for "better chance of winning".

Some people opined that opposition must put up strong candidates etc so that we can win. But I believe it is precisely that opposition has spread their talents all over Singapore, creating the perception that there is REAL possibility of opposition parties winning in various wards so much so that it frighten off the middle ground. eg Singfirst Tan Jee Say in Tg Pagar, SDP CSJ and Paul T in Holland Bukit Timah along with the 28 seats of WP and if we add in Mountbatten, Bishan TPY, Tampines and CCK which has decent scores in GE2011, the total number of seats add up will be more than half of the seats.

Although we know that apart from having well known individual politicians in these teams, the overall team formation may not be "fantastic" but I guess it really creates an irrational fear in the middle ground voters. Only this can explain why this "Cry Wolf" tactic has become more "credible" and the fear was really invoked this time round.

My view is that this election is FREAK in every sense because the results were based on irrationality and fear rather than realistic expectation.

The fact that last GE has created quite a number of well known opposition individuals like Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang YG, Jeannette Chong, Gerald Giam, Yee JJ, Lee LL, in addition to Dr Chee and Prof Paul T etc joining the contest, the overwhelming combined effects along with the powerful over-population issues and the over-zealous of political parties and supporters rallying "VICTORY" all over the internet, all these have really helped PAP to create fear successfully into the middle ground voters' mind. In Chinese terminology, 物极必反. When something goes to the extreme, it will reverse and bounce back, backfire totally.

My take for this GE result is, chill. It is an unintended freak election results which were caused by multiple factors. We just have to see clearly that the strategy of putting up "sure win" political posturing will backfire on us. We just need to rethink on the strategy and messaging. Some of the things are out of our control but some of the things we could do better.

Last but not least, one important observation made. PAP has never wanted to debate about THEIR policies because they know they will be cornered into a defensive position. They have avoided all challenge of policy debates but at the same time, they attacked those parties which put up too detailed policy options (i.e. SDP and Singfirst).

I was careful not to put up POLICY manifesto and when the reporters keep asking for it, I felt extremely fishy! I will only put up "Election Manifesto" just like what PAP did (not that PPP does not have any policy stance) but will challenge PAP for policy debates.

In short, winning policy debates is really different from winning elections. PAP has been using this strategy of avoiding policy debates while cherry pick on opposition parties' policy views and attack them ferociously. Just have to fight smart against them.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, September 20, 2015

End of Journey Start from Fresh

End of Journey Start from Fresh

I believe many opposition politicians from my generation feel the same way, we might have come to the end of our political journey in the sense that, in view of the current electoral results, we may not be walking into parliament during our lifetime.

However it doesn't mean we should end here. It would be overly pessimistic that opposition politics will have no more hope. Politics is a long drawn battle.

We may have come to our end of journey but we have to lay the Foundation for the future generations of politicians and activists to take over the baton. We just have to pass it on.

So hang on there my fellow opposition politicians. We still have unfinished business to do a proper handover.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Campaign Trail - The Final Count Down

Campaign Trail - The Final Count Down

Needless to say, it is an exciting day as this is it, the Nomination Day.

I have mixed feelings for this Third Electoral Battle of mine.

Frankly speaking, I was a bit hesitant to form a new party in May because we expected GE to be held before end of the year. Likely date was 12 Sept and it was expected to be so.

Nevertheless, the dice was cast and the decision was made. Here we are, People's Power Party - PPP.

Within two months, we scrambled to get things done and we are proud to say that we are doing pretty alright. From flags, flyers to posters, we get it done.

It is not an easy journey and I believe not many would want to go through it again unnecessary without good reasons. It is really a little miracle that we have come so far.

My team may be small but they are passionate in what they are doing. They are passionate to get this contest going, regardless of what it takes. And yes, fortunately, our team is growing.

Nobody believes we can make it this far, but we did. And it seems that we will continue to fight and the momentum is growing.

I was asked by some reporters what do I expect the result would be, I say it out loud here, We Fight To Win.... and Win Shall We!

Many thanks to volunteers and supporters out there. It would have not been possible without your passion and selfless contributions towards our effort. We owe you for our little miracle here and we shall repay you by putting up a good fight!

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Foreign Labour and Population Policy (FLPP) still remains as the SUPER HOT TOPIC on the ground when we went around CCK.

Interesting enough, I have met FIVE different groups of people so far, putting up their grievances about this FLPP.

1) The first group of people is of course Singaporeans who are EXTREMELY Angry of Singaporeans being displaced by cheaper foreign labour and forced to drive taxi or suffers "underemployment". These people will not show up in government statistics as "unemployed" but the truth is, these PMETs are UNDEREMPLOYED.

2) This group of Singaporeans are angry about the crowding effect of overpopulation and the cultural conflicts caused by excessive foreign population growth. This is a big potential time bomb and it has become BIGGER than a mere problem of "integration".

3) This group of Singaporeans are those with foreign spouses. PAP government has refused citizenship/PRs to their foreign spouses or give long term visit passes to their foreign parents to come to Singapore so that they could take care of their children. This is due to the "low income" criteria that ICA set for such cases. The irony is that while PAP government discriminated against lower income earners in marrying foreign spouses but to the lower income earners, the only option for them to get married is to marry foreign brides!

4) This group of Singaporeans were born in Singapore but they have siblings who are born elsewhere (eg. Malaysia). They wanted to get their siblings to come and live with them, even willing to be their sponsors but ICA has ruled against it! This is basically inhumane!

5) This group consists of SMEs owners who are "victims" of people pressuring PAP government to tighten FLPP. They seems to blame "opposition parties" for it but I have to explain to them that it is PAP's mismanagement of the FLPP and quota system that created their problems.

I also explain to them that they should take active steps to review their company or factories' processes to increase productivity while cutting down dependency on extensive labour. MOM should coordinate and monitor such improvement made to SMEs. SMEs may lack access to technology or expertise which are used in other countries and MOM or SPRING should be playing a more active role in consultancy work to help them to further improve processes. Productivity growth continues to be low because PAP government only throw money after tons of paper work and bureaucracy. If a SME has really reached a high level of automation but still have difficulties in employing local operators, then MOM should allow them to increase their quota. This should be done case by case basis.

MNCs and GLCs hardly have any problems in employing Foreign Labour and some have extremely favourable quota to start with. The irony is that these jobs are mainly PMET jobs which Singaporeans desire and want to do but PAP government has allowed them to be displaced by loose quota.

Ironically, PAP government has set very high workers' levies on jobs which Singaporeans shun away (eg. Construction)

I also find it extremely CRUEL and Inhumanely inconsiderate for ICA to make it extremely difficult for middle-lower income Singaporeans to get PRs or citizenship for their foreign spouses. It is ironic that some of them whom are from lower income household, could not get citizenship for their foreign spouses and ended up paying more for everything just because their PRs or just long term visiting pass status.

I am not entirely against FLPP but I believe, we should do it responsibly and with a right direction. I would want to GROW ORGANIC local families with foreign spouses and would not mind giving citizenship to these foreigners who are married to Singaporeans.

It would be totally ironic to see foreign labour from India or PRCs allowed to bring their whole family to Singapore to reside and getting PRs so easily just because they earn higher income or subject to the liberal FTAs signed with their home countries while our local Singaporeans' foreign spouses were discriminated against, due to the lower earning power.

Foreign spouses of Singaporeans will integrate into our society much easier than those foreign labour who bring in their whole family from foreign land. I really cannot understand the rationale behind such discrimination against our own Singaporeans at all.

Last but not least, we should set up a "Recovery from Underemployment" mechanism to help those who are really underemployed (eg PMETs turn taxi drivers) to get back to work in the field of their expertise again.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, August 27, 2015

United We Fight

PAP is really fearful of OPPOSITION UNITY and they have taken unprecedented rule to ban opposition leaders to speak on each other parties' rallies!

I remembered JBJ and Chiam See Tong had stood on the SAME RALLY stage to give speeches!

Why would we, Opposition leaders be BANNED from speaking on any other parties' rallies just because we are opposition party members? Why are our RIGHTS to Freedom of speech be ROBBED away just like that, citing some excuses?

We will challenge PAP to state clearly the rationale of such new rules!

I have told all opposition leaders that I am prepared to speak at any party's rallies as long as they invite me to and it doesn't clash with my own rallies.

In fact someone in the Unity Meeting has suggested that we put up a combined list of Speakers so that we can speak on each other rallies!

It seems that PAP is extremely FEARFUL of OPPOSITION UNITY. The more they are fearful, the more we should stick together and stay UNITED!

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, August 26, 2015






Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Campaign Trail - A Clean Gentleman Contest

Campaign Trail - A Clean Gentleman Contest

We were at Nanyang and as usual, PAP's candidate My Yee who was redeployed from Punggol East to CCK Nanyang came to greet us.

After exchanging formal greetings, I was a bit surprised that he took the time and trouble to sit down and has a small chat with me.

I have done a bit of research on Mr Yee after the announcement of his candidacy in CCK Nayang. And as expected, he is indeed an unassuming and down to earth person.

In fact we share some common traits. He jokingly says that although he was from RI but he is just a "farmer", not a scholar or elite.

He started serving Ren Ci after Mingyi left. I told him that I used to serve a Buddhist welfare organization as well in fund raising during Hungry Ghost month. He also shared his visits to the three famous Buddhist temples in Taiwan.

After finishing up the drink he has treated me, it was time to go. But before leaving, he has left his name card with me. I promised him that no matter what is the outcome of this contest, we shall meet again for tea.

This encounter with Mr Yee leaves me thinking. PAP may have numerous MPs or Ministers whom we dislike but there are also some, though few, who are the ones with humility and sincerity to serve the Nation.

Mr Yee may be one of them but unfortunately, we are now opponents doing a face off in this GE.

Nevertheless, as gentlemen, we contest aggressively against each other's political views and ideas but will definitely keep the sparring CLEAN from malicious smearing.

May the better man wins.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Mother of All Problems - Unchecked Population Growth

Reporter called to ask me on my view of PM Lee's NDR speech. The key point lies on the "sensitive" Foreign Labour-Population growth policy.

I have issued a SERIOUS warning to PM Lee and his PAP team. This "sensitive" issue of unchecked population growth has reached a dangerous social boiling point. It is no longer about simple trade offs but rather, when will there be social uprising against this senseless GDP growth at all cost which resulted in explosive population growth if there is no immediate measures to moderate it.

It will no longer be whether we can have good economic/GDP growth but whether our social fabric will rupture and social disgruntlement will turn ugly, creating instability.

PAP ruling elites should stop running the country by burying themselves in their world of digits and economic theories.

PAP has made two critical mistakes in managing the population growth:

1) Inadequate corresponding infrastructure development to cope with sudden rapid population growth. It is definitely amazing for the supposed top talents who are paid millions every year to make such amateur, common sense mistake. Take hospital beds for example. for the last decade, there is a growth of over 1 million population but there was only an increase of 500 beds. It will take more than another decade before another 2000 beds to be added in the immediate future. However, PAP is planning to have another more than 1 million population growth! This is totally unacceptable.

2) Disastrous management of population growth whereby there is practically no proper checks done on the qualifications of those who wanted to come to Singapore to work. MOM has the gull to say that it is the responsibility of employers to do due diligence on the qualifications of their employees! Furthermore, the FTAs signed with other big third world countries have put in terms of allowing "UNLIMITED NUMBER" of people from these countries to come to Singapore to work! For example, India has over 1 billion people. Singapore, as a tiny little red dot, has actually signed CECA which allows unlimited number of Indians to come to Singapore to work in 127 professions! Can we accommodate even 1% of Indian population of 10 million people? Here again, I do not know why such intelligent breed of PAP leaders could have such simple common sense escape them!

My take is, if PM Lee and his team still continue to ignore all the disturbing signs from the ground while keep talking about "painful trade offs", it will be just a matter of time before social unrest blew up right in front of their faces.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What am I fighting for Singapore?

What am I fighting for Singapore?

Many concerned supporters have come forward to urge me not to hit on the MOB who go around smearing other opposition political leaders. They are extremely worried that I will lose support of the Mob supporters of certain political party if I continue to criticise them for their dirty underhand tactics.

My response is as follows:

I decided to join opposition politics not just because I want to get elected as MP. It is more of my vision and hope for Singapore, to develop a REAL Democracy for our future generations, breaking out of the current system of authoritarianism.

I hold true to my values of Democracy and I do not believe in MOB RULE. I believe in healthy contest of elections based on contest of ideas, ideals and policy views, instead of dirty underhand smearing tactic. That is not I want for Singapore and my future generations.

In this adverse political landscape manipulated by PAP's Gerrymandering and GRC system, opposition parties may try their best to negotiate and come to consensus of not having multi-corner fights so that we opposition as a whole, can have better chance to break PAP's monopoly of power by holding more than two third of the seats. Our aim is to break the two third majority held by PAP.

But if some of us failed to resolve conflicting interests and claims, then so be it. We should respect the democratic process and allow voters to judge, based on candidates' strength, values and political discourse, instead of going into madness of political assassination via smearing campaign.

Singapore deserves better than that. We have been complaining against PAP of using such smearing tactic each and every elections but we must also be mindful of supporters of opposition party doing exactly what we detest of PAP's deeds.

This mindless smearing campaign will only hinder the development of a healthy Democracy for Singapore. It will also prevent more good people from stepping forward to serve as opposition candidates for fear of being smeared by the MOB.

Thus in my view, if I do not voice out against such destructive MOB rule just for FEAR of losing my elections, then I would rather quit politics altogether. If such MOB Rule is able to convince Singaporeans of not voting me just because I am against them, then so be it. I shall respect the will and decision of Singaporeans, thus not serving the country as a parliamentarian.

I have embarked on this bumpy journey of opposition politics about 15 years ago and I have seen all sorts of madness along the way. But I am determined to stick to what I truly believe in and not sway by such madness of Mob rule.

Vote me if you believe in me and my vision for a truly Democratic Singapore with the functioning system embedded with Separation of Powers. If you believe in such MOB rule, then you have the right not to support nor vote for me.

Goh Meng Seng

Say No to Third World Dirty Smearing Politics!

I find it distasteful and downright despicable for supporters of some political party to utilize underhand smearing tactic to attack their opponents.

We won't be able to achieve "First World Parliament" with such Third World despicable dirty politics.

First the mob attack SDA Desmond Lim, harassing him to the max with all kinds of insinuation and smearing. Then they turn against NSP Sebastian Teo and Steve Chia.

We want a CLEAN fight, not dirty smearing Third World politics. We want First World Democracy which we have more debates on policy matters and views, instead of such smearing and mudslinging.

General Elections is about the Contest of ideas, ideals and policy views. It is NOT a smearing or mudslinging contest.

I hereby strongly condemn the mob behind all these dirty smearing which hit under the belt. Opposition politicians have taken the risks and sacrifices to come to the front to contest. Freedom is NOT Free and definitely NOT CHEAP. For every contest, we are spending tens of thousands of dollars and we do not have the whole machinery behind us. Whether you like it or not, opposition politicians deserve respect, not smearing.

Supporters have the freedom to support or not to support any political parties. If there is three corner fight, so be it. Let voters decide in the democratic way.

People who disrespect the rights of others (to contest), do not really believe in democracy. I really fear for Singapore if such a mob really run Singapore.

 You just can't achieve First World Parliament with Third World dirty smearing politics! 

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Do We want Political Elitism?

Do We want Political Elitism?

Are voters supporting Political Elitism? Most of the time, opposition supporters detest the PAP's Elitism and opined that these ruling elites are out of touch of the ground for far too long.

However, when it comes to opposition candidacy, supporters and Singaporeans at large have went back to their nurtured "elitist" mind of looking at opposition candidates' paper qualifications and superficial outlook.

I notice that some people are harassing SDA and its leader, Desmond Lim, even go to the extend of "heckling" him at his company's FB page, to "pressure" him not to contest at Punggol Pasir Ris GRC. These people opined that he is "no good" or lack "caliber" etc. They prefer some other party without even asking what candidates they will field in replacement.

These people laugh at Desmon Lim's spoken English but I can say that most Singaporeans do not speak perfect English as well.

I have known Desmond Lim for quite sometime now. He is definitely not some "elites" whom you will find in PAP. He is just a typical Singaporean. But he is definitely unassuming and his people's skills are definitely above average.

As a matter of fact, Desmond Lim and I had a quarrel back in GE2011 out of some misunderstanding. However he was the one who took the initiative to extend his olive branch when we met at a mutual friend's wedding dinner.

Many people expect opposition candidates to be like super elite scholars like Chen Show Mao before they would swing their votes towards opposition parties. As I say, although Singaporeans dislike those ruling elites very much but somehow, this subconsciousness of wanting "elites" to be their political leaders is very deep rooted.

But I can safely say that "elites" are not necessary desirable. We need elites with the HEART to serve. Chen Show Mao is one of the few we could find.

Having said that, does it mean that any "lesser mortal" is undeserving to be opposition candidates and MPs? Of course not.

Just for example, Desmond Lim has his strength which many so call "elites" do not have.

First of all, People skills. The ability to connect with the people on the ground is very important. Many "elites" whom I have met and seen, lack such basic skills.

Secondly, his experience in running the Potong Town Council. Many elites may be highly qualified lawyers, doctors, scholars etc but they may not know how to run a Town Council efficiently and effectively.

Another important skill Desmond has is his Mandarin capability. He may have some deficiency in his spoken English due to some reasons, but so far, I would say that he is one of the few opposition politicians who can speak fluent Mandarin. Many people thought that this skill is less important but the truth is this, there are many New Citizens who come from China. They feel better connected to politicians who can speak fluent Mandarin. In order to swing these New Citizens' votes, opposition parties will need an extremely strong Mandarin anchor.

Thus my message to opposition supporters, especially those who look down on some other politicians for the reason that they aren't the "elites" they are yearning for, each opposition candidate has made enormous sacrifices to walk to the front line to fight the battle. They don't deserve to be ridiculed in such a rude and hurting way. They are just trying to serve the nation in their own little ways.

We are not looking for elites to contest as opposition candidates. We are looking for people who would put their hearts and souls in serving the people. One thing for sure, everyone should recognize the resolve and determination of people like Desmond Lim. Most people would have broken down in spirit or just given up for good but at the very least, he perseveres.

Let us be more grateful and appreciative of what others have sacrificed to offer Singaporeans the chance to vote and change Singapore for the better.

For the matter of fact, we don't really just need political elitism or "Ministerial caliber". We also need people from different background to represent the voices of people.

As it stands now, we are going into full gear of electoral preparations and I urge those people who are going around to harass SDA and Desmon Lim to stop doing so.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NUSS Forum : Elitism, SAP schools and Singapore Inc.

Elitism, SAP schools and Singapore Inc.

SAP schools should be more inclusive. That's one of the points I have made during the NUSS Forum.

This is not really a "NEW POINT" which I have made, just that it was not emphasized in the past. I have made this point way back in GE2011 during my Tampines Election Rally. I have this view since I was 13 years old when I was enrolled into River Valley High, a SAP (Special Assistant Program) school.

When I first walked in to RV, I was quite disturbed because there was no Malay or Indian students. We are a Multi-Racial, Multi-Ethnic country and it is regrettable that I was not able to grow up in a learning environment together with other races.

Such deficiency has negative impact on the overall outlook and perspective of a SAP school student. Luckily for me, I took extra effort to make more Malay friends and try to understand them, their religion and culture. I even took the effort to read part of the English translated Koran back in secondary school.

I always feel that we should make an effort to include Higher Malay and Higher Tamil (last time we termed it as "First Language") in SAP schools so that our fellow Top Malay and Indian students who have done well could have the opportunities to enjoy the same system with excellent resources which provides good education to our Top Chinese students in Singapore.

The lack of Malay and Indian students will deprive these Top Chinese students the lifetime opportunity to mingle around with other ethnic groups and thus, reduced their ability to integrate and understand these ethnic groups better. If these Top Chinese "elites" were to become future leaders in all fields of the society, including politics, then there could be a problem of disconnection with other ethnic groups. This is totally unhealthy.

I raise this point of SAP school when a participant asked about "Elitism" in Singapore. I feel that the main problem is not "Elitism" but rather how we could form a cohesive leadership generations after generations if our SAP schools lack inclusiveness of the other ethnic groups of the society.

Furthermore, with regards to political leadership, the main problem with PAP government is not just about the ruling elites being disconnected from the ground but rather, they run Singapore like a company instead of a country.

There is a vast difference in perspective here. A company only cares about profits and bottom lines (i.e. GDP growth at all cost) and it could just get rid of people who are unproductive. But for a country like Singapore, there will be people who are unproductive for various reasons but could we as a Nation throw them away into the sea? Of course not! We should just stop this nonsense of Singapore Inc.

Goh Meng Seng