Sunday, February 11, 2007

Second Dawn of Post-LKY Era

One may wonder why I term this as "Second" dawn of Post-LKY Era if he or she has not gone through the exciting period of late 1980s and early 1990s.

When Mr. Goh Chok Tong took over the PM post from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew back in 1989, there is an "underground current" of excitement that things would be very different. This is especially so within the circle of professionals and intellects. They have become more vocal and assertive, though in a very cautious way. This is especially so when Mr. Goh has promised a more open society and different style of governance from his predecessor.

What is so significant about Post-LKY era in the very first place? Mr. Lee has summed it up quite effectively himself that if nobody fear him, his existence would be meaningless. He is an icon of FEAR as well as Respect. During his iron fist rule of Singapore, Singapore has achieved good economic growth but in expense of a more balanced development in the political system. This is the social contract that our forefathers has signed with the ruling party PAP led by Mr. lee Kuan Yew. Civil liberty was curbed and the brutal usage of the fearful Internal Security Act to detain political opponents was tolerated by Singaporeans in view of good economic progress for everyone. The early 1980s' economic slow down/downturn and the closure of Nantah University has created a subtle popular awakening to the reality that PAP's leadership is not perfect. There was a rise in demand by the voters in wanting to have an alternative voice in parliament. This is translated into rising votes for opposition parties and eventually, Mr. JBJ's win in Anson by-elections.

PAP's use of ISD against the poly student social activists in 1988 which it eventually termed as "Marxist Plot", has created a quiet backlash within the Catholic community. I believe that PAP finally realized the great potential political cost of its iron fist rule when it experienced shocking reduced support in 1988 as well as 1991 General Elections. This is the last major use of ISD against political opponents apart from anti-terrorism detention.

When Mr. Goh CT took over as Prime Minister, many thought that the eagle iron fist rule of LKY era has met its final end. There was a sudden boom in social-political activity. Some of the intellects and professionals have become cautiously more vocal and some, even stepped forward to create NGOs like Socratic Circle, The Round Table, Think Center etc. The National Solidarity Party slate of candidates in 1991 was quite impressive, filled with people of good paper qualifications.

But the Catherine Lim's saga was the turning point. The circle of intellects and professionals finally realized that the promised land of Open Society is not that open after all. Some of those intellects or professionals who dared to heed Mr. Goh CT's advice (to Catherine Lim) to step into the partisan political front have bruised noses all over. i.e. Prime examples are Dr. Chee Soon Chuan and Mr. Tang Liang Hong. Socratic Circle and Round Table finally wound up. Some of the members of these NGOs have been co-opted by PAP in the end. I guess the intellects and professionals are totally disappointed with the political climate and believe that PAP is not that open yet for fair political competition as well as alternative intellectual debates and discourse. The expectation of a more open society with a more open political climate in the perceived of post-LKY era has fast become a disillusion to many. This is the end of the disillusioned First dawn of post-LKY era.

However, in early 2000, a small group of people which included James Gomez, the founder of Think Center, quit Think Center to step into the political front. The crisis that WP and all other opposition parties faced in GE 2001 in terms of possible end of active political contests in view of the lack of new faces has led to some intellects to join the opposition camp, namely the Workers' Party. This is a fresh air of renewal for the opposition as a whole.

But I hope that this renewal process will not end here. The REAL post-LKY era will only come with the end of Mr. Lee KY's active political participation. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew will have at most 5 years to go in active political participation, despite his willingness to stand again in the next General Elections. He may have a strong mental will to carry on his political career indefinitely but he is only human. Whether his physical health at the high age of 80 plus would allow him to fight on is really a big question mark.

Frankly speaking, there are challenges and opportunities on both sides, the opposition as well as PAP. The big challenge for PAP to function effectively as a political party and ruling party in post-LKY era will be critical. I have doubts that the present political system could function well in post-LKY era. For a small nation like ours, it is important for us to make sure our political system is sustainable in the long run. The NKF saga is a good example of how the whole system could collapse if it is solely dependent on a few strong individuals with a lack of internal as well as external checks and balances. The NKF saga also demonstrated that the idea of cultivating honest leadership by means of high salary has its potential pitfalls. If future leaders of PAP in the post-LKY era are corrupt, how could the present political system survive? This could only be achieved politically with a balance of power within the parliamentary system.

Many political observers have this quiet expectation of a break up of PAP in post-LKY era. And they actually hope that by a split in PAP, it could create real balancing forces in the political system. I am pessimistic about such hope. It may turn out to be another disillusion.

What we lack is a pool of political talents for the opposition which ideally should act as a check to the ruling party and if it is needed, took over power from the ruling party. This is the one of the biggest challenge for opposition parties. It seems that there is no systematic way of cultivation and grooming for the future political leaders within the opposition party framework.

Many have the wrong concept that what we need are only people with good paper qualifications. The NSP model has proven that even with a pool of candidates of high paper qualifications, it is not a guarantee to electoral success! A life long learning mindset must be cultivated among these potential political talents. Even if you are a professor, a doctor or a lawyer, you will need to learn or re-learn what politics is all about before you could effectively play the role of a successful politician!

I have met quite a few individuals with good paper qualifications to express their willingness to stand as a candidate in the last General Elections. But they are not willing to commit time or effort on the ground at all. They thought that their "bargaining power" is that they have a good paper qualification or have a very successful career. I appreciate their willingness to take the risk and step forward but sorry to say that it would be totally naive to believe that politics is merely about paper qualifications. There are a lot of things to learn and equip oneself in preparation for a successful election campaign. The voters of today are more sophisticated and they are more demanding.

To send people with good paper qualifications/intellects or even professionals to stand as a candidate without any cultivation of political experiences is just like sending a new fresh recruits to war without teaching them how to shoot their rifles effectively! Most politicians or "politician wannabe" have egos, this is especially so for those intellects and professionals. Sometimes, this will become their greatest enemy as their ego prevent them from learning the necessary skills that will lead them to victory.

I expect to see a lot more of these intellects and professionals wanting to participate in the next coming elections when the second dawn of post-LKY era is more eminent. However, my worry is that these potential future leaders of Singapore politics may have the wrong perception of what it takes to be an effective politician. I have met some people of good potential but they even state categorically that they will not "show their cards" too early and they thought that is being politically wise!

On the other hand, my worry is that opposition parties are not prepared to meet the challenges of the post-LKY era. As far as I can see, there is no systematic mechanism in grooming and cultivation. There must be a good internal program in the party so to provide a systematic approach to educate its members on all necessary political skills and knowledge.

Opposition parties have always suffered the lack of good political talents in their renewal process. So far, opposition politics is mostly individual-driven rather than system-driven. The situation is worsen by the lack of strong structure within the parties to allow an effective grooming of new future political stars. Political education is important in this aspect.

The last concern I have for Singapore is that with many of the intellects and professionals working overseas, there will be less desires of this circle of people to participate in Singapore politics. This will spell trouble for Singapore in the long run.

Goh Meng Seng

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

GMS the following r ur exact words hope there's n denial from u I quoted it word by word.

"Singapore has achieved good economic growth but in expense of a more balanced development in the political system."

I would like to ask which is more impt ur "noble" ideals or to feed hungry stomachs, for an idiot like who has grown up in an era of prosperity, peace and stability definitly does not know what poverty is all abt.

Anonymous said...

Nantah was closed cos it has no mkt value, when I interviewed Nantah grads in the 60s/70s many were ashamed of showing their degrees they prodiced their sch certs.

Anonymous said...

JBJ/Chiam won cos the sense of crisis is gone. Peeple no no longer feared hungry stomachs as u admitted it. GE 2001 stood testimony of this

Anonymous said...

Gd paper qualifications does not equal gd character ur team produces a liar right who has a honours degreee from nUS

Anonymous said...

Nvr draw similar comparisions between NKF and PAP. prove to me PAP is corrupt, stop insinuating here and there if u hv guts make an open alegation

nofearSingapore said...

Hi,
I agree with you om the analysis.
There were many false dawns including Post-Anson,, Post GE ( after 4 opposition MP's got elected), post-Goh Chok Tong's appointment as PM.
I agree with you that Monopoly and when the leadership rein without oversight and has total control ( like NKF) leads to poor outcome for all.
Democracy and Equality were sacrificed for economic goals.
The people were depoticised and the apathetic S'porean is unfortunately the end-result.
There is no creativity and less opinions about the issues facing Sg.
There is now a hopeful dawn only because the PM now is tolerant and more open than his father.
You get a lot of attention from unusual anonymous commenters ( ha ha ha)

Dr.Huang

Anonymous said...

I always love it when the pro-PAP people always use the "show me the PAP is corrupt". It seems to these people that since they have "never" been corrupt for the past 40 years, there is absolutely no way they are ever be corrupt in the future. As my mom says,"even a white table cloth, becomes black with age".

I really wonder about these "anonymous" postings, it seems they appear rather soon after your post in your blog. Don't these people (or is it just 1 person, or is it ...) have better things to do. Logical discussions seems to be wasted on them as they seem bent on just making personal attacks, regardless of whether you make a sound statement or not.

Nice to know that in Sg, there are the pro-PAP, anti-establishments and the pro-Singapore people.

Desmond

Anonymous said...

Good paper qualifications but not willing to commit time or effort, egos, not "show their cards" too early, no systematic mechanism in grooming and cultivation, etc

Yr 'euphemism' is excellent. Broad-Ax criticism but spot on.

I hope yr intended target audience gets the msg.

- DinnerMate 0602

LuckySingaporean said...

"What we lack is a pool of political talents for the opposition which ideally should act as a check to the ruling party and if it is needed" - GMS

Wah so humble to admit that Opposition lack talent. PAP can recruit those super talented part-time MPs who have to run their high flying full time jobs by day. These people are SO TALENTED, they just need to perform their MP role part-time and the Opposition candidate cannot match that even if they work FULLTIME! See how lacking in talent Opposition candidates are. They can try and try so hard but they cannot overcome the super-talents of the PAP elites. So how? Better not have opposition. Now I can see why you quit the Opposition!

You're saying Opposition MPs working full time and think about the concerns of their constituents FULL TIME cannot be better that a super-talented elite working part time. That is because the concerns of ordinary Singaporeans are so complex, it requires a extremely talented mind such as those recruited by the PAP to understand it. We ordinary people cannot understand our own issues, that is why we need the PAP leadership.

GMS, you are really one smart cookie. You should be a PAP candidate instead of going to waste as a WP sympathiser.

Anonymous said...

Simply a few pro PAP coments has lead to many GMS supporters coming out to support their political masters hahahahaha it simply shows how insecure GMS is maybe crying at 1 corner.

I can only deduce this is a "losing" syndrome. GMS see himself as superb no 1 undefeatable but whne defeated by george yeo and subseqyently asked to leave WP has led him to post even more critical if not defamatory comments abt PAP

Anonymous said...

Among goh supporters is a MBBS holder I would like to remind him he got his MBBS under PAP successful educational policies not WP.

Anonymous said...

"This is the last major use of ISD against political opponents apart from anti-terrorism detention."

The use of ISA is also not right. Sure go ahead and detain, but the public needs to see some evidence and open trial in an open court and not indefinite detention. Otherwise there is no stopping them using the label of "terrorists" to clam down on dissenters and opposing political voices. I am surprised the penal review did not even touch one bit on this.

Anonymous said...

nvr knew an MBBS holder can share goh lousy views. its time tht we examine who shld study medicine, maybe he felt bring an elite MBBS and hving wasted so much $$$ to fund his MBBS programe he can simply shoot his mouth off without thinking. state must hv regretted wasted so much $$$ to groom him. Luckily PAP has got other MBBS who dont think like him oh wait lest I foregt PAP has specialits, this MBBS maybe jus a GP hahaahahahahah

Not a PAPanon said...

hmm.. see that the pap online commando team is out in action again today.
So boh liao. Waste our bloody taxpayers money to do this.

Anonymous said...

PAP online idiots. Boh liao?

Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait till you see the P65 MPs doing their dance routine in the coming Ching Gay parade.

No doubt THAT will be the high point of these P65ers political life and their only contribution to the public(hilarious eye brow raising entertainment) as an Singapore Member of Parliament.

Welcome people welcome to the world of PAP. The PAP who now has lost the ability to touch base with the citizens of S'pore. The party who now feels that they are not only the owners but the masters of all citizens in S'pore.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder, instead of paying these moronic PAP staff to comment anonymously on the internet. They could have used the money to help the bottom 30% population of Singapore. The Poor Families who cannot either pay utility bills, childrens' school fees and exps, three square meals a day, etc.

For every anonymous staff they employ, they are helping one less poor family for each and every month.

Bing said...

To the 'various' anonymous posters:

If you are indeed from the PAP, posting these personal attacks will not help your cause at all. Besides venting your personal anger perhaps at people unappreciative of PAP's policies, you get nothing from posting such comments.

But launching personal attacks on GMS even when he has made a sound comment this time round (I thought that some of his comments previously were a bit biased and hence it's justified people criticise him based on that), you are actually discrediting yourself.

Maybe in your mind, you hope that by your 'hate speeches' against GMS, you're able to create that kind of impression on the blogosphere that GMS is hated, and thus cannot be trusted. But in reality, these extreme ways which you make personal attacks on GMS actually back-fires, and to put it crudely, it pisses people off.

I'm sure I'm not alone in being pissed-off by your childish tactics of personal attacks.

If you want to further people's hatred for the PAP, please go ahead.

However, if you're not from the PAP, and simply hate this man and want to scold him at every opportunity, go ahead too. By making him the 'victim' of endless textual bashings, it wins him supporters, and even if his views are not so qualified in a logical sense, him being the victim will only turn people to his side.

I hope that people who are equally pissed off by the 'anonymous' posters step forward and have a say in telling them, 'we have enough'

It's not about defending GMS at all.

It's about the hope of having better net-etiquette in the blogosphere.

Let's make serious discussion only for serious people, and not a place for people to spew totally unrelated nonsense to fulfil their barbaric instincts under the guise of intellectual debate.

Bing,
Year 1 Economics Major,
NUS

Anonymous said...

hahahahah yr 1 econs major showing the fact tht u did a similar cos of study with GMS but how does u compare urself with Dr Goh K S the right hand man of LKY cum alter ego.

I would advise opposition wanabes nvr try to intimidate fellow forummers with ur certs afterall u hv not grad yet who knows u fails and end up reparing Pc like GMS hahahhahaahahah

furthermore under whose rule u make it to NUS definitely not WP but PAP if under WP maybe u cant even complete ur PSLE and hv to open legs every nite to make a living hahaahahah

Anonymous said...

Ooohh... such cold and ruthless remarks by anon 12:13pm on a fellow poater.

Just like the cold and ruthless way the PAP executes "drug mules" irregardless of the evidence whether the "drug mule" is aware of what he's carrying or not. You'll go far in PAP!

And I believe fellow poster, Bing, made it to NUS on his own efforts. Nobody gives him a free ticket to get into NUS. Not PAP, not WP, nobody but on his own. It's strange that you credit PAP for people getting into NUS. Such an obvious display of bootlicking! May you make it to the upper echelons of PAP.

BTW, what cert do YOU hold to lamblast fellow posters with such rude remarks of yours. You think you're the most educated person in the whole blogoshere? What an arrogant piece of shit! Like I said you'll go far in PAP. Arrogance is a much acquired trait in PAP.

bing said...

I never meant to compare myself with the likes of GMS, Dr Koh KS or even SM Goh in stating my current place of study.

It is merely to state as some form of identification =)

If you are trying to piss me off by that childish remark of yours, I'm sorry but you've really failed =)

You've just continued to discredit yourself =)

Thanks to anon 4.05pm for your help though! I've hoped the blogosphere could come out to slap this anonymous guy, but it seems that noone is doing so.

Never mind then, being an "all-inclusive" society, I'm sure we can tolerate some mad dogs isn't it? =)

Anonymous said...

Without the PAP govt, will GMS have a degree or even be writing bullshit here? What an ingrate he is!

Just look at how he backstab Low Thia Kiang and you will know he is a SCUM, f**k you, fat ass!

Anonymous said...

if tht was not the case why purposely state ur cos of study even though u r in yr 1 r u not trying to intimidate fellow forummers with ur NUS degree or what or simply implying tht pple of lower educational qualifications shld not be debating with u. this is self made elitism who opposition often accused the PAP of but they r in favt the ones doing it.

next without PAP in power how gifted u r never dream of landing urself a MBBS/LLB u will be just like the blangla sweeping floors for town councils.

blangahs r not stupid but simply born in wrong place wrong time denied educational opportunities and without much of an education what would most ladies do, prostitution right?

Anonymous said...

Ask urself where would u be if u born in a much poorer spore like ur parents or grandparents no wonder older sporeans felt indebted to PAP but younger ones like those 1st yr econs students take it as their own credit ahahahahahahah

Anonymous said...

OMG! A bloody raving lunatic!

Without PAP everyone will be "like a blangaa road sweeper or prostitute!" What hole did this worm crawled out from?

Except for Singapore, the entire world doesn't have the PAP for a govt and I don't see everyone becoming in the whole world becoming road sweepers or prostitutes. In fact, many of these countries are not beneath Singapore in many factors you like to compare!

Without the PAP there was already two universities in Singapore. Or was it two, SU and Nantah.

No PAP and everyone is doom? Nothing exist? What an idiot!

irritated non-blogger said...

Dear Mr.Goh Meng Seng,

This is one of the few times I visited your blog and found generally that your commentaries are properly analysed with the proper sense, including this post on your thoughts on 2nd dawn of Post-LKY era.

What irritates me are that practically in every of your blog, there's at least one "expletives" comments from anonynmous that seek to smear you.

Certainly, you do not deserve all this baseless smearing! Your dignity and reputation is important, I feel! The blog is yours and you have the right to reject all these useless and vile smears from having any publicity in your blog.

There's always a danger that "Lies repeated umpteen times can appear to be true to the un-initiated and uninformed masses." You have the right to stop this and readers would understand and accept well the reasons for any restriction on comments that you emplaced.

In this light, may I suggest, some of the following restriction choices for your considerations:
i) Shut down the comments completely.
ii) Restrict the comments to only commenters with weblink or blog-sites so that their blog-identity is public. Disallow anonymous commenter, with or without email.
iii)Place an permanent explanatory note about this on your blogpage.

I like choices (ii) above better as it still facilitate exchanges among bona-fide readers though it would mean that non-blogger like me would not be able to interact in your blogs. But that's okay rather seeing this irritation on a good blogger like you. I honestly do not like to see a repeat of Gayle Goh's blog or for another matter the running down of you in similar vein like that happen to Dr. Chee Soon Juan years ago!

please consider if the choices are do-able in your blog and also helpful.

Anonymous said...

Go to many countries where people r no less smarter than sporeans but ended up as cleaners, maids etc then u get the full picture.

hghavx said...

Anonymous 1:26pm of 16/2,

In case you refused to acknowledge, there are already a number of singaporean (young or aged but no less stupid than you and me) who are circumstantially ending up as cleaners,cardboard and drink-can scavenger right here and now in singapore too! This picture doesn't augur well!

Anonymous said...

Globalisation brought abt problems tht r not unique only to Spore. China wuth a GDP at a annula rate of close to 10% face a ever widening income gap what else do u expect?

Anonymous said...

If GMS talks sense, he wun be sacked from WP for disgracing the party on internet forums.

After talking cock for so many years, what have you achieved, Fat Seng?

Anonymous said...

May I know wheere's opp men when PAP MPs r out in force led by LHL honouring the wk done by bus drivers on 1st day of lunar new yr.

Anonymous said...

Probably scooba-diving somewhere in the Phillipines! Hahaha.....

Anonymous said...

yes, honouring were done .. just not featured! Another difficulty is that any assembly more than 4 people can be deemed illegal assembly without permit.

Kelvin Lim said...

While I'm personally appalled and amazed at how some people can devote all their time to spamming your blog with inane and ludicrous remarks, I hope you do not get affected at all by them.

Instead, take pity on them in view that they have not even mastered the art of proper English.

In the meanwhile, do keep writing. Most readers do not even bother commenting, so just let the visitor counter rolling...

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Kelvin & all "non-spammers",

Don't worry, I am not affected a bit by these spammers of the Ninja Turtle brigade. ;)

I understand that some of you may have some concerns of the negativity that these spammers may create for my blog but I guess, by judging from the many supportive and encouraging comments here, most readers could discern from such distractions.

There are two considerations why I continue to keep this comment column open: First of all, some genuinely concerned readers may want to comment under anonymity. Second reason, if these spammers think that they could do much harm to me, just let them continue. In the long run, all the rubbish spewed by these spammers will be recorded on my blog for the world to see how "First World" our country's politics is. ;)

Happy Chinese New Year and Holiday to All!

Goh Meng Seng

Stephen said...

IMHO, Goh Chok Tong let the opportunity to change things slipped by. My thoughts on his failures are documented here: http://mindbloggingstuff.blogspot.com/2003/09/go-chok-tong.html

Anonymous said...

Of course you won't be affected by any commments because you and this redundant blog of yours serve no purpose at all!

Even your ex-boss LTK can't do anything for Singaporeans as a MP, what else can a political outcast like you achieve?

Get a life, moron!

Anonymous said...

If this blog is redundant and serves no purpose.

Why do you even bother to look into this blog and post comment.

Take a hike. Get out of here? OK? Doggie.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much did GMS pay for these WP dogs to bark at his blog?

Oops, forgot that GMS has already been sacked from WP, why then did he stil display the WP hammer here as if he is still a member? What a shameless cad!

Anonymous said...

Where got WP dogs? Dogs don't write so sensibly. I see a lot of PAP dogs instead.

Anonymous said...

The prob is that WP dogs only know how to bark at ordinary Singaporeans, but when asked to bark against the PAP in Parliament, they dare not even open their mouth. Instead, they rush to lick their master's balls!!!!

Shame on the WAYANG PARTY!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a resident of Hougang and I really pray that the wayang party will be kicked out of here soon!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a Singaporean and I pray that the PAP becomes the minority in parliament soon!!!

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you what will happen to Singapore if the Wayang Party manage to form the government.....it will become a big WAYANG!!!!!

I rather migrate to China than to stay here! Wayang Party sucks big time!!

Anonymous said...

OK. Go to China

Anonymous said...

Does the wayang party has a branch in PRC too?