Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MM Lee, what are we fighting for?

A truthful view of a forumer in response to my earlier article, "Defending Our Nation's Core Values".

As an Army Officer myself, I do feel the difficulty in convincing my men next time I meet (coming very soon!) why are we spending weeks or even early a month this year to go for reservist training when what we are supposed to defend as a Nation has been trivialized as "Highfalutin ideals" by MM Lee.

The following article is written by a fellow Singaporean:

It has been a long time since I came into the coffeeshop. I must say, very little has changed since the delphi days.

I must agree with Goh Meng Seng. I am 36 this year and similar to many average Singaporeans, I am frustrated with the influx of FTs who turns out to be more FLs (Foreign Liabilities) then FTs (Foreign Talents). I am also frustrated with how the newer generation of PAP leaders seem so detached from the grassroots. How our leaders seems to have no direction and how often they focus on excuses.

However, I am really disappointed when I read in "Todays" MM Lee's response to what I view is a rallying call for the average Singaporeans and politicians alike to relook at the pledge. There seems to be an over-reaction by MM Lee in trying to put down this rallying call by viewing it as a potential challenge to how the PAP is currently ruling this country.

On one hand, I can fully understand why MM Lee's reaction as he will need to nip any challenges in the bud before it becomes a larger issue. However, on the other hand, I am sorely disappointed that at the end of the day, all the country's pledge meant nothing.

My 4 year old daughter is now in nursery. She is being taught to recite the pledge in both mandarin and english and so far she has memorised it very well. However, I question the rationale behind memorising the pledge now especially after MM Lee's speech in parliament.

I am against many of our ruling party's policies and have acted in accordance to my conscience by my vote for the opposition. My wife on the contrary voted for the ruling party because her rationale is "can we afford to let some opposition party to try when they do not have the track record?" Naturally we argued quite intensely over this issue but then finally decided it is not worth arguing. We agree to disagree.

When we are in the army, we are constantly brainwashed into believing "Duty, Honour, Country" is everything. (Yes, I am one of those ocifer whom many of the forumers here hates). We were brainwashed to the extent that we really meant what we said when we recite the "...with our lives" portion. How sad when all those brainwashing meant for nothing by a simple speech by our MM Lee.

After many years in the work force, I became very disillusioned. ICT is merely something I have to pay for having that rifle and 2 grenades in between my groin. So my mentality is just take it and pay your dues. Then around 5 years back, MINDEF conducted a 1-1 interview where they got these young NSF clerks to call us up and meet us in civilian for interviews. One of the question in that thick stack of questionnaire was "will you defend singapore if war comes."

I remembered my response. I said "If I can get my family out in time, I will not fight" Then the counter question by the clerk was why? My response was "Why should I fight for a country that treats its citizen as mere pawns and runs the country like a company where a selected few are allowed to call out the shots? Why should I fight for ideals that are not by the people, but rather for a selected and privileged few?"

I must qualify my answers then. At that time, I was very into sammyboy coffeeshop and hence my response were very influenced.

Then after a few years, came the period of time where Malaysian politicians were threatening to cut off our water supply. Surprisingly, when my peers and me chatted about these issue, the general concensus was if it is time to fight, we will fight for the nation's survival and that is a legitimate ground for fighting to retain our way of life. A lot of you may not believe this, but the patroitism at that time amongst my peers (most of us are fat and unfit reservist and likely to be used as cannon fodders to waste the enemies' ammo) was intense. Perhaps all those years of brainwashing did work subconsciously after all.

However, after MM Lee's speech in parliament, perhaps all these patriotism will be eliminated. After all, if the main driver behind modern Singapore do not even believe fully in the country's pledge, then do we have a country in the first place?

I have always believed home is where we want to make it to be. Citizenship is merely a piece of paper. Your family is what makes a home. I do agree with Sam that Singapore do not have a culture. However, we are comfortable with it and that is where we make home to be.

In the past, I have always wanted to migrate because I fell in love with the Australian outbacks. However, now after seeing my kids play with their grandmoms and the joy in the grandparents eyes when playing with them, I shifted my point of view and decided that perhaps it is not so bad staying in Singapore as the family is here.

However, I will hate to disappoint my kids if they ask me this question. "Dad, do we really mean what we say when we recite the pledge?"

It is a sad situation. Very few countries in the world have seen their leaders openly come out and say that the pledge is merely a guideline and not a belief that we should work towards. And that we should ignore any rallying calls.

It is especially disappointing when it came from a man who wept in front of public TV because what he truly believed in did not materialise.

Can we now blame the "Quitters" for a lack of identify?

Can we now ask the finger that points at others to look at the other 4 fingers that pointed back to themselves?

It is a sad speech to hear, especially from the man who believed so much in his ideals and wept when it didn't materialise.

Have a good week ahead.


Anonymous said...

Meng Seng,

That man who wept when Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia and the man who deride the pledge are TWO different persons.

One wanted to achieve so much for this place within Malaysia, the other is nothing more than a desperate pitiable senile old man who sees his lifework in grave danger of falling apart, ironically through HIS OWN DOING AND MACHINATION, when his days are numbered.

I always remember the book written by TJS George. The first book on LKY. George's words were indeed prophetic and so very accurate a measure of the man who was PM, became SM and now MM. Who himself has said on public record would come back from the grave if things were not run the way he wanted it. There can't be a clearer sign of desperation than that.

Looks like Singaporeans would have to prise his dead fingers form his grip of their national reserves and the country.

Anonymous said...

The man who wept wanted Singapore to be Malaysia, ie Malaya + Singapore = MalaySIa.

He wept because he can no longer be the Malaysian to run the Malaysia he had dreams for. He wept not for Singapore. He wept for the shattered dreams of a Malaysian Malaysia.

He wept because of Singapore. For Singapore he was left with is in a desperate state: an unwanted child, untimely born; and the wisemen of the day gave this child a lifespan of 50 years.

50 years have come, and we see that we are, still, most hollow - whatever propaganda LHL may want to portray.

And whatever the deeds the desperate man who wept 50 years ago did, is probably all undone.

Whatever sense of nationhood that NS did for the Singaporean men - and NS is probably a (and only?) truly significant, genuine and defining shared experience that we have had as a country - is constantly diluted, if not already washed away, by the ceaseless influx of foreign mercenaries, who come, make their money, and go.

And we are left, still, no more or no less a nation as we were 50 years ago.

We are just as vulnerable, as fragile, as fractured, albeit concealed behind a facade of towering pigeon holes, gleaming shopping centres, and modern tanks and airplanes; but as a nation we are as meaningless, undefined, artificial, identity-less, without father, without mother, a bastard child, not knowing if we are coming or going, as we were 50 years ago.

Maybe the man ought to weep again.

Anonymous said...

It's the citizens that should be weeping each and every day now. For this country is there's no more if we continue to vest our collective future in them.
Wake up 66.6%.. weep for your children for they will inherit your mistakes for the next 50 years.

Anonymous said...

I never believed in those tears and have always suspected that they were crocodile tears. He was crying for himself, that he could no longer harbour the hope of one day becoming the prime minister of all of Malaysia.

With the highfaluting speech of his we now see his true colours. While reciting the pledge for so many decades, he never believed in a free, democratic society based on justice and equality.

How else can you explain his shocking claim that the pledge was just an aspiration that could not be attained.
Why try when you know that you are bound to fail?

Fievel said...

People, wake up ur ideas and stop complaining. He must be having his trademark scorning laugh in his big garden at home thinking wad a sorry bunch of fools/ digits we are.

He has long proclaimed his belief in elitism. He believes Singapore cannot do without elitism. It is not news. Pls wake up people.

feedmetothefish said...

To every life, a little rain must fall.

If only, LKY has mastered the art of letting go, life would have been better for himself and for the rest of Singapore.

What we've seen is another blatant example of: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

To everything, turn, turn turn
There is a season, turn, turn turn
A time to live, a time to die

A time to learn how to let go . . .


KAM said...

Thank you SIR!
I never wanted to be an officer during NS. Now I regret because that could have been the way to work myself into PAP and politics.
There will be many people within PAP the party who shares the same view as you and many like you. Don't worry, the old MM Lee is senile although he still possesses a huge vocabulary. I am sure PM Lee was secretly chiding him (of course behind his father's back) for speaking so flatulantly...

We say the pledge but we should not take it too literally? Words of an old dying monarch. After your parents are gone (meaning family is mobile again), look to another country. You will then be "foreign talents" in that new country. I surely hope you will soon join us...

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