TL;DR – Surely not, right?
This post popped up on my Facebook feed:
The post reads:
“See cleaner at Melbourne food court. Young, smart and with dignity. Compared with cleaners at Singapore food court, speechless! Wonderful policy of PAP rule after cling on power for 52 years!”
The post suggests that the photo was taken in Melbourne and it shows a young person cleaning a table. Now unless this Facebook user had spoken with the young lady in the photo or perhaps knows her, we wonder how he had come to the conclusion that she is smart and has dignity.
But more importantly is what was left unsaid. Was the Facebook user insinuating that things are vastly different when it comes to cleaners in Singapore? Was he thinking that the cleaners in Singapore are stupid (as opposed to smart…) and has no dignity.
And of course this is all PAP’s fault. They’ve failed us.
Really? Is everything PAP’s fault?
What do you think will happen if we see someone “young, smart and with dignity” cleaning tables in Singapore? I am fairly sure someone will take a photo, post it on Facebook, and that post will go viral. And that post will probably say something like this:
“What a waste of talent! Young people have no choice but be cleaners here in Singapore, speechless! Wonderful policy of PAP rule after cling on power for 52 years!”
Honestly, this hypothetical post is more sensible than that real post. Not to pass judgement on cleaners, but isn’t it worse for Singapore if we have more young, smart people working than older people working as cleaners?
If that happens, that probably means our economy has tanked. Then we would really be justified in criticising the PAP for having failed us completely.
Yes, we hope that our senior citizens won’t have to work so hard just to make ends meet. Yes, an argument can be made that we can be more generous with our Silver Support Scheme. Yes, there are many things that the government hasn’t done right. But it doesn’t mean that we can blame the PAP for EVERYTHING wrong with Singapore.
Governing a country is a difficult task
After all, governing a nation is about balancing many competing needs. Some people will benefit more. Some people may be left behind. That’s the reality of life.
It’s not as easy as being a cheerleader for freedom and democracy. Just ask Madam Aung Sung Suu Kyi. She was seen as a leading champion for freedom and democracy. Then she became the de facto leader of Myanmar. And look what’s happening now in Myanmar.
So, while we do need to criticise the government robustly and push them to keep improving, we also need to be reasonable. Our government, while not perfect, has gotten some things right. If our government got EVERYTHING wrong, then given our geopolitical situation and history, we would have long ceased to be a sovereign and independent nation.