TL;DR – How do I live without you?
There was this collective groan of agony reverberating across the internet in Singapore. This happened as people heard DPM Tharman categorically ruling himself out from becoming PM. This is even though a survey by Blackbox, a market research consultancy, found that 69% of 897 respondents said they would support DPM Tharman if he became Prime Minister.
As the apparent chief architect of the government’s move to the left of centre, it is no wonder that DPM Tharman is popular amongst Singaporeans. Internationally, he is also held in high regard. It is thus understandable why many Singaporeans are disappointed to hear DPM Tharman reject being PM so categorically.
In fact, some Singaporeans are so disappointed that they seem to have lost the will to live. Here are a couple of examples:
And there are others who, incredulously, think that DPM Tharman actually harbour ambitions to be PM but had no choice but to say what he did.
Who would force him to say those things? Who could? Perhaps this sheds some light:
Wonder which person got the upper hand of DPM Tharman in this situation that he had no choice but to say what he did…
Ah… maybe it was PM who forced DPM to say those things.
Or maybe those people who made those comments are just out of touch with reality. Way before Singaporeans started the #TharmanforPM hashtag, DPM Tharman had already made clear that he didn’t harbour any ambitions to be PM.
In July of last year, DPM Tharman said at a dialogue organised by the Institute of Policy Studies that:
“Let me put it this way, we all have our preferences. And I was always, in sports, a centre half rather than centre forward. I enjoy playing half back and making the long passes, but I am not the striker.
Unless I am forced to be, and I don’t think I will be forced to it, because I think we have got choices. It is not bad that we think so hard about succession, and we don’t always get it the way we expect it to be, but we think very hard about succession in Singapore.
And I think we have a crop of people who are in the fray and entering the fray who will provide future leadership.”
And if you were to ask people who have worked with DPM Tharman before (e.g. his grassroots volunteers), they would all tell you that DPM Tharman is focussed on serving Singapore to the best of his abilities in the way that is most suitable for him. They would tell you that he truly has no political ambitions to be PM.
We hope that this disabuses anyone of the notion that DPM Tharman was forced to say what he did. He was sincere. He would rather not be PM. Let’s all move on.