My birthday wish for Singapore
"Vote with your donations". Hmm . . ., this led me to ask myself aloud, "Can we do the same with our gahmen ?"
Can we stop paying our taxes if we don't like what the gahmen is doing ? Guess not. The only way is through the general elections. In theory, we can vote out this gahmen, but in reality, we can't because there isn't an alternative. We don't have an alternative (I don't like the term opposition because it sound too destructive) party who can take over. These parties either imploded through internal power struggles, or failed to capitalise on the opportunities when presented, or have been systematically decimated.
Fortunately, for 40 years, we have been lucky that the present gahmen has been relatively clean and competent and brought us to where are today. But what about the next 40 ? What will it be for our sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters ? Past successes do not guarantee future successes, remember the fine print.
One key point of contention has been the salaries (this really make $600K looks like peanut) of the political leaders. It has been the so-called strategy to attract top talents to join politics. Given the fact the rich is getting richer and the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening, in future, how much will it be enough to attract these top talents ? Will political office becomes so attractive money wise that people are doing it for the wrong reasons ?
What happened if despite the fact that they are paid top dollars, we have a bunch of corrupt and incompetent individuals managing the country ? When it happened, it will just sneak up on us quietly and it will be too late for the country to react. I don't think there is much we can do to change that, especially, if the gahmen continue to enjoy a two-third majority and the continued disarray in the alternatives.
If we look at some of the major democracies around the world, there tend to have two major parties with several minor parties. We have theDemocrats vs the Republicans in the US and the Labour Party vs the Conservatives in Great Britain. These major parties are forced to compete on ideas, programmes and policies, and has opportunities to form the next gahmen at every general elections. If voters like what they are doing, they get to continue. Otherwise, they are voted out and the other major party gets a shot. To win office, they have to focus on programmes and policies that bring about both long term and short term benefits to the people. And when there are 2 major parties, they automatically form the check and balances through rigourous debates, arguments and counter arguments. The governing party cannot "slam-dunk" unpopular policies down the people's throat. Because if they do, they will be voted out the next time round.
At one stage, there is talk that the present party in power should be split into 2 so as to introduce competition. This is not a bad idea. While at the beginning, the 2 split parties will be very similar. But over time, they will evolve in different ways. Hopefully, after 10, 20 or 30 years, they will become good alternatives. The fact that the ruling party was considering such a scenario demonstrated that a 2 party system has its merits. Unfortunately, it looks like this is unlikely to happen.
What's left is for the other parties to eventually evolve into a creditable alternatives. For the well being of our future generations, I hope it will happen. Not because the present party is not doing a good job, but I don't wish the future depends on just 1 party getting good people. I think a 2-party system is better and offers a true alternative for the voters. Just like the NKF saga, status quo will not do.
Finally, my wish for Singapore's 40th birthday is to have 2 strong political parties working for the good of Singaporeans.