Friday, July 28, 2006

National Day - 41st

Another year has passed. Last year, my birthday wish for Singapore was to have 2 strong political parties that can compete to form the gahmen. Well, I must say that the signs are there for this wish to be realised, albeit not in the immediate future. But may be another 10 - 20 years should the WP continue its momentum in attracting young talent, getting better organised, representing the people and articulating good solutions and policies.

While status quo was maintained in the last GE, I would like to think that the alternative parties, especially the WP, has made inroad into the PAP dominance at the polls. Nothing is more significant than the result in Ang Mo Kio GRC where the PM's team won but by a mandate that is below the national average against a team of young and unknown members of the WP.

I see this result as more significant than that at Aljunied GRC where the strongest team from the WP was fielded. The reasons are :

1. WP fielded a team of unknown, young but enthusiastic bunch of people with little or no grassroots experience and yet able to garner more than 1/3 of the votes.

2. It is GRC helmed by the PM, which is normally well taken care off and one would expect AMK would win more handsomely. And yet, it garnered votes less than the national average. Eliminating the SDP's effect on the national average, it would have been even more significant.

I hope the WP will capitalise on their excellent showing at the polls and maintain the momentum going forward.

On a separate note, if one look around Singapore, there isn't many families flying the national flag to celebrate the nation's birthday despite the gahmen campaign and prompting. I wonder why. Considering that 66.6% voted for this gahmen and yet they are not responding to the call.

I won't be putting up the flag too. I will only put it up again when I felt that Singapore belongs to Singaporean again. Now, I feel alienated and is just a digit in the Singapore Inc.

When did this feeling developed, I am not sure. But 2 years ago, on my way back from Korea and was about to land at Changi airport, I had this very negative feeling coming back. I had made many trips abroad for both business and pleasure, and each time coming back, there is a warm feeling landing at Changi and always looking forward to getting home. But not that trip from Korea. Somehow, Singapore no longer felt like home. It felt like just checking into another hotel. That prompted me to do some soul searching to find out what has changed.

Singapore Inc. That's the problem. It no longer feels like nation building despite all the progress made by the country over the last decade. It feels more like a corporation where everything is focused on dollars and cents, and nothing else matters. That's what Singapore Inc. is all about.

Nation building is more than that just economic progress. It is also about building homes (not just houses) for families, about building communities that care and be willing to lend a helping hand. More importantly, it is about developing a sense of belonging that come from the heart where everyone is proud to say Singapore is my country, not just about the economic miracle achieved but also about everything else in this country.

So, this year, my birthday wish for Singapore is to for the people of Singapore to get back to nation building.