This is a great moment in Singapore, a turning point. I don’t wish for this to become a political blog, but it is just somewhere for me to share thoughts and ideas for anyone who cares to read.
I am a dreamer. (So is my husband.) I dream of a better future, a better world, a Singapore without stress, a more caring society, and less kiasu-ism. I dream that everyone would just be a little tiny bit more attentive and respectful. This is the world I wish my daughter will grow up in. I’m not trying to be a hypocrite or trying to make it appear that we are so perfect. At times, I admit, I am selfish and greedy. If push comes to shove, I will defend my needs over others. It is the nature of survival. You can even argue that I want a better Singapore for my own sake so that I can not work so hard for survival.
Which is why this year’s election, at least for me, a very average, middle-income family woman, is not all about who can come up with the better policies, numbers and figures. I see a vision of visions.
I have watched the rallies really closely, every single party. Perhaps too much that it is borderline obsession:) I have seen what they have to say. And I’m most impressed (and I’m sure you are) of a certain Dr Chee Soon Juan from SDP (Singapore Democratic Party). A friend asked what I liked about his speeches. I thought and thought about it, and I think, and I am sure, it is because he has restored the dreamer in me and restored a glimmer hope in my heart. For the young person, it is so important to dream and imagine your future. Whatever it might be, dreams and hopes are fundamentally human and part of the human spirit. Many years ago, democracy in the United States was built on a dream. There was equality and slavery was ebolished, on a dream. Even Singapore, our nation, was transformed from mud flats to metropolis on dreams, dreams of LKY snd pioneer Singaporeans.
Some of you who are against Dr Chee or SDP can argue his policies might not work and there is no guarantee that it will. I liken him to the Steve Jobs of Singapore politics. The one who came back, and created a product that is charismatic and wildly popular to compete with the boring but nonetheless effective Microsoft.
However there’s one thing which I think is more, much more than all these policies. This time, the elections are about restoring hope and and someone finally envisioned a future for Singapore that is not about (all about) money. Finally someone said, hey, money is not the solution to all your problems. And someone believed that Singaporeans can restore the human spirit instead of being slaves to the economy. Something we all know and felt long ago, but dare not and would not face because it means we have to pay more taxes to take care of our fellow man. It even means we shoud stop turning a blind eye to the poor and might just have to talk to that neighbour, help the poor cardboard box auntie, or simply talk to the hawker vendors. And it means realizing that certain sacrifices have to be made and we have to be more caring and caring takes time, and time is money. Yes, we are individualistic and selfish but I can imagine myself being less selfish and more caring and eventually more happy just on his words alone. We all have the right to dream, and for some of us are probably not as eloquent or well-educated as the visionaries, we can ride upon the dreams of others.
It makes me think of our national pledge: … achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation. Happiness comes first, and it brings in prosperity and finally progess. It is not the other way around. And there’s another saying which we all know, “Money can’t buy you happiness”.
At the same time, I want to support a minimum wage policy and urge the government to do more. Once I talked to a chinese national hawker vendor of our favourite Sliced Fish Noodles and asked how long she has been in Singapore. She said, “???”. After talking, we learnt that she regretted moving to Singapore and barely could make a living and yet do not have enough to move back home. I don’t blame her. For 20 years, her pay barely increased, and she is ostracized for being part of the lower class in Singapore. Because she didn’t like her life in Singapore, she could not assimilate into our society because if you put yourself in her shows and just imagine how hard it is to love life when you are struggling and surrounded by Singaporeans far richer than you. Life is hard for the lower class, foreigner or not. Setting a minimum wage would be morally fair to everyone, to foreigners and help them feel part of the country and to our own Singaporeans looking for jobs.
I don’t want to glorify Dr Chee and I hope that’s not what you take it from my whole blog about this and think that I’m making him a saint. However, his words made me think, made me dream. And that’s why I decide to blog about it.
In this election, you vote based on hard facts or policies, you vote based on emotions, but don’t forget, you should also vote based on vision and dreams. And that goes for supporters of any party.
I have a dream of a better Singapore… That said, whether or not SDP wins seats or not after this election (although I hope they do so that many more can see such a vision) I would forge ahead on this vision to make Singapore a more caring, equal and beautiful place.