Monday, August 10, 2009

Putting The Money Where The Mouth Is.

Singapore time 8.22pm of 9 Aug 2009 was a "Universal Pledge Moment" (reported ST) where many were hyped, cajoled and encouraged to recite:

"We, the citizens of Singapore pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation. "

I missed the 8.22pm show last night because it was just that. A show. A well promoted show planned very much in advance, similar to the factitious 4 Million Smiles Advertisement for visitors of IMF & World Bank Meeting in Singapore 2006!

I remember the last time I recited our National Pledge with gusto and heartfelt warmth and national fervour was in a Sports Stadium in Serangoon. That magic moment of doing what came naturally on 5 May 2006 is worth remembering. There was no hype, no rehearsal, no shebang, no countdown, no goodie bags! Just the good feeling of suppressed nationalistic pride brought forth by the political opponents of PAP, namely Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim of Workers' Party and, the synergy of thousands of Singaporeans who were sick and tired of being sick and tired of the politics that was, and still is.

Unlike the 8.22pm Pledge Special, there was no prior main stream media advertisement on when to say the Pledge. There was no cajoling. There was no pre-planned "Universal Pledge Moment" with 'qitters' or Singaporeans 'stayers', staying elsewhere!

With hands on hearts, I sincerely hope that political leaders who did their 8.22 Special last night stay true to what they did. Unless my understanding of the words 'equality', 'justice' and 'democracy' means something else, I think the leaders of this land need to put right the Pledge or change what Mr Rajaratnam wrote more than 40 years ago.

I cringe, my heart aches and I 'kor cheoh' (laugh in bitterness) when leaders of this land speak of "building a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation" when they do otherwise. Eg:
  • When the Senior Minister told my friends (living at the wrong place at the wrong time) that they'll get served last in HDB and Lift Upgrading just because they live in opposition wards like Hougang and Potong Pasir.
    This makes a joke of ' building a democratic society' in our Pledge.

  • The money I pay for the conservancy of the estate I live in got lost in Lehman Bros and nobody (especially the caretaker MPs) cares to explain to me what went wrong.
    This makes a joke of 'equality' in our Pledge.

  • We wonder if the money in Temasek in GIC belongs to the citizens of Singapore? If the person responsible for the loss of billions in Temasek also made a mess of the succession plan, the buck had to stop somewhere. We've been told so often that there's no free lunch in meritocratic Singapore and each must pull his/her socks to earn his/her keep. If one doesn't measure up, off one goes! So why some get the sack while others continue to keep the bag?
    This makes a joke of 'justice' in our Pledge.

  • If Ministers in Singapore pays themselves up to $3.7 millions (with the PM getting six times the salary of Barack Obama) but bitch about welfare for the poor, waste precious time arguing about the $30 allowance increase for destitutes to eat at hawker centre, food court or restaurant, then something is very wrong.
    This makes a joke of "happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation" in our Pledge.

Or is "happiness, prosperity and progress" meant for a chosen few?

With hands on hearts, its time for the chosen few to put the money where the mouth is, instead of where the pockets are!

Just where did the idea of 8.22 Pledge Special come from? Was it from an awesome evening of "unity and togetherness" in a stadium in Serangoon 3 years ago? I wonder. See the "the moment" here[Link]

Don't get me wrong. Like Singaporeans who took the pledge last night, I'm proud to take the Pledge as I did in 2006. However, I just hate it when it's so bloody contrived and doesn't cut with the real Singapore that we live in!

The greatest irony is:
Saying the Pledge is easy but living the Pledge is tough and dangerous.

Consider this:
To really "build a democratic society based on justice and equality" in Singapore, does one need to do a Chia Thye Poh; a Tan Wah Peow; a JB Jeyaratnam; a Tang Liang Hong or even a Chee Soon Juan?

Universal Pledge Moment?



At August 11, 2009 at 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is: Somewhere along these 44 years we have lost many of our ideals as embodied in our Pledge.

No prize for guessing who are behind our loss.

It's about time we change things for the better.

At August 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

sadden - when the govt can withold monies from the needy, but set up a charitable arm in Temasek holdings to donate to the region - sorry, I thought the money belongs to the citizens... who are THEY (Dhana and Ho Ching) to donate it when our poor and our CPF cannot support us in our retirement??

At August 11, 2009 at 6:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Fish,

I was also among the supporters of WP at Serangoon Stadium on May 5, 2006 and I must say the feeling was something I had never felt before. The pledge was recited with heartfelt sincerity and warmth and was totally spontaneous.

Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful occassion.

At August 11, 2009 at 11:55 PM , Anonymous pledge my vote said...

the traitors of the pledge are those in political power!

Any citizen who honour those words in the pledge, must pledge their vote for any opposition member.

At August 12, 2009 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Sick said...

Mr Fish,

Yes that day at the WP rally was the last time I recite the pledge in public... and it was the only time in my life that I can still remember that there was a sense of pride in reciting it.
What is the purpose of reciting the pledge when few cares a hoot of the meaning of the pledge itself?
822 is of no purpose at all... simply... another Wayang show...
Well done Singapore!

At August 12, 2009 at 8:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a well written article
which articulates the feeling of
many from the heart.

At August 19, 2009 at 6:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

all animals are equal but some animals are more equal then others"..quote unquote from animal farm written by george orwell. sad for singapore and its citizens...we have become dirt and numbers to the elites...we ask for it since we put them there...

dunno if i can vote or not this coming election...most likely not...they will make it walkover ward or grc or something like that as usual...

double haiz.

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