Lee Hsien Loong scores a nought for political nous

What is there to consider? Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong should have accepted the proffered resignations of Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong with alacrity. Instead he dithers.

Prime Minister Lee did not confirm that he would accept their resignations from Government. “It’s a major matter so I’d like to think it over to decide how how I should decide and I’ll think about it for a couple of days begore I give my response,” he said last night.

— Sunday Times, 15 May 2011, Lee Kuan Yew steps down

All it takes is just a few seconds, which I am sure he had before being confronted by reporters, to know that there is no way he can NOT accept their resignations. If he says, “Please come back to the cabinet,” three hurricanes will hit:

1. People will laugh away as insincere the apologies he made at the election rally at Boat Quay. “What change was he talking about?” people will ask. “He never really wanted any change at all.”

2. The proffered resignations would be seen as a charade, a cynical attempt to win some public sympathy for unwanted old men, at least one of whom more than a million Singaporeans would consider to have long overstayed his welcome.

3. Lee Hsien Loong himself would be seen as a less than confident leader — which he is, but some people don’t see it — who still needs to hold Daddy’s hand.

The above being so obvious, Lee Hsien Loong should instead have focussed his mind on when he should accept the resignations, in which case everything argues for: Immediately. It would at least present the image of a decisive leader, sure about the need to change the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the government’s direction. It would have added substance to his promises of change made at Boat Quay. And this follow-on decision too would also take all of two seconds to make.

But no, he dithers. He wants to think about it when there is nothing to think about. And he lets an opportunity pass.

* * * * *

I have argued for some time, and I hear more and more people agreeing with me, that Lee Hsien Loong is a lousy leader. He is indecisive and over cautious. He relies too much on numbers, and has no feel for the crowd.

Worst of all, he has never demonstrated any vision. He really does not know where Singapore should go. He can’t visualise a different Singapore. Needless to say, he can’t visualise a different PAP either.

When a politician has the right instincts, he can sense the moment and seize it. He can say what the crowd wants to hear even before the crowd knows what it wants. When a politician has a vision, decisions are easier to make. He simply asks himself, does this event take me nearer to my goal or further from it? And most of the time, the answer is fairly obvious.

The abject failure of Lee Hsien Loong to make capital of the opportunity just shows how second-rate he is. He failed to see the moment and thus fluffed it. He has no vision to measure events by, and is thus flummoxed by the resignations, wondering whether it’s for the better or worse. Perhaps he’s asking for a spreadsheet showing the pros and cons of this and that.

In any real democracy, with a fearless media, robust civil society and empowered opposition parties, he would long ago have been chased out of politics and relegated to a technocrat’s job in the basement.

In fact, he seems never to have asked his father not to contest the recent election (or the one before that). Either the thought never occurred to him or if it did, he must have ruled it out as un-doable. Either possibility tells you a lot.

Now when his father wants to resign, he has to think about it. How pathetic can things get?

* * * * *

On the right edge of the front page of the Sunday Times were a few blurbs about additional articles within the paper. The very first one was EXPERTS REACT — “Now PM Lee is clearly in charge”. Lee Hsien Loong has been prime minister for seven years, since 2004. You mean all this while he was never fully in charge?

In the 1990s, articulating such a belief would have earned one a stern rebuke for speaking untruth — in political Singapore, truth is what is desired (like “Singapore is a conservative society and we don’t like homosexuals”) rather than what is fact — as writer Catherine Lim , who suffered one such rebuke, can attest. But rebukes never meant that inconvenient insights ever went away.

Once it a while though, it becomes convenient again to air these insights, and today is one of those times. Thus, none other than the Straits Times has chosen to print what lots of people have been saying for years — that Lee Hsien Loong was never quite in control.

* * * * * *

Interestingly enough, I was discussing Lee Kuan Yew’s electoral chances with a couple of friends just the other day. They are about my age and have seen many elections come and go.

As a thought experiment, I asked them what they thought the result might be if an opposition “A-team” like the Workers’ Party slate that recently won Aljunied constituency chose to contest Tanjong Pagar, Lee Kuan Yew’s  group representation constituency. As readers might know, Tanjong Pagar was the only uncontested constituency in the recent general election, so Lee Kuan Yew and his running mates were returned unopposed.

Would voters choose to vote for Lee Kuan Yew, given his legacy and given the high regard (some) voters have of him? I asked my friends.

“He will lose,” one of them said with no hesitation.

“You seem very sure that that would be the outcome,” I replied.

My friend then explained his thinking. “Look at Aljunied,” he said. “George Yeo was much loved, but voters thought about the bigger picture and decided to give victory to the Workers’ Party. Except for the older generation, do the people of Tanjong Pagar like Lee Kuan Yew as much as the people of Aljunied liked George Yeo?”

I found his logic hard to fault.

86 Responses to “Lee Hsien Loong scores a nought for political nous”


  1. 1 John Tan 15 May 2011 at 23:39

    You cannot discount that LHL is just going through the motion, for if he accepts their resignations too quickly he might come across, especially to pap supporters, as making the pair resign or being disrespectful to the older generation.

  2. 2 Xmen 15 May 2011 at 23:42

    Good analysis.

    It sounded like LHL did not know the resignations in advance so he did not have a press response prepared. But since this is an unlikely scenario, it means that either PAP has a sub-par PR machine OR LHL is an indecisive leader. Regardless, it gives you no confidence in the new leadership going forward.

  3. 4 Rock On 15 May 2011 at 23:46

    Amen. Loong is a mathematician obsessed with numbers and Ivy League cred. Zero EQ. He’s a funny bloke. When Goh first floated two terms for ministers, Loong wasted no time in disputing Goh in public. When Daddy threatened Aljunied voters, Loong turned up in Aljunied to back George and then said: I am the decider while rebuffing Daddy. And then when he gets a chance to run the show, he wayangs. Please lah. He should accept their resignations, fire Wong Kan Seng & Mah from Cabinet, hold by-elections in Marine Parade & Tanjong Pagar, separate ECommission from PMO, cancel GRCs & NMPs, revoke ISA, free the press, etc. There are so many things he can do to show he is serious about reforms and “building rapport” with Singaporeans. But that would be too much to ask of a super square princeling, the Chosen One.

  4. 5 Tan Tai Wei 15 May 2011 at 23:55

    Maybe Jeya Junior is right that it is all a PR exercise? They offer to resign, just for LHL to reject?

    Or the not-outright accceptance is to give the two “some face”? That they have not been so redundant, but only that they had to succumb to wishes of people who should have known better?

    About your point about LHL’s lack of confidence, we might recall that LKY once said he was waiting for someone “with shoulders broad enough to shove him aside”. So, his son hasn’t the broad shoulders, and before him Goh also, of course?

    But why? Is that due to the artificial “tea party” way of “leadership” succession?

  5. 6 peiying 15 May 2011 at 23:56

    As much as I would love to imagine the possibility of an opposition ‘A’ Team winning in Tanjong Pagar GRC against MM Lee, I have to disagree.

    Indeed George Yeo was well-liked and one of the more lovable ministers. However, Lee Kuan Yew’s influence is many times more pervasive.

    I think people will consider the opposition contesting in Tanjong Pagar as disrespecting MM Lee and actually sour the opinion of all opposition parties in general.

    I don’t know. This is what I imagine the people might think. Especially the older generation. But I could be wrong!

    • 7 Rock On 16 May 2011 at 07:21

      Wrong.

    • 8 Michael 16 May 2011 at 23:11

      I am a old tanjong pagar grc resident, my entire 50+ years staying in the Kim Seng/Tiong Bharu area. I would have voted against the PAP but only because the GRC was never contested. MM Lee GRC scheme was the main reason why the Tanjong Pagar GRC was never contested, and I hate him for that one decision to kill “democracy” in order to perpetuate PAP’s rule. This reason alone is enough for me to want to vote against the PAP.

  6. 9 vitality 16 May 2011 at 00:26

    My sentiments exactly

  7. 10 ahsoo 16 May 2011 at 00:31

    May be he just wanted to show that he and his father are independent of each other, and he was surprised by the news?

    Afterall, he did say that he is he, LKY is LKY.

  8. 11 suggestion 16 May 2011 at 00:35

    It would offend a section of the electorate for PM Lee Hisen Loong to be seen asking or telling MM Lee to resign.

    The fact that this took place over the weekend is the strongest indication all this “offered to resign from cabinet but not accepted yet” is STAGED for public consumption to avoid embarrassment.

    The intellect and reasoning of the PAP is that over the weekends, it is easier to for PAP and the state media to manage the headlines and discussion over the weekends such that cooler heads will prevail.

    Problem is that everytime PAP uses their intellect and reasoning to manage events, it leaves such a heavy trail that no one doubts that is all planned at highest level.

  9. 12 twasher 16 May 2011 at 00:51

    Wow. There I was thinking that they had discussed this within the party and LHL agreed to this in order to take the PAP in a new direction. They’ve failed even my already low expectations of them.

  10. 13 ThePasserby 16 May 2011 at 00:56

    I think it is more likely that Lee Hsien Loong requested MM and SM Goh to retire from government than the latter two coming to the same decision on their own, right after the worst GE in recent history. Having them jointly announce their decision to retire allows them to step down with dignity intact. And the PM taking some time before accepting their resignation gives him some face as well, as this shows that he makes the call on who stays and who goes.

    He will accept their resignation, but agreeing too quickly would make it seem like he has no control over them, that they can just go as and when they want.

    • 14 Not Again 17 May 2011 at 19:29

      Interesting conjecture. If that was to be the case, our PM Lee just managed to redeem himself as a weak and indecisive leader. Another theory is that it is all MM’s scheme of things to rid the cabinet of all PM’s opponents in order to strengthen his son’s power base. The only inducement for SM to go was for MM to offer his resignation as well. But the willy old fox new that because of the adulation that he is getting from the people of Singapore he will somehow get back into Government in some other capacity to handhold PM Lee. Call this the Temasek Code if you will. Another puppet on a string show sequel 3 will be coming up soon.

  11. 16 jan 16 May 2011 at 01:33

    maybe LHL is waiting to see what pple’s reaction
    to the resignations is? if he didn’t ask MM and
    SM to retire from the cabinet, it’s rather sad,
    especially after all that’s been happening n said.

    once, during a discussion on his leadership
    abilities some timne back, long-time political
    watchers recalled the time he was in charge of
    the cable breakdown incident years back. they
    said that then, he’d seemed flummoxed about what
    to do and appeared frozen with indecisiveness.

    one just hopes he doesn’t offer them new positions
    or have fresh SMs and MMs. it’s never too late to
    be your own man.

  12. 17 reservist_cpl 16 May 2011 at 01:59

    I am surprised that this entire thing wasn’t scripted smoothly beforehand.

    If they scripted the “I’d like to think it over”, *facepalm*.

  13. 18 jan 16 May 2011 at 02:44

    corr: should be cable car incident.
    the word ‘car’ was missing

  14. 19 sieteocho 16 May 2011 at 02:52

    You may be right that LHL is a weak and indecisive leader.

    But I think that the PAP leadership asked them to step down. The press release seemed rather grouchy, kinda like “ungrateful motherf…”. When 2 people of that stature offer to resign you just don’t go accepting their resignation with a kthxbye. This is like a political funeral with a wake and stuff like that.

    Tanjong Pagar was probably not contested out of deference to the old man. You just don’t challenge an 87 year old on his turf. Only a few SDA idiots saw fit to do that. Maybe ppl will like LKY less and less but he is still the most admired politican in Singapore. You don’t have to like a person to vote for him.

    For example I like George Yeo but he brought in the casinos so I would have voted him out if I were living in Aljunied (but I am not).

    • 20 aunty 16 May 2011 at 08:30

      When George Yeo was Trade $ Industry Minister, he initiated the casinos which have been masqueraded as integrated resorts. Good parents do not start a gambling den in their own home. For people who cry over losing him, please think over again.

      • 21 Vernon Voon 16 May 2011 at 14:29

        Thanks for the reminder.

      • 22 Not Again 17 May 2011 at 20:05

        Dear Aunty,

        You are right. Although the Government stand has always been that they will not support gambling per se, but go to the NTUC Clubs and you will know that is all a masquerade. They have at least 500 slot machines populating the various clubs.You cannot imagine how many Aunties & Uncles gambled away whatever little money they have each month – their CPF, pocket money, their grow and share handouts…etc. They have been so hooked on it that cannot get out of this vicious circle. It is pitiful to watch. A friend of mine works there. He sees their sufferings everyday unable to free themselves from the addiction. All this showing of concern is nothing but a farce. The Government is relentless in their pursuit of revenue. If they use their creativity to increase the wealth of Singapore through external trade, this is understandable. But to screw your old senior citizens of whatever little money they have (as in the case of the 500 slot machines at NTUC Club) – is this a caring Government that we have handled our votes to??

  15. 23 yawningbread 16 May 2011 at 03:30

    I am not inclined to believe that this move was made as a result of consensus within the PAP leadership. If there’s anything we saw during the election campaign, it was the breakdown of consensus among the ministers. The PAP campaign was a shambles. Read between the lines and there was a war of words among several of them, or at least very telling silences. After counting night, they were close to openly blaming each other for the electoral result.

    I can well imagine several ministers going into a huge sulk after the results were announced, among them LKY and GCT.

    My present curiosity is more on this question: Who initiated the move to resign? Was it GCT, who then asked LKY to go out with him, or was it LKY?

    This whole business of giving face is not smart politics. The critical issue for the PAP is to win back those voters who defected to the opposition. They are not the LKY-adorers. If LHL thinks that pleasing LKY adorers is more important than doing whatever is necessary to demonstrate remorse and commitment to change in order to convince those who defected to the opposition, then the poor boy really has his priorities the wrong way around. The LKY adorers won’t win LHL the next election. The defectors are the ones who hold the key.

    LHL should be saying “F**k the LKY adorers, I’ll do what I have to do.” Successful politicians are clear-headed people, ruthlessly so if needed. Quite obviously LHL is not and that’s why he is in such a mess.

    • 24 Tommy 16 May 2011 at 05:18

      There is no need for consensus. Everything comes from PM via MM. If ministers quake at facing LKY wouldn’t the son feel the same way.

      This is a powerful self assured man and the son is where he is because of the old man. Son knows this. So to cut to chase, MM took a look at the whole picture and decided to step down to strengthen his legacy – son and perhaps the grandson.

      MM did say that the new generation are not aware of sacrifices of older generation (in another words, they also have no fear of ISA, lawsuits, etc).

    • 25 R 16 May 2011 at 07:29

      I personally think LKY did it, it’s in his self-interest to do so and an entirely pragmatic approach which suits a man of his nature.

      If the myth of modern singapore and LKY as part of the forefathers is to be realised, then they must fade into history before the young PAP cause the destruction of the party. I believe LKY is intelligent enough to realise this especially after seeing the change in political tide (remember, in the 50s he was also an opposition leader!!) by doing this he is safegaurding his own reputation, place in history as well as defusing the backlash against him for nepotism/cronyism. The public opinion will be more sympathetic towards him now, especially with this ‘graceful exit’.

      It’s just like how Obama got all the flake for the policies that george bush put in place. Bush never lived through the effects of his policies (housing and financial crisis, the wars) because he retired from office before people really felt it. LHL will be the scrapegoat for the policies that his father put in place 30 years ago and since he neither has the brains, guts or vision to change any of it he will just ploddle down to a slow decline in the party.

      It sounds horrible, but I can imagine LKY ruthlessly putting his own self-interest/reputation above his protecting his son. Family dinners must be such fun.

      Also note – both he and GCT have stepped down in the cabinet, but are still retaining their positions as MPs so they are not entirely without power.

      I cannot imagine GCT instigating such a clever political move. It reeks of LKY’s trademark style. I imagine LKY convincing GCT to go with him – they’ll get their pensions, their positions in history secured and they have nothing to lose from this and *still* keep their MP positions. They worked so hard for the country, why should they face the public backlash against the PAP? why not live forever as part of the ‘golden age’ of PAP? It’s a total win-win situation for them.

      • 26 AlienTalent 17 May 2011 at 10:17

        Dont really agree with your entire analysis but let me say mind in point form to make it very clear

        1. LHL never have to worry about political and social expectation and etiquette in a greater society. His world (and his son LHY) has been cocooned for years surrounded by yesmen, and has not developed any of the killer instinct his father has in levering out the Pioneer generation of PAP leaders. As a result he does not have a feel of the grassroot support and he does not understand the word restrain* or maneuvering, and unfortunately suffers from the shortsightedness induced by his underlings (who themselves have no feel of the populace), even though he believe he was doing Singapore good by ensuring the political longevity of PAP.

        *The alleged LHL vs Hu and slapping Dhanabalan incident
        http://jaundicedlenses.blogspot.com/2005/08/did-loong-slap-dhanabalan.html

        2. For some reason LKY (in spite of him fighting various political parties with other great leaders in pioneer PAP cadre) cannot envision Singapore without his direct or indirect influence in the running of the country. It was a mark of greatness to him to give up his seat as PM in 1990s but it was also never any doubt that GCT was only a seat warmer (because LHL was sick then) and that LHL when he recovered, was to be the next PM. There was never a hint who else can be a PM. Not the next generation currently active in politics. It is sad that LKY remain obvious in the picture and that he is still actively commenting on how the country should be run. Thus there is never an attempt of even a farce of pretending LHL was in full control. If he was making decisions on his own, his vision was limited by the Yesmen he has surrounded himself with (including his current wife).

        3. If GCT and LKY was sincere about stepping down (and by no means I believed the thought occurred after 7 May) they should have come clean before the election was held. Then some of us would believe that at least these 2 ministers at least will not officially publicly comment on the government policies since they are not officially holding any portfolio. Of course no one will doubt that both LKY and GCT will continue to offer advice, solicited or not by LHL, but at least the public image of LHL running the whole country himself will be more complete. Definitely LHL have to do all these wayang about accepting their resignation (no one in their right mind expect a kthxbye response) but if this was done prior the election, it would have gained more currency with LHL credibility

    • 27 patrick 16 May 2011 at 09:55

      Alex, obviously there’s no changing your mind about LHL because you won’t see him as anything other than an incompetent politician. Everything he does or does not do, you’ll see him through this lens to find examples that reinforce your preconceived notion. I, on the other hand, would not make such a big deal out of his apparent dithering. It’s not as if there’s any doubt in the minds of most people that SM and MM’s decisions were final and LHL could not say no.

      In that light, it does appear to be an act of deference towards the two experienced ministers, which, if you would think differently for once, is quite a smart move considering that they still wield considerable influence among his party’s support base. LHL may not have his dad’s charisma but he is smarter than you give him credit for.

      • 28 yawningbread 16 May 2011 at 11:41

        Courtesy (you call it deference) does not mean LHL had to say it much later, giving himself the the stink of dithering. He could well have said, on Saturday itself: “Yes, I am aware of the resignation notes, and clearly, these are strong leaders who have thought long and hard before they made their decisions. I would not want to disrespect that decision. My task moving forward is to find younger leaders to fill the gaps. I hope they will continue to offer whatever support my team will need as the younger ministers learn the ropes.”

        A simple response like that would have achieved everything.

      • 29 Whos afraid of the astroturfers? 16 May 2011 at 18:35

        Hi patrick with the small P.
        We all know you support PAP.
        You, plus Robox and some other peeps using different nicks.

        I disagree with you that the owner of this blog is writing with a negative preconceived notion about our PAP ministers.

        If you are a leader of a big organisation and have made promises to your people of transformation and change. How would the people see it when the leader is seen to be wishy washy? The leader is supposed to show that he is the one in charge! Not tell them that he’ll think about it and need to mull over it for a few days!

        I want a leader who can take charge and LEAD!

        More so when they are paid millions of dollars!

    • 30 prettyplace 19 May 2011 at 23:04

      You are absolutely right again Sir Alex, but wrong in some parts.

      It was in shambles. I think this shamble was created because LHL did not listen to a certain faction of the PAP from the start.

      It was in such a depressing state that while I was moving with one of the most politically savvy opposition candidate, that I mentioned,’I feel like moving to the PAP because, now they seem to be the underdog’.
      The next day an apology comes about in such a timely fashion. I did not know what to feel then and till now am quite lost to where we will be heading.

      I think a good poker player would know, that cards were shown among many, within the PAP,to show where they stood. LHL was caught off gaurd within his party, during the campaign.

      There were many, a movement to undermine each other before the campaign, but the true colours showed when the electorate, the ordianry people did not even respond to the PAP candidates walkabouts in the heartlands.

      All said, they won. Now back to LHL.

      A lefty doing his best to shake hands with his right during the PM oath, I felt sad for him in 2004. He was not himself then, decisions were made for him.

      However, I think the responsibility he has been brought up with will behold, as long as his heart is in this place Singapore. He should be able to do it. The people who surround him today, TCH & TS will want to guide it in opposing ways, which will & might assist Singapore towards the right direction. One right & the other center left.

      It now boils back down to LHL to be a hard driver of his men. Let us see if he can do it?

  16. 31 yuenchungkwong 16 May 2011 at 03:39

    among extensive local and overseas commentary on the development, GCT is credited with “opening up” “softer touch”; well, under him suing opposition leaders for hundreds of thousands became regular practice, and he was the one to tell Catherine Lim to shut up; his 55% in the 2011 election shows that he is no more popular than any other minister

    someone said LKY has been preparing Singapore for the post LKY era for a long time; I again disagree – Singapore is unprepared because it never quite understood LKY’s operation,; most discussions were merely a mix of PAP and anti PAP propaganda in various proportions and both types deliberately or inadvertently miss the essence; without this understanding, you cannot really figure out what has changed and what is the same, what is post LKY and what is not

  17. 32 Robox 16 May 2011 at 03:41

    I am taking this quote following out of contxt, but I don’t think it’s irrelevant:

    “What change was he talking about?” people will ask. “He never really wanted any change at all.”

    I am personally convinced that there is no sincerity in any of the PAP’s candidates’ promises for change, or transformation, or remaking, or whatever feel-good buzzword they come up with. (I do believe that they are genuinely stunned by the party’s worst showing since independence, though, because they have full knowledge of the institutional/ized advantages they have stacked up for themselves and the flipside, instituional/ized against oppoition parties.)

    I don’t say that just based on past precedent alone – remember Remaking Singapore and Singapore 21? – and neither am I saying it because I hate the PAP. I’m saying this because there are some concrete reasons why the PAP have become the way they are, and why this will continue to be the case.

    If I examine the one common thread that runs through all the reasons that the PAP is hated or criticized for, it is the hatred and resentment that the people feel against them because they are an emboldened lot. And they are an emboldened lot because they are being emboldened by a system that they have in the first place created.

    It’s about the way they can easily get into Parliament not based on true personal merit, but because they do so under the PAP ticket.

    The institutionalizing of information control and flows in the media is also prime. Of course, they have now seen how the internet is a factor, but they have lost only six seats which is nothing in another FPTP system, albeit those systems are minus the GRC scheme which skews the results even more. (And the current trajectory of dissent must not only be maintained but increased for the opposition to enjoy further electoral gains – a whole other topic by itself.)

    Then there are all the other ways they have ensured that they continue to be protected for incompetence, for making mistakes even unforgivable ones, for illegal acts, for abusive language, etc.

    And then the cycle begins again: the incompetents protected by the system they created and which they work in, and are working very hard to preserve, contest in elections under the PAP ticket again, ensuring that they – and their incompetence, their aloofness and even hatred towards the people that they were elected to serve – will similarly be preserved.

    It’s a mechanism that is now self-perpetuating: people may enter politics on the PAP ticket very sincere about serving and all that, but because of the grossly unjust institutionalized advantages they enjoy once they are in, they become emboldened to do the things they do and say the things they say. (I know for a fact that it is a natural human reaction.)

    In other words, opposition critics including the opposition parties themselves have already identified the problem/s. And the change cannot be initiated from the inside. They must necessarily be shamed into initiating change and that can only be an exercise initiated from the outside and bared for all to see.

    It is only human that when people are kept on their toes so that they will not commit mistakes and atrocities – checks and balances – that they will actually desist from committing those mistakes and atrocities.

    The PAP has now gone into “reinventing the wheel mode” thinking that the reasons for their shocking performance – despite their massive advantage – lie elsewhere and not what we have always been telling them.

    Singaporeans keep getting fooled by talk of remaking, transformations, and what not. Are we going to be deceived again without any change in the system that emboldens them in the first place? (Ever been told the story about the man who abuses his wife, says sorry, she accepts, then after a while the whole cycle repeats itself? It is exactly the same psycho-emotional dynamics at work here, and you and I are part of it.)

    The PAP is likely to be more careful in the next few years, but over time when they see that they can continue to get away with murder because the system enables them to, they will become emboldened again.

    Because the sytem allows them to.

    Natural human reaction. They didn’t get this way in the first place without supporting mechanisms, you know?

    Then we are back to square one.

    • 33 prettyplace 19 May 2011 at 23:13

      coupled with the changing demographics, the cost of living and healthcare issues, I don’t think the PAP machinery will be successful for the next GE, if they don’t make drastic changes.

      A system can only last if each chain can hold strong. I think there are too many weak links within the system, which will break it too soon then later unless change takes place.

      I see where you are coming from, if it remains the same, its better for Singapore then.

  18. 34 Bill Loh 16 May 2011 at 04:40

    Alex is right…LHL is struggling to make senes of what to do next. He does not have the panache of a leader nor a reformer. If he was not so well paid, it would be easy to feel sorry for him.

    He needs the weekend to take the pulse of his party and cabinet members as the news of the dual resignations sink in. He knows the dynamics are about to change in the cabinet. He is probably trying to see how he can use these resignations to his advantage.

    LHL, together with all the cabinet ministers, are process oriented and do not possess the instincts or the chutzpah to lead Spore at this point of its history. He can see the need for trade-offs but may not the necessary value system to decide what needs to be sacrificed in the light of a compassion based communal needs. It is one thing to apologise in public for what has gone awry, it is another matter to cut the size of the defense budget as part of a larger plan to finance a health system for the elderly and the terminally ill.

    LHL will look to the straw polls and keep trying to sort out what is doable from all the post election feedback. The MSM will drum up the necessary support to promote the patch up job which will keep the middle class reasonably happy, till the next election.

  19. 35 Tommy 16 May 2011 at 05:10

    What type of a gov will we be having if MM and SM resigns without first informating the PM. Wouldn’t the father have informed the son anyway?

    All this waiting to decide is just a charade. Also why do both MM and SM have to go? With MM, i understand, he is 88 and health is failing.

    But SM Goh is still fine. In a way this move ties up loose ends for the family. They cannot have SM being a counterfoil to PM.

    All the head cracking has been done my MM. He is the man people respect and fear. With this shadow lifted, let the public debate start

  20. 36 Tanky 16 May 2011 at 06:00

    To me, the move was initiated by LKY. He knows his days are numbered, both from “people’s support” and “life expectancy” stand point. Resigning seems like a good idea to preserve whatever legacy he has. Now, the chance of a break within the PAP post LKY is not small. Being a good father, LKY got GCT to resign as well so that his son will have a better chance to come out as winner of the split should that occurs.

  21. 37 Calculon 16 May 2011 at 07:17

    Hello People… Stop fawning over George Yeo, not another ‘oh he so nice, it’s a pity, what a great loss…’

    At least, contemplate for a moment, why his team was so thoroughly beaten, in every single ward in Aljunied… Being orgasmicly nice seem soooo not the point.

    Such goldfish… Was it not brillant George who reasoned building of casino? Mr Wang details it quite clearly, so simply put, one would never your child growing up an aspiring croupier.

    Back to LHL, yeah such a loser…

  22. 38 internal 16 May 2011 at 07:49

    I’d agree with earlier comments – the “dithering” is the consequence of the intra-party dynamic. I don’t agree it is simply pleasing the “LKY adorers” per se. It is a known fact the party has 2 camps. While clearing the deck, LHL has to manage the divide. You can’t even begin the “smart” people politics until you cross this bridge. Let’s see the new balance of power once the Cabinet is announced.

    If Halimah Yacob’s comment about MM/SM’s decisions as “not sudden” is freudian faux pas (in regurgitating the internal grapevine), then it may be one MM for one SM + many ministers. I’d say, a smart move to give the party a window to secure its longer-term place in Spore politics. The one can certainly earn more than his ministerial pay; but the others will now have to depend on patronage.

  23. 39 Streak 16 May 2011 at 07:52

    Simply put, one would not have left without the other one in tow.

  24. 40 UnLee 16 May 2011 at 08:04

    All the number crunching has resulted in a statistical and cold analysis of our population. So they concocted “foreign talent” policy and look where we are? It is so dangerous to have leaders who lack well-rounded experiences in life and cannot relate to ordinary people. PM Lee was confronted by a bewildered resident in AMK during the campaign who wanted assistance with her issues. His response in Mandarin? Let’s talk about it later! It would be a wonder if the woman voted for him. This is man who compartmentalizes tasks and dismisses people. He should also fire his wife from Temasek.

  25. 41 Ziggy 16 May 2011 at 08:04

    If GCT had secured a strong mandate this elections he probably would have remained in cabinet…but alas the “No Substance” minister was given a slap by the “No Substance Party”.

    If LHL is serious about change, he should axe the worst performing ministers(ie. those in the bottom 20% – 30% in terms of votes, or at the very least those that earned less than 60.1% votes)

  26. 42 Yamasam 16 May 2011 at 08:19

    The first thought that came to my mind when I read that LHL will take some time to decide was he is buying time to gauge the reaction from the ground.

    Should there be strong support for LKY and/or GCT to stay on, he may accept one resignation and persuade the other to stay on for maybe half a term.

    If the ground says sayonara to both, then it will clear to him to accept their resignations.

  27. 43 Tan Tai Wei 16 May 2011 at 08:19

    I remember LHL replied someone, who suggested during his campaigning something like his retaining retired ministers as “senior ministers” to mentor new ministers of their previous portfolios in the process of “leadership renewals”, saying that that would render it hard for new ministers to work with someone constantly looking over their shoulders.

    Was he talking from personal experience?

  28. 44 bootlace 16 May 2011 at 08:56

    Hahaha…LHL flummoxed during cable-car incident. How many of these SAF groomed whitehorses are worth their salt? Their ranks are neither proven not earned, entire career orchestrated, grew up buffeted from rough and tumble. Bad leaders don not necessarily make bad decisions. They make no decisions.

  29. 45 Alan Wong 16 May 2011 at 09:48

    Obviously it was already a foregone decision and very hard to believe that he has yet to make up his mind on such important decisions before hand. It is hardly PAP’s nature to make public announcements only to retract them later.

    Anyway, his father would certainly have to go one fine day, whether it is today or tomorrow. Again, I think maybe it’s just another attempt at least to show some reluctance on his part to let go of the wooden Goh to dispute that there is any unhappiness within the party ranks which has been surfacing lately. So let’s continue to see how our PM intends to act out his wayang.

  30. 46 munny 16 May 2011 at 09:50

    Like it or not, we are still very much a conservative Confucius society where we will not publicly embarrass our relatives or seniors. That LHL choose to “deliberate” over the resignations of his 2 seniors is just to provide a respectful way for them to step down. By that, he will in some way, gain the some respect of the older generations and older leaders in Asia.

    Politics is ruthless, you may say, but in Asia, giving face is still very much a fact of life.

    As to your poser — “who initiated the resignations”, my guess is LHL probably “fired” his seniors. Nobody else in the cabinet can do that and LKY will never step down on his own accord. So, the likely scenario is that he had a closed door meeting where he told the 2 of them to announce their resignations. Like how emperors in China would serve poison wine to the troublemakers in their courts🙂 and then record it in the annals these people died mysteriously/committed suicide out of guilt.

  31. 47 twasher 16 May 2011 at 10:13

    What previous evidence did you have that Lee Hsien Loong is cautious, indecisive, and relies too much on numbers?

  32. 48 Ben 16 May 2011 at 10:31

    Agree with you that he lacks leadership capability.

    If he is decisive enough, WKS and MBT would have been asked to step down long ago for their mistakes.

  33. 49 skponggol 16 May 2011 at 10:58

    Claiming that WP A Team would unseat LKY in Tanjong Pagar GRC is a bit too far fetched based on the following:

    1. WP margin of victory in Aljunied GRC is about 55%, merely decisive but not a landslide margin as we seen in Hougang.

    2. There will be no Hougang spillover effect.

    3. WP receives their greater vote share from upper-middle class voters as seen in Searngoon Garden estate while upper-middle class are not a significant segment in Tanjong Pagar GRC. Those rich voters living in District 9,10,11 as well as those in Central CBD area are mega-rich voters who benefit the most from PAP rule.

    4. Tanjong Pagar GRC has a great portion of elderly voters who would mostly vote for PAP as seen from Radin Mas SMC result.

    5. Tanjong Pagar GRC has a great portion of lower-income voters living in rental and 1-, 2-, 3- rooms flats. They are more beholden to the handouts from ruling party and will usually seek MP for help in MPS. This again can been seen from Radin Mas SMC result.

    6. George Yeo may be popular, but he is no LKY. What did Geroge Yeo ever accomplish as compared to LKY ? LKY is even more well-known, prestigious and popular. To the older voters who have experienced all the changes, gratitude is simply servitude.

    7. Other team members from Tanjong Pagar GRC like Lily Neo and Indranee are more hard-working than Lim Hwee Hua and Cynthia Phua.

    8. Look at the property price and the beautiful new flats in Tanjong Pagar GRC (eg Pinnacle) with all the convenient amenities, do you think these voters will vote against PAP ? Most voters have benefited enormously from HDB en-bloc redevelopment program. They trade in their older, lousy, cheaper flats for newer, better and more expensive flats. Do you think they will vote against PAP ? The flats in Tanjong Pagar GRC are much better than those in Aljunied GRC.

  34. 50 TWOG 16 May 2011 at 11:04

    I think this is about clearing the deck for the 4G leaders. How to talk about recruiting and grooming the 4G leaders when among this current cabinet there are still 1G and 2G leaders around? It is also about clearing out those “liberals” who may pose a threat to the current 3G leaders. George Yeo is out. GCT has showed his hands when he started lashing out at WKS, MBT and RaymondL for their incompetence and unpopularity. So, GCT has to go. And how to get him to go without also asking MM to go? So, by the grace of god, go! Both of them.

  35. 52 timebomber 16 May 2011 at 11:05

    I find it hard to imagine that LKY did not first discuss his resignation with his son before making the decision. Come on, they are family. How can LHL not be informed earlier?

    However, looking back at what happened during the days leading up to polling day, it is possible father and son were not in constant communication. I kind of suspect there is a communication gap between the father and son. Just as in many families, their’s could be quite dysfunctional.

  36. 53 skponggol 16 May 2011 at 11:07

    9. Tanjong Pagar GRC has less Malay voters than Aljunied GRC. Thus the Malay vote loss due to LKY comment will be lesser.

  37. 54 timebomber 16 May 2011 at 11:14

    On second thoughts, I think the WP Aljunied A team would have lost if they had contested in Tanjong Pagar. But not because LKY is there. Rather, it would be because Lily Neo is in the PAP team there. As far as I know, she’s just as popular and well-liked, or even more so, than George Yeo. Just surf around the Internet and you will find that even the hard-core opposition supporters have little bad things to say about the very charming and lovely Lily Neo.

  38. 55 Sillymonk 16 May 2011 at 11:14

    Obviously a bunch of assumptious creep.

    LHL should be saying “F**k the LKY adorers, I’ll do what I have to do.” Successful politicians are clear-headed people, ruthlessly so if needed. Quite obviously LHL is not and that’s why he is in such a mess.

    @YB – In which or what capacity or god sending intuition or angel whisper did you manage to decipher LHL’s head ?

    If today, LHL said what you have just said, i’d say we’re done dead. With a government who shows no respect for one of the most influential leader in the poiltical areana, how would you think if you’re an investor whom has or going to invest heavily on this little haven, what about the leadership transition agenda ?

    We’ll more likely to be in a mess being a hotbed for a generation of ungrateful as well as individuals incapable in a fair evaluation of a subject matter.

    Without a group strong minded leaders for Singapore of tommorrow. The threath will be disatrous. We want a voice from the ground to be heard. YES !!! But if you want your voice to be heard in the World – that is a whole bunch of completely different issues.

    The respect given from the rest of the world & region is hugely responsible of where we are right now. The LITTLE RED DOT is a significant achievement because of the vision of our leaders. For with both people’s happiness & international agenda that will give us a huge advantage. Not a dissatisfied & divided nation incapable of recognising this advantage.

    Let’s put together some good issues to be reflected rather than stamping everything across. Give a full & fair evalution, don’t let this be a breeding grounds or spam box.

  39. 57 Ghanz Lek 16 May 2011 at 12:15

    Ya, that was the niggling problem I faced when I realized I was very angry with the PAP and the PM. Why so angry I thought? Then I realized – they had no vision.😦

  40. 58 laoshi 16 May 2011 at 12:15

    LHL would not have been caught in this situation if both of them were removed from the cabinet the moment they stood down. The creation of the SM/MM posts to accommodate them bordered on the ridiculous. Will history now remember LHL as the PM who never was?

  41. 59 SOS 16 May 2011 at 12:34

    Is MM pulling a Dr. M? Threaten to resign and then the cadres crowd around him to tell him how much he’s still needed and wanted? It is entirely possible this was orchestrated by MM without full knowledge of PM. PM blinked and showed his insecurity, very bad for any leader.

    Urgent suggestions for PM Lee:

    Pay serious attention to cabinet composition. Any whiff of unfair promotions will cause even more disquiet. The mathematician that he is, he promoted Hwee Hwa, another maths policy wonk the last time. Look where that got him?

    Second, urgently announce a review of ministerial salaries and immigration policy. Any more talk about Malays or Muslims as being the “other” should be quashed. Any more talk of foreigners with “talents” should be quashed. Clean up own house first before integrating foreigners. Or do both with great delicacy since the foreigners are already here and not going anywhere. But a third of population filled with aliens is just too much for people. Handle issue with great care. Calm the people pronto.

    This will help quieten some of the discontent. Any silly moves of his part like promoting people who did not do NS and Singapore will go down the tube faster than we all imagined.

  42. 60 skponggol 16 May 2011 at 12:40

    Also, I think it is quite unfair to label Lee Hsien Loong as indecisive, overly cautious, and lack of vision.

    Under him, the government decisively, swiftly and daringly allows the building of 2 casinos in record speed. The F1 racing was also similarly introduced. The record diplomatic breakthrough with Malaysia on the railway station (although the Malaysia PM should also be given greater credit). The economy is growing at record speed.

    Even during this election, LHL also shows his strong decisive leadership. He has rightly identified the importance of young voters prior the election and thus tooks a huge risk to introduce Tin Pei Ling as a new candidate as he hopes to attract new voters. Although his gamble backfired, it is a sign of indecisive unvisionary leadership ? He has also openly contradicted and disagreed with LKY when the latter lectured the Aljunied GRC voters to “repent”. Even more incredibly, LHL openly apologised to the nation during the election, and surely, against the wishes of LKY and PAP old guards. Is this act indecisive ?

    The reason LHL hesistate to accept both MM and SM stepping down so as not offend the feelings and older voters. It would make both look like scapegoats for the PAP setback. It would also make LHL look weak, unable to accept responsibility, and ungrateful. He also has to find out how and when to remove other more weaker Ministers. If he were to accept MM and SM resignation, how can he allow people like WKS, MBT and Balakrishnan to remain in the Cabinet ? There are more Ministers who deserved to be kicked out than MM and SM. He should consider whether he have people and time to replace them.

  43. 61 Anonymous 16 May 2011 at 14:36

    The difference between a made leader and a true leader.

  44. 62 Gard 16 May 2011 at 15:18

    Retaining in your court two former emperors who quite unreservedly express ‘personal views’ is downright confusing to the bureaucracy known for efficient and forward-looking execution.

    “My views are quite different”
    http://www.asiaone.com/News/The%2BNew%2BPaper/Story/A1Story20110201-261544.html

    The monarch really have to spend some time thinking about what to do with the former emperors’ concubines, e.g., the press secretaries.

  45. 63 Jeffrey Yen 16 May 2011 at 15:23

    I think wang may be reading too much into this. Maybe it’s more appropriate to think of this as similar to the ‘i will pay the bill’ ritual after the Chinese dinner. Everyone knows the eventual outcome, but it is considered rude not to take part! LHL is just giving due consideration to the resignation, I think it’s just a formality that ‘he’s thinking about it’.

  46. 64 Michael 16 May 2011 at 17:19

    MM Lee should not just resign from the Cabinet. He should also resign from the Parliament.

    Allow a bye=election to take place in the Tangjong Pagar GRC. The other four PAP team members + George Yeo perhaps, should be given an opportunity at the polls. If they win, they can stand shoulder to shoulder with the other parliamentarians. If they lose, PAP gets to find out how unpopular they had been all these years.

    Without any polls held in Tanjong Pagar GRC in the last 20 years, it is high time to put its popularity to the test.

  47. 65 Raymond Lim 16 May 2011 at 17:48

    I posted this on Nicole Seah’s fb page over an hour ago:

    I read on some other web site that LHL is a weak leader to say that he will wait till Monday (today) to announce whether he will accept the resignations of MM and SM. Why Monday? I thought. Well friends, I know why? He wanted to see how the stock market will take the news. If the market has a massive fall, then he can say that he deci…ded not to accept the resignations and thus the markets will recover. Smart, isn’t he? (Well, don’t forget that you first read it here). I checked and found that the market has fallen 31.96 points but it had risen 33.23 points on Friday so the effect is neutral. Expect to hear that he will accept the resignations soon (if he has not already made it).

  48. 66 yawningbread 16 May 2011 at 18:09

    Just heard from a source: ministers had been talking about LKY’s resignation a mere few days after polling day. So this means LHL had plenty of time to “think” about it.

  49. 67 balanced view 16 May 2011 at 18:11

    LHL cannot look too eager to accept MM and SM’s resignation. It is a PR move to let the news sink in before coming up with a decisive statement. Otherwise he will be seen as ungrateful and will lose some popularity points. Is he indecisive? Maybe, maybe not, but this is not a good situation to use as an example.

    Please tell your friend even a super opposition A-team will not be able to win LKY, Lily Neo and Indranee Rajah, they will still lose even if it is 5 vs 3. This is not the time.

  50. 68 Stngiam 16 May 2011 at 19:29

    It’s possible that LKY would have scraped through had a strong opposition team stood in Tanjong Pagar but PAP nationwide would have suffered even bigger vote shortfalls. The Party managed to make LKY shut up after the first few days but if he had been running personally, do you think anyone could have stopped him from going even further than “repent ” ?

    I’m not sure TP voters would have stood by him either. TP is one of the most blatantly gerrymandered constituencies. Certainly many Serangoon voters resented being in Marine Parade. I’m sure many of the TP “residents” would have felt the same way.

  51. 69 Questions To ASK 16 May 2011 at 20:26

    Firstly, ask ourselves _ Why must GCT resign together with LKY and also make a joint statement with him? Was not GCT “persuaded” by LKY to step down?

    Secondly, if a Joint Statement is required, did not the two of them (LKY and GCT) discuss the matter long before they made that Joint Statement public?

    Thirdly, if LKY has “persuaded” GCT to resign together with him, what was the motive? Why was Lim Boon Heng and other pro-GCT clique removed, what was the motive? If the motive is to purge all anti-LHL personalities, then shouldn’t LHL knew this before hand?

  52. 70 anon 16 May 2011 at 23:25

    I cannot believe that even die-hard PAP members would want MM Lee to stay on. Many must have bitten their lips real hard till they bled when he committed his numerous paux pas. He is no fool. He must have reflected deeply on those things that have transpired over that slightly over a week of hustings. He saw the writing clearly on the wall.

    His appendage, Goh, has to go with him since his presence in cabinet would no longer be required when Lee leaves. Goh had to remain in cabinet in order for Lee senior to stay on. It would be untenable had Goh left while Lee senior stayed on in his son’s cabinet! Lee and Lee would have become laughing stocks in the capital of the political world! Just reflect on what real work had Goh been doing these past few years and you would see what I mean.

  53. 71 Lynn 17 May 2011 at 10:17

    I simply want to ask the author a question, who else can be our next Prime Minister?

    • 72 Robox 17 May 2011 at 12:14

      “I simply want to ask the author a question, who else can be our next Prime Minister?”

      Chee Soon Juan, no matter what you think of him. Vincent Wijeysinghe. Chen Show Mao.

      Are we that short of prime ministerial talent? Or short of it only as defined by the PAP?

      And if we are indeed short of such talent, what is the role that the PAP has played in ensuring this sorry state of affairs?

      • 73 prettyplace 19 May 2011 at 23:31

        Lui Tuck Yew, i hope i got his name right.
        He is being groomed but will he make it, now that’s a different question.

        I think the PAP thought people were to daft, the internet is a force to be reckoned with.

        It is too difficult to see where we are going in the next 5 years. I have never ever seen this, but I honestly hope, it will be brighter for Singapore and Singaporeans.

  54. 74 Ting 17 May 2011 at 11:12

    So typical of LHL.

    Basically, he is afraid to say or do the wrong things, so he’s waiting for the news to sink in, to see how the ground reacts. He will then craft his response accordingly and have the final say on the matter. That way, he is guaranteed to not over or under react.

  55. 75 Neib 17 May 2011 at 12:14

    I beg to differ from most commentaries of the resignation of LKY and GCT.

    While there has been general criticisms of PAP during this election, the Lees needed to put to rest a perennial problem. LHL’s biggest thorn is GCT who until GE 2011 could claim that he enjoyed much popular support at the back of his record win at the GE 2001. As a result, LHL had to “share” power with GCT’s team ie. GY, Teo Chee Hean, Lim Boon Heng and others. He never had total control of the Cabinet.

    That PAP would win the elections is a given in 2011. So how to gain full control of the cabinet?

    Firstly, fire a poison arrow into Marine Parade and incur the wrath of residents. If it works then it will destroy GCT’s illusion. LHL can then deal with GCT as he wishes.

    Secondly, how to remove GCT’s right hand man, GY who enjoys much popular support locally and internationally? While Aljunied was always a 50:50 case, how to nudge the voters over the opposition? It is here that you find LKY at his best. I cannot believe that LKY with his command of the language and his deep understanding of the emotions that can be aroused through words can make a fatal mistake by using the word “repent” rather than “regret”. So the plan must have been to alienate the Christians who would otherwise support GY.

    We all know part 1 has worked. Part 2 was simple. LKY offers to step down and GCT has no choice but to follow suit. Whether LKY is in the cabinet or not, his status will remain unchanged as he is and will always be the Founding Father of Singapore and will continue to enjoy worldwide recognition. As for matters of the state, he can always have breakfast with LHL. However, GCT now has to move office to Marine Parade and spend the next 5 years working the ground or bear the responsibility of losing this GRC at the next GE. How he envies the retirement life of ex colleagues Jaya and Boon Heng!

    While the PAP may be perceived to has “lost” big during GE 2011, from the Lees perspective it is a positive outcome. As usual most cannot see the effect of LKY’s vision and strategy as he is always thinking 3 steps ahead while many can only see 1 step at a time. When LKY said that he would get out of his coffin if he saw something wrong everyone will now realize that he just did that!

    • 76 prettyplace 19 May 2011 at 23:36

      I think any good obsever would have known that Aljunied was gone.
      LKY on the whole just made it worst for the PAP including his son. No, he cannot think 3 steps ahead, for god’s sake, he can’t even take 3 step without help.

      He is a liability and best is, if he stays away from the party & sg politics.

  56. 77 Dennis 17 May 2011 at 12:57

    “Who initiated the move to resign?”

    I suspect LKY initiated it. Because he was more pissed off by the election results than GCT, especially the loss of Aljunied. It was a loss he could not fathom and accept. By resigning, he’s telling Singaporeans loudly that he can’t be bothered to slog as a cabinet minister if they don’t appreciate his contributions. He wants the voters to truly regret and repent – because he reasons that many Singaporeans value his and GCT’s presence in the cabinet.

    But he must have a good reason to quit, and it must be seen as a magnanimous move, not a petty reaction or a revengeful one.

    So GCT’s resignation is more of a response to LKY’s. If only LKY quits, he wouldn’t be able to give the reason that he’s doing it “to give PM and his team the room to break from the past”, because that would make a fool of GCT, since the latter belongs to the past too. Hence GCT must quit too.

  57. 78 SgCapricorn 17 May 2011 at 14:01

    Imho, GCT initiated the resignation. He started with the 2 terms max. And he was offered TPL (an offer he could not refuse), followed by the trauma. Then he contradicted his “MParade focus” campaign when he hopped over to Aljunied campaign for his protégé, GY.

    Since GCT is on the way out, it does not make much sense that the MM still remains … the rest of the events became merely a PR wayang, a badly staged one at that.

    All this while LHL was aware of the impending resignations .. “the move was initiated by both leaders, but he had already known about their intention”.

  58. 79 Paul 17 May 2011 at 15:10

    A general remark as an observer who has chanced on this blog via reddit.

    The overall tone of comments here do not sound very neutral and some seem emotionally driven. There are some posts here that make it seem like PAP can’t do anything right.

    As a young voter, I believe the issues are likely to be in shades of grey. I do not want to be persuaded either way – reasoned and thoughtful posts that highlight both positive and negative aspects of specific leaders and leadership are very useful and much appreciated in helping me come to my own decision.

    Posts that are either extremely and obviously one-sidedly pro OR anti any party simply make the poster appear less rational and should be discounted.

    With respect to losing political credit in this article, taking time to think before responding is not negative in my opinion. Unless this drags on for weeks with no response, taking time to process and give a measured response seems the best course of action. If you are referring to politics as the game is played elsewhere, I’m not entirely convinced that I want an identical copy in Singapore, especially with regards to how ‘flashy’ or ‘eloquent’ a person has to be, or how a person’s personality obscures greater debate on the issues at hand and the wise decisions that need to be made at the end of the day.

    I’m interested to see how the next couple of years shapes up – I like to think especially in Singapore, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ – how the various parties will perform post GE2011 is the ultimate yardstick to measure whether they are worth the words they speak.

    • 80 AlienTalent 18 May 2011 at 08:22

      Paul

      Whether or not it is a twist of fate or just plain bad luck, anything can be open to interpretation; many people will think that the downward trend of votes for PAP (2001 GCT 75%, 2006 LHL 66% and now 2011 LHL 60%) will mean one thing but obviously you will think something less “negative”.

      You appear to show marked resilience and patience with the current Govt and PAP that forms it, which is a surprising departure from the usual perception of younger votes (presumably a Gen X or Y) who usually demand instant satiety and change.

      Perhaps 7 years (officially) is not too long for you to break-in a political leader and a Prime Minister of Singapore, but certainly there will be many who dont agree with you.

      There will be many other voters who will think of themselves as realistic but still expect a good Govt to be responsive to the people and not steam-roll their concerns. There will also be others who does not agree with the PAP style of dealing with opposition and intimating/baiting voters with threats or favouritism. We dont not want the kind of democracy we see in western countries, but we want a true democracy whereby the organs of the Govt is not misused to clamp down dissenting but valid alternate views. We want the Govt to serve the people and not PAP.

      This is the basis of what many of us are critical of PAP and the incumbent Govt. LHL must realise this by now.

      It is true that the new few years will be interesting; the WP experiment by Aljuned voters will determine if there is life in Singapore beyond PAP and with that if PAP remains the only viable party and platform whereby highly qualified person can serve the people.

    • 81 Gard 18 May 2011 at 13:29

      @Paul.

      Could I refer you to

      “GE 2011: Why You Mustn’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet”
      – Source: http://mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com/2011/05/ge-2011-why-you-mustnt-believe.html

      As far as I could tell, every reader owns the burden of deciding the worthiness of any post.

      And as far as I could tell, politics (in democracy) cannot be a spectator sport; any party cannot succeed in what they propose to do unless you play the role of the active citizen. That is to say, to borrow your metaphor, you have as much responsibility in making the ‘pudding’ as in eating it.

      But I digress. Singapore is now a monarchy…. and you might like to read back on history when Singapore was not yet a monarchy.

      “I would say the generation of the ‘50s and ‘60s took the plunge into politics without ever calculating the costs of the risk and the benefits to be gained. They were driven by ideology. Today’s generation has no culture and averse to taking political risk. Really, an interest in politics is very necessary for the future. But I cannot blame the present generations, because they see the heavy-handed response by the government to dissenting views, even though they know that these matters involve their daily lives.

      So the result is that we have produced a younger generation who are meek and therefore very calculating. They are less independent-thinking and lack in initiative. It does not bode well for the emergence of future leaders in politics and business. Robots and computers can be programmed or if you like, can be trained. But the trouble, of course, is that computers lack soul and what we need in Singapore is soul. Because it is soul that makes society.”
      – Dr Toh Chin Chye

      Source: http://sgblogs.com/entry/part-true-founders-singapore/57078

  59. 82 K Das 17 May 2011 at 22:05

    @ SgCapricorn

    Great men think alike –ha ha hah.

    I was about to write in similar vein as what you had written. But somehow you have pre-empted me. What matters is the message, not the messenger.

  60. 83 yuenchungkwong 18 May 2011 at 19:19

    the new cabinet list shows you completely misjudged LHL, and confused his wayang about “considering” LKY and GCT leaving cabinet with substance

    of course, LHL would have helped himself a lot more if he did that kind of cabinet change before the election; he would have got 70% without trouble

  61. 84 Ryan 18 May 2011 at 22:49

    I think PM Lee took some time to think, so as to place emphasis on the fact that he is in charge, that he has the “power” to accept ot decline their resignations, and also to show that now that he has to make such a decision, he is his “own man” now, winning him more confidence…

  62. 85 cui bono 19 May 2011 at 00:18

    Alex,
    Would be interesting to hear your views in light of LHL’s new cabinet lineup.

    I thought he has been quite decisive with moving on MBT, WKS, RL. Of course, he lacks political finesse, as can be seen from his explanation that these guys had already wanted to step down.

    I don;t think LKY had any intention of stepping down. Look at his comments b4 the elections on being fit, ard for next 5 years. Post election he was also quite fired up. Catherine Lim provides a credible analysis.
    http://catherinelim.sg/2011/05/17/the-ge-2011-political-demise-of-lee-kuan-yew-a-supreme-irony/

    I think LHL convinced his father he needs to step aside now. His comment abt needing to think abt it was just poor PR. LHL is an intellectual and might seem aloof but I think over the years he has made a huge effort to connect with the ground. I think he will be a liberal in many ways.

    I am not one bit a PAP supporter but I think LHL’s cabinet moves does show a desire to move towards a new plan.

  63. 86 Yixin 19 May 2011 at 09:05

    I think the pause was to gauge the response to potential Cabinet changes; if people (and the financial markets) generally accepted their leaving (which they seemed to do), then LHL had the mandate to make more changes to Cabinet (which he did). Don’t think this instance is one where LHL and his team’s political nous can be faulted.


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