Is Singapore’s freshest DPM’s recent speech really all that bad?

If there’s one thing in the world that I’d agree with Lim Tean or Kirsten Han  it would be this:

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We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but perhaps future slogans should not be reused lest its impact gets, well, reduced? Besides, it does faintly remind me of a particular supermarket chain’s slogan.

Cheesy slogan aside, is Singapore’s freshest DPM’s recent speech really all that bad?

Lim Tean wrote that “Mr New Taxes Heng” has promised Singaporeans more taxes in the coming years to fund the revenue of the government, and questioned if DPM Heng truly listened to the people of Singapore. Similarly, TOC shared that of the nation-building themes, DPM Heng “did not include bread-and-butter issues”.

Someone needs to work on their comprehension skills – you could, you know, use your SkillsFuture credits on this.

Isn’t the focus on environmental sustainability, housing, youths and social mobility a direct result of the 4G listening to the ground? Take it from me, a young adult in her early thirties who actually feels strongly for such issues – the environment, especially. Have you guys not read reports on how Singapore is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change? What good is there if our sole focus is all money-related (e.g. getting back your CPF, abolishing the GST), and not ensuring the environmental viability of Singapore? Money may make your world go round, but there may not be a Singapore one day to enjoy the CPF monies if that’s all we talk about.

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And why aren’t either of the four highlighted focus areas seen as bread-and-butter issues?

These four focus areas tell me one thing: The G cares not only for the short term, but long term planning as well. Which is important to me and my growing family. It tells me that The G – though painful as they may sometimes be – has a plan for me, my kids, and the generations to come. As the proverb goes, we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

Policies are never perfect, and they will always be work in progress, just like all of us. Show me a country with a perfect set of socio-economic policies and trust me, I’ll give you all of my CPF savings. Show me a highly advanced country that has kept its cost of living and tax rates absolutely nominal, and I’ll throw in my kid’s Baby Bonus as well.

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Lim Tean then declared that for “People’s Voices, it is always about Putting People First so that We Make Singapore Our Home Again!”

Well, firstly – that last part eerily reminds me of a particularly orange ang moh who would like to make things great again. Are you seriously using him as inspiration?

Secondly, Lim Tean is completely missing the point. Putting people first is exactly what the speech – and The G – is saying! Again, someone needs to work on their comprehension skills.

The G is putting the people first, and the G wants to work with the people (well, at least that’s what the speech says) to achieve this goal. That is why DPM Heng stressed on the point about how government agencies would have to learn to better engage different groups of Singaporeans and accept good ideas wherever they may come from. He acknowledged that Singapore’s increasing diversity meant that it would be increasingly harder to maintain our common space. This, to me, is the first step to putting people first – recognising that as much as we are One People, we are cut from many different cloths.

DPM Heng also spoke about “democracy of deeds”, i.e. going beyond contributing feedback and ideas, but taking actual action to make a difference. Comments from armchair critics at Lim Tim’s Facebook thread described this as another round of “fake news”. Would the government really want to work with Singaporeans? Or is this only because elections are nearing?

Well, it is always easier to be a keyboard warrior, and it is definitely much easier to demand. But as what John F. Kennedy once said, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Stop whining people. Don’t be that guy in class projects who shoots down every idea (just shakes his leg) while everyone else pitches in.

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Nearing the conclusion of his speech, DPM Heng said that “we may have different views, but so long as you have the good of Singapore at heart, we can work together”. I’m not saying Lim Tean and the PVP is all talk and no action. I think they’re not all that bad, with the “Bread 4 All” programme and such. I’m sure Lim Tean and his team have the good of Singapore at the core of their hearts.

What I do hope is everyone, regardless of political orientations, come forward and work together and craft a better future together. We may have to agree to disagree, and trash things out, but Singapore after all is our home, we should work together to make Singapore a better place. If not for ourselves, then at least for our children.