Earn that Sir!

This is the title of an article written by Dr Tan Chek Wee in Today. He talked about people demanding to be addressed as Sir even in the community. I have borrowed this title to replace the original title of this article which was 'Dark Clouds over the Istana.' Since our independence as a nation, the office of the Presidency has never been in question or a subject of controversy. All the past Presidents from Yusof Ishak to Wee Kim Wee were well regarded in their ceremonial roles. Then came the Elected President with a more important task to guard our reserves. Other than these nothing changes. And Ong Teng Cheong was highly respected for his role and short stay at the Istana. He wanted to do his job well and took it very seriously. Today we are seeing this huge controversy over the Presidency. The Office is even paid more the the President of the US. For doing what? People are questioning almost everything about the Presidency, from pay to how it is being elected and the effectiveness of its role in guarding our reserves. Why should the highest office of the country be subject to so much cynicism? Maybe we should go back to the drawing board and start all over again. Remove all the elitist barriers and return the right to this office to every Singaporean, rich or poor. Every Singaporean must have the right to stand for election as the President of the country. It must must not be the exclusive right of a few rich and powerful. And we should borrow the American practice of allowing the President to appoint his own team of advisers once he is elected by popular vote. No elected president is allowed to take office by walkovers. Perhaps, when people see that the elected President is able to exercise indepedence by the system that brings him to office, will the controversies go away. An Elected Presdent must be elected by the people, from the people and be able to execute his duties independently. I am not saying that the current President cannot exercise his duties independently. And the public is also not saying so.


Anonymous said...

If they open up the office of elected president to all and sundry, then no quality control mah. What if a fluke election outcome results in a former bicycle thief becoming President? That would be embarrassing to the country wouldn't it? But more importantly, the unsaid reason why nomination for the post is restricted is so that they can be very sure the eventual winner will be someone who will toe the line, and not be independent-minded. Someone who's interests are aligned with their own, and hence will do as he/she is told.

redbean said...

we are no longer an illiterate peasant society. the people are well read and knowledgeable. no chance for a bicycle thief to be elected. the media too will do their investigative journalism to fish out the background of a candidate. that is their professional responsibility.

don't worry.

Anonymous said...

It has become a big wayang,pity that some refuse to recognise it as such.


Dog said...

Even our bicycle thieves have some schoolings and can speak some singlish. So if such a one is elected president, he would make a more rousing speech than Obama and let Sporeans abroad feel proud. Besides such a president will toe the line even after 90% of his pay is used as charity for poor sporeans.

NNNNN new citizens from India are better than thieves for president.

redbean said...

the media used to glorify the sons of hardlanders and taxi drivers doing well and winning a scholarship.

under the stringent elitist criteria for presidency, no hardlanders can ever dream of becoming an elected president. the door is closed to hardlanders.

would thieves be excluded!?

Anonymous said...

Redbean, never underestimate the stupidity of an electorate. ANgry people are very capable of making stupid and illogical decisions. Anyway, I'm not holding my breath for the nomination for the office of elected presidency to be opened up. It just does not in the PAP's interests to do that. They found out that even one of their own in the form of the late OTC could bite their hands, what more a rank outsider. If I was LKY, I'd think the same way too. Those who have been imbued with power, what more for as long as he has, will not be receptive to the prospect of losing any bit or even sharing it.

Wang said...


You are asking to change from a parliamentary system to a presidential system.
It just does not compute.

redbean said...

we can expect wild vote swings in the 60s and 70s. today, i think the electorate are more sensible. and if they want to vote a bicycle thief to be the president, then they will have to live with it. a president alone cannot do much anyway.

and no i am not thinking of changing to a presidential system. just some modifications to the elected president and his presidential council to guard the reserves.

Anonymous said...

True, whether bicycle thief or enemy translator makes little difference.

Lost Citizen