Would we see the knuckle duster again?

My article on Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day concessions is pretty generous and I thought for a start it is quite promising. There are other perspectives that are calling for more changes while some are asking for compensation for the wrongs and damages done by past policies. These are very serious in monetary terms for those badly hurt by the education policies and housing fiasco that were trumpeted as great jobs done. They were nearly awarded the public stars. We know that they are now history, good riddance.

Hsien Loong has taken a more conciliatory approach to deal with the problems, used to be called achievements, created by policies of the past few years. Trying to accept them and see them as problems and looking for solutions to them must be quite pressurizing. It could be different, a triumphant glory, if they were painted as great policies and nothing needs to be done. As things are, there is an admission that not all are right or good stuff. Some were blatantly disgusting.

What if Hsien Loong took the kpkbs negatively, or someone suggested to him that he needs to be tough, never retreat under pressure, never allowed the people to make demands on him, and offers him the knuckle duster? If that happens, I can easily foresee the following developments.

There will be a clamp down on new media. There will be people being sued. There could be midnight callers. And Hsien Loong could appear on national TV to speak to the people in a different tone. He may even shed some tears for the tough measures that he had to take against the detractors, all for the good of the country. The country will be pitched to be in a state of crisis, and tension would spread across the island. Some may end up as bankrupts, some may escape from paradise.

And all the ministers who were stripped from their posts will be resurrected and elevated to high pedestals, as heroes who made tough decisions. Only strong and good leaders are capable of making tough decisions even when the policies hurt the people badly. But there is always the long term good to preach. In the long run, like from a distance, the earth looks so beautiful, and everything will turn out well.

And everything goes on as usual, with all the past policies in force. Property owners will be smiling when property prices shoot to the sky. CPF holders will be smiling when they read their monthly statements. Foreign talents will be smiling everywhere and telling their country men that Singapore is a paradise. And more foreigners will be queuing up to come to paradise. Some will be pointing to the jams everywhere as signs of progress and vibrancy.

There will be high economic growth and prosperity, at all cost. And everything else is just an aspiration, except money in the pocket.


Anonymous said...


More likely CPF members will be smiling to their graves without being able to see their hard earned money.

Anonymous said...

Heard quite the contrary at the market place, kopitiam and even old folks corner.
Many were fearful that Singapore could go the way of London and the Middle East if the poor are pushed to the wall.

Anonymous said...

In the Internet age, asymmetrical threat by a lone wolf, home grown terrorist will be the greatest and hardest to cope with. The probability increases with societal inequality and persecution. Even the US government acknowledges this as the most likely.

Anonymous said...

redbean,the scenario you painted is a distinct possibility.

If the carrot doesn't work, wield the BIG stick (not just knuckle duster)!

Anonymous said...

But even knuckle dusters grow old and ineffective if wielded too often.

Just like viruses, people become immune to harsh treatment administered over a prolong period of time and they fight back eventually. Just look at the Middle East and Africa.

Treat them soft and they turn soft. Treat them harshly and they turn harsh. Every measure of action gets a reaction of equal strength.

Anonymous said...

This is Newton's 3rd law at work:

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction!"