2011 set the stage for change in a new world with new players. The Americans tried very hard to retain its number One super power status and to contain the challenge coming from an emerging China. Much as it tried, American power is dwindling in the midst of economic failures and a mountain of debt. America continues in its pursuit of military power and control, getting itself embroiled in wars, in sanctions, in interfering with the domestic politics of every country on its good book or in its bad books. It poked its finger into Myanmar and North Korea, two countries that have nothing to do with the lives of Americans. While the North Koreans are mourning the death of its leaders, the Americans are furiously engaging the South Koreans on how to deal with the North Koreans when it is totally none of its business. It still thinks it has the privilege and resources to mess around the world.
Domestically we are seeing a party on the defensive. The ruling party has expended all its political capital and with every minister a liability rather than an asset to the party. Without political capital, something that it callously chose not to build over the last decades, it is looking at social capital to fall back on. How much social capital is there when it neglected building on it like political capital?
Singaporeans went through a very painful phase of ‘nothing can be done’, it is all due to market forces, wide income gap is good and natural, that is growth. High housing prices are beyond the govt’s control, so is high cost of living, market forces at work. The high intake of foreigners labelled as foreign talents is for the good of the people, like it or not. It can’t be helped. It is not the norm or responsibility to build housing for the people when they needed it. The govt will dictate when they want to build and how many to build, and 3 to 4 years wait is a take it or leave it position. So what can the people do about it other than to accept it as the norm.
Many people benefited from the govt’s policies of market forces, including very high pay, very high property prices. Those who have plenty kept piling their plates higher and higher when they could live for generations without having to work. The average Singaporeans continue to make ends meet and whine quietly. And the people were told to accept it as normal in a meritocracy. The rich will get richer and the poor poorer. Can’t be helped.
Many things were taken for granted. Retaining more and more of the people’s money in the CPF/Medisave is done against their wishes as if the money belongs to the govt becomes a norm. No need to consult the people. Just legislate to make it legal.
Is there really much social capital that the govt can tap on or call upon when the social economic system benefits only a small group of elites at the expense of the majority? The elites and talented are very happy, very, very happy, as they get richer and richer with favourable govt policies. So are the foreigners and the foreign talents. No where can they find a system that is so friendly to them than Singapore. And they would threaten to move some where if govt policies were not favourable to them. We owe them a living. On the other hand the average Singaporeans are finding life getting tougher for themselves and were told that they have themselves to blame.
Does the ruling party really believe that things are getting better for them and not getting worst for the years to come? The Americans are going to face tougher time ahead, like it or not. The only thing they have left is power, power to destroy, to impose sanctions, to coerce, to start wars. As the born again convert of Americanism, everything the Americans do, we follow. Would the blind believer follow the leader to the same end?