Chee Soon Juan: Why I do what I do

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I want to share with Friends a short but relevant comment from Lawrence Seow (together with my response).

“Dr Chee between you and PAP I support you more. That being said, allow me to also say you shouldn’t always be digging up the dirt about them. It makes you look petty and diminishes your stature. Make no mistake I am on your side. Come up with what works better than the present system/structure. You will definitely come up tops with everyone including detractors. Cheers, Lawrence Seow”

Dear Lawrence Seow, thanks for raising the matter. It is one to which I’ve given much thought in the past. Before I get to your main point, however, let me first point out that there is a difference between “digging up dirt” and raising important issues.

The former is finding fault with one’s opponent, an exercise usually laced with malice, that have little to do with public policies. I have no interest in such activity.

The latter – raising issues like the control of the media, ills of the asset enhancement scheme, recent slew of price hikes, etc – is a necessary and crucial part of the opposition’s job.

We have to inform and embolden S’poreans, a significant portion of whom the PAP has depoliticised and intimidated, about the dire need for political change.

Of course, I would love for someone else do the work of criticising the PAP. Let them do the heavy lifting, so to speak, and when the time is right jump in and presume to lead the band.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury. Against the PAP onslaught, we need every thinking S’porean – myself included – to spread and reinforce the message.

Having said this, I believe it is important to be deliberative when we point out the problems with PAP’s policies. I try to do this in my blog and in my books which I hope you will read.

On this point, the SDP has also drawn up a series of policy papers on key issues eg housing. healthcare, population, etc.

However, in the age of social media where attention span is fleeting, messages have to be boiled done to memes, pithy pictorials and brief video-clips. The PAP is doing it through the various ministries and govt depts. We have to do the same.

So rather than asking me to not appear petty which, as I mentioned, I’d love to do but cannot be overly concerned about at this critical juncture of our nation’s development, I hope I can instead ask everyone to roll up our sleeves and help do the hard work of spreading the message.

No S’porean, if they care about our nation’s future, can afford to mind our “stature” at the expense of action.

Dr Chee Soon Juan (SDP)


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