Wednesday, 3 February 2021

There was a survey on the political stance of Singaporeans:

"While almost half of Singaporeans were somewhat undecided on their political position, nearly a third leaned towards the left, outnumbering the one-fifth who preferred right-wing politics, a survey has found."

The approach of LKY and the other founders has (historically) been pragmatic. LKY actually started out more left-wing. It was in a sense practical, pragmatic, and a response to a colonial government. However over time, and when the PAP became the ruling party, the tactics of the opposition became irrelevant, and the PAP had to learn how to govern and to use the tactics of the ruling party. And divested itself of the sackcloth of the opposition.

And as the ruling party, the PAP had to adopt policies that WORKED for Singapore, and to abandon frivolous and impractical ideologies. And the touchstone of the PAP government has been to ask, "does it work?" and "would this work better?"
Take Healthcare (for example). Is the Singapore model of Healthcare Conservative or Liberal? Right or Left leaning? The answer is a bit of both. The "privatisation" of our hospitals (or "restructuring" if you prefer to use the government nomenclature) is a rightwing move. But the introduction of MediShield Life is so very leftwing. In case it escaped your attention, we have "Obamacare". Without having to have Obama. Is it perfect? Of course not. If Singapore were satisfied with anything, we would not be Singapore. 

We do not have universal minimum wage, but we have a "Progressive Wage Model". Is that perfect? Is that the best solution? For now, it is what we have. It is a work in progress. It works for some. Or most. Or in specific sectors. Is there a better solution? Bring it up. Raise the possibility. Work out the impact and the costs.

The point is, framing Singapore (political) values in terms of Left or Right is trying to squeeze a pragmatist into an ideologue's hole. We abandoned ideological traps (or what rhymes with trap), idealism, ideologues, and the thesis-antithesis pendulum of conservatism-liberalism/capitalism-socialism/left vs right.

That is NOT who we are or how we view the world. Not thru ideological lenses. Not from dogmatic value-laden pulpits. Not from the entrenched uncompromising position of left or right.

What has worked for Singapore is the synthesis of left and right, taking what works, what is rational, what is empirically proven, and what will work in the Singapore context and applying it.

It is sometimes said that if you are not a liberal before the age of 25, you have no heart. And if you are still a liberal at the age of 35, you have no brain. To that I would add, and if you have not synthesised the left and the right, the liberal and the conservative, capitalism and socialism, you are not Singaporean.

The survey found that younger respondents were more likely to be Liberal/Leftwing. Thus showing that young Singaporeans have heart. Which is good. Older Singaporeans were less likely to be liberal. Most Singaporeans were "undecided" or "preferred not to associate... with a particular political stance."

To these Singaporeans, I applaud them. 

IMHO, they were not undecided. They did not fail to understand the question. 

Or they did. In a sense. They decided that the question was not applicable to Singapore politics. We do not make political decisions based on ideology, but on rational, pragmatic deliberation.

The greatest good, for the greatest number.

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