Our Singapore Converation(OSC) seems to be the PAP’s only solution to create a facade and falsify an impression that it is a consultative government. Like all PAP policies, the intentions could be good, but the implementation, impact and significance are terrible. Implemented since September 2012, the OSC saw more than 12,000 participants over 155 sessions as of March 2013. It physically delivers propaganda messages and official responses through the PAP MPs and Ministers to a group of audience. Nothing better than an interactive Straits Times where perhaps you may get to see how these highly-paid MPs and Ministers fidget and struggle to defend their positions. Most often than not, these OSCs revealed the personality of the officials, which naturally ends up repulsive to the public given that these MPs were only voted because they belong to the PAP party and not because of who they are and what they stand for.
Over here, we will debunk what OSC do not stand for, no matter how much praises and accolades the state media are crediting it for:
What credibility? Is it made any more credible when PAP MPs and Ministers regurgitate standard answers in person than when they do so over state-controlled media? Hearing from the horse’s mouth and their impromptu responses give you a false sense of acceptance. The OSC is nothing more than a sales presentation with the selling done by the money-grubbing salesman himself. The fancy set ups with buffet lines and awesome audio equipment are there to impress upon you that this is really an important event with really important persons speaking about really important topics. Given how Singaporeans have been typically ignored by the ruling party over the decades, this actually spoils the forsaken first wife – and yes every word the compulsive liar the husband is will be taken in without questions.
2) Quality of discussion
You are a great commentator or writer on the internet but your OB marker to remain civil oppresses you from pursuing burning questions in a crowd. You have questions that could embarrass that idiot in white, but you held back because you do not want to be identified as a “noise” so conveniently painted by the PAP when they have no answers. So, you picked a moderate difficulty question for the minister peppering your question with “I support the policy in principle” to make you sound moderate. Fortunately for you, the Minister replied a standard answer with assumptions like “Singapore was a fishing village ravaged by racism, riots and communists” but this is where the OSC is structured to cut you off – you are not allowed to response because this is not a debate. The OSC is designed as a one-way communication tool because you are only allocated one opportunity to ask and the Minister/MP will always have the last say. They could be spouting untruth and nonsense but you will not be in the position to highlight them because the next person’s question asking what does the Minister think of Hello Kitty queues is more important than yours about housing price control or the state of elderly on the streets in Singapore. The OSC is not meant to be a debate – because a direct debate would kill off every flawed response built on massaged statistics from the Straits Times. If you are looking for quality discussion that bears productive insights, go to The Real Singapore. The OSC is simply a gaffe bait for you to ask interesting questions that we hope the Minister/MP would make some weird and senseless comment The Real Singapore could quote and make an ass of.
3) The Government is listening
The PAP has all along been covering up their short-falls by pretending that they did not listen. Truth being told, given the amount of taxes made avail to it along with a comprehensive grassroots and corporate mechanism, there is no way the PAP is not hearing the ground even more accurately than the average folk. They have people working in all areas giving them constant updates on what is happening on the ground. So failing to listen is a convenient excuse to mask the real intentions of profiting and maintaining their power over the people. The truth is they have an unspoken but blatantly obvious agenda: to remain as the ruling party forever. The influx of foreigners to make up for young citizens voting against them, the GDP-first approach to coddle privileged Singaporean employers, the oppression of the average folks and the active censorship to ensure the people read the right things, are all dots on the same vector pointing to political dominance. The OSC is meant to be a public relations exercise to improve the image of the ruling PAP which have been battered by its own gaffes and poor governance. In the PAP’s opinion, the train can break down, foreigners can steal jobs an opportunities, housing and car prices can be expensive, income gap can increase, inflation can be out of control, Singaporeans can be jobless, unemployed and debt-laden – but so long voters have a good impression of them, they will stay in power. OSC is perception management into making you believe that the PAP is doing what is the best solution in the interests of the people.
The fact remains that even after rigorous objections to certain policies, the PAP still bulldozes their way out. The 6.9 million population White Paper is an example. The New Media Licensing Regime is another one. Rest assured problems like income gap, retirement worries and falling birth rate which have surfaced more than a decade ago will continue to worsen – so long you have a good impression of the PAP.