Lim Swee Say’s so-so Singapore

From ‘Time to embrace diversity of views’, 1 Sept 2011, article by Teo Wan Gek, ST

Labour Chief Lim Swee Say yesterday called on Singaporeans to embrace the new political diversity that emerged from the general and presidential elections, and to stay united in the face of differing opinions and ideas.

…One (path which the country could take going forward) would be to let this greater diversity and ideas lead to a divided Singapore – and to a country that is unable to reconcile its differences and which allows its unity to weaken.

‘If we allow this to happen, this divided Singapore will just become another so-so country, with a so-so future, with nothing outstanding, nothing exceptional’

The second path is to embrace the diversity and to strengthen unity.

‘So, instead of heading for a divided Singapore, we should head for one that has diversity in unity, and unity in diversity’, he said.

What ‘new political diversity’ is Lim Swee Say referring to exactly? The PAP is still the ruling party with a staggering majority of parliamentary seats and nothing more can be said about the party affiliations of our newly minted President. We may have a diversity of ‘political thought’ but the majority of Singaporeans still voted in the party with a half-century old, dominant stake in the nation’s affairs, which means the polarised sentiments of the people have not been translated into a  politically diverse society in the strict functional sense.

Lim Swee Say also contradicts himself here by lauding the benefits of diversity post-elections when he gave a different take during the GE hustings earlier this year; that having more Opposition MPs in Parliament would lead to a ‘ROJAK’ future for Singapore. ‘Rojak’ was, of course, used in the derogatory sense, unlike the tongue-twisting, circular cliche of ‘unity in diversity and diversity in unity’. This glaring about-face is like a top chef mocking his opponents’ fusion cuisine entries before a cooking competition,  only to praise them for their revolutionary efforts after winning the trophy. He wouldn’t be waxing lyrical about this ‘new political landscape’ if he had been voted out of East Coast GRC, that’s for sure.

‘So-so’ was also used by another PAP MP Yu-Foo Yee Shoon to describe the vibrancy (or lack thereof) of the nation back in 2003 (Should so-so Singapore aim for wow or wild? 19 March 2003, ST):

…Being a clean and green Garden City is old hat, she said: Been there, done that. And many places in Malaysia and China are going there and doing that too.

Her solution: Bright lights go with big cities, so let’s light up the Esplanade at night and allow neon lights in more areas. Furthermore, she warned, Singapore needs a face-lift because ‘if we keep building boring and so-so-looking buildings, Singapore will soon become a so-so city’.

You can see a gradation of ‘so-so-ness’ from one MP to another; so-so buildings leading to a so-so city, country and finally the future, conveniently forgetting that any fizzle in ‘wow’-ness of our city state is partly due to an equally so-so government lacking the panache to inject the much-needed buzz in order to compete globally as a dynamic, liveable city, not a rich gambling tourist haven. Hell, with foreigners labelling us recently as a grubby trash-laden metropolis, we’re having trouble even maintaining ‘old hat’ anymore.


5 Responses

  1. If he had also mentioned that we had a so-so President and a so-so PM for the past decade or so, then he would have spoken with utmost honesty.

    See the sheer hypocrisy of our PAP leaders, never dared to mention the real truths we are facing, only the half-truths.

  2. […] Vote for Change – Everything Also COmplain: Lim Swee Say’s so-so Singapore – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: “Retired ministers”: no megabucks from private sector – […]

  3. Stay united despited our political differences?
    Tell that to your Peoples’ Association first, bloody joker

  4. when a city has to depend on lights to give it oomph, you know its run out of ideas. why on earth should we be frittering away electricity on silly lights, esp at the price it now costs. what an utter waste of money, and so, so ungreen!

    wldn’t it be better to have bright sparks for MPs, with bright ideas, rather than having ones – including ex-MPs – spout such outdated ideas. mrs yu-foo should check back on why the island got off the neon path, and consider how much it wld boost her precious reserves if we don’t tread it.

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