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Cow Beh Cow Bu

Divide and Rule, or Unite and Lead?

I write for Redwire Times Singapore when I’m not drunk. I still do when I am drunk. And this whole constructive debate has left a very bitter aftertaste in my mouth, and on my computer – either because I spilt beer on it, or because we’ve been discussing this issue for so bloody long that it’s beginning to sicken me.


The ruling powers can talk all they want about what it means to be constructive in the political arena, but for me, it counts for nothing if you can’t practise what you preach.


This, for me, is constructive politics:


1. That our young are taught from young to take an interest in the affairs of their nation, and are given the opportunities and leeway to improve it. This builds a sense of belonging, and thus, loyalty. We know that we have a stake in Singapore. To repress this with sweeping rules not only kills initiative, it also kills ingenuity.


2. That we can speak freely without having to fear such dire consequences that will ruin not just ourselves, but the lives of our families and loved ones. This, so long as what we say is backed by sound facts. If we can state our course civilly and logically, we should not have to fear punishment, much less from a government which was elected to serve us. The intention is not personal injury in this case, and if we are wrong, we should be gentlemanly enough to stand corrected and shake on it.


3. That our leaders do not resort to power politics to thumb down opposition voices, or to withhold privileges as a threat, or punishment for dissent. After all, any opposition elected is voicing the concerns of their ward – which is their role and duty. Dissent for the sake of it is recklessness and wilfulness. But dissent for the betterment of our society is loyalty. It takes a brave man to speak up against a wave of resistance. It takes a big man to be gracious and accept criticism.


That’s my 3 cents worth of what constructive politics means to me. In short, it means building a stake in our country by giving diverse voices a hearing, and building our country with these voices in mind. Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.



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