Monday, October 03, 2005

The Political Production of Fear in Singapore

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Think. The title of this entry conjures the conventional tropes in Singapore politics. Singaporeans are conditioned to fear of all things political. In a coffeeshop in Telok Kurau, the poor man by the table slams the PAP. Bloodsuckers all. I die rich while my CPF bloats. The same man circles the circled lightning logo returning the PAP to represent him.
The riddle of Singapore politics explained conveniently as Fear.
Political ministrations in Singapore can no longer adequately be thus explained. Moving the discourse beyond the ballot box, beyond conditioned fear, political sustenance is determined purely on the will of the ruled. Ideological shades may change, political systems can be tweaked, but political survival hinges on this will.
In Singapore this year, two events manifested this will. The Casino. The National Kidney Foundation. The third probable event, the General Elections manifests the will too. But this latter will is strictly manufactured, controlled and channelled in an election environment.
Fear is produced when the will of the ruled is spontaneously triggered. Predictability ratios enter a dramatic tailspin. A potential political event horizon that is inimical to the very spirit of Singapore.
The majority of Singaporeans are products of a rigorous social system. We are armed with strong education, analytical skills, the ability to make sense. This Singaporean is potentially powerful; forget the usual automaton categorisation of Singaporeans. Temperance occurs in the form of imbibing social values reflective of the ruling party's success. Channelling the potential power into a dependency relationship with the one-dimensional, non-negotiable Axioms of economic stability, morality, incorruptibility, meritocracy.
The Casino and the NKF threaten(ed) these Axioms. The majority of Singaporeans, who swear by these Axioms and vote by these Axioms, are the most outraged by the Casino and the NKF. In varying degrees, the State channelled the spontaneous eruption of the will, utilising the media, public messaging and the illusion of debate to assuage the outrage. Exhausting the Casino outrage in the production of exhaustive State-sponsored research and riddling away the NKF complicity with the sacrifice of Durai.
The Fear in Singapore Politics is located in this Singaporean who forces the State machinery to respond. Paradoxically, the most complete product of the system, who in normal circumstance, swears by the ruling party. Righteous and essentialist, capable of outrage.
The child is told that if she puts one dollar in the machine, the trapdoor is unlocked and she gets a box of sweets. One day, the child decides to try the trapdoor without putting the coin. The trapdoor opens and the box of sweets appears nonetheless. She was that powerful but she did not know it.
Why did she open the trapdoor without the coin?
The political production of Fear can be reversed.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Quote of the day : "Because the people believed Lono -- Captain Cook -- was a god they worshipped him and exalted him ... If Cook went ashore many of the people ran away in fright and the rest bowed down in a worshipful manner. He was led to the house of the gods and into the temple also and he was worshipped there. He allowed the worshipping like Herod did. He did not put a stop to it. Perhaps one can assume that because of this error on the part of Cook and because he caused venereal disease to spread here (Hawaii), God struck him dead." -- The Apotheosis of Capt Cook, European Mythmaking in the Pacific, Gananath Obeyesekere


Blogger Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Xeno,

Very insightful post you have here.

BTW, I have some important matters to discuss with you, could you drop me an email when you are free?

my email:

Goh Meng Seng

11:02 AM  

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