Saturday, April 22, 2006

15 Days of Freedom

The Singapore Parliament was dissolved yesterday. In effect, Singaporeans are free from the PAP for the next 15 days until Polling Day unless the PAP is returned on Nomination Day. This short-lived freedom is a significant period. But most Singaporeans, well de-politicised, suitably chastened in a Forum pitting the mute young against the wiliest politican in Singapore, do not understand this significance.

As of yesterday, technically, the PAP is no longer in power. It has relinquished its political power. Government affairs have been handed over to the President and the civil service to ensure administration of daily governance. It means all national projects are in limbo, the Casino, for instance. It means that Singaporeans are free to decide who to represent them in the composition of the next Government.
Every citizen has to understand this. At this moment in time, you are free. This could be for 7 days or 15 days. But it is a valuable time, a priceless period, which comes around once only every four years. While the national media pounds you with election news, this candidate and that candidate, this manifesto and that constitution, it fails to appreciate the nuance of these 15 days. It is a period when Singaporeans are freed politically. It is a moment when political power is diffused back to the citizenry.
Surely in 7 days, portions of Singaporeans will re-enter the fold of "governed" as their constituecies are returned uncontested. But for others, they remain within the zone of political freedom for another week where they are then given the choice. The political choice which some may look at enviously while others may not welcome. But this is monumentally important, this Political Choice that is given to you. Because it is given only when you are Free. And when you exercise that choice, you could in effect be exercising that choice for those who will lose that freedom in 7 days.
We have to think hard. we have to look hard. And face questions not only at the local level but at the national levels. This choice, this gift is the only fail-safe which Singaporeans have. The media's assessment of the young Singaporeans at the infamous forum as radical and English educated is wrong. First, these are not radicals. Second, the entire post-Independence Singaporeans education system is based on English as a first language. So they cannot be pigeon-holed as "radical and English educated". They are Singaporeans. The next generation which the PAP Government cannot seem to root and keep within our shores. They are "running from the darkness in the night"; hence, their so obvious dissonance both physically and cognitively throughout the forum. They do not know where they stand, where is the reference point. And that is the sad part of Singapore today. We are successful no doubt, but also lost when we realise that there is no end goal. From Third World to First, yes, good, then what?
The Singapore Parliament has been dissolved, we citizens have to understand what this means and act our roles as free citizens now for the next 15 days. We have 15 days of freedom.
Quotes of the Day --

"There never has been any 'aestheticization' of politics in the modern age because politics is aesthetic in principle." -- Jacques Rancière, Dis-agreement : Politics and Philosophy

"We feel our freedom." -- Immanuel Kant


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An elegant exercise in social identity re-categorisation...and freedom from the sepulchral voice of the State.


2:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto. I'm in awe of your eloquence and articulation! Too bad for the masses that they won't be able to read your brilliant writings in the main stream media.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parliament may have been dissolved, but has the government? Are you saying that as of now, we have no Primie Minister? Then why is the newspaper still referring to all these Ministers as PM, SM, MM etc. Shouldn't it be former PM, SM, MM?

6:36 PM  
Blogger gayle said...

1) Lee Kuan Yew calling the journalists English-educated radicals is one of the most ironic backhanded compliments I've ever heard, considering he was THE definitive English-educated radical of his time.

2) Freedom is a state of being, not of legislation. Singaporeans will never be free unless they realize they are. And it is difficult to realize this when it seems like our freedoms are being more and more hemmed in. Our activities on the Internet. Our behavior at election rallies. So I'd have to disagree with you, that we are free these 15 days. I will say instead that on paper we are free and in our minds we are in chains. But I will also say that we seem to be picking the locks one by one, slowly, surely, and quietly.

2:43 AM  
Blogger prettyplace said...

sweetly scriptured, to shower me with the sense of freedom...
many thanks....prettyplace.

Quote..Emancipate yourself from mental slavery ,none but ourself can free our mind...Bob Marley.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Thea said...

I agree with Anonymous 6.36pm...
the parliament may have been dissolved, but yet the media still address those PAP candidates in their former titles.... that is so wrong. I think what is worse is how the PAP opening declares that they have been thinking about which new PAP candidates should they put in office even though these candidates are not elected in yet!?!?!!?

12:36 PM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

Yes gayle, slowly, surely and quietly. The process to a truly vibrant Sg is a necessarily long process.

6:04 AM  

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