Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Promise

Today we explore competition, we review promises and we look at blogosphere.

No holds barred.

In my previous entry, I explored the concepts of bureacracy and politics. How the incumbent regime has sought to cross-breed both into one to give birth to the following oxymoron :

Practical and procedural-minded politicans.

As Max Weber has explained, the bureaucrat cannot be a politician as a politician cannot be a bureaucrat.

"If a bureaucrat's superior gives him a directive he considers wrong he should object, but if the superior insists, it is his duty and even his honour to carry it out as if it corresponded to his innermost conviction"

"... the politician must publicly reject the responsibility for political actions that run counter to his convictions and must sacrifice his office to them."

These words reveal the serious structural flaw in the Singapore State.

These words reveal why the representatives of the people end up rubber stamping legislation after legislation which fail to consider the wishes of the people.

These words explain why, it is no use for a Minister to cry in Parliament when the Government decided to proceed with the Casino. If it was morally wrong to the convictions of the politician, the politician would have sacrificed his office. Instead, we have a bureaucrat response where the policy was agreed and carried out with duty and honour. Whats the use of crying in Parliament?

Bureaucrats masquerading as politicians.

But humans are humans. Some sparks always fail to conform to the system. In the last GE, the PAP lauded SDA candidate Steve Chia. They said he was good, like the PAP. But how wrong that assessment was for the PAP.

Midway in his tenure as NCMP, Steve Chia asked a question in Parliament. Are there White Horses in Mindef. And with this question, he slayed a Minister of State. Anybody remember Cedric Foo? Given a backdoor pass into Parliament, appointed as a Minister of State for Defence, no less.

What was Cedric Foo's reply to the question? Like all bureaucrats, he stated the reason why there was a White Horse classification system. To prevent NS dodgers, to prevent influential persons' children from receiving preferred treatment.

And what a storm that created. The bureaucrat set up the rationale of the White Horse policy but the application of the policy and the spirit of the policy was totally reversed. Totally reversed. But the ex Minister of state was trenchant in his initial response. just like a good civil servant. No the White Horse system was to prevent preferential treatment.
The response by the people? Yeah right. And the stories flew in cyberspace, in real-life.

Faced with this public outcry, the ex Minister of State conceded that there may have been misapplication of the policy. He promised an enquiry. And to this day, which bootlicking military man has been surfaced? But yet, we all know that White Horses existed. And we all know that preferential treatment was indeed practised.

So Cedric Foo is no longer a minister, no longer a PAP MP, no longer a PAP candidate in this GE.

And that should be so for a bureaucrat masquerading as a politician.

And who do we have to thank for this? A NCMP. A real NCMP, I should add. Without whom to this day, all Singaporeans who have served NS will look at this white Horse classifcation system and snigger. A fact that can exist only in coffee-shops, back-room talk when it was indeed a fact.

You tell me whether we need competition in Parliament. Whether we need a real Opposition MP backed by a constituency in Parliament. Whether we need a team of Opposition MPs backed by a GRC in Parliament.

Let us look back again and refresh our memories of what happens when a bureaucrat is cross-bred into politics.

Year 2003. Event : SARS outbreak.

While Singaporeans were grieving, fearful and despondent. While Singaporeans were trying to save lives at the risk of their own. While the country was in a crisis. A bureaucrat-politician steps up and pins the blame right down to a "super-infector". A Singaporean whose family died, whose life had crumbled around her. She was to blame. She was the "super-infector".

Now tell me what happens when a bureaucrat is bred into politics.

Singaporeans become digits, useful only when economically productive.

Promises, promises, promises.

For those of us who thrive in the Net, what was PM's most encouraging promise in his maiden rally speech? Change. A more open society. A hundred flowers. And what have we seen?

Clampdown, media barrage, threats and so forth especially when the GE loomed nearer and nearer.

But there is really hope. I really believe it. I see so many blogs with entries on politics in this GE, speaking with so much conviction, so much eloquence; drawing with so much effort, so much thought; flickr-ing with so much passion, so much precision.

I see the massive amounts of video clips coursing through cyberspace on this GE in open defiance against the MDA edict issued so recently.

This is power.

This forces the state into paralysis.

This shows us the simple fact that the world has moved on. And Singaporeans are gradually but surely moving on as well despite the fact of the State trying to chain us down to an anachronistic interpretation and instrumentalisation of new media power.

I no longer am a political savant. Because there are so many more around and so many more to come who are pushing the envelope to the State.

You made a Promise.

A more open society, more freedom.

And we will not let you renege it.

Quote of the Day --

"Here comrades! Why do you look so gloomy? Fight on, fight on! ... There are two hundred million of us! You cannot hang us all!?" -- Kosmodemyanskaya, Zoya (1923-1941)

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa power sial! absolutely right, this is a govt that does not really care for the people. they scramble into action only when they screw up and the people are very displeased ...

9:22 AM  
Blogger prettyplace said...

Haha haha....gives me goose bumps..
Beautiful.

I had several white horses in my camp, rather office.A double promotion'ed boy was given Sat duty twice..after three months.

Boy complains to dad...dad calls up Commandant...Commandant EXPLODES at estate management officer....Dad was Defence Scretary.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Mezzo said...

Hey, nice! I thought there was more to Steve Chia than that stupid maid incident, glad to see that I was right.

It's funny how some memories fade, isn't it?

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stands up and *applauds*. thank you

1:17 AM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

I second the *applause*

The thing that I have noticed is that most people knows that there is something wrong with the current status quo, with the current dominant party (or one party) system, and they want to change it. But they are SCARED to vote for the Opposition, especially voters from our parents' generation.

Despite everything, the climate of fear is still very real. How can anyone deny it?

It sucks that we have to be afraid :P

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The climate of fear is in the mind and it is in the mind where we overcome it. I have voted LTK in Hougang for the past two GEs and will do so again.

Whats there to be afraid? Nothing what, juz draw two lines and make my point.

T.T.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohh forgot to add, XB, you're really f..cking good, you should consider writing rally speeches for some of candidates.

Yea we forgot about White Horse, the super infector thing, these are clear indications of an uncaring gov. simple.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous uran said...

i've been reading snippets of your blog because I wanted to find an alternative voice to the mainstream news. but your views seem extremist at times and provoked.

I'd vote for the opposition or the pap if they were abit more charming. and if someone actually addressed our education system, working holiday opportunities abroad and suggested to revolutionise it.

there's also so little content in the arguments. why are they debating about everything except for things that matter?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous uran said...

anoymous, if xb writes a rally speech the same way he writes his blogs.. i dont think many people would be able to understand because of the lexicon and references used.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous lzyData said...

Nice piece, but actually Cedric Foo's still in Parliament - walkover GRC. Just a minor correction.

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is definitely a white horse list. As an OCS instructor, this list was issue to me the night before the cadets arrived. Superior's instructions: treat them well! don't pway pway! I need to promote leh!

Xeno, i love your blog.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonder why steve chia never brought out this "white horse" in this speech during the rally in this election? or it was blocked in the press? xeno, you are good!

bp

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

alright Xeno, you sure write with much fluency and put across your views well. but i'd suggest you get your facts right before you open your mouth. Cedric Foo is STILL a PAP MP - like izydata rightly pointed out - (while Steve Chia got himself ousted, by the way). also, you might like to note that Cedric Foo was not booted from office - he quit out of his own free will, to take up the post of Deputy President at NOL. Having said that though, your arguments do carry some validity, and i applaud you for that.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why you are so judgemental against a government who has been serving its people so well. I doubt you can do a better job so I think that you should think twice before passing judgements so quickly. If you're so great, try running for election or getting into parliament. DO you think it is so easy to represent the people when all the 'people' do is sit there, gossip, and COMPLAIN. oh right. because THESE PEOPLE aren't the ones slogging their guts out. so do think about this, and maybe you'ld STOP your gossiping. all you see is the bad points. but have you ever thought of how the positive points, how much the PAP has done for Singapore outweighs the 'bad stuff'. And don't you realize that NS is just for Singapore's sake. Its to protect the country for goodness sake. Have more sense 'xenoboy'

8:26 AM  

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