This blogger has often been associated as bleak, cynical and dark. Perhaps even somewhat fundamentalist. So today lets take a journey in political imagi-nation. Lets imagine political possibilities for Singapore. We can even say lets dream. In a city of sadness and unhappiness, over the inevitability of the Government pay rise, perhaps dreaming is the only recourse for possible happiness. A possible smile. Of course, we all know that only fools dream. But in a moment now in which there is only right and no wrong, surreal is real, illogical and contradictory is fundamental and logical, then maybe to be a dreaming fool is to be normal.
There is a groundswell of unhappiness over the inevitable pay increase. The media overdrive, the discomfort of the neutrals, the increasingly hapless justifications for its necessity, for its need by the politicians, all point to this unhappiness. At the same time, as how public policy is often decided in Singapore, when a problem is cited as threatening the fundamentals of Singapore, there is also a disillusionment that the pay increase will happen. That it is inevitable.
There is a political, or realist answer to why this is so. The ruling regime is at the zenith of its political power. If we were to dissect the physics of power in Singapore, the ruling regime presently, in the immediate post election year, has the maximum raw naked political power. And this allows them to push two major unpopular policies in quick succession.
But lets imagine. Lets see on what the ruling regime calculated its political risks.
First. There is a confidence in the ruling regime that people will forget. Come a time when its political power is on the waning cycle, the ruling regime will aid in this forgetting. They believe that the repercussions of their two unpouplar policies will not affect them negatively five years down. This is based on their belief, that like the past, Singaporeans will simply forget and accept the reality as time passes by.
Second. And more critically, the ruling regime believes that no one from within their core group will break ranks. The ruling regime takes this political risk. So long as they maintain a united front, the policies, however unpopular, will be implemented and forgotten. The policies are legitimate and justified. The policies maintain their sanctity only if those who ostensibly back these policies remain united.
It is from the second assumption where we embark on our journey of imagi-nation. Lets imagine, that there is one Minister, someone among that group who has been identified as a talent supreme, who does not believe in this pay increase policy. Lets imagine he is a noble person and that his choice of occupation is driven not by the salary but a desire to foster change from within.
In this imagi-nation, the current political moment represents an enormous political opportunity. Imagine that this "talent" resigns from office as a form of personal protest over the pay increase. Imagine the immediate political aura that will attach to this person. Imagine how much political power he can accrue by this act of noble rejection. He becomes an instant Singaporean. Someone who represents Singapore. Represents Singaporeans. Someone descended from the towers of ivory.
There will of course be accusations by his former colleagues. That he has embarked on populism. That his actions threaten the fundamentals of Singapore, and the usual routine of character assassination. But yet, as someone already identified as a talent supreme, the accusations have much less gravitas than the usual thrown at the Opposition politicians. So maybe, this one rebel politician maintains his integrity. Maintains his aura of political significance.
And then we imagine this Singaporean, who has in one simple act of protest, gained the symbolic authority of a million. Imagine then, this Singaporean, who will be a living symbol of remembrance, to ensure that forgetting does not come easy over this policy of the pay increase.
Imagine that he possibly allies with an existing Party or he forms his own Party. And then perhaps, just perhaps, this journey of imagi-nation ends with him mounting a political challenge that the ruling regime has never seen since the days of the founding fathers of Singapore. Since those days when the founding fathers fought their political battles on simple acts of protest as well. Since those days when the founding fathers fought not for money in their pockets but for dreams and ideals.
Imagine or dream. Our fool's dream.
Quote of the Day --
""It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak." -- Neil Gaiman, Sandman #19 "A Midsummer Night's Dream"