Thursday, 13 August 2015

I shall miss LKY's National Day Rallies.

A colleague asked me what I wanted to hear from this year's National Day Rally.

This was my reaction to last year’s NDR:                         

I can't help but compare with the NDRs of Lee Kuan Yew.
Firstly, I thought it was sad that time had to be spent during this NDR in explaining the CPF, the minimum sum, and retirement options. But perhaps it was the zeitgeist - the concern of the day, of the people. And perhaps it is an indictment of the government's communication of policy.

Secondly, I thought the NDR to be too inward looking. Again, zeitgeist. And politics, I guess. But I thought about LKY's rallies, and what would he talk about if he were PM today. I think he would have chosen to focus on more important things.
What is more important than the concerns of the electorate in a time when PAP is losing votes and being accused of ignoring the concerns of the electorate? Would he focus on "more important things" and risk further antagonising or at least alienating a prickly electorate?
I may be wrong, but yes, I believe he would…
…The new normal is for a more "responsive govt" to address EVERY ONE of our petty concerns and complaints.
And that was what LHL did.
But I can't help thinking that LKY might have gone a different route.
LKY might (these are all projections of my "understanding" of the Man) have decided that "yes, all the complaint and concerns are valid, but I have Ministers and Ministries to deal with that. This is the NDR, where I have a unique platform to explain to Singaporeans the other concerns, the bigger threats and the hidden opportunities out there that they need to understand, and which will affect our lives, our livelihood, our existence. And how we should prepare for them."

What do I want to hear from this year’s NDR?

The thing about LKY’s NDR is that he will tell you something you didn’t think about. He will teach you to worry about something you didn’t know you had to worry about. And then he will assure you that the govt is on top of it, that this problem is going to be 20 years in the making, but if we start working on it now, we will be fine in 20 years time. So you don’t have to worry about it.

So for a LKY NDR, I want to hear about over-the-horizon threats and opportunities that I have not even begun to be aware of, let alone worry about. That would give me confidence in a far-sighted government.

I therefore prefer to go into the NDR with a “surprise me” attitude. No expectations. No “gimmes” that I want.

But LHL is not LKY and times have changed.

We now have "natural elitists", and apparently RI is a middle class school. I didn't understand what "middle class" meant apparently.

I would like to hear LKY's assessment of China's future and her impact on Singapore, considering China's slowing economy, her intervention into the stock market, and most recently the devaluation of the Yuan. But I think I know his answer.

But I would like to hear his reasoning, the facts that led him to his conclusion.

1 comment:

El Lobo Loco said...

In my dreams...
It's National Day Rally.
The audience are seated. The stage is lit. The MC announces, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong!"
Cue Music. PM Lee strides onto stage, walks to podium. Audience applauds.
He smiles. Waves to some members of the audience he recognises. Clears his throat.
He opens the folder on the podium with his speech.
Looks up at the audience. Smiles again. There is a smattering of hesitant applause, which dies down quickly.
He looks down.
There's a glass of water on the podium. He takes a sip to wet his lips.
And begins.
"Keep Calm. And Carry on."
He snaps the folder shut, turns around and walks off. [Cue rousing music.]