The Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) newly released National Day video hints at the issues Dr Tan Cheng Bock and his team could champion in the upcoming video. Just like his declaration at the PSP’s media conference and official launch, Dr Tan puts forth the message that it is the People’s Action Party (PAP) that has changed, not him.
The video features the views of ordinary Singaporeans who feel that a lot of changes have happened in Singapore. Singaporeans talk about how their income is not enough to cope with the rising cost of living and how a lot of them have a “tough life.”
Singaporeans mourned the loss of the ‘Singapore spirit’ that was alive in places like the Kallang stadium decades ago and lamented that prices go up every quarter and essentials like food and medicine become more and more expensive, forcing Singaporeans to seek higher salaries.
A young Singaporean spoke about why a lot of youths apply for courses that supposedly give them a higher starting pay, even though they may not enjoy the field. She added that she has seen many her peers and seniors in university “suffer in the workplace” with a poor work-life balance and poor working conditions just so they can have a higher pay.
The video also focused on the plight of the elderly, who resort to collecting cardboard, selling tissue paper or clearing plates at coffeeshops to survive. One Singaporean recalled that a friend asked her why senior citizens in Singapore continue to work so hard doing such menial jobs when Singapore is so rich.
Pointing out that there is not much focus on the needs of the elderly, disabled and those with mental health issues, the university student asserted:
“The government has been reusing the same answers for the past 50 years. But I think in the new world that we have, these answers are no longer sufficient. The government needs a new set of answers to deal with a new set of problems.
“And this is why we need more alternative voices and people with different opinions, different perspectives on how we can make this a society for all of us.”
An elderly gentleman pointed out that the leaders must walk the ground and understand how ordinary Singaporeans live. He said, “The government has to understand and empathise with the people.”
One Singaporean talked about how people in the past, like her father, had a community spirit and liked to help those around them. She lamented that she does not see people like that around anymore.
Alluding to the vast influx of foreigners in Singapore, another citizen said that he is sometimes asked whether he is a Singaporean and said that this is not a question someone would ask 20 years ago.
The video also touched on the MRT service breakdowns that inconvenienced countless commuters and showed shots of big crowds of people stranded at MRT stations and bus depots.
Other shots, showing pigeons devouring leftovers at a tray return station and an elderly Singaporean collecting plates at a coffeeshop, precede archival clips of Singapore in its early days interspersed with clips of Singapore today.
Singaporeans then reveal what makes Singapore unique. Some say Singapore is unique for its food, while others said that Singapore is a unique blend of Western culture and traditional Singaporean values.
Singaporeans also valued the multiracial integration in Singapore and said that Singapore brings people of different backgrounds together. Many see Singapore as a nation where people share the troubles of others and where people who speak different languages live harmoniously.
One senior citizen said: “Singapore people work together to build up Singapore.” Another Singaporean wished: “We grew up in a beautiful, nice-looking Singapore. We want to die in one eventually.” Another citizen said: “My country, my home. Where else can we go?”
The video is interspersed with audio clips of Dr Tan Cheng Bock that he has always worked to find out whether developments in Singapore are in the interest of Singaporeans. He said: “I must look after the people…The most important thing is the interest of Singapore. I’m guided by Singaporeans.”
The video ends with a shot of Dr Tan wishing all Singaporeans a happy National Day and a shot of all the PSP members at the party’s official launch, last weekend.
Watch the video here:
Progress Singapore Party Salutes the "Spirit of Singapore" on National Day 2019
Posted by Progress Singapore Party on Wednesday, 7 August 2019
Earlier, noted historian Michael Barr praised the “simple messaging” of the PSP – which is geared to appeal to Singaporeans who feel the ruling party today is not what it once was.
In an interview with Yahoo Singapore, he said that this messaging, and Dr Tan’s personality and popularity will work to PSP’s advantage:
“Tan is popular and always was, based very much on his independent streak, and, frankly, being such a nice person. This is really his message. He is like the PAP but nicer.
“This is very simple messaging, but it is such simple messaging that generally cuts through. Whether this translates into votes, who knows? But it will certainly resonate, and his name and face are universally pretty well known across Singapore.”