A disappointed People’s Action Party (PAP) supporter has urged schools to introduce founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book, ‘Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going’, given the outcome of the 2020 General Election which saw the PAP suffer its second-worst score since independence.
While the PAP clinched 83 out of 93 seats, it saw a hefty dip against it in the popular vote. The ruling party did only 1.1 per cent better than it did in the watershed 2011 general election, where it saw its worst electoral score, and saw swings of up to 26 per cent against it in individual wards.
In what was perhaps the biggest blow, the PAP lost yet another Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to the opposition. The Workers’ Party’s (WP) stunning victory at the new Sengkang GRC unseated three political office-holders, including prominent 4G minister Ng Chee Meng.
To say the results were disappointing to the ruling party would be an understatement. The PAP was touted to do better since it called an early election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and specifically asked the people to give it a strong mandate so it can rally Singapore against the challenges ahead.
While the opposition celebrated the inroads it had made, reporters said that the mood among the ruling party leadership was somber on election night.
Forum letter writer Tan Ying San appears to be one of the PAP supporters who was left shattered by the election outcome. Suggesting that the young Singaporeans could be complacent and do not understand the challenges Singapore faces, Mr Tan called on schools to include Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s 2011 book in their curriculum, in a forum letter published by the Straits Times on Sunday (19 July).
Calling ‘Hard Truths…’ a “warning” to the young about how difficult it is to keep Singapore going, Mr Tan asserted that the latest election showed that young Singaporeans “have little appreciation of the hard truths that the country faces, not even in these extraordinary times.”
Expressing his belief that young Singaporeans are complacent and want to import foreign ideas into the nation, Mr Tan said: “I believe that years of peace and prosperity have lulled the young into a state of complacency. They think what we have now is a natural state of affairs. They want to import hip American ideas without due regard to our circumstances.”
Asserting that Singapore has not succeeded by copying the West and that the country has to be exceptional given its small size and geographic location, Mr Tan said that this “starts with the right political leadership and political landscape.”
Mr Tan seems to believe that the right political leadership is that of the PAP. He said that he finds it “ironic that many people who lament the death of Mr Lee say that the People’s Action Party is no longer the party it once was, yet it is the one party that continues to uphold the founding prime minister’s values.”
While Mr Tan acknowedged that the PAP should listen to the young, he maintained that there is a “need to educate the young on the unique situation we are in” and suggested that tertiary education institutions like junior colleges, polytechnics and universities should introduce ‘Hard Truths…’ in their syllabuses.
He cautioned: “I hope the young realise what is at stake. In the following months, when the world economy tanks further, some of the hard truths will become clearer.”
Read Mr Tan’s forum letter in full HERE.
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