Singapore — The Progress Singapore Party held a webinar on Friday (June 26), during which one of its candidates in the General Election on July 10, Dr Ang Yong Guan, focussed on the theme, Coping With Stress In The Current Covid-19 Climate.
Dr Ang, 65, a psychiatrist, answered questions from viewers on the different kinds of stresses from living in Singapore, such as those related to one’s finances, health, job and education.
In the webinar, he emphasised that stress is a fact of life but need not be a way of life. As the introduction, he spent more that 45 minutes to briefly talk about stress, including the reaction to loss (Covid-19).
The webinar was followed by questions from viewers.
Is our public healthcare system equipped to help those with psychiatric healthcare needs?
In answer this question, Dr Ang said that there was a structure in place, such as counselling services and hotlines. Similarly, as for accessibility, help should not be a problem, being just a phone call away. Now, with online video and Zoom it was also possible to have counselling in a virtual way.
Dealing with the fear of voting for opposition and the “fear of the unknown”
Dr Ang mentioned that because the People’s Action Party (PAP) was in power from 1968 to 1981 uncontested, it had managed to “consolidate” its power and “changed laws” to suit its needs. One example, was how the PAP “suddenly woke up” and realised that it needed a non-Chinese President. “They just changed the law.”
He mentioned that a one-party government could be beneficial if the party looked after the people and narrowed the income gap. However, in the last 10-15 years, there had been an “erosion of values”, “erosion of trust” and “erosion of principles”.
He added: “Patriotism is not just because you vote PAP, then you are considered patriotic. Patriotism is you love the nation. You want to die for Singapore. That’s patriotism.”
Dr Ang said the people had been brought up to believe that, if the PAP were not in power, Singapore would go “downhill”. He said this would not happen because there were institutions such as the Civil Service, the police and the military which were independent and neutral. Singaporeans, however, tended to perceive that these institutions were “aligned with PAP”.
He added: “All we are asking for is one third out of 93 seats. Give us 32 seats so that we can have to have checks and balances on the PAP govt.”
Financial Stresses and PMET Jobs
On a question relating to how to deal with financial stresses during Covid-19 period, Dr Ang touched on retirement adequacy and the income gap. He gave the example of how a survey of 1,000 Singaporeans showed that two-thirds had savings that could last only last 6 months.
He said there was a need to explore what was working in the past and what went wrong with the system. And what could be done to correct the system.
Dr Ang said his first impulse was the influx of foreign workers, close to a million of them, dampening the income of Singaporeans.
He pointed to the influx of foreign PMETs who compete with local PMETs. The net result was that if employers could have cheaper PMETs, they would not employ local PMETs, so many ended up as Grab drivers.
Dr Ang said PSP had a policy paper and manifesto and it would address all these problems about income, employment, influx of foreign workers and how it was affecting the Singapore way of life and the cost of living of Sigaporeans.
As announced on Friday (June 26), Dr Ang will be the PSP’s candidate in Marymount SMC. /TISG