Sunday, April 27, 2008

Silence Of The Lambs

Using his “People support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside parliament” brand of logic, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mistook Opposition Member Low Thia Khiang’s silence as concurrence that his Deputy and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng should not resign over the Mas Selamat Kastari SNAFU (Situation Normal All F**ked Up). Lee had pointedly asked Mr Low in parliament: “Let me ask the member whether he thinks (Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng) ought to resign because of this.” When Low declined to respond, he followed up with: “No answer. So I think that settles the point.”
Or does it?
A Dharmendra Yadav, purportedly postgraduate student at the National University of Singapore, speculated that:
1) Mr Low did not want to incur the Government’s wrath and end up having to face a defamation suit;
2) Mr Low did not understand that Mr Lee was asking him a question, since he does not have as good a grasp of English as the Prime Minister;
3) Mr Low might have thought that Mr Lee was asking a rhetorical question — and thus merited no reply.
Singaporeans have been muted on more than one occasion, no thanks to the GRC system, amongst other gerrymandering election tactics. The only instance when their threshhold of pain was breached was when graffiti was scrawled over at the entrance of the National Kidney Foundation building. Even Ho Ching, wife of the Prime Minister, recognised the writing on the wall, and wrote a front page article in the morning paper to appeal for calm.
SM Goh Chok Tong is now trying to deflect from the conumdrum of ministers demanding private sector salaries, but not commensurate acountability, by suggesting that the government should move on and focus on rising prices instead. The latter may be a more difficult task than locating Kastari. Who insisted on implementing the full 2 per cent increase in GST despite widespread objection from the populace?