So, there you have it — it is all about selfishness and fear — and that is the real problem facing Singapore today. In a sense, in terms of psychology, there is a mass psychosis of sorts in Singapore.
A moral wrong is a moral wrong — one ought to condemn it regardless of self-interest or fear. As conscientious beings, we have an obligation to others and ourselves to correct moral wrongs. Morality is not something that should be traded or bargained away.
If we allow ourselves to be over-taken by fear and selfishness, then that would render us vulnerable to be exploited by those seeking power and control over us.
In this sense, this analysis would seem to require a reversal of the commonly perceived cause and effect relationship regarding the PAP. In fairness, the PAP cannot be said to be a sole cause of the problem — more accurately, the PAP is more of a manifestation or result of the Singaporean psyche — that excessive fear and selfishness.
And if this analysis is correct, the only way to correct the problem and move forward is to reduce the level of fear and selfishness.
Political reform and liberalisation are urgently needed in Singapore. Most of the nations in East Asia are leaps and bounds ahead of Singapore in this regard; and even many of the countries in Southeast Asia are moving ahead of Singapore in this direction.
It would truly be tragic and unfortunate if the problem is externalised beyond Singapore, and unwittingly taken on as a social, political model by the Chinese regime for China to emulate in the future (as it seems to be). If the problem is already troubling and causing such angst on this little red dot with less than 6 million people, one shudders to think of the amount of suffering that would be inflicted on over 1 billion people in China should the Singapore model be adopted there.
Also, there ought to be an independent and impartial inquiry into the use of the ISA and state instruments. By definition, targets of indefinite detention without trial in the past were either justly or unjustly detained. If they were justly detained, then the independent and impartial inquiry would reveal that and justify the detention. On the other hand, if they were unjustly detained, then the independent and impartial inquiry would provide a platform for reconciliation and redress. Thus, either way, there ought to be such an inquiry.
It is only that we address and dispel our collective demons and put our past behind us that we can move forward for the better. — TR Emeritus
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.