Month: August 2014

We get the opposition we deserve

“Inter Pares” (among equals) argues¬†that what they call the “Roy Clique” is a threat to Singaporean democracy. This clique is named for the blogger and opposition cause celebre Roy Ngerng, who has allegedly accused the Prime Minister of mismanaging CPF funds, by analogising it to the discredited leadership of City Harvest Church.[1][2] According to Inter Pares, the ‘clique’ have harmed democracy in two ways. Rather than improving political discourse, they have polarised political opinion. And by changing people’s opinions, they may force the real political opposition to reposition themselves. I’ll respond to each of the points in turn. I think the piece reveals a mindset that is so formed in the establishment mould (uncritically accepting ideas about national unity, political polarisation, the function of electoral contestation, and the role of the opposition), that even when it intends to be impartial and critical, it isn’t. (more…)

Singapore’s emerging drug debate

Blink and you’ll miss it, but Singapore’s famously strict drug policy looks like it could be the next area of contestation between social liberals and conservatives. But as in most debates here, this one is marked by tone-deaf responses that don’t really engage each other; it will take time before a taboo topic like drugs is discussed with candour, particularly when all drugs are regarded as so thoroughly and unquestionably¬†a social bad.

(more…)