A Victory of the People
By Dr Patrick Kee
29 January 2013
The people of Punggol East have given democracy a big boost in Singapore. Their vote was not a vote against the government but a vote for a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We need to remember that the opposition is as much a part of the government as well as the party in power.
The results of the Punggol East by-election is a wake-up call to all political parties. The Reform Party and the SDA provided the opportunity for the people of Punggol East to demonstrate their political maturity. Unfortunately they were both struck down by the hammer and lightning and lost their pants! Their unfortunate loss should be seen as the sacrifice to showcase the wisdom of the residents of Punggol East. The SDP very wisely listened to the voice of the people and did not fall for the bait of the PAP.
The election results of Punggol East is a beacon of hope for democracy in Singapore. The Workers Party will do well to be aware that the seeds of defeat may be sown in times of victory while the PAP can take comfort that the seeds of victory may be sown in times of defeat. As long as the focus of the political parties is on the welfare of the people, policies will benefit the people. What is badly needed in a world that is becoming more competitive is a sharing and pooling of ideas. No one party has the monopoly on wisdom.
What the people of Singapore are looking for are leaders with the heart to serve. The victory of Ms Lee Li Lian is an inspiration to all Singaporeans for she is a model of a leader who is qualified because she has learnt to serve. True leadership is not power and privilege but humble service. Academic qualifications are no guarantee of good leadership.
There is hope for real democracy and a better life for all Singaporeans if the Punggol East by-election marks the dawn of real democracy in Singapore. The opposition needs to learn from our history and to work towards unity in the midst of diversity.