The actions of the ‘activists’ at Hong Lim Park on Saturday betray the anarchic nature of their cause and the demagogic character of the individual actors.
The anger with which Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui spoke was visceral and vicious. What cause have they to speak so incensed? What gross injury is being done to them? One can hold different views on important issues but there are mature and peaceful ways to communicate and debate them.
Instead these self-styled “champions of the people” choose confrontational methods which play on the emotions surrounding hot button issues. They blow things out of proportion and seek to provide legitimacy for themselves and their cause through “victim-seeking” tactics.
Their actions to disrupt the YMCA event speak to self-indulgence, social carelessness, immaturity and this is ironical, a disregard for the rights and concerns of other Singaporeans especially those in genuine need.
But that is not what is fundamentally egregious about these political provocateurs. This is that they are possessed of a mind-set framed by two self-reinforcing features.
First, the view that Singapore and specifically, its governance, is a grand conspiracy. Everything about the government and all events are construed as being part of a system of control. All and any action but anyone who differs from their extreme views is treated as a co-conspirator. It is this mind-set that explains how they could perceive an event to raise awareness and support for children with special needs as a power-play to stymie their protest.
Second, they seem to believe, and waive dubious charts and circular arguments to the effect, that they possess some special insight into the truth about public policies. The simplistic and even silly interpretations of complex policy issues makes the propositions of these provocateurs superficially attractive. Instead that they reveal is that the output of being uninformed and uneducated is the conviction that simple straw man arguments have credence because they are asymmetrical to matters which have innate complexity.
These two mental qualities play into each other into a simple set of motives. First that the government is out to cheat the people. Second, that foreigners are a source of evil. Third, that our social challenges are easy to solve. Fourth, confrontation is the best mode of advocacy.Tools
Each and everyone of these motives are a nonsense and the twinned frames which make up their mind-set are shoddy construct made up of intellectual drift-wood held together by the creeper vine of ignorance.
The failure of the official opposition to date to take a strong stand on the behaviour of these provocateurs is reprehensible. But this failure would be a shared one by all reasonable Singaporeans if we do not now take a stand to condemn these provocateurs, see them for what they are – anarchists, and insist on ejecting them from the space for legitimate debate on issues of national importance. This is their McCarthy – Murrow moment.
Let us stand up for Singapore by demonstrating to ourselves foremost but to all others too, both what we, as a people, are not – we are not stupid, we are not anarchic, we are not gullible, we are not xenophobic and we are not socially careless, and what we are – active, informed, mature, considerate, welcoming and respectful.
Authored by Devadas Krishnadas*
*Devadas Krishnadas is the chief executive of the Singapore-based Future-Moves Group, an international strategic consultancy and executive education provider. The views expressed in this Facebook post reproduced in Singapolitics, are his own.