Political Commentary

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

I had thought to keep quiet during this period of political transition while watching events unfold. But what is happening currently has perturbed me enough to want to do another commentary. I have cast it in the form of a direct letter to the PM, to convey a greater sense of urgency.


Dear Mr Prime Minister

We are in the midst of a crisis where the people no longer trust their government, and the government no longer cares about regaining their trust.

There are two clear signs that the present situation has reached crisis proportions, that it is not just an affective divide, not just an emotional estrangement between your PAP leadership and the people.

Firstly, the people are resorting to forms of high-visibility, high-risk protest never seen before, such as graffiti writ large on public buildings, persistent, strident online criticism despite stern government warnings and threats, an increased frequency of mass gatherings held at the Speakers’ Corner, as well as increased hostility shown at these gatherings.

Secondly, the protest is not confined to a small group of young dissidents emboldened by Internet power, but is spreading to involve large segments of the population, as seen in a senior citizen’s active contribution to the angry graffiti, and in a public outpouring of sympathy, in the form of financial help, for the blogger Roy Ngerng who is being sued by you for defamation.

How did this crisis arise in the first place?

With utmost respect, Sir, I must point out that it is ultimately your inability or unwillingness to listen to the people. After your initial show of contrition and your ardent promises of change, following the shock of the General Election of 2011 (a change of heart which must have astonished as well as heartened a lot of Singaporeans like myself), your government now seems to be hardening its position and going back to the old PAP reliance on a climate of fear maintained by the deployment of the famous PAP instruments of control, notably the defamation suit.

In all fairness to you, Sir, the defamation suit, per se, is a legitimate instrument in any law-governed society, allowing anyone to seek redress and justice. Hence, making use of this means to defend your reputation is entirely within your rights, as indeed, you would be the first to affirm that it is the right of any blogger to sue the government if he or she thinks fit. But in Singapore, alas, it is by no means such a simple, straightforward matter. For Singaporeans have long got used to a certain belief that colours all their perceptions, namely, that here, there is no level playing field but one massively tilted in favour of an all-powerful, vindictive government that will have no qualms about reducing its opponents to bankruptcy. Hence while you see yourself as simply going by the rules, Singaporeans see you as the PAP juggernaut ready to mow down the little people in its path.

Again in fairness to you, Sir, it can clearly be seen that you and your colleagues have, since the debacle of 2011, made great efforts to improve the lot of the people. Indeed, anyone can see the improvements, continuously planned or implemented, in the many areas of jobs, transport, housing, education, recreation. But the hard truth is that the expectations of the people, especially the young, go well beyond material needs, to encompass the long denied need for freedom of expression, open debate and public assembly. Unlike the older generation who were grateful for simple amenities such as modern sanitation and clean streets, the new, better educated, globally-exposed, Internet population demand much more.

Indeed, you probably are tempted to call them the spoilt, blasé, so-what generation that is taking for granted these material achievements which would have been appreciated anywhere else in the world. The truth, Sir, is more sobering: they are seeing these so-called achievements as no more than what is owing to them from leaders who have chosen to pay themselves handsomely to do their job. Moreover, the skepticism bred by distrust has cast all these laudable efforts of your government as just self-serving strategies to advance party interests and stay in power. I have to say that I am somewhat dismayed by the pure vitriol of your more extreme online critics who gleefully twist everything that you say and do to serve their cynicism. It is a sad measure of what can happen when trust is gone.

In short, distrust is something so emotionally charged that it is guided by its own perilous logic and propelled by its own alarming momentum. It has already widened the original disconnect between the PAP and the people into an almost unbridgeable chasm.

What can be done to deal with this unprecedented crisis of trust before it escalates further and reaches a point of no return, something which obviously neither side wants?

For a start, there are some hard truths that have to be faced by the PAP, no matter how unpalatable:

1) For the change to be truly beneficial to the people, it cannot be something merely concessionary, much less cosmetic or superficial, such as the leaders giving up the traditional austere all-white uniform for something a little more colourful, so as to blend in with the crowd; abandoning their usual stern, distant style for greater friendliness and smiling approachability; purging their image of all signs of elitism through a more visible presence at hawker centres or the MRT; peppering their speeches with humorous personal anecdotes and admiring observations about ordinary Singaporeans, such as this young person with little education who made good or that hardworking teacher who went out of her way to help her students, etc.

True change goes well beyond all these surface overtures. It has to be no less than paradigmatic, enacted at a much higher level of sincere purpose backed up by sincere action, no matter how difficult. Only then can there be an overhaul of old mindsets and habits of governance, no matter how valued.

Now I will have the temerity to suggest, Sir, that the PAP leadership had, not too long ago, missed a certain rare and valuable opportunity to show the people its sincerity for this kind of change. Shortly after the watershed 2011 General Election, some ex-political detainees made a request for a commission of inquiry to look into the allegations that the government had made against them, a request which was brusquely dismissed. To accede to the request would of course have shocked PAP diehards and the majority of Singaporeans, simply because it would have been so uncharacteristic of the PAP style.

But if it is true that extraordinary problems call for extraordinary solutions, it would have been precisely this act of unaccustomed humility, courage and sensitivity to the people’s feelings, that would have conveyed unquestioned sincerity and honesty, and provoked positive reaction from the people. And if, additionally, there were gracious acceptance of the verdict of the inquiry, even if it meant an apology and the need to make amends, that would have been a gesture large and empathetic enough, to win over even the most vocal critics. It would certainly have begun the process of creating, for the first time in the history of the PAP government-people relationship, a nexus of understanding and reciprocity. (I have dealt rather lengthily on this example simply because to this day, I fervently wish that it had happened)

2) As long as the crisis of trust persists, Sir, all your words of advice, caution and encouragement to the people, all the statements you are making about the need for good politics and good policies, for constructive debate, for all Singaporeans to work together in harmony and goodwill to build a strong, prosperous, stable society where everyone will be cared for, which everyone can call home, etc, etc, will only fall on deaf ears, or worse, be construed as no more than PR pronouncements of much pretension and little worth.

3) The old era that may be aptly called The Lee Kuan Yew Era, is now over, and for the succeeding PAP leaders to be seen as clinging to it despite their obviously good intentions and efforts to respond to the unstoppable forces of change in the new era, is to be caught in a neither-here-nor-there, politically ill-defined domain that gets pushed and pulled both ways. It gives the unfortunate impression of lack of leadership direction, which is invariably and unfavourably contrasted with the strength, conviction and vision of the first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Hence, while Singaporeans attribute Singapore’s amazing success in the world to Mr Lee’s purposeful style, they are less ready to do the same for the two succeeding Prime Ministers whose achievements are by no means inconsiderable. While Singaporeans were ready to accord Mr Lee much respect and trust (though with scant affection), they perceive the younger leaders after him as less deserving of these, and therefore not entitled to lecture and scold them as Mr Lee used to do with impunity. If Lee Kuan Yew alone received the famously humongous ministerial salary increase, the people would not have minded, but when the rest also did, they were outraged.

4) What had worked well in the old era may no longer be relevant today, or worse, may even be damaging. When Mr Lee Kuan Yew liberally used the defamation suit against his critics, one of the reasons he gave (if I remember correctly) was that he wanted to punish them for implying government corruption, and thus eroding the trust of the people, which he said was necessary for the government to do its work. Today, in a twist of supreme irony that would have incensed Mr Lee, Singaporeans see the defamation suit itself, and not the act that has entailed it, as the very cause of the erosion of trust. A few more applications of this once effective instrument of control, even if legally justifiable, would surely damage the PAP cause further, in the highly charged atmosphere of the new Singapore.

5) While Singaporeans appreciate the original PAP principles of hard work, self discipline, responsibility and incorruptibility, they can see that the inflexibility of style based on rationality, reason, head-over-heart logic and letter-of-the-law adherence may be woefully inadequate to deal with a new era where politics is necessarily complex, messy and noisy. This is because human nature, ultimately, cannot be ignored, and has to be factored into any political equation.

So, in terms of practical action, what can be done about the present growing crisis of trust in our midst?

Again, Sir, I will beg to be presumptuous, and make the following suggestions:

1) You, and only you, Sir, can initiate the process leading to the solution of the problem. In theory and ideally, the three forces for major change in any society, namely, the government, the institutions and the people, work together. But in Singapore, unfortunately, the last two are helpless. Only the dominant PAP can initiate change and sustain it. Hence, whether you like it or not, Sir, if you genuinely seek a restoration of trust, you have first to go it alone, signal your new attitude to the institutions and the people, and patiently encourage them to take the cue and play their part. It will be a long, strenuous process.

A less-than-genuine effort would be something like launching a high-profile project such as the great Singapore Conversation, watch it go through the motions and various stages of a set timetable, and then shrug off the indifferent results.

2) There are some voices in your government, Sir, and some staunch PAP loyalists who have bravely, albeit gently, tried to draw your attention to the growing divide between you and the people. Professor Tommy Koh some time back actually commented that the use of the defamation suit was not exactly commendable or useful in the long run, and recently Dr Lily Neo calmly and tactfully suggested during a parliamentary sitting that you ought to be listening more to the people and communicating better with them. There must be many in your camp who feel the same way but are reluctant to speak up. It may be a good thing to start listening to them in order to start listening to the people.

3) In the end, you and your colleagues who have for decades been skilfully solving tough, bread-and-butter problems faced by the nation, will be in the best position to deal with this equally serious problem of trust. It is of course a completely different problem, but with the same application of efficiency, determination and dedication, it will no doubt be one more crisis solved, or at least defused, for the nation to move on.

This is an epochal time in Singapore’s history, when one era is fading into the past, and a new one is being transitioned into. If the present crisis of trust is not resolved, it will become even more intractable for the next Prime Minister and the new generation of leaders, for by then the crisis would have deteriorated into meltdown. In the absence of the people’s trust, effective government is virtually impossible, as every leader knows. To prevent this from happening, only you, Sir, can pave the way for a new understanding and reconciliation. It is a huge, onerous, daunting and certainly unenviable task of damage control, repair and restoration. But it is surely top priority, if only because the alternative would be just too scary.

Yours sincerely
Catherine Lim

350 comments below

  1. Jonathan
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Wow, 7th June, only an hour after the start of the day, I am one lucky person to be first few to read this open letter.

    Good things done or not, important thing is people must be happy. Else it is as good as not done…

  2. markus
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Thank you Catherine for speaking up and sharing your view, for being an eloquent voice and for remaining constructive. Let’s hope it would be heard, and believe together for a better Singapore.

  3. Daniel Yap
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:30 am

    It would be supreme irony if this letter received, as once before, a shortsighted rebuke about one’s place in society.

  4. Christian
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:34 am

    unfortunately things have escalated to a level that listening to your people may no longer be a panacea to the increasing divide. you rightly pointed out that listening to the people would have helped, provided it had happened only earlier. Testing times ahead.

  5. Francis
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Bravo! Well said…. Pity it will probably fall on deaf ears…

  6. Dr. Singapuli
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Sadly, every government needs to adapt and grow according to the era. LKY is a visionary and built a nation for the future. I hope this would continue in the current and future governments.

  7. Nigel Na
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:46 am

    An Open Letter to Catherine Lim

    Dear Ms Lim,

    While your letter struck a chord with me, and surely with many other readers, I can’t help but feel that it is futile, through no fault of yours.

    The revealed truth is that the PAP has confused ideology and morality. It is unable to view its own manifesto and values objectively, as one of many positions in a marketplace of ideas. It has planted its feet squarely, and declared that its values are the only Singaporean values. In its eyes, challenges to its ideology aren’t invitations to debate or to think; instead, these challenges are existential, immoral… even to some extent, evil.

    There is only one moral code for Singapore and Singaporeans, and that is the code of ‘Asian values’ as mediated by, ad hoc and to their own advantage, the ruling power.

    This makes any hope for the paradigmatic change you’ve called for coming from within the party a vain one, I fear.

    I await eagerly for the establishment to prove me wrong.

    Yours sincerely, Nigel Na

  8. Richard
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Contrary to what Catherine has said, we are actually NOT in a post LKY scenario. He is still alive and wields influence albeit in a lesser shape and form. His son’s lawsuit is evidence of this. This ruling party knows how to give the people what they need to win elections. In the privacy of the election booth, the noisy dissent of the average Sporean melts into support for LKY.

  9. HO HARRY
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:08 am

    I seldom like to talk about politics and I really dislike those idiots from Getting Rotten Org misbehaving at public place such as parking their cars all over the public road instead of parking at MSCP.

    As a volunteer at MTP-Session . . . the residents end up like a fool for trusting those officials too much and most of the residents effort and time totally wasted because of all those highly irresponsible volunteer’s empty promise.

  10. Mike
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Thank you writing and kindly come over to HLP.

  11. Mike
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Has the PAP really been winning at the elections? I beg to differ and so many Singaporeans too, that redrawing the election boundaries 3 times just before each Election Day is an ungracious and unethical way to contest an opponent. 40% Singaporeans’ voices are, in fact, diluted and lost, with an 8% representation in parliament. Is 8% a proportionate representation of the silent majority’s voice which is looming with each year? I shudder to think if this ongoing defamation suit which is ongoing, an attempt to silence the voices of Singaporeans with an arresting blow.

  12. Ken Wong
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Hi Catherine, I remember in the 90s you were the victim of bully by Goh Chok Tong who was then Prime Minister that couldn’t stomach what you wrote in ST thus force you to apologize. Almost 20 years later who still see the same kind of high handed wrestling. The ruling party is comprise of almost the same crowd with same mentality and I have no faith nothing much will change. They are too ingrained in their power grip and often too much centralized power gives people a sense of entitlement to do what they want to strengthen or consolidate power. Power corrupt a person’s conscientiousness and this is precisely what we are seeing now in PAP. Nothing major will change. A tweak here and there will be on the plate.

  13. Caoda Jilai
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Cat, you are cruising for a bruising. I foresee you’d be sued , bankrupted, and will end your days in Exile in Melbourne where there is freedom (as opposed to fee-dom) of speech. Repent , Cat, offer apology, compensation which is more than desultory, and retraction, and take down this letter, or hahahahaha or else face BANKRUPTCY!

  14. Ed
    June 7th, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Dear Catherine, please beseech the minister through your letter. Absolutely no need to SHOW us your your intentions.

  15. Andrew Loh
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:35 am

    “To prevent this from happening, only you, Sir, can pave the way for a new understanding and reconciliation.”

    I have to disagree with you on this, Ms Lim.

    Lee Hsien Loong is the last person who would be able to “pave the way” forward. We need a new leader to lead Singaporeans.

  16. David Ong
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Well Said!:-)

  17. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Some people want PM Lee to smile and say, it hurts, it hurts. Pain is good. I like it. I can take it, please send me more. Be submissive. Who is next?

  18. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Talking and clarifying the CPF scheme.

    Need five teams with different PR sensitivity to speak same lingo to explain CPF to different age groups, 20-30; 30-40; 40-50; 50-60; 60 plus.

  19. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:47 am

    By all means speak, write whatever.

    But watch out for the OB markers, and not be hauled into court.

    Many big guns and smarter ones in politics have chosen wisely not to be hauled into court.

    They steer themselves to stay far away from the court.

    They leave it to others who are gung-ho type to get the hit.

  20. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:48 am

    The defendant is in the 30-40 age group, skepticism aplenty.

    Can someone age 60 plus explain CPF, etc. to him effectively?

  21. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Today at Speakers’ Corners and another one on 14th at Thomson CC.

    The truth will hurt.

  22. Sam
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:50 am

    What is actually preventing this government from changing? It is their thinking that there is little that is wrong with their policies and that the real problem is communicating the policies more clearly to the people. Related to this is an inability to be honestly brutal not only to themselves, but more importantly to the public. All their sophistry such as policy shifts instead of flip-flop, makes it seemed that saving their own skin is their top priority. So far, there is not even one instance where they came out unequivocally about their crucial role in causing and contributing to an existing problem. Problems are strenuously re-framed to absolve them of any wrong doing. For example, complaints about overcrowding get re-framed as a problem of xenophobia of Singaporeans. They have missed so many opportunities to change since GE2011, and that is really telling of their inability to change.

  23. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:51 am

    High salaries will continue to be a bane to the PAP.

    I wrote and more at the link below:

    “PAYROLL TAX FUND – FOR MINISTERS’ SALARIES

    Impose a 1% payroll tax payable by all employers on the total annual remuneration exceeding S$100,000 of each senior executive employee in the private and public sectors.

    The 1% payroll tax collected from employers, not from individuals, should be used as sources of funding to pay the salaries of ministers.

    This specific payroll tax imposed on the highly-paid executives in both the private and public sectors will help quell the perpetual disquiet and dissatisfaction of the general public on ministers’ pay.”

    The link:

    http://tankoktim.blog.com/2014/05/27/good-governance-needs-good-policies-my-2015-budget-wishlist/

  24. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:52 am

    What is the art of governing? What is divine govt?

    What is divine and what is religious?

    Sharing:

    http://tankoktim.blog.com/2012/04/11/art-of-governing-taxes-inflation-cost-of-living-wage-inequality/

  25. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Will Singapore be the first country to have divine govt?

    What is divine and what is first-class govt?

  26. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Money donated for a cause. $80k and more.

    Will the defendant offer it as compensation in an out-of-court amicable settlement on condition that the amount be given to a charity organisation, if such a condition can be agreed?

    But if the defendant, emboldened by the donations, were to go all out to raise the ante further, going full steam in court to challenge every evidence and long drawn out legal tussle, the damages will be more severe, aggravated.

    The aim to get publicity on the CPF has been attained by the defendant and others.

    The MOF has given a statement, and it is on their www, plus in the ST.

    To seek more clarification and publicity, best is to get MPs to move a motion in Parliament and review the CPF scheme intensively, leaving no stones unturned, for the sake of future generations.

    What are MPs for? Do we need 7, 14 or 21 MPs to table a motion in Parliament? Keeping silent in Parliament is also playing politics for clear intentions.

    The way forward is debate the CPF Act in Parliament, tighten the Act and protect the people’s money from any rogue govt in the future from losing it for people and country.

  27. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:58 am

    After five days and $80,000 plus and counting, if the public or a third rich party were to bank-roll to the hilt, it might embolden the defendant to up the ante to the maximum possible knowing nothing for him to lose, not even a cent.

    It could be a case of extracting every drop of blood, going for broke, and to challenge every evidence in court aiming for the bitter end and highest level of damage.

    Would that be possible?

  28. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:00 am

    “Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, a government health worker who posts comments on social issues, said 1,104 people had so far contributed more than Sg$72,000 (RM184,900), exceeding his target of Sg$70,000 (RM179,700) when he launched the campaign Friday.”

    1,104 people, and not 1,104,000 people. Would it grow to 5,000 or hundreds of thousands?

    PR Consultants and experts should study the number of people, and the effect of the ground-swell arising from it.

    Would it be considered a number of great significance, politically?

  29. ARIO
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Good morning everyone. I have read it yesterday afternoon via my fb. Im glad that once again Dr Lim has written a note to PM.

    This is not the first or second tine Dr Lim spoke through her words, nemerous tine.

    Let’s not just thank her and be a key-board warrior, let’s support and be presence to participate for a start at Hong Lim Park 4pm to 7pm today fir the rally, RETURN OUR CPF.

    Let’s also support and participate to vote the Opposition from now onwards.

    Let’s play a part in real politics to see that our children have a good future.

    Let’s support all writers like Dr Lim.

    And let’s thank a big thank you to Dr Lim to off-blind our political will to fight for our politicsl rights from the pap lky.

  30. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Trust is good, but control is better?

    Is this true in politics?

  31. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Constraints in governing Singapore – do Singaporeans know what it is, the limitations and constraints?

    Certain constraints could be fixed.

    Some are harder to fix no matter who is in control of govt be it PAP or opposition.

    Do we know what are all these constraints?

    Who dare to ask in Parliament for a list of constraints, to be provided in a list A and list B, and have it discussed and debated?

    Who dare to ask this, either PAP MP, non PAP MP, NMP, or NCMP, or is it the belief of silence is golden in Parliament is a smarter approach?

  32. Tracy Tan
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Thank you, Catherine, for an interesting write-up. I believe LHL is still deaf to criticisms and I believe he thinks he is the only one who has wisdom. To LHL, all views which are contrary to his are nonsense.

    I see a very arrogant and unwise LHL who has not grown up. His often silly comments irk Singaporeans and foreign leaders.

    I believe that if LHL continues on his confrontational style against Singaporeans in dealing with legitimate concerns, he will face more obstacles and fury from an angry population.

    It is time for LHL to acknowledge his failures and start on a new slate

  33. Fook Seng
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Unfortunately, despite the unmistakable signs of distrust, the attacks on the new media have been so intense and consistent that the PM is like an animal at siege, nothing will go in. What we see is a knee-jerk reaction to this hostility. To have the PM pull himself aside and regard the situation in a calm and quiet manner is asking the impossible.

    Of course, for those of us not directly involved or held responsible or, as a leader, answerable to all things being done past as well as present, we can all see the obvious signs of decay which call for drastic corrective action in a total, integrated way, not in small patches. The single issue of the CPF touches on the probable need to review the principle of self reliance and address all components to the cost living – housing, public and private transportation, healthcare, population control and immigration policies, education and human development, asset accumulation and investment policies, the shape and focus of the new economy, etc. No solution is possible without looking at everything in totality. Some things will need several years, perhaps a decade, to change even if there is the political will because of the potential collateral damages. But change we must and it must start from the leader himself. This is no small change which will surely include the removal of several sacred cows, some humongous ones. He will need a lot of guts.

  34. Tracy Tan
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Can we expect LHL to change? Is LHL beyond redemption? Is a leadership change within the PAP best for Singapore?

  35. Amy Lam
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Constructively well-written. Thank you for doing so.

  36. Anna Murphy
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Dear Catherine, what is this scary alternative? An opposition party? With apologies, you were doing rather well until the last line, which could be read as scaremongering in venerable PAP fashion. Say it ain’t so, Cat.

  37. Harry Kek
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:39 am

    The PAP only listens to itself 99% of the time. The 1% of the time is when they see the votes at the General Elections.

    It is already too late for the PAP to change.

    It is time for the people to change the PAP.

  38. Harry
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    It’s not just the defamation suit – the high-handed, vague and arbitrary MDA licensing rules for websites is also being wielded like a weapon against our rights to expression and, worse, the access of information.

  39. Zhuangyao
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Will PM Lee deemed the truth from this article as trolling?

  40. Derek Chua Soon Teck
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Well said and observed. Thanks for speaking up

  41. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:48 am

    In the Lee family – is it not true that there is a generation gap between grandpa and the grandchildren?

    How to explain govt policies, like the CPF scheme, etc. to a person in the age group of 30-40 by a person in his 60?

    There is a need to have people in the same age group to speak to them with PR sensitivity. Is it possible?

    Or is it a lost cause?

    Will PAP continue to be in power after 2016?

    When the coast is clear, many would jump into the political arena to take the gamble with $15,000 hoping to be elected into Parliament.

    Who dare to champion shutting down GIC, TH, CPF, COE, ERP, etc at Speakers’ Corner and not in 2016?

    Surely, the party championing it will win more votes by giving the assurance that cold-hard cash will be returned to Singaporeans within 12 months after taking over govt.

  42. Zhuangyao
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:53 am

    One thing is for sure – we have all been brainwashed since we were born in the name of national education.

  43. William
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    It’s always refreshing to read your latest piece on SG politics. That PM has to pursue his latest defamation against a citizen blogger is indicative of his misjudgment….right ir wrong, this suit has changed from LHL vs Roy to LHL vs CPF members. Your advice to PM has come too late to turn the tide of grassroots CPF members to vote out PAP come GE2015/16. PM was given the chance to accept Roy’s apology, the taking down of offending post & his offer of $5k damage payment. He did not accept & proceeded to sue ! Worst – No voters like to be called names. Gorden Brown called one of his voter a bigot & this caused a landslide defeat of Labor Party at the polls.

  44. Edwin Sim
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Thank you Catherine. A thoughtful piece.

  45. Ging Yang
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Sadly, I doubt PM will take heed of the content of the open letter.

    If he does, I seriously doubt there will be any serious action taken.

    Imho, I think it’s too late for the pap juggernaut to change course.

  46. Paul oh
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I love my country . I love Singapore . But does Singapore love it”s sons and daughters .?

    Material wealth and monetary benefits do not equate to Parental love.

    What is love ? What is kinsman?

    Why must we wait until the last GE and future GE To show that Singaporeans matters?

    My love for this land has never faded but does the motherland Cares about Singapore Singaporeans ?

  47. Murthy
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:22 am

    In a way maybe Singaporeans are politically ‘spoilt’ – by the exceptional quality of the LKY generation of leaders. Those were different times and I doubt Singapore will ever feel such identity with the leaders again. This is because Singapore is now a big city and it seems inevitable that the leaders will be rich and distant. I don’t think the common man ever really trusts leaders who are rich and distant.

  48. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:23 am

    CPF scheme started in the 1950s.

    After the British withdrawal, Sembawang, Keppel, etc. were handed over by the British, and the shares of ownership were transferred to TH by the MOF, and later on these companies were floated on the SGX.

    It became successful commercially after conversion from military naval bases to industrial use.

    JSL and SIA were started more or less brand new. Not forgetting DBS and Singtel. And later, ST Engineering and Capital Land.

    NOL started with ship/s given by the British to the Govt in 1970.

    TH turned these few companies [the base for expansion] into good investments before it went overseas to invest with the huge sums of money it got from the SGX flotation/listing.

    All these are the base start-up local crown-jewel companies of TH for it later to invest overseas when opportunities to have more such companies run out in tiny Singapore.

    I believe former MOF’s permanent secretaries, and there are many, for example like Ngiam, Pillay, etc., they know the background of TH very well, and their brains are still functioning today and they would have cried foul if the TH’s letter in the ST Forum 0n 4 June 2014 is crap.

    These guys now out of Govt service are not spineless individuals.

  49. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    CPF scheme. The stirring of doubts will continue unabated.

    I would like to suggest that CPF money should be kept within Singapore and not be allowed to be invested overseas with the National Reserves by GIC on behalf of MOF. The way forward is to lock the CPF money onshore to quell the loose talks and public disquiet.

    The Govt should set up a CPF Trust for CPF members to deposit their net balance [net of amount used by the members to buy residential property in Singapore, equity-linked policies of insurance company, equity shares on SGX, etc] to earn higher interest. All these must be onshore to protect members’ hard-earned savings for old age.

    The trust should use the money to give loans to buy MRT trains and buses, build real estates in Singapore, finance govt infrastructures [there are many worth hundreds of millions of dollars], etc. All these facilities must be located in Singapore.

    As collateral, the borrowers should mortgage their assets to the Trust to protect the CPF members’ interest.

    I hope the Govt will revise the CPF Act to ensure that not a single cent of our CPF money is sent out of Singapore under whatever circumstances, situations or arrangements.

  50. John3.16
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    My mother use to say, “A Leopard never changes it spots” to mean that people do not change

  51. tankoktim
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Age gap, ….youth enthusiasm…. and some the folly of youth…

    Is it a lost cause for red dot?

  52. david
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Thank you Catherine. Guess it is a bit too late to change the situation. Better late than never.

  53. Lam Lee Fatt
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    You mentioned you are heartened by the change till now. Then in one broad stroke blamed all protest, vandalisms, public show of hatreds on this one law suit. Very contradicting and as expected convenient indeed.

  54. Minerva
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Trust needs to be earned. Unfortunately.the ” trust Bank ” has more withdrawals than deposits so far……….

  55. Andrew Chen
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Damn, woman, as sharp as a whip!

    I wish you wouldn’t speak up though. The only way the PAP will learn is in defeat, no two ways about it. So let’s give them a chance to be defeated shall we :)

  56. Sam
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Well written as usual! Makes me wonder if “change” born out of fear of losing personal power and wealth is real change at all? I really don’t think it is a matter of n

  57. Low Tuck Wah
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:52 am

    For 50 years PAP just steamrolled to election victories. Even though we live in cages like animals, castrated for two years – National Service where our youth is robbed – our CPF is robbed in the name of minimum sums, yet people still voted them in. The big question is why did they still vote for them ? Well PAP are masters of strategy and masters of psychology.

    Let us see how our brain works.

    Oxytocin, produced and stored in the pituitary gland of the brain, acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain. It is sometimes called the mood or bonding or the trust hormones. Let me explain how oxytocin works.

    For example if you cuddle a dog than suddenly the dog bites you, oxytocin in the brain is released to distrust the dog and to be careful with the dog. The dog on the other hand senses that you distrust it, so oxcytocin is produced by the brain in the dog to let the master trust it again by making a sad smile, licking you, wagging its tail.

    The PAP understands how our brain works and takes advantage of it, if you look closely most of the PAP candidates are doctors, lawyers and high ranking army officers.

    PAP members do not have talent in running the country, their real talent is how to go to war against their own citizens, to make monkeys out of us.

    The PAPS treat us like their pets and every one of the males is made to go through obedience school: National Service.

    Let us go back to Oxytocin again. People are angry with National Service, GST, conservancy charges, transport cost and the CPF minimum sum, like animals which bite us, but suddenly they reward us with pittance or peanuts, like rebates on PUB and conservancy charges, workfare and GST vouchers. These are all staggered to win our trust back gradually to the government and our oxytocin hormones begin to work, so that in a way we become addicted to the PAP. PAP is our new god and our master.

    For businessmen, their Oxytocin is the PIC grants and SME loans to counter the effect of high rental and worker levies. They are treating us like dogs, where they use the punish and reward system by understanding how the hormone Oxytocin works.

    Vote buying is illegal. But here the Government changes it to the legal “Bonus”. Well the opposition must find ways to win this coming election as the reward system is a powerful tool or else another big election win beckons for the ruling party.

  58. Merv Soh
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Catherine, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts….

    As Chinese would put it, 冰冻三尺 非一曰之寒, it takes more than one cold day for a river to freeze three feet deep…. More and more people are feeling the frustration and disappointment with our current government on some of their policies and especially the way they like to talk down to the people…

    Of cos we all know that they have done well in some aspects, but like what you have said on the high salaries that they are paying themselves, they are expected to jolly well do a good job…

    Some of their supporters like to say that anyone not happy with our government are ungrateful and should leave the country… IMHO is very sad and pathetic ……

  59. Simon Lau
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Hi Catherine.

    It was a good read voicing out the people’s voice. I just hope for a better Singapore tomorrow.

    Majulah Singapura. (Onward Singapore)

  60. Samuel
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Hey Catherine, don’t need to write grandma story. LHL have no time to read. It is more practical for you to spend your time writing on CPF issues like Roy and gather support for a change in government. The PAP can no longer be trusted. What we need is to convince those 30% swing voters to our side.

  61. peter wang
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    There is an English idiom that I had uncanny subscribe with looking at what life perceives, “every dog has its day”. There is an epoch of a person that will come to an end no matter how much one has contributed when one forgets to listen to another and think that he can say and make it all. For “no man is an island” and one needs to hear and interact to reach out to many voices

  62. Conflating PAP with Singapore
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Dear Catherine. Respectfully. Your political writings are still rooted in the past. Where PAP is conflated to also mean Singapore, Singaporeans and patriotism.

    But what is good for PAP does not mean it is good for Singaporeans.

    PM Lee may be the Prime Minister of PAP. But is he also the Prime Minister of Singaporeans representing our best interest?

    PM Lee says “I want Singapore to do well, so Singaporeans can do well”. Shouldn’t it be “I want Singaporeans to do well so Singapore can do well” ? - stop conflating PAP’s Singapore with Singaporeans

    The law suit against Roy benefits PAP and PM Lee. But how does it benefit Singaporeans?

  63. TM Goh
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Read this letter with delight. I can relate to personally to the views presented but I could never have written it so beautiful as Catherine Lim just did.

    If I am a teacher higher SEC/JC level today, I would like to use your letter for a discussion in class. And maybe ask for a Starbuck session with you in person.

    Not that we can change Singapore tomorrow but at least guide our young minds and in return strength our own for a better tomorrow.

    I do see and have faith that Singapore one day become a nation where others look upon for a model society where law abiding citizens practices Freedom of Speech responsibility at all level and visible at every street corner. Creativity flows without restrictions. Transparency presented fear and accountability uphold with courage.

    Education provides the foundation and students actions determines the progress.

    I am a born in Singapore, early 70s and it is the only place on earth that I know and welcomes me home.

    Singaporeans, we recites the pledge and as the older one gets those sentences takes on a new meaning.

    Thanks for this open letter

  64. Sam
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Well written as usual. Makes me wonder if “change” born out of fear of losing personal power and wealth is real change at all? Being an elected official is a sacred duty with the opportunity to influence the lives of many. It is one born out of a passion to serve, not one out of personal gain. I really don’t think it is a matter of not hearing ground sentiment but one of not seeing the need to change. Just redraw GRCs, create a sinking fund that other parties cannot tap into, censor naysayers, control via fear and selectively “reward” certain age or ethnic groups via verbal support or financial incentives. These so called rewards come at a price, the money used are the people’s money, not PAP’s so it is really you paying yourself but they look good. Works so far so there seems to be no real incentive to change. PAP still take fat cheques home, only way is to let votes speak for itself, for public opinion to be so overwhelming that it becomes important. When someone doesn’t fight fair, then bring pn the guns! There is no choice.

  65. The Tide Of History
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:14 am

    “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

    Quote from the movie Batman in reference to Julius Caesar - who saved the democratic Roman Republic from the barbarians - but lived on long enough as a dictator to turn the Roman Republic into Imperial Rome … ruled by emperors.

  66. Fook Seng
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    To be honest, I don’t care who makes the change, as long as the appropriate change is made. For the ruling party to make the needed change, it is harder because it has to start from the far right. Don’t know whether the PM is up to it.

    But certainly getting involved in a defamation suit, although fully justified legally, is a knee-jerked defensive act. It doesn’t advance the PM’s wish to gain more trust and respect. Even the gain of fear is doubtful, seeing the support his opponent has garnered in the raising of funds. Neither is trying to fix the sole opponent in Parliament a good use of his time. Logically he should devote his effort to rebuilding Singapore, from scratch, if appropriate.

  67. zappy
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Ideal CATHERINE

    She is The LEADER Singaporeans Majority want. When she becomes Singapore’s LEADER, SINGAPORE will be World’s Number One HAPPY Nation!

    CATHERINE is still YOUNG! We Look Forward to CATHERINE becoming Singapore’s TRUEST LEADER!

  68. Zhu Geliang
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Dr Lim, I urge you to stop your trolling. Sincerely, Zhu

  69. Edmund Hoe
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for writing this, so much expressing the agony and frustration experienced by many ordinary Singaporeans.

    What we want, is for our country to love us, as much as we love it!

  70. Sgcynic
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Tankoktim, be decent and courteous. STOP SPAMMING. Please…..

  71. Ang Teck Huat
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Whatever you say, PM is the choice of 60% of the electorate. He may lose the next election. But as it is, he is still the elected choice.

    When you say people no longer trust the government, how many people are you talking about? Hundreds, Thousands or Millions. Are these voices representative of the PEOPLE?

    Come on, don’t underestimate PEOPLE’s POWER. If PEOPLE (ie. All Singaporeans) no longer trust the government, they would have revolted.

    Final Analysis – to some people, Democracy is only democracy when the political party they love is the ruling party.

  72. Are You Writing To The Emperor ?
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Catherine You sound like you are writing to the Emperor of Singapore. And not the Prime Minister – a public servant sworn to protect Singaporeans’ best interest.

  73. kc
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:36 am

    THE GOVERNMENT IS DESPERATE! WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT NOT LISTENING? IT’S NOT THAT THEY DON’T WISH TO LISTEN. THEY HAVE NO CHOICE! I ALWAYS FELT IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE CPF MONIES OR THE RESERVES.

    JUST LIKE ANY GAMBLERS. ONCE THEY START LOOSING, THEY WILL RESORT TO ANYTHING TO COVER UP OR RECOUP THE LOSES. JUST LOOK AT THE POLICIES THEY IMPLEMENTED. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT GETTING MORE MONIES. THE HDB, COE,ERP,MINIMUM SUM AND MANY MORE….

    EVER WONDER WHY THEY DIDN’T COME CLEAN ON CPF ISSUE? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE!

  74. yee soo bon
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    You are one important person to voice out the people’s feelings, but will PM lesson….????? He had been on the helm and had enjoy highest standard in life to make him felt untouchable. He had his cronies to advise him all along and I don’t trust he will accept your recommendation. Good to see more people comes out to speak against the “sad” issue.

  75. Harry J Cane
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:44 am

    When a PM has true friends in his cabinet he can lead.

    Tick off who were Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s true cabinet friends in the first Singapore Cabinet. His beloved wife never was a “face” in his cabinet. She was more than a capable wife and wive of a PM

    Than do the same, tick, for PM Mr. Lee Hsien Loong’s true friends in his cabinet.Yes who are is TRUE FRIENDS, in his current Cabinet. Plus the PM’s wife is a “shadow” in his cabinet, let alone the decision maker out there that raises a lot of capabilities questions…….like they say behind every successful man is a more successful women and that is one big difference between father and son.

    No Title Party Legislative Assembly Also present in Parliament 1 A.P. Rajah Independent Singapore Party Alliance √ 1st 2 A. Rahim Ishak People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 3 Ang Nam Piau People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 4 Bani, S.T. People’s Action Party √ 1st 5 Barker, E.W. People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 6 Bernard Rodrigues People’s Action Party 1st 7 Buang Bin Omar Junid People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd 8 Chan Chee Seng People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 9 Chan Choy Siong People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd 10 Chan Sun Wing People’s Action Party, Barisan Sosialis √ 1st 11 Chew Chin Harn People’s Action Party 1st 12 Chia Thye Poh Barisan Sosialis 1st 13 Chio Cheng Thun Barisan Sosialis 1st 14 Chor Yeok Eng People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 15 Chow Chiok Hock People’s Action Party 1st 16 Coomaraswamy, P. NA 1st, 2nd 17 Devan Nair People’s Action Party 1st 18 Fong Kim Heng People’s Action Party 1st 19 Fong Sip Chee People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 20 Goh Keng Swee People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 21 Gonzales, R.A. People’s Action Party 1st 22 Govindaswamy, P. People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 23 Ho Cheng Choon People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 24 Ho Kah Leong People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th 25 Ho See Beng People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 26 Jek Yeun Thong People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 27 Koo Yong Barisan Sosialis 1st 28 Kow Kee Seng Barisan Sosialis 1st 29 Lee Khoon Choy People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 30 Lee Kuan Yew People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th 31 Lee Teck Him People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd 32 Lee Tee Tong People’s Action Party 1st 33 Lim Cheng Lock People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd 34 Lim Kim San People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 35 Lim Soo Peng People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd 36 Lim Guan Hoo People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 37 Lingam, S.V. People’s Action Party √ 1st 38 Loh Miaw Gong Barisan Sosialis 1st 39 Mahmud Awang People’s Action Party 1st 40 Mohd Ariff Bin Suradi, Haji People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd 41 Ng Kah Ting People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th 42 Ng Yeow Chong People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 43 Ong Pang Boon People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 44 Ong Lian Teng Barisan Sosialis 1st 45 Othman Bin Wok People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 46 Poh Ber Liak Barisan Sosialis 1st 47 Rahmat Bin Kenap People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 48 Rajaratnam, S People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 49 Ramaswamy, S. People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd 50 Rajoo, S. Barisan Sosialis √ 1st 51 Selvadurai, P. People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 52 Sia Kah Hui People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 53 Sim Boon Woo People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd 54 Tan Cheng Tong People’s Action Party, Barisan Sosialis √ 1st 55 Tang See Chim People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 56 Tay Boon Too People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd 57 Teo Hup Teck People’s Action Party 1st 58 Teong Eng Siong People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 59 Toh Chin Chye People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 60 Wee Toon Boon People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd 61 Wong Soon Fong People’s Action Party, Barisan Sosialis √ 1st 62 Yaacob Bin Mohamed People’s Action Party √ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 63 Yeoh Ghim Seng People’s Action Party 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 64 Yong Nyuk Lin

    Aljunied GRC Members Mr Chen Show Mao Ms Sylvia Lim Mr Low Thia Khiang Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap Mr Pritam Singh Ang Mo Kio GRC Members Mr Ang Hin Kee Mr Inderjit Singh Dr Intan Azura Binte Mokhtar Mr Lee Hsien Loong Mr Seng Han Thong Mr Yeo Guat Kwang Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Members Mr Hri Kumar Nair Dr Ng Eng Hen Mrs Josephine Teo Mr Wong Kan Seng Mr Zainudin Nordin Bukit Panjang Member Dr Teo Ho Pin Chua Chu Kang GRC Members Mr Gan Kim Yong Ms Low Yen Ling Mr Alex Yam Ziming Mr Alvin Yeo Mr Zaqy Mohamad East Coast GRC Members Mr Lee Yi Shyan Mr Raymond Lim Siang Keat Mr Lim Swee Say Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Members Mr Christopher De Souza Mr Liang Eng Hwa Ms Sim Ann Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Hong Kah North Member Dr Amy Khor Lean Suan

    Hougang Member Mr Png Eng Huat Joo Chiat Member Mr Charles Chong Jurong GRC Members Mr Ang Wei Neng Mdm Halimah Yacob Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng (Li Zhisheng) Mr David Ong Kim Huat Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Marine Parade GRC Members Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef Mr Goh Chok Tong Mr Seah Kian Peng Mr Tan Chuan-Jin Ms Tin Pei Ling Moulmein-Kallang GRC Members Mr Lui Tuck Yew Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai Assoc Prof Dr Yaacob Ibrahim Mountbatten Member Mr Lim Biow Chuan Nee Soon GRC Members Er Dr Lee Bee Wah Dr Lim Wee Kiak Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim Mr K Shanmugam Mr Tay Teck Guan Patrick Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Members Mr Gan Thiam Poh Dr Janil Puthucheary Ms Penny Low Mr Teo Chee Hean Mr Teo Ser Luck Mr Zainal Bin Sapari Pioneer Member Mr Cedric Foo Chee Keng Potong Pasir Member Mr Sitoh Yih Pin Punggol East Member Ms Lee Li Lian Radin Mas Member Mr Sam Tan Chin Siong Sembawang GRC Members Mr Hawazi Daipi Mr Khaw Boon Wan Ms Ellen Lee Mr Ong Teng Koon Mr Vikram Nair Sengkang West Member Dr Lam Pin Min Tampines GRC Members Mr Baey Yam Keng Mr Heng Swee Keat Mr Mah Bow Tan Mr Masagos Zulkifli Bin Masagos Mohamad Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong Tanjong Pagar GRC Members Mr Chan Chun Sing Dr Chia Shi-Lu Ms Indranee Rajah Mr Lee Kuan Yew Dr Lily Neo West Coast GRC Members Mr Arthur Fong Ms Foo Mee Har Mr S Iswaran Mr Lim Hng Kiang Mr Lawrence Wong Whampoa Member Mr Heng Chee How Yuhua Member Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien Non-Constituency Members of Parliament Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song Mrs Lina Chiam Mr Yee Jenn Jong Nominated Members Members Ms Faizah Jamal Mr Nicholas Fang Ms Janice Koh Mr Laurence Lien Ms Mary Liew

  76. Ivan Lee
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Well said. We’ll wait for the change…but if it doesn’t happen soon enough, I believe Singaporeans will have our own devises to go about getting what we want, to write the next chapter in our own identity for ourselves.

  77. Luke
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Well written article. Succinctly put points which are echoing all my current feelings.

    Thank you, madam Lim for eloquently writing this article. I hope PM Lee would peruse this article.

  78. Jason Chua C B
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Catherine,

    If you think being a prime minister is so easy, why don’t you go ahead and run for the position?

    It is easy to complain, complain, complain… but can’t you see that the government is already doing its best?

    I think you owe Mr Lee Hsien Loong Sir an apology

  79. BK
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Great read! Thanks for being the voice of many Singaporeans! We can only hope that the Government wakes up. Many young Singaporeans of today will never respond well to threats. It strives us on to be one united force, working together to ensure that for the good of the country and our future generation, the Government of today does the necessary to listen to its people and takes positive steps to regain the already much lost trust.

  80. Tristen
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Catherine lim, thanks for spending time to write for Singaporeans. In my personal opinion though, if there are concrete points you are trying to bring across, you could consider learning from lky, with words that move the audience and yet so apt and strongly convincing, instead of as a showcase for ur literary talent. Your arguments are struggling to be heard among the unnecessary clatter of flowery phrases .

  81. Peter
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Dear Catherine,

    I am disappointed and amazed that an established author like you fail to see the crux of the matter and instead choose to side with the mob.

    As you would probably know, the integrity of any government ministers, notwithstanding our PM Lee, is of utmost importance to a nation.

    Our PM, as a head of State and government, represents not 60% of PAP supporters, not 40% of opposition supporters but 100% of Singaporeans!

    If any diplomat or minister from a neighbouring country accuses or slanders our PM, ALL Singaporeans would rise against them!

    If our PM is deemed as corruptible by diplomats and ministers from other countries, he would have a tough time trying to reject the unsolicited bribes that are offered to him in exchange for doing something detrimental to the interest of Singapore and Singaporeans!

    This would affect the reputation of not only the current PM, but also future PMs of Singapore!

    I am sure all Singaporeans would not want this to happen!

    Hence the integrity and reputation of a head of State, our PM, cannot be compromised at all costs!

    If Roy had ranted about the CPF policies itself until the sky falls down, nobody would bother him!

    But once he starts to launch a personal character assault on ANY individual, notwithstanding it is our PM, then that is morally wrong and cannot go unchallenged!

    Our PM’s willingness to proceed with the lawsuit against Roy shows that he does not go for populist policies and he is guided by what is right for Singapore!

    I am flabbergasted that with your maturity of thought and your vast experience as an established author, you fail to see the above rationale and intentionally or otherwise, use the overall ground sentiment, which is a different issue altogether, to justify your attempted push for ‘positive’ change which would/may actually bring the downfall of the current government if the government is seen as weak!

    Have you ever wondered whether the reasons for the ground swell of anger and frustrations are the result of instigations and propagations of lies and half-truths as well as incitement of hatred and anger against every policy that the govt makes?

    To me, the vandalism acts, the slander by Roy, the ground suppport by disillusioned and misfits minority are just another ills of society that the govt needs to tackle like the Little India Riot! Nothing more!

    So please do not exaggerate this small manifestation of the outcome of opposition incitement as if they are caused by the Singapore government!

    With your vast reasoning capability as an author, I am astonished that you failed to see these loopholes in your arguments!

    FLABBERGASTED!

  82. Ling Chua
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Catherine, my favourite SG writer, gratefully yours. Echoing our thoughts in such a well-crafted and yet sensitive open letter. Thank you for demonstrating how graceful blogging can be achieved yet served it purpose without getting into a dramatic tassle.

  83. Absolute
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    tankoktim June 7th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    > [tankoktim] is Right that on CPF should be used to make Guaranteed Profits which are returned to the CPF members. Just like EPF is Malaysia is investing MYR 2 Million every month into BURSA so that EPF members get Super Dividends! CPF should form a CPF Investment Bank. Following Businesses which GUARANTEE Profits should be RESERVED for CPF Investment Bank. 1. Start CPF Citizen SuperMart to take over NTUC and ShenSong SuperMart Licences. 2. Start CPF Integrated Land Transport to take over SMRT, SBS, Comfort Licences. 3. Start CPF Airlines to take over SIA, Silk Air Licences. 4. Start CPF Legal to take over HDB Conveyance. 5. Start CPF REITS to take over JTC and all state real estate. 6. Start CPF Exchange to take over SGX Licences. 7. Start CPF Insurance to take over INCOME. 8. Start CPF Holdings to take over Singapore Technology companies. 9. Start CPF Gaming to take over Genting Singapore and Marina Bay Sands Gaming Licences. 10. Start CPF Sweeps to take over Singapore Pools Licences. 11. Start CPF Oil & Gas to take over Keppel Corp and SembCorp. 12. Start CPF Housing to take over HDB. 13. Start CPF Food Court to take over Kopitam. 14. Start CPF Airports to take over SATS and airports. 15. Start CPF Post to take over SingPost. 16. Start CPF Pawn to take over all Pawn Shops. 17. Start CPF Hotels to take over Raffles Hotel. 18. Start CPF Shopping to take over IONS and PARAGON. 19. Start CPF Hospital to take over Mount E Hospital. 20. Start CPF Dental to take over Q&M. 21. Start CPF Medical to take over clinics. 22. Start CPF Trading to take over all Import & Export Licences. 23. Et cetera!

    It is Extremely CLEAR that in this CPF LEGEND for Singaporeans, every Singaporean can TRUST CPF and RETIRE with Dignity as a Law Abiding Obedient Singaporean

    This will GUARANTEE Singapore as World Number One Guaranteed Retirement Nation.

    Just Implement the above CPF LEGEND because GOD GUARANTEES that it is GUARANTEED to WORK and LAST forever.

  84. Michael
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    To the gov, the solution is simple: gives out more citizenship and drowns out the locally born and breed Singaporeans! Isn’t that right? Lol!

  85. Alex Spears
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    We are with nanny government for so long, for so many generations. Singaporean brain washed already to think present government is right all the way. Singaporean have been neatly sliced to be rich or poor. Poor Singaporean got no chance to fight the rich. The POOR Singaporean has degenerated to a zombie. So many people just wasting their time with many many humble requests for a refund of CPF money.

  86. Siong Boon
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Understand with good will why some things has to be done in a manner that poke Singaporeans. There are implication behind, to have policies which obviously anger the people. If I were a leader, I would want also want to make people life happier.

  87. Xmen
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:10 am

    IMHO, you should direct your open letter to PAP instead. You obviously think highly of LHL, but many don’t. Why is PAP so quiet about the defamation lawsuit? Is it a party of toothless followers?

    Here is a list of bold initiatives if PAP truly wants to empower people -

    1. Free MSM from PAP’s tight grip. Instead of reading daily PAP times, people should be exposed to a marketplace of ideas and opinions including WP times, SDP times, Ngerng times.

    2. Free his wife and related parties from key government posts. It will be a lot HARDER to cover up any wrongdoings.

    3. Appoint a committee of a diverse group of people (Ngerng anyone?) to study CPF funding and propose changes for parliament to debate.

    4. Rethink PWP/Immigration

    I am not optimistic that the current PAP will change in any major way. History is on my side…

  88. Eric
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Still waiting for LHL to slaughter some scared cows he promised during his crying session @GE2011.

    I guess it will never happen.

    I will only believe PAP when they do the following: 1) Open up and be transparent about CPF accounts. 2) Open up and be transparent about GIC accounts. 3) Open up and be transparent about HDB accounts.

    Without the above, I will never trust what PAP says, their pattern of deceptions is well documented in their history.

    And PAP will continue to slide down their slippery slope to losing majority votes.

  89. Eric
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:14 am

    errata:

    should be sacred cows…. :P scared cows might be graphically correct, though. :D

  90. The way it is going
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Is the trust deficit something to do with ‘Politics is POWER’

  91. Fook Seng
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:22 am

    A political change of government in Singapore will not be a smooth one. The way the electoral system has left it, there will be little time for an incoming ruling party to hone the skills of its MPs in parliament, let alone forming a cabinet, except by achieving close to an equality in popular votes before taking over. As the time-frame gets even shorter because of the present party’s reluctance to make significant change and the growing expectation of the populace, it will likely be an abrupt change of government at the discomfort of every party involved. This alone is the justification for change in the electoral system to have a better representation of differing aspirations of our people.

  92. Costin Leow
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:22 am

    It is understandable how the people mistrust the politician, the political party and the government all in one sweep. These are 3 distinctly different entities functioning and responsible at very different levels. Is it a case of an efficient government but a political party with priorities and ideals misaligned with the people they’re supposed to represent? Or is it a case of a political party with respectable ideals but fronted by certain politicians that the people cannot agree with? Or is it even a case of an otherwise lovable politician but with ideas and initiatives that the people cannot accept? I believe that in any country or organization, the masses need to put more responsible thought into identifying the problem at the correct node and level. Irresponsible mob thinking is very powerful and dangerous force of this era. Making an overhaul at the wrong level may put the organization or country at a level of risk that cannot be afforded.

  93. spin
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:25 am

    The country’s infrastructure had failed over the last 5 years, with public transport ie MRT trains breaking down and delayed services provided by the bus companies. You have tons of shopping malls everywhere but empty shop spaces as the business cannot handle the ever rising rental rates. The PMET jobs are no longer going to locals and many grads and experienced workers are out of job.

    I’m not sure the firefighting measures to contain all these problems are enough to deem as improving Singaporeans’ lives as we do know not everyone benefited from the “improvements” for sure, so I beg to differ that they made our lives better.

  94. Jean
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I feel the letter touched on a few good points. We are not in America whereby people get sued over the little things. Why does our government has to demand for public apology and rack up law suits like it is mere child’s play? Is that the right way to go about it? What are they trying to prove? The all mighty Parent and the misbehaving children?

    On the otherhand, I agree that freedom of speech comes with responsibility and a price. People who rants must know that words are equally lethal and carry weight. I just hope that this would come to pass and with an ideally win win situation.

  95. Tan Yew Guan
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    The PAP won’t change… and will never change

    Our vote will change them ..2016

  96. AMBC
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Catherine, you said it all! Thank you for conveying our very strong feelings to the govt in a very tactful way. Many would have used the GE to express their unhappiness instead.

  97. Unhappy Singaporean
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I, for one, totally respect LKY and am very appreciative of things he has done for Singapore. Without him, Singapore would not have been a First World Country.

    A decade ago, I was totally disinterested in politics. Because similar with most Singaporeans, the mentality is if nothing is broken, why is that a need to fix it?

    GE2011 was the year where I slowly question, is the government heading in the right direction? Are they pursuing policies for the good for all Singaporeans or have they been too comfortable in their roles and are now using past policies, refining it a little here and there and applying it thinking what worked well then will do the same now.

    Catherine you have rightly mentioned, the times have changed. Policies that has worked so well in the past may not seem so viable now. And in fact, may even run counter-productive to the current situation.

    PAP also seem to create the impression that their main goal is to purse the GDP growth and with that met, all Singaporeans should be happy. And hence the relentless pursuit of ensuring the country is managed like a highly profitable MNC.

    The results of GE2011 woke them into action and while I do applaud PAP efforts in fixing the housing problem, I also acknowledge there are many areas where it can be further improved upon. Nonetheless, while they should be concentrating on fixing the issues highlighted in GE2011, PAP controversially raised and endorsed the White Paper in parliament. The PAP are not dumb. They know the policy will not sit well with the people and hence, the Paper was issued only after the bi-election. But the fact that all PAP MPs voted for the White Paper (with a few absentism) also goes to show the party is tightly controlled. This created doubts and further erosion of trust between Singaporeans and the government. Is the government really listening or are they selectively listening to us? I shudder to think the direction of the country is heading and whether the government is thinking about Singaporeans first or economy first.

    In my opinion, while your letter is well-written, it will however fall on deaf ears. The only time when they really listen is during the GE. And if the top few leaders who control the party has truly forgotten how to listen to the people, I guess its time to vote for people who (may not arguably be as talented but) will listen and act in our best interests.

  98. AK
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Catherine,

    I read your book “Or Else, the Lightning God and Other Stories” 20 years back ago, and fast forward today, I glad to read a well articulate piece of writing that serve a higher purpose and concerns of a Singaporean who has witness changes for the last 50 years.

    Like you, I am deeply concerned on the fate of Singapore, where we are going to in the next 10-20 years. But I won’t be able to write such in a manner that hopefully would reach our dear PM.

  99. Teddy
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:53 am

    The problem is that best policy and ideas are concocted and endorsed by well-to-do civil servants and politicians who might not have empathy. How many of them stay in HDB and have kids in neighborhood schools in the normal stream? How many of them have Ivy League degrees and sent their kids of their degree overseas? Can they listen to their grassroots advisers of yes men who volunteer so that they have benefits like early queue in P1 registration, EC? Need genuine connection and a heart for people.

  100. Gavin
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hi Anna Murphy,

    I think the alternative that Catherine Lim alludes to in her last sentence does not refer to the opposition taking over the government.

    My guess is that it refers to something akin to the Arab Spring.

    That, to me, is the really frightening alternative, when all order breaks down, and chaos reigns.

    I’m not 100% certain my guess is right though.

  101. Is Law Suit Good For Singaporeans?
    June 7th, 2014 at 11:57 am

    The law suit against Roy is undoubtedly good for PM Lee and PAP. But is it good for Singaporeans?

    How does the law suit against Roy benefit Singaporeans?

    Singaporeans benefit from Roy’s blog because it made us think about CPF and the transparency of CPF. This is good for Singaporeans.

    But maybe not so good for PM Lee and PAP?

  102. Logan
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Abolish RC and leave it to the democratically elected MP’s to do their job. Reform NTUC and cut the links with the Govt. Absolute freedom of the print and broadcasting media. Abolish GRC’s and fight the elections like a warrior. If none of these can be achieved don’t waste your time to connect with your people. More and more of them will cut you off. A cut of another 10% is sufficient to see your demise.

  103. John Tan
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Dr C. Lim After talking to many people, my feel is that it has gone pass TRUST. It’s more like DEEP ANGER or DEEP RESENTMENT right now. After this stage, it’ll be HATRED. Than we can say goodbye to the PAP.

  104. Jerry
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    That was beautifully worded. It is sad to see the country in tatters, one can only hope that PAP wake up from their ignorance. Alternatively, 2016 will be a defining political moment in Singapore’s history.

    Time will tell, thank you for speaking up for us, so eloquently and objectively.

  105. (Fee)Dom of Expression
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Kudos to Sam for pointing out his insight. Yes, indeed – the attempt to reframe problems so as not to lose credibility. My concern is that the leadership of our leaders is creating a culture of leaders in the civil service and larger than that believe that being aggressively assertive would get them their way. For this reason, we don’t witness exemplary leadership in manner and action in the Civil Service. As is the ruler, so is the ruled. There are many civil servants who comply with the mispolicies but do not agree with them.

  106. (Fee)Dom of Expression
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    The brutal truth is that Singaporeans don’t matter until election times are near.

  107. Victor Chick
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for bringing up the issue. I am seeing the new generation of “leaders” while moving up the ladder, their egos went up as well. Hope those who truly believes in serving the people when they enter politics remain true to their original purpose.

  108. PBDA
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    It seems to be not a case of Roy vs LHL but a case of the People vs LHL. And the State Times are trying hard to prevent that from maturing through its timely silence. The same goes with the MPs in parliament. Their non-participation in the CPF matter is a political move in itself. The gripe on the ground and in every other kopitiams is that singaporeans can’t get their money back when they are 55 and have to wait till they are 65 to get a pittance in installments. I get $340 in May after turning 65 and the following month, I die without receiving the remaining $300 000 (that’s a conservative projected MS amount 30 years from now). Is this OK with all of you? This PAP government with its hubris has never respected citizens and have been constantly patronizing at Singaporeans. The world’s highest paid PM doesn’t give a shit how Singaporeans retire. He ought to perform better than other world leaders as he claims he’s so good. He ought to do better but he is underperforming year in and year out since he took over. Singapore is growing and his cronies are growing but not Singaporeans. As the highest paid PM on the planet, he must do better. Otherwise, he must seriously consider stepping down for the sake of young Singaporeans. He and his ministers are already multi-millionaires; so that everyone who sits in the first row in parliament are millionaires. Shame on you for putting the future retirement of Singaporeans in such a pathetic and apathetic state! Do you think that’s right? Huh, do you?

  109. 2016
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Correction: Singapore is expanding, ya…it’s not growing. Singapore is expanding because it is taking planeloads of immigrant but that’s not the same as growing. Productivity goes up because of expansion. This is superficial. We ought to be growing instead of merely expanding the size of the cheap labour force here. Singaporeans are still asleep…some have gotten use to the smell of their own shit because they stayed in the toilet for too long. This is why our beloved PAP doesn’t want any foreign intervention or elements to local politics to awaken the political unconsciousness of the Singaporean populace. They want the people to continue remaining ignorant and sleep. You can’t change what you don’t know and this simple formula perpetuate the status quo. The maxim is: There must not be at any cost any outsiders to open the window in the toilet – to let in some fresh air, to make Singaporeans’ realize that there is fresh air and they could actually get out of their toilets.

  110. Zai
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Well written. I see what I saw, hear what is heard and feel what was written.

  111. Dominic
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks to ms. Lim for the precious piece of letter. Well siad !!!

    Thanks to ” Conflation PaP with SINGAPORE ” : Well Said !!! Like to amend a little : Shouln’t it be “WE WANT SINGAPOREANS TO DO BETTER THRN SINGAPORE CAN BE BETTER !!! “

  112. Tempered Nietzsche
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Some are voting with their hands. I’m voting with my feet. The machinery is too strong to change and especially with the White Paper. Singapore will survive on the same half a century PAP terms. The next 50 years will be the same. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

  113. Edward
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Catherine,

    Thanks for the open letter which generally reflects what many of us have thought about and even share. An eloquently written letter that many of us are not able to write. Now, we all wait for the PM to respond and act rationally. Everyone of us Singaporeans are standing for Singapore as a nation and the government of the day has to play their parts with integrity and sincerity.

  114. Moxie
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Very well written and full of constructive criticisms. Let us hope these suggestions do not fall on deaf ears

  115. Jerry Tan
    June 7th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for caring enough ( for the people and OUR HOME ) to write this letter.

    Millions of Singaporean’s (Born & breed here ) lives are at stake.

    I hope they change before the inevitable happens.

    Thanks again Catherine.

    JT

  116. Eugene
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Dear Ms Lim,

    Please enter the political scene and run for elections. I will get my whole family to vote for a true Singaporean Leader.

    Hope you can consider, Eugene

  117. Daniel
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Dear Catherine – This is a very balanced articulation of the angst and disgust felt by the citizenry for the bullying tactics of the PAP. I have been a staunch supporter of the PAP since the time I was eligible to vote way back in the mid 80s. I am slowly but surely disenchanted, inter alia, with the political status quo of top down policy implementation. I have not switched sides purely for economic reasons; there is a lack of capable persons in the opposition camp to form an alternative government. I might just bite the bullet in the next general election to put more pressure on PAP to be sincerely responsive to the needs of a more well informed and vocal citizenry. Thank you for the letter, there were many excellent points.

  118. Felix Chia
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I doubt the Straits Times dare publish this letter. Unfortunately, most Singaporeans will not get to read this insightful letter.

  119. Eric Lai
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    It is so nicely written and reflected what I feel about this country. Hopefully, events will change for the better. Thank you for this letter.

  120. John
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Great read, good suggestions. The voices of the people conveyed by Ms. Lim need to be heard by our leaders.

  121. RH
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Love the article.

    Winston Churchill (aka LKY) was a great war time Prime Minister in WWII but was a terrible civil one. The current PM has to learn to be his own man.

    The singularly poorest piece of judgement was to allow the casinos to come in. LKY commented that he totally disagreed with the idea but supported the decision the current administration (aka his son) made. With the casino prices, the average mid price restaurant has increased its price because the bar has been set higher in terms of price expectations. Not very good for the average Singaporean who’s salary has not changed because of the increased revenue into the country due to the casinos but has to now pay higher prices.

    I never believe that any elected leader should ever sue its citizens. Simply put, there will always be dissenters but if you are a good (not even nec even great) leader, the polls show what the majority think. Do you think that poor Roy Ngern can change anyone’s vote? Yes… if that’s what the voting public say. No… if you are really doing a great job.

    Losing Aljunied was a great thing to happen but instead of embracing the changing climate (as he had promised after hearing “what the people said…”) Year to year after the elections, what has actually changed? Absoultely nothing… oh… except the COE has gotten higher. (By the way, increased population would logically increase vehicle ownership… you fix it but increasing infrastructure not by telling poor people they can’t own cars… you think the Ferrari owner cares that he now has to put down 50%)

    Listening has never been a trait of the PAP. After the last election… didn’t really hear well. Maybe they need a hearing aid.

    There is a sure fire plan to make the PAP what is was in the 60s… increase the size of Changi Prison… sue the living daylights out of its dissenting citizens… impose whatever rules you want. Oh yea… it does exist… it’s called North Korea!

  122. low hian tiong
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The rise and fall of a dynasty in history is precisely what Catherine has just emphatically deliberated. History will always repeats itself. Inability of the ruling govt to listen to its people’s aspirations and the “Top Down” approach to governing will inevitably be the Achilles Heel of the govt.

    More empathy and less high-handedness must be the order of the day if the PAP govt wishes to see a favourable change of the people tiwards the PAP.

    Would the PAP be able to reverse the voters trend as from the 2011 GE. I am very sceptic that it will, rather, it will swing more favourably to the opposition.

    I am thus will be the last that PAP will like to see in 2016.

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE – STOP SQUEEZING the people. As Catherine has reflected, even the Older generation if singaporean are beginning to display negative reactions to policies of the PAP.

    THINK HARD PM LEE!!!!

  123. ratna
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Most skillfully and diplomatically written. Woes of this new generation have been defined and PAP’s new chapter well clarified by Catherine Lim

  124. low hian tiong
    June 7th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    The rise and fall of a dynasty/govt in history is precisely what Catherine has just emphatically deliberated. History will always repeats itself. Inability of the ruling govt to listen to its people’s aspirations and the “Top Down” approach to governing will inevitably be the Achilles Heel of the govt.

    More empathy and less high-handedness must prevail from henceforth if the PAP govt wishes to see a favourable change of the people towards the govt.

    Would the PAP be able to reverse the voters trend as from the 2011 GE. I am very sceptical that it will, rather, it will swing more favourably to the opposition.

    I am sure this will be the last that PAP will like to see in 2016.

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE – STOP SQUEEZING the people. As Catherine has reflected, even the Older generation of singaporeans are beginning to display negative reactions to policies of the PAP.

    THINK HARD PM LEE!!!!

  125. Sattar Bawany
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    A Must Read for all Singaporeans. I sincerely hope PM Lee, his closest Senior Advisers including our Cabinet Ministers and Senior Government Officials, would listen and act upon Catherine Lim’s highly respected advice and insightful views on Good Governance. Failing which it will be a rude awakening for the Ruling Party during the GE 2016. The issue of Trust between the Government and the People is of utmost importance and here the lessons for the Opposition Parties as well who are aspiring to Govern Singapore.

  126. sam
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    There is something extremely urgent which I would like to address. I cannot help but to notice that there are many such “open letter” to the PM. Trying hard to convince the PM that “Singaporeans” no longer trust him. I dont evenneed to reply to this. Just give the writer a one super tight slap across her face to remind her 60.1% , which obviously is the huge majority voted for the government. End of story. If she does not understand, slap her one more time. Slap untill she understand.

  127. bryan
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    A very balance approach Catherine. May I who lived through all these challenging years from pre-PAP days until the current day make a few comments. Many of today’s citizens do not fully appreciate the important value of the LGY approach during those developing years. The strict approach was necessary but those days have gone past. We have all changed, or at least those with open minds. It is important to understand that the paternal approach is no longer valid. We are now all mature with the power of reasoning. We need to rethink the dogma of the past. we need a basic change in “mindset”. I feel the “Roy case” was mishandled from the start. True Asian values dislike litigation and prefer conciliation or some form of mediation, but it should not have got that far. It was important to read the situation and to realize the general feelings and misunderstandings behind CPF and social security. It was that point that a dialogue of all interested parties should have been initiated.

  128. Alf Chia
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Catherine, thanks for this. Personally, I think this letter will have very limited bearing on LHL. When he can ignore the cries of thousands & thousands of true Singaporeans (PAP supporters included) on the 6.9 million population issue, what more is this mere letter to him?

    It is very obvious that their majority share of votes will drop below the 60% mark in the next elections. And drop further still in subsequent ones…. They, & only they, are capable of reversing this trend: only if they are REALLY listening & doing the correct things. They have messed themselves up good & proper with the 6.9 million matter & next elections results will suffice to bear this out. Changes to Medishield made known but premiums deliberately held back from being announced simultaneously. You seriously believed that they are still mulling over the premiums quantum? Is this government really that inefficient to be deliberating over the premiums still when they have already announced the changes? These are but psychological methods to buy-over the population first. In the meantime, our newspapers & TV stations will purposely gloat over the Medishield changes & write everything positive about it in the next week or so. This is all so “wayang”. Why don’t they just announced simultaneously too the increased premium amounts?

    We will just have to be patient…

  129. Karen
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Very gutsy post. You have just penned in the change of times!

  130. Jinlong Chong
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I think Mr Tan kok tim had written too much. Please please stop blabbering. We should just be decent and fair in our assessment of Catherine’s open letter. The message is “build trust”and not cause further division. How to do it well, is the difficult part.

    LHL and his people want whatever is good for the country but it may not please everyone. So building trust goes a long way to reduce unhappiness. If I get I inconvenient or short changed fir the benefit of the majority – so be it. Accept it and move on.

  131. Sh Lim
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Are you sure that the next generation of government can be better than this one? Just look at all the revolutions in the world. After getting rid of the old devils the new ones are not much better. The governing mentality is still the same: You elected me to rule over you, you’re my property! Property cannot complain, isn’t that so?

    No government, in any fact individual, wants to be transparent. Being transparent means there is no protection or fallback should there be blames. If you go to court your lawyer will tell you to keep your mouth shut. By opening your mouth you are likely to be found guilty of anything. Same same in government, they all keep their mouths shut or risk being topple over. You must know all governments in the worlds are top heavy and don’t like to be exposed. They are like old woman still with heavy makeups, they can’t afford to go for a wash because they will come out as an old hag.

    Our rulers are old hags with heavy makeups. They want us to keeping thinking they’re a beautiful lot. Hell has no fury like an old hag forced into a shower!

  132. johnny
    June 7th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    You are out of touch Cat

    your ex fan

  133. HCS
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you for speaking courageously and articulating so clearly our unhappy sentiments with the government.

    They think that by crushing us with their legal instruments and stifling all dissent, they will get their way.

    They continue to ignore our reasonable requests for a clear explanation on many issues, including immigration, CPF, the reserves, TH and GIC, and the ever-rising costs. Their stonewalling tactics are really very annoying and make citizens angry for nothing. They will do this at their own peril. The simmering discontent that is currently present will boil over, and the 40% disaffection will probably become 60% if they go on merrily with their theatrical stance.

    Their statements and public speeches reveal a lack of understanding of the real issues on the ground despite all their spies on the ground who probably have been misleading them all this while.

    They are on dangerous grounds now, and when the election comes, no ordinary citizens will listen to them or believe them except their own supporters.

    If there is one indication that people are no longer listening, the attendance at election rallies provides a glimpse of what is to come. The disconnect is too wide, and it may be too late to re-connect.

  134. Second Generation Singaporean
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    It is quite an achievement for tiny red dot Singapore to be ranked 1st on the world’s most expensive city index, and 5th on the crony capitalism index. The problems have been identified, but is the PAP govt. willing to accept the facts and face up to them? Or are they blinded by greed and power that they cannot see? Have they been working to build a nation, or just a city, or just a business? Are the benefits being shared with all Singaporeans?

    No amount of writing or talking will help, Ms. Catherine. The system itself is totally flawed, with one party taking control of everything, from governance to politics to economics to business to investing our CPF and our reserves, etc.

  135. jimmy
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    What can you do, if gov wants to turn sg into north Korea.

    Bottomline. Follow the leaders. Just make money while it last.

  136. Dennis Ang
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    So many comments. How many will come forward to challenge the status quo and implement their vision for Singapore and Singaporeans in the next elections instead of just writing in blogs like this and hiding behind someone’s air cover and complaining about old old issues? Remember, a win could mean a million dollar salary that you so despise. And you can reset it to a lower more acceptable pay. Or are you afraid that others will “hoot” you like you do to others now?

    More than 10 years when they announce about Minimum Sum, you did not envisage that your ability to withdraw your CPF in one lump sum, and start to save in SRS or elsewhere to be self sufficient, then you have been careless.

  137. Economist 101
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Withholding our CPF funds at age 55 is disingenuous on the part of the PAP govt. It gives the PAP govt. too much power over the people. They can use the CPF as their piggy bank and use it to further their own political self interests. They can steal the peoples’ money through inflation. They can lose all the funds through mismanagement, or through outright dipping of their hands into the funds. There are so many ifs.

    Why can’t they just return the funds to members at age 55? Let the people decide how to use the money please. They are grown up adults who can reason and think what is best for their own future. In fact there are many people who can manage their own investments to get a better return.

  138. A Singaporean Mother
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you Catherine for articulating the frustrations so well. We are lucky to have a government that has done so much for us (it is not until you travel overseas and see what others have not then realise how fortunate Singaporeans are). However as you rightly point out, our 1st World country has rapidly evolved to having 1st world concerns ie. more freedom of speech,need for transparency, more individual rights and engagement with the general population, which need addressing.

    My reason for writing is a more personal nature and shows how this government truly does not value its own citizens but persists on pursuing their own rigid policies. My son is currently reading medicine in Europe where it is a 6 year course. We have been overseas since he was little. Although he has been granted deferment, it is only till he is 21 years which means he has to return to Singapore to serve NS in the middle of his course. Unlike his medicine counterparts studying in NUS and NTU granted deferment till they complete their studies, he is being discriminated against. Now he is faced with the decision of disrupting his studies for 2 years (which the university will not permit) or renounce his Singaporean citizenship. CMPB has shown no flexibility and the overseas singaporean talent group has been ineffective when asked for help, so what is the point of having such a unit? We overseas Singaporeans do not want Singapore Days to bring us together, we want instead real help where and when it matters most. So Singapore will be losing a future (Singaporean) doctor. As my friends and relatives in Singapore tell me, they rather hire foreign talent doctors from India and Myanmar, then do what they can with a little flexibility and keep their Singaporean sons Singaporean. And I know we are not the only ones.

  139. Andy
    June 7th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Ms Catherine Lim,

    You have raised relevant points in your argument. Perhaps it is time for the PAP to reconsider the continued wisdom in taking legal action against defamatory remarks given the negative reactions and perceptions that it engenders.

    However, I also need to raise 2 points.

    First, it is not correct to say there is “crisis where the people no longer trust the government”. To be sure there are certainly segments of the population that share your views, however it is doubtful that your views are shared by all or even the majority. I for one do not agree with your dramatic but simplistic casting of recent events as a “crisis” or “unbridgeable gap” between the ruling party and the populace. The ruling party is not perfect, but no one ever said running a country was a simple matter which can be pulled off without committing mistakes along the way and learning from them. While there are people who wish the government would exercise more heart and less head in its approach to governance, there are also those who appreciate how the ruling party’s rational and pragmatic style have consistently delivered tangible results to our country and kept us punching above our weight. While legitimately seeking to encourage a more productive/satisfying mode of government-citizenry discourse, let us not be tempted by convenient hyperbole and risk giving what is otherwise a rational message a radical hue.

    Second, while embracing each individual’s right to speak up online, there is a real need for netizens in this country to contemplate and refine the quality of online conduct. For one, netizens should not think that the relative anonymity of online discourse absolves them of the need to speak responsibly and to hold themselves to the same standards of conduct as in the “real world”. Also, and equally important, there should be respect (not necessarily agreement) for views that disagree with our own. Verbal lynching (or what is termed “flaming”) of contrary views by online mobs is hardly a sign of a mature online community and does not engender trust for online posts/blogs/material by the broader populace or by the government. A mature online community with space for robust exchange of views from both sides of an argument, and which does not degenerate into unproductive flaming, is perhaps a precursor to the ruling party developing the comfort to abandon its habit of taking legal action. At the very least, it will know that online discussions reflect a balanced opinion of the overall populace and not a radical agenda furthered only by a specific group

  140. Tan Choon Hong
    June 7th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    For some 50 years the people lived quietly in the shadow of absolute power, keeping their heads down because putting food on the table outweighs any gain from raising their voices. Now that power will face its greatest challenge as the ground shifts over labour policies that distort supply and threaten jobs.

    The loss of a GRC has shattered the myth of their impregnable fortress, and has precipitated the current flurry of u-turns and policy detours, too many too fast for voters to digest. Now running from pillar to post, the ruling party could well implode with the unsteady ground and its own shaky edifice.

  141. Ezra YC Yap
    June 7th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I agree with you Catherine. Fingers crossed that LHL/PAP will change or else alas a great pity.

    I am reminded of this quote: “Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it. – Albert Camus”

  142. Victor Lim
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Well said, Catherine! I grow up in the era of LKY and I have huge respect and trust on LKY and his fellow cabinet ministers who together give us the Singapore that we are today through sheer hard work and strong vision for Singapore future. So it was really disappointing to see the present Singapore G leadership eroding to the present state where the trust of the citizen is almost non-existent and they continue to cling to their belief what they are doing is good for Singaporean. IMHO, I hope that LHL will treat your letter with disdain and trash it so that nothing will change with the way he and his cronies run the G and continue to distance themselves from all true blue Singaporean. Only then we have the opportunity to turn the tide on PAP dominance of Singapore politics in GE2016 and a new generation of constructive true blue Singaporean can help to give us a better Singapore for our future generation. I hope to live to see this day!

    Grandpa Lim….

  143. Ken
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    An excellent Open Letter. Hear, Hear.

    IMHO, here are the seven contradictions in Singapore:

    1 Our country has by far the highest paid President and Prime Minister in the world.

    2 Our city is the most expensive in the world and yet our banks’ interest rate is almost zero, destroying our savings. A low interest rate lifts the stock markets and rewards speculators but punishes savers and fixed income retirees.

    3 Our cars are 5 times more expensive than those in Japan, China, Malaysia and even Australia.

    4 Our $300 billion CPF monies are exclusively invested in SSGS paying 2.5% for the OA when average inflation in the last 3 years was raging at 4.1%.

    5 Our 5.3 million population includes 40% of low-paid foreign workers, who are depressing wages for Singaporeans and pushing up demand for housing and real estate prices.

    6 Our young cannot afford to get married and the birthrate is one of the lowest in the world. If it continues unabated, Singaporeans could be a minority in their own country when the population reaches an insane 6.9 million by 2030. Red lights are flashing.

    7 Our Government has ruled for 49 years after winning successive General Elections. True, Singapore is today a pristine metropolis with a first world economy and the highest per capita foreign reserves but we also have a burgeoning income gap, 28% of Singaporeans who are poor and an ominous aging-population.

    Will the Government still have the ‘Mandate from Heaven’ come 2016? The jury is still out.

  144. Tyranny Or Liberty - Vote Wisely
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    The talking is over as far as I’m concerned. It’s time to vote out the PAP.

    “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fear the people, there is liberty.” - Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father, 3rd President of USA

  145. CourtJester
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    The end of a political era? Who shall open the seal to bring peace on earth?

  146. Amy Lam
    June 7th, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    This is one of the most constructive and powerful letters to the PM. It is a long letter but to understand the present situation, one has to choose one’s words with care and consideration where Catherine has eloquently done so here. Thank you Catherine Lim.

    “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively” ― Bob Marley.

  147. rightismight
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    It’s time for a female PM, Ms Lim

  148. jennifer sin
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I read the letter. It is written with so much passion, frankly, that I am very moved by your love for the country and its people. Rightly said, though, I wouldadd on that we need the govt to listen ACTIVELY and not merely passively. Trouble is, there are so many ex generals and military officers in the govt, how do we expect them to listen actively when half of their lives are spent making others listen. And this form of communication is cascaded and “infested” throughout the entire civil service. Sad!

  149. Hands-On Green Matters
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Reading between the lines – Trust and Respect!

    忠心狗 招財貓 富貴魚 無懼鳥 同簷下 • 你不棄 我不迷 他不恨 人人敬 同歡喜!

  150. Santoni
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Excellent letter! Many Singaporeans are feeling that it is becoming uneasy living in Singapore.

    Dear Mdm, if you ever get a reply, please share it with us.

    Well done!

  151. Santoni
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Oh BTW, is LHL suing as a PM or individual? I wld imagine as a PM because collectively, he represents the government. Therefore, if he wins (sadly though), the money should go back to govt’ kitty.

  152. Deborah
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Hello Andy, You may wish to re-read Catherine’s letter properly. You are completely off tangent in your comments, and your comments bear no relevance to the theme of the open letter.

    Deborah

  153. rachael pereira
    June 7th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    well expressed and exactly my sentiments. hope its not too late

  154. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    My tweet @RamachandranAJ · May 30

    Politicians must desist from political defamation suits or even the threats thereof. In the politics, its hiding behind the mother’s skirt.

  155. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Ram AJ @RamachandranAJ · May 27

    Why do many Indians view that LKY is a good model for Modi to adopt in governing India – he will not last a full term if he does that

  156. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Ram AJ @RamachandranAJ · Jun 1

    @TODAYonline @lhl I feel the local media is doing an overkill in playing up the image of PM Lee by publishing his smiling pics almost always

  157. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Ram AJ @RamachandranAJ · May 31

    @TODAYonline well for a start, stop calling singaporeans “BIGOT”.

  158. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Ram AJ @RamachandranAJ · May 29

    @LHL Sir-now is an opportune time for you to set a new dimension of politics and win many new hearts by waiving your claim against Roy.

  159. Steven Yee
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    As the saying from Confucius ” One type of rice breeds a hundred types of people”.

    It is never easy to manage the expectation of so many people. Right now, Gen Y (~27.95%), Gen X (~24.3%) and Baby Boomers (~25.02%), it is important for HIM to study the characteristics of these 3 major groups who are eligible to vote in the coming Election. They all went through very different types of education system, and it is up to the leaders to decide what type of education system they want in place to nurture the type of leaders and people for tomorrow.

    As I have always emphasized “The type of education we have will determine the type of leaders and people for tomorrow”

    Why do Gen Y behave in the way they do and “harder” to convert to support the “lightning group”? Do we have to change the education system for an overhaul? It is so much harder to teach kids today in schools as compared to the early 90s.

    Gen Y are more outspoken, dares to speak out, dares to complain, more techno savvy, have a wide range of platform to express their anger. This contrast drastically with the Gen X and Baby Boomers.

    Perhaps Singapore Statistics should look into more structured questions to understand Singaporeans better.

  160. Fabian Lim KG
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Catherine, I salute your authenticity and courage. Your gift of language gave a voice to the thoughts and emotions of many. A mentor told me once, “many listen to reply but how many will listen to understand.”

    Your letter got me thinking.

    Thank you.

  161. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Freedom of speech does not come free from the need to be responsible for what one says. – LHL http://on.fb.me/1kt4U3J

    Ram AJ ‏@RamachandranAJ

    @leehsienloong Self-confident politician waives his rights to defamation suits in politics. Instead he proves his mettle through his efforts

  162. A J Ramachandran
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Retweeted by pK The Long Tweet ‏@tanjooilong 52m

    Bar Council wants PM to withdraw defamation suit | FMT

    NB: THE ABOVE DEFAMATION SUIT IS THAT COMMENCED BY PM NAJIB RAZAK

  163. Sh Lim
    June 7th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Are the 6000 protesters in Hong Lim Park not afraid of being sued? At $250,000 per head, that is $1,500,000,000 all in one easy shot! Sure beat being a banker.

  164. Esther Chia
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Hi Ms Lim, Well said as a Singaporean. I hope PM LHL will respond to you.

  165. Ruby
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Please don’t complain anymore and be appreciative of our govt effort to do the best. Just look around the world, only our capable leaders can develop into a First world. Yes, slapped yourself, Catherine, and wake up and see how blessed you are in Singapire. Please do not count me in as the unhappy ones. I am very happy with our efficient govt.. Bravo!

  166. Seow Siew Lee
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:50 am

    I am heartened to see such an eloquent letter. It didn’t favour any side. It places blame on both camps but the focus is how both sides can improve. For far too long, we’ve sat behind and watched the internet taken over by netizens who are vehement and just angry. But I believe in the quote that “Evil exists because good people says nothing.” So, I’ve emerged to comment more on CNA etc because I think more people like Catherine and I need to come against the negative and emotional internet culture. We need to come in with fresh perspectives, new solutions, experience in how other cultures have dealt with the same issues. We must support a more responsible usage of the internet.

    So may I respectfully say that I disagree that the key lies with PM Lee. It takes two hands too clap. Let’s urge PM Lee to be kind in his response but we too… let’s behave professionally.

  167. Linda
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Bravo and well said…tks for being the voice of Singaporean…

  168. Dennis T G Tan
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Thank you for a well said letter. I almost tear inside the MRT when reading it. Thank you for sharing the contents with us.

    Singaporeans, foreigners, young and old, together we build Singapore the last 49 years. Stay as united, Singapore will be strong; divided, Singapore will be doomed. Human resources are our only asset. Let’s treasure Singapore and let her win as a great team.

    Reading PM’s lawyer letters – I was dishearten. Just as Singaporeans heard from President spoke about graceful Singapore, our PM broke it with a legal action against a young 23 year old. To me, these letters are not graceful. The world is watching us. They are keen to see what will come next – the court hearing, the judge statements, the awarded amount, the deeper social divide… A big loss to Singapore indeed. After all, Roy may have just reflected what other Singaporeans’ opinions.

    As a student in Catholic High, these writing are prominently displayed on the walls and imprinted dearly in the students’ hearts: “Respect, Love, Loyalty, Sincerity, Good Manner, Righteousness, Integrity and Know what is shameful.” (I’m Sorry my computer cannot type these 8 words in Mandarin) These characters shaped many good leaders in our country. They are also read daily by our PM.

    I hope our PM might further strengthen our nation and grow Singapore into a graceful and one united people.

  169. George chambers
    June 8th, 2014 at 1:39 am

    For me a total stranger to the politics of Singapore because it’s not my country ,I still have respect for the growth of Singapore . The person letter I have just read left me stuned but I take on her reason for writing such a letter it, is to make the powers who control Singapore to remember the reasons why they sit in their elevated positions that they should have humility and the ability to listen it cost nothing.

  170. Ken
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:03 am

    @ Ruby

    What is the point of having a First World Economy and the most expensive city in the world when 50% of Singaporeans receive Third World wages and cannot meet the Minimum Sum; when inflation ravages our retirement fund; when 28% of Singaporeans are poor; when 40% of the population are low-paid foreign workers; when the banks pays you almost nothing for your savings; when a home costs an arm and a leg and a car costs fives more than in Japan, the country where it is made; when our birthrate is among the lowest whilst our leaders are the highest paid in the world?

    Please don’t vilify Catherine Lim because according to Albert Einstein “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” 

  171. Regina
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:12 am

    There have been some questions about how Roy’s lawsuit has any bearing on Singaporeans in general.

    Just let me share my 2 cents.

    In the absence of neutral standalone traditional media channels such as TV, newspapers, etc. that portray diversity, public opinion is of the utmost importance because it acts as the ONLY avenue of checks and balances for the government. Not to mention, it is a reflection of public sentiments. If a political party or governmental officials see themselves as “untouchable” or insulated from public opinion, it is a sad day.

    It is similar to an employer (the people) have no say as to the work performance of the employee (PAP for instance). The employer pays the salary but have no say, is that possible?

    Silencing Roy by asking for removal of CPF related articles is the start of a slippery slope where any questions from the public is not just ignored but outright squashed. For example, the recent MDA ruling for certain online sites to register is in line with this trend. While Roy’s opinion doesn’t represent all Singaporeans, he represents the right to question. If Singaporeans cannot voice their views openly, policies that affect every Singaporean will be ineffective. Do you want that to happen?

    Online independent sites outside of local jurisdiction remains the only avenues for public opinion and if those are taken away, we might as well become another China. I shudder at this thought. To prevent this, we need to safeguard our freedom of speech and make sure our views are heard.

    So I ask myself this question, what impacts an employee more than taking away their rice bowl? One facet that will speak loud and clear about the need for change is by casting votes for whichever party you want. This will indicate very clearly what works or do not work for you.

  172. Bravo
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for your letter. You are the voice of many of us who lack either the intellect, eloquence or courage you possess.

    Warmest regards

  173. Minerva
    June 8th, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Hi Catherine, Just call him Ah Long and don’t have to address him Sir. He is unfit to be the PM ever SIR

  174. Anon
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:21 am

    “One facet that will speak loud and clear about the need for change is by casting votes for whichever party you want. This will indicate very clearly what works or do not work for you.”

    The above is not an intelligent statement. Ditch the system, not try to make it work.

  175. Naieves
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:26 am

    The “Eve”s here are clearly very impressed with what they see with their eyes.

  176. EK
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Ms Lim, Thank you. Eloquent piece. You echo my exact thoughts, although your words were gentler than mine would have been. They have been in power for so long, they don’t feel there is any need to be accountable, transparent and answerable to voters. It has become a knee-jerk, almost reflexive action for them to sue whoever questions them. Unlike some of the previous issues where people were sued for libel, the CPF issue concerns everyone as it involves every working S’porean’s hard-earned money and the lack of transparency is disturbing. When Chris Balding raised this issue, they can say he’s a foreigner. Roy is a full-blooded citizen, so now they can’t hide. I think a worse issue from their long hold on power is they have no mechanism to make self-examination, or put it bluntly, speak more tactfully. Just about every minister needs to return to school to learn this. [Recall Vivian B's "How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?" speech?]

  177. Who Built Singapore?
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:17 am

    @ George chambers

    June 8th, 2014 at 1:39 am

    PAP’s history will have you believe that Singapore was a fishing village in 1965 when Lee Kuan Yew founded Singapore.

    Conventional history tells us that Singapore was a fishing village in 1819 (not 1965). Sir Stamford Raffles saw the hidden potential of Singapore and went on to make Singapore one of the crown jewels in the British Empire.

    PAP’s Lee Kuan Yew merely inherited a thriving British economy in 1965 through no effort on their own. And went on to build Singapore on a very strong British foundation.

    Lee Kuan Yew never wanted to be a Founding Father of Singapore. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Rahman expelled Singapore from the Malaysian Federation in 1965. Arguably it is Abdul Rahman that is the Founding Father of modern Singapore (post 1965).

    Look at the following video clip of Lee Kuan Yew at the founding of Singapore. Can you tell me honestly that he is shedding tears of joy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amh93nlCdFk

  178. Ling SM
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Catherine, I have read some of your earlier writings opposing the establishments which were quite good. I would say this article does more damage to yourself alone than anyone else. You were relevant so was worth a read, but if you keep writing in this manner, you shall make yourself irrelevant. Many changes are happenings here, some of the latest misdeeds like clear vanadism and personal attack to PM are clearly wrong, your writing can be better and clear headed if you can distinguished them. I do agree that atmosphere of distrust is the most difficult thing that PAP needs to wrestle, and the precondition is the out-this-world world scale has to be adjusted to what people think what they are worth, and what they think they are worth (which as it is may exceed all the salaries of G20 leaders put together).

  179. Lawrence Ng
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    You have all my respects and thank you for voicing for us all. I am a 51 years old Singaporean and now so disappointed with the government. My friends and relative of around the same age share the same sentiment and the have given up hopes. This is the reality. Thank you once again for writing and hope this reaches him.

  180. Alex
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Music to the ear indeed ! Well said , feels so good reading it !

  181. shalynn hobelsberger
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    i love how you worded it. and its quite true

  182. Be Fair
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Thanks Catherine for being the eloquent voice on behalf of all of us.

    I was dismayed to read a quote from Tharman today that “every finance professional know” that GIC can borrow funds more cheaply than from CPF. I am a finance professional and I do NOT understand why it does not do that!

    Surely these “inter stat boards” transactions must be at arms length prices and as “every finance professional” knows, a long term portfolio must invest in a a diversified range of asset classes to maximise yield and not keep it artificially low at 2.5%! It is time indeed for greater transparency instead of opaque Temasek/CPF/GIC reports and old boys and gals form of corporate governance!

  183. bk
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thank you.

    “You, and only you, Sir, can initiate the process leading to the solution of the problem.” I fully agree. We are either part of the solution or part of the problem and no one but ourselves can make that choice.

  184. singapore
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:51 am

    See for yourself the result of next elevtion. Fund belong to us but you force everyone to except it.

    You use word of inflation as excuse to increse CPF the minimum sum by 6% Please, think again. The fund is our and not belong to cpf.

    properties. Keep increse stamp fee. Why cant just increse the minimum value sum to oversea buyer that can buy.

    Dont made us feel that … whatever new rule gov set are money involve and rise the standard of living and costing.

  185. Fook Seng
    June 8th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    The only way for the Government to regain that trust is to admit to the mistakes it had made in past policies and start making all the necessary actions to unwind those mistakes. The PM made an apology in GE2011. It would have been timely for him, then, to make the necessary changes and have a full 5 years to show results. He did not do that, nothing of significance that has righted the fundamentally wronged. As such an admission of wrong will lose him valuable political points in mid-term, don’t think he will do any such thing any time soon.

    In 2016, the anti ground feeling will be so strong that it will not accept a general promise without a promise of the specifics (and that goes for the rest of the parties as well – I am particularly targeting this at WP). Don’t know whether he would be given another chance in 2016 to do exactly that.

  186. Jeremy
    June 8th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the well-written letter.

  187. J.Lim
    June 8th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Very well-said, Mdm!

    I agree with your words & shares the same sentiment as you do.

    Negative feedbacks rings back at me more frequently, compared to positive one. And with the current CPF saga, feedbacks heard are 90% negative/10% positive. Mainly the 10% positive are those who are able to achieve; or have already achieved, the requested ceiling, while the remaining are those who are unable/will never be able to achieve the ceiling even until the day they pass on.

    Sigh… life…. I do hope that your letter will reach his heart & that he’ll truly sincerely take up the route & embark on the Path of Change. But if all else falls on deaf ears, the next GE might probably really sound the final alarm I guess… since GE2011 already sounded the first alarm to them already……..

  188. Celine Koh
    June 8th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Very well written piece indeed; but at this point, the older age is not listening to anything to do with being genteel, being humble, apologising for severe actions taken in the past for various activities perceived as ‘harming’ young Singapore in any way (in the past)

    The Hong Lim speeches had to do with one issue, the CPF

    Allow options to:

    1. Those who qualify by age (55 to 65) to withdraw partial or all of their CPF funds

    2. The younger age group (less than 55) to have the right not to join CPF life insurance scheme

    And that’s about it for the meantime. Just deal with the main issue of discontent at Hong Lim first. The rest comes later (because we are not the cabinet ministers, let them do them job as they are paid well)

    Personally I love the CPF, but am not happy (enough) with the interest rates it pays; a little more, like 6% for all my monies in CPF will be very much welcome

  189. Daddy
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Dear Catherine,

    You are right to highlight “TRUST” but when I look left and right, I am not sure if I can equally trust the opposition and those Roy-alike to carry Spore forward. So save us God!

  190. June Poon Malmer
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Amen!!!

  191. June Poon Malmer
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    And thank you!!!

  192. Chan Yek Seng
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hi, a very interesting read – the open letter as well as the subsequent comments. We still do not know the views of the silent majority – so a pure reading from here will be biaise. Its also impossible to satisfy everyone as some have more grouses against the government. As human beings, if only we can think and rationalize beyond our own ‘personal grouse’ for the betterment of the people/nation – achievable? The PAP has, in my view many good policies whose objectives and intentions are not fully understood by the people, perhaps not explained. Its time they do so, to live up to their motto or integrity and transparency, especially in this IT age with an increasingly inquisitive population.

  193. Singapura Pundit
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Who Made Catherine Lim the Voice of “The People”?

    http://bit.ly/1kIweeJ

  194. The Voice Of The People
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    @ Singapura Pundit

    “Who made Catherine Lim the Voice of “The People”?

    If you are a PAPig, you must of course ask for your master’s permission before speaking.

    But if you are a Singaporean, you speak whenever you feel like speaking. This is a free country. You have a right to speak up. Unless and until the PAPigs make it illegal to do so.

  195. Daddy
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Haa…you also practiced censorship (for my comments). A kettle calling other kettle black.

  196. Daddy
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Apologies. Saw my comment.

  197. Singapura Pundit
    June 8th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Dear “Voice of the People”:

    This is a free country. You are right. Individuals are free to speak up on behalf of themselves or others. But if you are attributing something to “The People”, you better either be democratically elected or saying something that broadly represents the view of the majority.

  198. Over Collection Of Taxes
    June 8th, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    The PAP government achieves a budget surplus almost every single year that it has been in power.

    A PAP government surplus means Singaporeans have been over-taxed. The PAP government has collected too much tax money from Singaporeans. More money was collected than was needed to build hospitals and roads and etc.

    So what does the PAP government do with all the unspent tax money they collect from Singaporeans? Money taken from Singaporeans that could otherwise be used by Singaporeans for medical bills and children’s education.

    Does the PAP government use the unspent tax money to help Singaporeans? OR Is the unspent tax money transferred to the PAP government reserves? Reserves that the Auditor General says will require 56 man years to count all the money and assets belonging to Singaporeans.

    “I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.” – Lee Kuan Yew, Petir, 1982

    Does this mean that our Government surplus is also PAP’s surplus? Our government reserves is also PAP’s reserves?

  199. Voice Of The Minority
    June 8th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    @ Singapura Pundit @ 3.44pm

    /// But if you are attributing something to “The People”, you better either be democratically elected or saying something that broadly represents the view of the majority. ///

    Who says so? What law book are you threatening Singaporeans with now? Is this a new PAP law ? I don’t see this anywhere in the Singapore Constitution.

  200. Kokai
    June 8th, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Catherine Lim not voices of the people lah. Her site censored/moderate voices she and her supporters do not like to hear. Like all particularly loud people in society, it is their own voice and particular values they like to hear. No different from any political party or the incumbent.

    Hypocrites I call them!

  201. Ruby
    June 8th, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    You are very right! Can I trust the opposition too! At least our present govt has proven themselves , though not 100per cent .. Pls be fair to them n give due credit. Many still want our govt… Not many trust a new govt.. It may fail.. We do not want to turn Singapore into Thailand.. Currently, it’s peaceful here..

  202. SueSue
    June 8th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    No one, not a single one(even party), no matter how eloquent and reasonable , is worthy to be THE voice.

    Next

  203. Mdm Lee R
    June 8th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    To a lay person like me, there’ll always be a divide between the rich and the poor. Every Singaporean knows our Ministers are paid in the millions. That in itself is the cause for the divide. Since when will the ‘rich’ listen to the ‘poor’ huh?

  204. pk
    June 8th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Well said and heeded. A pure breed singaporean that speaks and stand out for singaporean and although it might just be too late for us and our future generations.

  205. Helloh
    June 8th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Funny how some people can say things like .. You speak for Singaporeans or the PAP does what’s best for Singaporeans or the oppositions speak out for Singaporeans etc etc.

    Sorry, I am a Singaporean and none of you speak out for me…and I am sure I am not alone

  206. zenster
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    All in short. The government be gracious.

  207. The Pariah
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    @ Catherine Lim: “… because the alternative would be just too scary.”

    Whilst the alternative would be scary, it is less scary than perpetuating 2G-4G PAP rule where – upon examination under the microscope – their laws and policies have a deceptive veneer of achieving public good at the toxic expense of our Country and Our People …. ranging from:

    (A) Total Population target of 6.9mn,

    (B) invoking majoritianism over private non-landed property so that natives are displaced by wealthy foreigners who naturallyy prefer prime/popular residential districts,

    (C) Approving 742,000 Work Permits in 2012 whilst knowing there were only 143,000 Bed Spaces in Dormitories and collecting $2.5bn Workers’ Levies and then asserting that Little India Riot that targetted Establishment symbols (ambulances, police cars) had nothing to do with workers’ unhappiness with the Establishment,

    (D) CPF LIFE where the pay-outs depend on not just interest rates but on mortality rates of CPF members, esp those who have met CPF Min Sum for their age 55 cohort,

    (E) Medishield LIFE where 2005 policy misstep by Khaw BW for Medishield Integrated Plan where he himself bought Riders to negate two key policy deterrents he embedded in the National Scheme (ie, Deductibles and Co-insurance) against over-consumption and abuse – that was why he only had to pay $8 cash for his Class A Ward Heart Surgery in 2010 (if not for his enchantment with SGH ward slippers, he would have paid zero $), and

    etc, etc, etc. Little wonder that those who were gullible enough to believe PM Lee’s apology pre-GE 2011 are still grasping at straws in their hope that the PAP are NOT already past the point of no return.

  208. WhereYouLearnYourABC
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    You mean Government learn grace from Mr Joseph Prince izzit? With grace, world peace izzit?

  209. Tokok
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Pariah, it is people like you that the housing market and THE PEOPLE. are bleeding financially and in turn will hit the economy and jobs and everything spiral downwards

    The government is bending backwards for you idiots to screw the people and it is a matter of time these people will screw your assholes

    You don’t speak for Singaporeans but for YOURSELF

  210. MyFoot
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Both the garbagemen and oppositions are farting idiots. Whatever they propose and do, we are all going to get fucked…except for the rich or those with money accumulated from all the wrong policies!

    Fuck You, you don’t speak for me!

  211. K T Ong
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Singapore needs more Catherine Lims. More people who can SEE what’s going on and SPEAK OUT to the Government.

  212. Elite
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Yes, some fart smell nicer than others

  213. Sin
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    All these pulpit preachers are egged on by idiotic worshippers(especially women). Without the support of idiotic worshippers, would there have been a CON Hee hee Ho Ho laughing to the bank?

    What a bloody joke

  214. Juliet Ang
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks Cat for expressing our feelings, but the length of your letter may put LHL to sleep.

    I do not object to a Minister suing to clear his name as this is his right, but I cannot accept the way it is done.

    Roy was an unknown and to use the country’s number one defamation lawyer to sue him is akin to mobilising the entire SAF Army to hunt down one small little cockroach!

    It is this high-handedness and big bullying tactic that Singaporeans detest.

    If I were LHL, I would ask a junior lawyer of a small law firm to write and accept an apology and retraction even without the $5,000 compensation to show my greatness as the country’s number one leader rather than being called a big bully. Thank you

  215. PAP Joke
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Q: What does China call a Chinese guy who worked for the Japanese Imperial Army in World War Two? A: Traitor.

    Q: What does Singapore call a Chinese guy who worked for the Japanese Imperial Army in World War Two as a translator? A: Founding Father.

  216. K T Ong
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    My greatest fear is that Singapore’s current problems may be just part of a much larger problem — the problem of PEAK OIL / GLOBAL RESOURCE DEPLETION. Since the turn of the century, if I remember correctly, global oil production has flatlined, seriously inhibiting global economic growth and leading to the financial crisis of 2008, and experts claim a far worse one is on the way. Contemporary analysts James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg and Gail Tverberg all said as much. There’s a reason why riots are currently breaking out in so many places around the world. The whole world, Singapore included, could be forced in a decade or two to return to the days of the kampong, assuming the most optimistic scenario…

  217. kanahsai
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Catherine I hope your letter will be understood by the Cambridge educated PM. He still has a 2 goal keeper leading him and guiding him.(not forgetting a bayi lawyer to explain to him the context of your letter to him.

  218. DimSumDolly
    June 8th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Joke? Our education system is a joke. How can you tell?

    Because it produced many straight As student who became your masters

  219. OngLai
    June 8th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Now you want to blame oil not enough ah? You been drinking what? Coke ah? Siao lang…you grease your holes with oil that’s why deplete!

  220. Minah
    June 8th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Behind every stupid power is stupid people. Tio Bo?

  221. Casino
    June 8th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    More power to PM or Catherine? Choose!

    How about PM or the pope?

  222. PAP Joke 2
    June 8th, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Q: What does India call an Indian guy who worked for the Japanese Imperial Army in World War Two? A: Traitor.

    Q: What does Singapore call an Indian guy who worked for the Japanese Imperial Army in World War Two? A: President.

  223. Ronnie Ng
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    “The truth, Sir, is more sobering: they are seeing these so-called achievements as no more than what is owing to them from leaders who have chosen to pay themselves handsomely to do their job.”

    This point is truly valid.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19231906

    “A few years ago, they studied a day care center in Israel to determine whether imposing a fine on parents who arrived late to pick up their children was a useful deterrent. Uri and Aldo concluded that the fine didn’t work well, and in fact it had long-term negative effects. Why? Before the fine was introduced, the teachers and parents had a social contract, with social norms about being late. Thus, if parents were late — as they occasionally were — they felt guilty about it — and their guilt compelled them to be more prompt in picking up their kids in the future. (In Israel, guilt seems to be an effective way to get compliance.) But once the fine was imposed, the day care center had inadvertently replaced the social norms with market norms. Now that the parents were paying for their tardiness, they interpreted the situation in terms of market norms. In other words, since they were being fined, they could decide for themselves whether to be late or not, and they frequently chose to be late. Needless to say, this was not what the day care center intended.

    But the real story only started here. The most interesting part occurred a few weeks later, when the day care center removed the fine. Now the center was back to the social norm. Would the parents also return to the social norm? Would their guilt return as well? Not at all. Once the fine was removed, the behavior of the parents didn’t change. They continued to pick up their kids late. In fact, when the fine was removed, there was a slight increase in the number of tardy pickups (after all, both the social norms and the fine had been removed).

    This experiment illustrates an unfortunate fact: when a social norm collides with a market norm, the social norm goes away for a long time. In other words, social relationships are not easy to reestablish. Once the bloom is off the rose — once a social norm is trumped by a market norm — it will rarely return.

    The fact that we live in both the social world and the market world has many implications for our personal lives. From time to time, we all need someone to help us move something, or to watch our kids for a few hours, or to take in our mail when we’re out of town. What’s the best way to motivate our friends and neighbors to help us? Would cash do it — a gift, perhaps? How much? Or nothing at all? This social dance, as I’m sure you know, isn’t easy to figure out — especially when there’s a risk of pushing a relationship into the realm of a market exchange.”

  224. lelong
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Cum on, place your bets. Whose voice is the sweetest and the loudest and the most educated? Winners got free tickets to Disneyland?

  225. PAP Joke 3
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

    PAP SUPPORTER A: I don’t ask why the chicken cross the road. If PAP tells me the chicken crossed the road, that is good enough for me.

  226. PAP JOKE 4
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    CATHERINE LIM: I envisage a Singapore where chickens can cross roads without their motives being called into question.

  227. J Gill
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Catherine

    Let’s not rock the boat. We have little kids who go to school and the current system is fine! We may not fully agree with all policies but at the end of the day we have safe streets and food to eat!

    Thanks

  228. SingaCoolie
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Dear Catherine

    I greatly admire your eloquent writing and I have been reading your articles since the great affective divide of 1994.

    It has been 20 years since. What do you think has reversed within party rank and file, within government-as-business lubrication of Singapore Inc and within the dissonant mind of a man-made prince that mandates selfless adherence to your latest admonition?

    I do admire your temerity and longevity nonetheless, if not for the curious suspicion that you are actually closet PAPper.

  229. Singapore Ah Beng
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Auntie. Can I summarize your letter for my Ah Beng friends as follows:

    Dear Ah Long Remember 1984? See. I told you so. Nanny Nanny Poo Poo.

  230. Lyn
    June 8th, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    To my former school principal – I applaud you for speaking up , exactly the same sentiments as I see brewing all over Singapore.

    Thank you…

  231. AUNTY JOKE
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    WP: We take our cue from the driver. If the driver stops, we cross.

  232. Val
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Dear Catherine, thank you for summing up what many Singaporeans had been trying to communicate to our leaders, but failed. You had expressed our feelings with such beautiful use of the language that I truly wish the letter will go straight to PM Lee’s heart, mind and soul .

  233. TS
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Does it feel like a transition? If we are, and which i think so, then this is going to be fluid and interesting. Now, let’s pause, and think this new industry of internet politics and consider human behavior, is such that it’s easier for people to coalesce around the things that they don’t like, even to a point of hate than it is for them to unite around the things that they do like. And this is dangerous politics. PAP needs to muster more positive voices, not preaching from their bully pulpit. Time to change their usual ways, if not a revolution might just take place.

    From a PAP supporter who is in general agreement with their policies but votes for the opposition.

  234. Alan
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Thank for speaking for me. However, it’s a futile effort. Didn’t you notice how your beloved LHL behaved in parliament with LTK on constructive politics? For a party which has been in power for more than 5 decades, it has lost its sense of direction and morality ground.

  235. sigh999
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. 1. Just return the people’s hard-earned CPF money in one lump sum at 55 with no minimum sum and let the people manage their OWN money! (CPF scheme: It’s like telling my child that every year, I will keep $2 for every $10 of hongbao money and but if he/she does not save enough at the end of 35 years…sorry child, nothing left for you.)

    1. Create and retain white-collared jobs for our Singaporean sons and daughters! They are the true nation-builders of Singapore! Get a think-tank, task force involving people from all walks of life!

    Who’s listening, anyway?

  236. T C Chua
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    I was educated in “Chinese school” and sat for HSC for my O-level. My command of English is OK but reading your open letter proves to be challenging. I guess I only understand half of your letter but it is not difficult to understand the other half by inference.

    I do not quite understand your paragraph on “A less-than-genuine effort would be something like launching a high-profile project such as the great Singapore Conversation, watch it go through the motions and various stages of a set timetable, and then shrug off the indifferent results.” But I would like to share about my experience on National Conversation (NC).

    When NC was launched I was hoping to be invited. After 6 months I heard the NC was coming to an end. I approached a friend who is very close to high-level PAP members and asked him (1) whether he was invited, (2) How I can be invited.

    To my dismay he told me he was not invited and he do not know how I can be invited.

    Weeks later I heard NC was over. Months later I heard PSLE cannot be demolished and the government is only going make minor tweak to the education system.

    I was very very disappointed as I was hoping that PSLE can be made optional, since only the top students (and their parents) are really interested to keep it. I wanted to attend the NC and make a win-win suggestion: Make PSLE optional and those who reach certain scores (such as 255) would be allowed to bypass O-level (the IP program).

    My conclusion is that the NC was not genuine. Your statement about “A less-than-genuine effort would be something like launching a high-profile project such as the great Singapore Conversation…” is very true.

    To further support your statement, I am writing this comment in your site. After all I was hoping to find a place to air my views. Judging from the many comments on this open letter, I find your site is a great place for National Conversation.

    Do continue to write and may the force of constructive polities be with you.

  237. Ruby
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Well said ! J Gill..

  238. Gary Chan
    June 8th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    If LHL is reading this letter, he had only one objective – to find any defamatory content. Otherwise, and certainly, the rest of the letter are just pure noise to him.

  239. Nick Lee
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Well written and constructive letter. Hope that our government takes it to heart.

    I’m in my thirties and PAP, I love you for what the party has done for our nation. Like what my NS commander said “It’s not about who can go through our tough training, but who went through.”

    Dear PM, would like to quote again from the movie “SPIDER MAN”, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Spider-Man made many painful sacrifices for the good of the cause; protecting the city of New York which he grew up and loved.

    Dear PM, hope that you can continue to be our Super Hero. Like what Mr LKY had done.

    May God bless you.

  240. Singapore Son
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    A very good perspective from a much revered writer. I agree with Ms Lim on many counts, but I fear that much damage have been done that it will take much more from the part of the government to repair this ‘chasm’ between the people and the powers that be. It’s become so bad that whenever I talk to my peers and mentioned any new government policy, a cold retort of ‘there they go again’ and ‘you really think they give a damn’ or even ‘I stopped listening to these people a long time ago’ are what more or less would be the immediate response. As Ms Lim have so eloquently suggested, that it will take time to build that trust again, I’m just afraid that it will take a very long time snd whole lot of effort from both sides. But for now, the ball is in your court Mr Prime Minister. How you serve, will greatly impact the game.

  241. MsChio
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    What Tok you. I primarily 6 I also can understand catherurine powdery engolorsoh. In fact, my English more powdery, can summarize her words in few sentences. But few powdery words will do. F U, you deaf or what?

  242. Singaporean
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    To prevent this from happening, only you, Sir, can pave the way for a new understanding and reconciliation. It is a huge, onerous, daunting and certainly unenviable task of damage control, repair and restoration. But it is surely top priority, if only because the alternative would be just too scary.

    Yours sincerely Catherine Lim

    Basically, a meaningless diatribe(even a rubbish collector can say that with fewer words, why so impressed?). That’s constructive engagement which solves nothing.

  243. Robert Loi
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Applause…as much as I agreed with you, personally I felt that Miss Catherine, you should have deliver this letter in private to our PM Lee and I am very sure he will consider the changes suggested. But now being an open letter I guess it is kind of a hard thing for him to comply! Yes Pride!

  244. Fatso
    June 8th, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    It is fascinating to watch how the money system teaches manners or ass licking.

  245. Joke - LHL Replies
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Dear Catherine If I may use the Hokkien vernacular. Lu Kong See Mee?

  246. ken chaw
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:09 am

    This open letter was open in the right time. good game . crisis? no people hungry in singapore right? no food no job no safe environment . it’s call crisis isn’t ? it is completely personal opinion .

  247. Hotair
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Get to your point quickly and try not no cover up your stupidly with flowery words

  248. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:36 am

    The crowd has grown.

    That was on 7th, yesterday.

    What would be the crowd like on 14th? Will the truth hurt?

  249. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Right politics? Confrontational or Constructive politics?

    Or, do we want submissive politics?

    And, no hauling of anyone into court whatever the reason or under whatever circumstances.

    What is right politics when politicians are in Parliament to throw spanners at each other to stop the works? Will confrontational politics end one day? When and how?

    No political party and its MPs in their right mind will say or act in Parliament to help the others to win more seats and form the next govt.

    Be honest, please say openly to each other:

    “Our aim is to make you look bad, not good, to make you lose, not win, to get you out of Parliament and never ever to return as an MP.”

    This is the real truth of today’s heartless politics of mankind looking at every opportunity to do each other in, and to drive hard and back-stab with the sharpest instrument possible to show to voters who is capable and who is not.

    Will Singapore be the first to have Divine govt in this 21st century?

    But what is divine govt and what is not?

    Is divine the same as religious?

    What is the difference between the two to achieve absolute harmony by having a heart to practice the highest level of altruistic love?

    I wrote: “A divine govt is not a democratic govt per se but one that is fit to govern to achieve love and harmony in unity with its people in this very unsettled, troubled and severe age and time.”

    More at :

    http://tankoktim.blog.com/2012/04/11/art-of-governing-taxes-inflation-cost-of-living-wage-inequality/

  250. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Constraints in governing Singapore – do Singaporeans know what it is, the limitations and constraints?

    Certain constraints could be fixed.

    Some are harder to fix no matter who is in control of govt be it PAP or opposition.

    Do we know what are all these constraints?

    Who dare to ask in Parliament for a list of constraints, to be provided in a list A and list B, and have it discussed and debated?

    Who dare to ask this, either PAP MP, non PAP MP, NMP, or NCMP, or is it the belief of silence is golden in Parliament is a smarter approach?

    What are MPs in Parliament for?

    When MPs fail in their duties in Parliament to table motion on issues of public disquiet, Singaporeans will bring it to Speakers’ Corner and onto the WWW.

    Is this the way forward and is it wise to do so?

  251. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:53 am

    The generation gap and the wide divide.

    Do we need five teams with different PR sensitivity to speak same lingo to explain CPF to different age groups, 20-30; 30-40; 40-50; 50-60; 60 plus?

  252. Sporean
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:53 am

    I can’t help but feel that your so-called crisis of trust is shrill and alarmist. I find it hard to believe that you’re serious about it. You’re just ventilating the vocal but minority view of malcontents who either don’t appreciate how lucky they are or haven’t made good and now find themselves left behind.

    They think, if that is what you can call it, Singapore will be better off with a non-PAP government. Just look at all the PAP-bashing in cyberspace. Be very careful what you ask for!

    If Singaporeans can’t trust this government, they will trust any charlatan, because they don’t know any better.

    And that old man who contributed his graffitti to the CPF debate, he’s representative of other seniors who feel that way? You must be joking, or scraping the bottom of the barrel to shore up your argument!

    I’m disappointed because I think you can do better.

  253. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:56 am

    No one dare to voice and champion the shutting down of the CPF scheme and return in hard cash to Singaporeans within 12 months after taking over the govt.

    Surely, it will help win many more votes.

  254. Just a Reader
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Dear Catherine,

    You have hit the nail on the head. What you said reflected many of what people are saying on the ground.

    Many Singaporean in the early 30s have gone through their ‘Singaporean experience’ in a less pleasant manner as what the older generation have had.Basically, Singapore seemed to have gone for the worse ever since the Asian financial crisis.

    Over the years since then (late 1990s), the good old Singapore I remembered since young (when everyone was really happy,in this island full of real opportunities) changed gradually.

    Now it has come to a stage where it seems that those who have a silver spoon or those who have come from a well-to-do family can makes ends meet in the socially’ideal’ manner.What happened to our Singapore Dream?

    Many university graduates are becoming underemployed or unemployed for a long period of time and find difficulty finding a reasonable job that match their qualifications. They are facing too much competition from foreign PMETs. The question is why are companies finding it attractive to employ foreigners? Perhaps cost is an issue. Locals of most countries are usually given priority in employment but why are locals having this problem in Singapore?This is causing a worrying vicious cycle where many people are forced to be in an occupation doing what they do not wish to be in. This is not healthy for the society and future generations to come.

    How can a society grow if locals cannot find a reasonable job in their own country?

    Some say be an entrepreneur and start your own business if you want to be rich, yes, not many choices in such a small market like Singapore as compared to large countries. But, let’s be realistic and think for the majority who may not be gifted enough to be a successful entrepreneur.

    Some say is because Singaporeans are, lazy and choosy. Come on, if the pay of an occupation facing manpower crunch such as bus driver or nurse is doubled, I am sure more Singaporeans will apply.

    The crux of the problem is the salary and why are our salary being depressed and stagnated for some many years?

    Most of us are increasingly finding it difficult to imagine ourselves retiring happily at old age with a home and country we are proud of.Yet all able-bodies men needs to serve National Service.

    What is the point serving for a country where I am worried if I can retire comfortably?

    Many of my peers are starting to wonder whether they need to emigrate elsewhere for retirement. What is the point of serving National Service then?

    I cannot imagine how things will continue to be for younger generations.Hence it is not difficult to understand why more and more young adults are so daring enough to voice their unhappiness.

    This may also give a hint of the cause of low birth rate Singapore. Yet, Singaporeans seemed to be blamed as the cause of it, as we can see when we read the news some time back. I even have some friends from China who asked why are young Singaporeans not getting married young enough? Why are so many Singaporean women choosing to marry foreigners instead of locals, don’t they have any pride for their country and affection for their own local men?Are those who chose not to get married normal?

    For those who got married, why are they having so few kids? These are the kind of ‘new citizens’ the country seems to be importing and are going to go through the ‘cycle’ Singaporean are experiencing. Importing people overseas to make up the shortfall seems very much like a short-sighted solution that does not solve the root of the problems in a society. The irony is that the rulers seem to be the highest paid in the world.

    In a true democracy, the governing organisation will proclaim itself as the champion of protecting the rights of its citizens (voters), servant of the voters, the people they serve. When the citizen voices its grievances, the authority voted in is responsible to solve it. Now is a time for them to do something.

    Confucius told his disciple, Tsze-Kung, that there are three vital things for any king or government: food, weapons, and trust. If all three are not available at a given time, the king could first spare weapons and then food. Trust should be the sheet anchor of any system. He said: “Without trust we cannot stand.”

    In short, Catherine, you hit the nail on the head. When people find basic problems like population,living space, jobs are threatened, and nothing much is sincerely done.The trust will be lost and it will be very difficult to regain if this is true.Hopefully this is not happening and will not happen.

  255. LoL
    June 9th, 2014 at 3:15 am

    I think she has hit the nail to your head.

  256. Jay Tan
    June 9th, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Thank you Mdm Catherine for speaking up for us fellow Singaporeans.

    One of the best article I have read in my life thus far and I hope our PM is reading it with remorse.

    Kudos to you! 😊

  257. Eric Chua
    June 9th, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Madam Catherine,

    Thank you for speaking with heart and passion. It is only with true love of this land and its people that you wrote.

    In a era of money and KPIs, we may indeed have forgotten to live as men and women that put honour, dignity and love above all else.

    As I recant in the words of my childhood days:

    The National Pledge is: We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

    I am so reminded that while there are so many unhappy Singaporeans. The National Pledge is in its spirit to put the pursue and achievement of happiness first before prosperity and progress.

    Have we indeed put the cart before the horse in the many years of progress of our nation and the prosperity of our people that they have forgotten how to be happy Singaporeans.

    I pray for our nation and its people to rise above the challenges and with the wisdom to understand these words so that they may indeed be HAPPY SINGAPOREANS first and be blessed with P&P as a result.

    God bless Singapore and her people, Eric Chua

    Post script: I am born &, bred in Singapore, Love my family & friends in Singapore. But is Singapore my home or a hotel to many others ?

  258. Eddie
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I am an ardent supporter of the PAP and often support the PAP in blogs. I also write regularly to the Ministers, offering constructive advice.

    I have suggested that constructive dialogue is the answer with strident bloggers like Roy. The blunt instrument of lawsuits should be avoid.

    Singapore is more than the PAP. And the PAP is more than any one member in its party. Hope wisdom will prevail.

  259. Sillyporean
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:36 am

    You want to know what happiness is and how to be happy? Go turn on your TV and watch a few minutes of government propaganda on how and why you should be “happy”. For bonus: they will even teach you how to have fun.

    Failing to be happy citizens, they may one day fine you for being unhappy.

  260. PAP Chicken Joke
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    AMERICAN CITIZEN: Why not?

    SINGAPORE CITIZEN: Government say can cross the road meh? I better wait for another chicken to cross the road first before I try.

  261. Dandruff
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:03 am

    The typical Singaporean is a zombie. Socially inapt. Many do not know their neighbors. At best, only hi and bye to each other. Now the government has to step in with programs to cultivate the “kampong chicken”. One over rated socialist( Singapore only has one and her invaluable comments and wisdom are often broadcasted nationally) blame the lost of the kampong chicken on the chicken farm. Taking the cue from her, the relevant ministry is looking at ways to restructure the chicken farm so ducks nd chickens will once again interact like in the olden days.

    Instead of hi and bye, they may progress to say cheese, bye bye.

  262. PAP WISDOM
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:19 am

    aNUS educated chickens who can’t compete with foreigners blamed the government for ill conceived policies. Government, pressured by coming erection, responded by hiring aNUS educated chickens to help others aNUS educated chicken to cross the road.

    Hopefully, chicken nation will see the return of the kampong spirit through their brilliant programs by aNUS educated chickens for aNUS educated chickens.

  263. Disgruntled
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Dear Catherine I agree with you in every detail. It is not possible to change the PM’s way to do things. It is much easier to change the PM instead. As they say in Chinese: “Sheep’s fur must necessarily grow on sheep’s body.”

  264. Aopir
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Too long-winded. The gist in one sentence: While Singaporeans appreciate the original PAP principles of hard work, self discipline, responsibility and incorruptibility, we can’t trust you because you pay yourselves too much.

  265. Supporter
    June 9th, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Eddie, 👍👍 👍

  266. cham
    June 9th, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Catherine,

    I don’t think LHL will act on your advice. His stalwarts and he think, no, ardently believe that they are right and that Singaporeans who complain are wrong. They think that all it takes is more communication (they think if they keep shouting messages through the mainstream media often enough, they will stick) and some distribution of freebies and rebates. Fundamentally there’s a difference in philosophy between what the PAP thinks and stands for and an increasingly disenfranchised population. Even if it were capable of doing so (which I gravely doubt), I think it too late for the PAP to reverse course. The only eventuality is for the PAP to lose its popular mandate to form the next government. It took Japan’s LDP 38 years to lose the majority vote, but it happened. Singaporeans are generally less educated and intellectual than the Japos are. We’re now almost 50 years into our republic and it will no doubt happen to the PAP too. Perhaps we’ll regain our feeling of being Singaporean when the PAP at last no longer controls parliament. The long overdue overhaul that needs to take place after that is a monumental task. I hope for the sake of our younger Singaporeans that this happens sooner than later.

  267. Spen
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    There are clear signs that singaporeans are finding it hard to cope with the competitions presented to us, be it in the form of globalization or the pace government wanted us to progress.

    It is unfair for pro government activists to conclude those who voiced out against the policies are plain lazy and selfish. It is equally unfair for people to criticize governement unnecessarily based on personal motives. These two groups of ppls are constantly criticizing one another and this is of no benefits to the country. The division will only get worse if its not addressed as quickly as possible. By criticizing either of the group will only make them retaliate in an even stronger manner.

    If anyone is truly concern of the country and the people, its high time you stop insisting on your views and learn to listen and understand one anothers’ concerns and point of views. Stop assuming you are always right. And stop fighting for your own selfish rights.

  268. Thoughts – An Overview of a Minute Life | Women de Loft
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:16 am

    […] of my favourite authors when I was young, Catherine Lim, wrote it well, but will our PM listen to that? I wished but I doubted […]

  269. Crispy
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Well said, Catherine. I like your open letter to LHL, but he is not the only man who can pave the way for a better Singapore. I don’t agree to that. I think you are just been polite. Thanks

  270. PAP Chicken Joke
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    TEO CHEE HEAN: It was a by-election chicken. It is not reflective of how Punggol East chickens will behave during the General Elections.

  271. norman wee
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Don’t forget Singaporeans are living in a glass house as a red little dot in the midst of a gigantic Malay seas. If Singaporeans are starting throwing stones without thinking of the consequences it is the sacred duty of those with foresight to nip the bud. If this proactive and efficient government is not doing it others may.

  272. TM Goh
    June 9th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Looking at all the feedbacks; minus away those directed at the personal level.

    This article did spur on a constructive discussion.

    One person’s view is not a representation of what a Singapore society should be.

    Every one’s collective views does create a society that will have the Singaporean core.

    LHL, Catherine Lim, etc, are Singaporeans, we are all expressing our own views to be heard. What the receiving party makes of it is also a view one of his/her own interpretation.

    To Singaporeans, our leaders in our Government is where they are today because they are elected by you and me.

    Elected ruling party is made up of many people; there the capable and the very capable people in our ruling party.

    What do we want as Singaporeans? Catherine Lim expressed hers beautifully; what about you and me?

  273. TheSkeptic
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Sadly, nothing will change. There will some chatter, some online commentary but it will will not matter one iota. Nothing will change

  274. tankoktim
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Criticizing and causing friction [e.g. slandering someone] cannot be the answer to seeking happiness. It cannot bring happiness.

    Hauling one another into court is not seeking happiness too.

    A truly happy place is one without court, only love and harmony, free of ego, conceit and arrogance. Free of selfishness.

    And, plenty of altruistic love and compassion for all, young and old, rich or poor.

    All humans seek happiness from the time of birth till the time of physical death. Is seeking happiness a human pass time?

    All seeking the bluebird of happiness. At the end, some end up empty handed, disillusioned, disappointed.

    There are strict rules for seeking happiness like there are strict rules when one play a set of chess game. No two ways about it.

    Humans want happiness as it is stemmed in our soul and we are spiritual beings first in this physical world as human beings working to fill this earth with only happy people as our main misison.

    No one works very hard to have unhappiness. No one. Never.

    Ultimately, by seeking happiness, all aspects of human lives, our endeavours and desires must work on ‘happiness as the base’. Selfishness will not bring the desired result. The opposite will happen, and some will self invite pain and suffering.

    Divine govt or a Utopian society is the base upon which humans can attain uncollapsible happiness, which all seek. Seeking happiness is fixed, given, and not possible for anyone to change this as they like.

    If divine govt [encompassing all, from science, to religion, politics, business, medicine, education, etc. etc] is not attained, happiness will not be possible. Happiness will remain elusive in the physical world of humans.

    World peace, religious peace, and political peace, etc. though many pray for it, including many in religions are praying hard for it, will remain a dream or deception to all mankind.

    How blind can humans be seeking happiness for self but not knowing where true happiness stems from?

    Some humans cause unhappiness while seeking happiness for self. How egoistic and arrogant can humans be? How contradictory can we be? Me too.

    Sharing:

    http://tankoktim.blog.com/2013/08/29/reap-and-sow/

  275. PIGS Fake Xenophobia
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    @ norman wee ” Don’t forget Singaporeans are living in a glass house as a red little dot in the midst of a gigantic Malay seas. “

    Norman. Please lah. You PAPigs are giving out millions of passports out to aliens. And now you want Singaporeans to turn against our ASEAN allies? You guys are unbelievable. How stupid do you think we are?

  276. Luke
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I am sorry to say that even in the matter of bread and butter, PAP is far from resourceful. Take the example of Casino. Not one but two at the same time. Is this the way to solve economic slow down? We all know by now how damaging the impact of the Casinos have done, but in the name of economic and money PAP is forcing it down our throat. Its a bitter pill which could not heal but instead escalating another open wound.

  277. No U-Turn
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    From “affective divide” to “unbridgeable chasm” in 20 years. Well done PAP. Come. We clap for you.

    There will be no U-Turn towards 6.9 million Singaporeans.

    NOT UNLESS THERE IS A REGIME CHANGE. We dare you.

  278. Matthew
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    PAP began to spiral downwards the moment they introduced GRC. Gone are the days when really good candidates are asked to join their party. If the PM is interested in effecting any new change, I say let’s hold a referendum on GRC now!

    Though GRC has allowed PAP to consolidate its power, it has regressed the party as a whole. Remove this weapon and you may once again reveal yourself as a knight in a shiny armour!

  279. The Pariah
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    @ Catherine Lim: “… because the alternative would be just too scary.”

    Whilst the alternative would indeed be scary, it is LESS SCARY than perpetuating near half-century of PAP rule where – upon examination under the microscope – 2G-4G PAP laws/policies have a deceptive veneer of achieving public good at the toxic expense of our Country and Our People …. ranging from:

    (A) Total Population target of 6.9mn with the long-term objective of negating Native Singaporeans’ votes by New Mints’ votes in GE2015-16 and 2020-21 and NEVER disclosing the number of citizenships granted to New Mints since 2000 with the peak of population deluge in 2005-6,

    (B) Passing an en bloc sales law to unlock land value for corporate developers (rather than existing home-owners) when Property = Location + Timing such that it (i) invoke majoritianism over private non-landed property mostly bought with CPF retirement savings so that natives face the daunting prospect of “Double the Price or Half the Size” whilst holding in hand the so-called “en bloc windfall” and are therefore displaced by wealthy foreigners who naturally prefer the already built-up prime/popular residential districts where the PAP Govt do not have enough land supply to sell in Govt Land Sales and (ii) sanctions demolition of condos upon TOP if 90% owners think it is profitable whilst they over-hype about “Endearing Homes” and “Sustainable Redevelopment”,

    (C) Approving 742,000 Work Permits in 2012 whilst knowing there were only 143,000 Bed Spaces in Dormitories and collecting $2.5bn Workers’ Levies from the blood, sweat and tears of foreign workers WITHOUT (i) building enough dorms (hence, illegal land use in both public and private housing, offices, even construction sites which they cannot detect on proactive basis but can only enforce on reactive basis after receiving loads of complaints), (ii) setting dorm/meal standards to ensure proper survival conditions (dorm standards were set only AFTER SMRT bus drivers strike) or (iii) conducting dorm/meal audits and then asserting that Little India Riot that targetted Establishment symbols (ambulances, police cars) had nothing to do with workers’ unhappiness with the Establishment,

    (D) Mandating CPF LIFE for those born in/after 1958 where the monthly pay-outs from age 65 depend on not just interest rates but on mortality rates of CPF members, esp those who have met CPF Min Sum (little wonder that everybody is hollowing-out CPF for anything and everything BEFORE age 55), and knowing how to peg CPF Min Sum at age 55 to inflationary index but totally clueless on how to peg CPF Pay-out from age 65 to typical expenditure patterns of retirees,

    (E) Mandating Medishield LIFE from 2015 which would ADVERSELY affect the long-haul nature of insurance planning and the previous decade-long premium payment for 2mn policy holders who bought Medishield Integrated Plan introduced in 2005 by then Health Minister Khaw BW who went even further by sanctioning approved Medishield insurers’ sale of Riders to negate two key policy deterrents that Khaw embedded in the National Scheme (ie, Deductibles and Co-insurance) against over-consumption and abuse (even more galling was Minister Khaw himself bought those Riders as he clearly did NOT believe in his own policy deterrents – Khaw paid only $8 cash for his Class A Ward Heart Surgery in 2010 because of his enchantment with SGH ward slippers), and

    etc, etc, etc. Little wonder that those who were gullible enough to believe PM Lee’s apology pre-GE 2011 are still grasping at straws in their hope that the PAP are NOT already past the point of no return.

    Even a foreign academic had a more astute observation than a much respected long-time local political commentator …. Dr Michael Barr: “There is … enough truth in the MYTHS of meritocracy, elite governance and pragmatism”. http://therealsingapore.com/content/dr-michael-barr-culture-elite-governance-lee-hsien-loongs-singapore

  280. Tracy Tan
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    To The Pariah@2.48pm

    Excellent analysis. The pap has devised evil schemes to benefit themselves at the expense of Singaporeans. Singaporeans can see through the pap schemes now and these schemes are coming back to haunt the pap.

    Looks like no amount of talk from the pap can mend the betrayed trust. There is only one way for the pap…”Out”

  281. hannes
    June 9th, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    There is no such thing as an honest critic to the PAP. It’s a blasphemy to criticise the emperor.

  282. Anthony
    June 9th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Sincere and heartfelt. May the people in the corridors of power see it as such and make the change.

  283. D V J
    June 9th, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    It is hope that the government understand the fact that we are coming to 50 years old and not five years old child. We have matured over the years and are more constructive in our thoughts and action. The tough tactic of bullying and threatening is no longer effective to a grown-up. Please resort to more constructive behaviour that benefits us and you.

  284. Please tan
    June 9th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Who is this tankoktim?? Trying to steal attention through others’ blog by posting so many times? If tankoktim really has substance, do things professionally. Otherwise, who will listen to you-tankoktim??

  285. True Blue Singaporean
    June 9th, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    The issues of trust and social compact affect the soul of Singapore. More high level people should speak up, especially the President.

  286. Wait Long Time For High Level People
    June 9th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I trust the young Singaporeans to run Singapore. Young Singaporeans who are not from PAP. Young Singaporeans like Roy Ngerng.

    Much as I dislike the old LKY now. The young LKY and his old team did do some good for Singaporeans. So likewise, i think Roy Ngerng and other young Singaporeans like him deserve a chance to clean up PAP’s mess.

    If we are willing to trust our health to all the 3rd world doctors that PAP has introduced into our public hospitals & polyclinics. Shouldn’t we also trust our very own young Singaporeans in the same manner?

  287. Thomas Cai
    June 9th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    “Today, in a twist of supreme irony that would have incensed Mr Lee, Singaporeans see the defamation suit itself, and not the act that has entailed it, as the very cause of the erosion of trust. “

    Amen to that. Ain’t that the truth in the current climate? What was once ‘business as usual’ for the ‘trigger happy’ legal team of the Prime Minister’s Office is now the main instigator of a series of bad PR streak for the Prime Minister. Irony indeed. As they said, Karma’s a BEEP (self-censored).

  288. How Does It Benefit Me To Vote PAP?
    June 9th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    How does it benefit Singaporeans to vote PAP?

    So there you have it, PM Lee. I have translated Catherine’s long letter into the monetary language of self interest that you and PAP better understands.

  289. James
    June 9th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Madam Cat, There are many issues not address in your writing… such as the root of the problems of high cost of living. The root of this devil is the high rental cost, firmly gripped by the elites, who owned the the real estate companies, and they ‘cornered’ the market legally, and we paid the price…

  290. sorysori
    June 9th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    You have said all that’s to be said before the last rite is performed. Thank you.

  291. Sure Or Not?
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    “To prevent this from happening, only you, Sir, can pave the way for a new understanding and reconciliation.”

    Sure or not? That ship has already sailed a long time ago after NatCON and CONversation with Prime Minister Lee.

  292. Chanakya
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    “the eye never grows tired of the beloved, the scholar the good quote, the ruler seeks riches, as flies seek festering sores, low minded ones seek quarrel, and good men seek peace”-Chanakya

  293. Eric
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    His prude is his greatest obstacle. I would bet my last dollar that nothing will change. Partly because he has no successor within his family, hence there is no mitivation to clean up the mess.

  294. Rojak
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    What is the moral of the story here?

    Education is overrated.

  295. Short, Sweet & Simple
    June 9th, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Mr Lee, Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

  296. Joker
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    50 years of rule. What has it produced? A people easily swayed by preachers, politicians, professionals and even pimps.

    50 years of rule, still divided like hell.

  297. Nirvan
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    If you wish to know a piece of factual and very intersting story, pl provide me your email for me to email you. You will be very much amazed about what can happen here

  298. social studies
    June 9th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    -A stake for everyone, opportunities for all - anticipate change, stay relevant

  299. Reader
    June 10th, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Notice the posture here? Dog looking up to owner or concubine bedroom conversation with the emperor?

    Hitting the nail on the head it is not.

  300. Syed Amir
    June 10th, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Dear Respected Dr Lim,

    I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to read and look into the teachings of Islam as delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Worldwide, with regards to the “Basis for a just economy; the need for equity between nations; the misrepresentation of Islam; and his concerns at the increasing risk of a Third World War.”

    Below is a press release covering the event which took place September last year at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Singapore. More of it could be accessed via website at the end of this message.

    Thank you for your time and effort to read this and thank you for being a voice for the people of Singapore.

    27th September 2013 PRESS RELEASE

    Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community delivers Historic Address in Singapore Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad calls for justice at all levels

    The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and Fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered the keynote address at a Welcome Reception held in his honour at the Oriental Mandarin Hotel in Singapore on the evening of 26 September 2013. The event was attended by more than 100 non-Ahmadi dignitaries and guests, including Mr Lee Koon Choy a founding member of the ruling People’s Action Party, who during a distinguished career also served as Singapore’s Ambassador to various countries. During his keynote address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad explained the basis for a just economy; the need for equity between nations; the misrepresentation of Islam; and his concerns at the increasing risk of a Third World War.

    His Holiness began his address by referring to the modern day negative portrayal of Islam. He said that the religion had been defamed across the world due to the hateful acts conducted by certain so-called Muslims who were motivated only by personal gain. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “In much of the world today there is a belief or perception that Islam is a religion of extremism and force. Let me say at the outset that this is entirely wrong and the reality is the complete opposite… The truth is that there are some selfish Muslims who seek only to serve their own personal interests. To feed their own ambitions and desires they are interpreting Islam’s teachings in completely the wrong way and therefore have enabled various unfounded allegations to be levelled against Islam. Their acts unfairly tarnish Islam’s pure name even though the reality is that at every instance Islam provides only rational and logical answers that are entirely fair and just.”

    Speaking about the means for a successful economy, His Holiness said Islam advocated fairness at all levels.

    Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “Islam teaches that the world’s natural resources are the combined property and wealth of all of mankind… The vast treasures that Allah the Almighty has endowed, both above and below the earth, are not just for a few selected individuals but are for the benefit of every single person, in every part of the world.”

    Speaking about the importance of education, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said universal access was necessary. His Holiness said: “Islam teaches that each and every child, no matter his or her background, should be provided a proper education so that they can develop into skilled and truly beneficial members of society.”

    Speaking about international relations, His Holiness said that peace between nations could only be achieved through justice at all levels and that developed countries should seek to assist under-developed countries selflessly. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “Alliances or friendships with particular nations should not be a determining factor in deciding whether to assist other countries. Favouritism of any kind should not occur – rather the goal should be to help others stand on their own two feet. Unjust conditions should not be placed, whereby countries are not helped until they fulfil certain demands or until they agree to establish particular relations with third-party countries.”

    Speaking about inequality Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said the gap between rich and poor continued to prevail: “Regrettably, we find that more than sixty years after the formation of the United Nations, the poor countries remain destitute and deprived, whilst the developed countries have remained rich and powerful. Islam has explained that a fundamental cause of this permanent inequality is that the world has not understood that the wealth of resources granted to mankind by God is for the combined use of all of humanity.”

    Offering a solution to global unrest and a means to reduce inequality, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Islam, however, counsels that the best state of affairs, which are of peace and harmony, can only be established when both sides work together for the greater good. The poor must fulfil their own responsibilities and work hard in order to benefit from their resources and wealth. On the other hand, the rich should happily display a true spirit of sacrifice in order to help their brothers and sisters.”

    The Khalifa concluded by speaking about his fear that a global war could be ignited at any time. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “If we look back at history, we realise that a major factor that led to the first two World Wars was the prevailing economic situation and this part of the world where you reside was also caught in its effect. If such circumstances were to prevail again it would be extremely difficult to predict who would be safe and who would be in danger. We can only pray and present the facts and realities in front of everyone in an effort and hope that the world can be saved from all forms of destruction and danger. This is essential so that we are not looked upon with anger and as transgressors by our future generations.”

    Earlier in the evening Mr Lee Koon Choy also addressed the audience stating that he had seen how Islam’s name had been tarnished over the previous decades and so he appreciated that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat was highlighting the true and peaceful nature of Islam to the world. Prior to the event, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad held private meetings with various dignitaries and was interviewed by representatives of Indonesia’s national media. His Holiness also presented four local charities with donations on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Singapore. 22 Deer Park Road, London, SW19 3TL UK Tel/Fax: 020 8544 7678 Email: press@amjinternational.org Twitter: @AhmadiyyatIslam Press Secretary AMJ International Short URL of this page to share: alislam.org/e/2451

    To know more of such related contents, please do visit

    http://www.alislam.org/r.php?q=singapore&sa=

  301. change.
    June 10th, 2014 at 4:00 am

    It’s rather sad how the country you once loved becomes a place to earn and retire elsewhere…

  302. PIGS Propaganda
    June 10th, 2014 at 7:41 am

    @ social studies June 9th, 2014 at 11:53 pm /// A stake for everyone, opportunities for all – anticipate change, stay relevant ///

    You left out the details of “how” PAPigs expect Singaporeans to stay relevant - low wages - long hours - 1st world medical care prices provided by 3rd world doctors employed in PAP’s public hospitals - the list goes on

    I’m voting with my wallet and enlightened self interest; PAPigs out in GE 2016.

  303. Level Playing Field For Our Children
    June 10th, 2014 at 7:47 am

    What are the qualifications of all these PAP foreign talents? Who checks on their qualifications before employment?

    How familiar are PAP employers with all the 100s of Indian universities?

    But for our Singaporean talent, our qualifications are scrutinized with a fine tooth comb.

  304. Convert One PAP Voter Today
    June 10th, 2014 at 7:51 am

    60% of our friends, family and relatives voted PAP in GE 2011. If all Opposition voters made it their patriotic duty to convert just one PAP voter into an Opposition voter, there will be 80% in GE 2016.

  305. Man
    June 10th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Hi Catherine,

    If you really wish for the best for the country, maybe it is good to write a closed personal letter instead.

  306. @ Man @ 9.30am
    June 10th, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Why so scared? What is such a big state secret in Catherine Lim’s open letter?

    Obedience did not kill: South Korea Ferry disaster opens the discussion

    “Once again please do not move from your current location.”

    Instructions to students over the loudspeakers before the South Korean fairy sank.

    http://womennewsnetwork.net/2014/04/29/south-korea-ferry-disaster-discussion/

    Any lessons for Singaporeans here?

  307. Jason
    June 10th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    When we talk and feedback that show we care and want to see inprovemenet. Thanks you

  308. The eloquence of idiots
    June 10th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    The idiot picks good idiots and offer themselves to the people who are most capable of picking idiots. After sometime, idiots given power to safeguard idiotic power felt insecure and created an idiotic scheme his idiots supported because fundamentally they are chosen idiots whose job is to leave the complex thinking to one supreme idiot. After many many years, the idiots, probably the core idiots , realized it is rather idiotic of them to play roulette and collective idiocy decided to make a U turn and just stay with one core idiot, forgetting with their opponents so the idea of an adversarial idiot who may possibly run counter to all their idiotic schemes and threaten their well guarded spoils has to be canned.

    The people, still as clueless as before when all these happened, will once again decide over the goods offered by various idiots.

    The mother of all schemes basically allows good people to fight against another set of ideological good for the biggest spoil from the idiotic people.

    “I don’t see any problem. But if we,the idiots, don’t get a GOOD team and the opposing idiots do get a GOOD team together, we’re at risk.

    Stop and think. If it is “good” why fight it? Because there is a better good?if so, would the people able to tell? If not, what then is good when no one can effectively tell what’s good or not till it has wrought its evil?

    The people is still clueless. The bloodless system remains as bloody till this day.

  309. The eloquence of idiots
    June 10th, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The idiot picks good idiots and offer themselves to the people who are most capable of picking idiots. After sometime, idiots given power to safeguard idiotic power felt insecure and created an idiotic scheme his idiots supported because fundamentally they are chosen idiots whose job is to leave the complex thinking to one supreme idiot. After many many years, the idiots, probably the core idiots , realized it is rather idiotic of them to play roulette with their opponents and collective idiocy decided to make a U turn and just stay with one core idiot, forgetting that the idea of an adversarial idiot who may possibly run counter to all their idiotic schemes and threaten their well guarded spoils.

    The people, still as clueless as before when all these happened, will once again decide over the goods offered by various idiots.

    The mother of all schemes basically allows good people to fight against another set of ideological good for the biggest spoil from the idiotic people.

    “I don’t see any problem. But if we,the idiots, don’t get a GOOD team and the opposing idiots do get a GOOD team together, we’re at risk.

    Stop and think. If it is “good” why fight it? Because there is a better good?if so, would the people able to tell? If not, what then is good when no one can effectively tell what’s good or not till it has wrought its evil?

    The people is still clueless. The bloodless system remains as bloody till this day.

  310. The eloquence of idiots
    June 10th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Sorry for my lack of eloquence – correction

    “After many many years, the idiots, probably the core idiots , realized it is rather idiotic of them to play roulette with their opponents and collective leading idiocy decided to make a U turn and just stay with one core idiot, forgetting that the idea of an adversarial idiot who may possibly run counter to all their idiotic schemes and threaten their well guarded spoils originated from supreme GOOD”

  311. religious dickheads
    June 10th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    and thus…blind leading the blind

  312. Allan
    June 10th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you for the well written open letter, Catherine.

    I hold my utmost respect for Mr Lee Kuan Yew for his great work during the early days. No one should deny him of his credit towards the country. Given his credential, he certainly has the authority to adopt his signature purposeful style.

    Mr Lee Kuan Yew does not need a handsome package to lead Singapore, not to mention the multi-million dollars salary package our ministers are receiving today. It is passion, belief and sheer determination. Do we see this it our leaders today? Sad to say, I do not feel it .

    Unfortunately, people feels that Mr Lee Kuan Yew stays on power for too long and his son’s eventual rise to the current Prime Minister does not help in our current situation.

    For our sons and daughters, may Singapore be led by Singaporeans truly passionate, selfless and treat Singaporeans as human being with respect, not economic animals.

  313. Min Tang
    June 10th, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Like the many other well wishers before me, thank you once more for speaking up for the good of Singapore.

    Even as some distractors might point at your place of origin, these outsiders have absolutely no understanding of the legacy of destinies that entwined Malayans.

    So even if you should decide to spend the better part of retirement outside of Singapore, you have our blessings.

  314. Singapura Pundit
    June 10th, 2014 at 1:32 pm
  315. Two Way Street
    June 10th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @ Man @ 9.30am June 10th, 2014 at 9:46 am “If you really wish for the best for the country, maybe it is good to write a closed personal letter instead.”

    Why not LHL visit Catherine Lim and seek a private consultation with her. Catherine sounded out her first warning 20 years ago.

    By the way. Why didn’t Singapore’s Forecaster – the Mentor Minister also not advise PM LHL to seek out Catherine Lim’s advice over the last 20 years?

    Everything also must spoon feed. Who has the subsidy mentality now? PAPigs or Singaporeans?

  316. Robin
    June 10th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks Catherine.

    As more speaks, we may see the breaking of the camel’s back quicker.

    Fingers crossed

  317. @ Singapura Pundit
    June 10th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    “Lee Hsien Loong’s Dilemma” - sayang sayang. - so poor thing - will another $2 million dollars in salary make you feel better?

    What about Singaporeans’ Dilemma? Why don’t we see you highlighting our dilemma? Boot-licking sycophant. So it’s our job to understand PM Lee’s problem and not his job to understand our problems?

    PM Lee is a big boy. If he thinks he has a dilemma or problem, let him address his nation. I don’t think he needs to communicate through his boot-licking minions.

  318. Ronald
    June 10th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    What brought about all this unhappiness and anxieties among local Singaporeans is the increasing influx of foreign population that is happening now. For one thing, this is mainly due to the greatest flip-flops of them all; the “STOP AT TWO” policy, which has worked too well in the 1970′s and the urgency now to increase the population . Family planning and sterilization was strongly promoted and severe penalties were inflicted if you were to have more than two child. On realizing the debacle for this policy, damage control was set in motion; the citizens were then encouraged to rev up their reproduction albeit with much inertia. Thus to speed it up, the foreign population was introduced.

    Oh maybe you can add this to your PAP Joke collection: Q: Why did the chicken cross the road. A: because it’s getting too crowded now.

  319. KK
    June 10th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Sure all of us want freedom in Singapore. Freedom of speech. Freedom to manage our CPF $$ and more.

    But go across the causeway and you will see… complaint against crimes, against corruption, against election fraud… in comparison, our issues are trivial.

    I don’t like foreigners to have one up on us Singaporeans either but I have trust PM Lee will calibrate the policy.

    Regardless, competition will still come very strongly. You go to India or China, you see how hungry their young and educated are. And what do their gov do for them?? Ultimately, it is up to the individual ie. us, to find our own way to survive and not keep blaming government.

  320. Circular PAPig Arguement
    June 10th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    /// Ultimately, it is up to the individual ie. us, to find our own way to survive and not keep blaming government. ///

    Please lah! Nobody will ever accuse the PAP government of Lee Hsien Loong of being generous with social services to help Singaporeans. You are just repeating what every Singaporean knows – the PAP government will not help Singaporeans.

    All we are asking is please get out of our lives if you don’t want to help. Give us back our money to run our lives without your interference.

    The PAP government owns 90% of the land in Singapore. Including all the HDB flats. We are just tenants paying our rent 99 years in advance. That’s why we have to get HDB’s permission to rent out our flats. And we cannot give away our HDB flats as inheritance to our children without HDB approval.

    And still you say Singaporeans are champion complainers. Enough is enough. Talking is over. This can only be settled with a regime change. The credibility gap is too wide. And there is only so much PAP bullshit I can stomach.

  321. More PAP Chicken Jokes
    June 10th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    LEE KUAN YEW: This is an unprovoked act of rebellion. And I’m fully justified in putting the chicken into jail without trial for the next 10 years.

    M. RAVI: I have investigated the road where the alleged crossing took place. But I have not been allowed access to my client, the chicken.

    INTERNAL SECURITY DEPARTMENT: At the bottom left hand corner of this satellite photograph. You can clearly see the chicken crossing the road.

  322. Julian
    June 10th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Dear Catherine The only thing I agree is that the govt needs to communicate better on its policies and schemes. Their current outreach is not being heard across all dimension and strata of Singaporeans. Also related is, compassion for the less fortunate should be shown not just by the govt but also by the stat board personals executing the policies and schemes. As for use of the law to put right the wrong. I fully appreciate and support. No leaders in any organisations or countries should be falsely accused unless there is truth to it. Open debate is good to reccommend. But if every Tom, dick and Harry demands to have an open debate with the PM. How will he put in the time to do his job? It is not as if u r having an election everyday. Elections has allowed for the govt to have the mandate to run the country. Please allow the govt to have time to execute its job. I assure u if u allow an open debate for anyone asking for it. U will have a long line of ppl with different agendas in the Q. There r many other things u have wrote that looks good but do u really think it is true? Lastly, I am Singaporean, born and raised here. I do not agree with ur statement that Singaporeans do not trust the govt. but it is important for the govt to win back the hearts of those who “distrust” it.

  323. Roy Ngerng, CPF, and the Widow who Lost $1m | Donn's The Renaissance Man
    June 10th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    […] Singaopre Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sues him for defamation. Many citizens think this is a bad move. See also: Catherine Lim’s open letter […]

  324. Ruby
    June 10th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I am sure the 60 per cent of the voters know what the govt has done for them.. N still making effort to refine it.. There are still many die hard supporters who do not want to rock the boat! Many of my colleagues once supporters of the opposition decided to support PAP, after seeing the govt is working harder now, is because they still want our govt.. If it goes into the wrong hand..it is going to be disastrous!

  325. More PAP Bullshit
    June 11th, 2014 at 12:29 am

    /// Please allow the govt to have time to execute its job. /// Julian @ 7.34pm on 10th June.

    The PAP government has been in power for 50 years. How much more time does it need? Then there is the bullshit of needing 56 man years to give a complete inventory list of our assets. So how’s that going? Any progress updates? Clearly the PAP government needs spurs on its sides. This is reciprocity. PAP wants to spur Singaporeans. Fine. We will reciprocate.

    PM Lee got no time to talk to Roy Ngerng. What about all those “jobless” Millionaire Ministers in his cabinet. You know … the Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office. And also the Ministers without Portfolios. Still too busy? Why not outsource to a PR company in India? Not enough government surplus every year to afford Indian talent meh?

    Please lah. According to PAP propaganda, we are just a barren piece of rock. One of the smallest country in the world. Even smaller than Johor’s Iskandar Project. What’s so difficult about governing Singapore other than to maintain a self serving myth? So small but still can increase population until 6.9 million.

    Singaporeans have been very patient with your PAP bullshit.

  326. PAP's CPF Logic
    June 11th, 2014 at 1:05 am

    /// But if every Tom, dick and Harry demands to have an open debate with the PM. How will he put in the time to do his job? /// Julian, June 10th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    You think we so free ah? Only Roy Ngerng is asking. But PM Lee cannot answer Roy because every Singaporean is asking. Please lah!

    Just like CPF. One Indian lady cannot manage $1 million dollars. So all Singaporeans cannot be trusted.

    But one PAPig gets caught for corruption. But Singaporeans cannot say all PAPigs are corrupt or we get sued.

  327. PAP Anyhow Sue
    June 11th, 2014 at 2:07 am

    There was a female MP who was publicly accused of adultery. Did she sue? Nope. What happened to those rumors?

    Nobody gives a shit. She is collecting her MP pay still. Look,I can freely say Ms Lim is a lesbian or corrupt. You going to believe me? Why? Because I am anonymous ? Or if Roy said it, would it be more credible? No.

    If there are any damages done to the subject, it is because you are dumb(YOU are the problem not Roy. If Roy talks nonsense, he loses a mature audience) to believe without verifying or, in the case of Roy, most supported him NOT BECAUSE they have read(everything he has written) or agreed with his analysis(faulty or not) but because they wanted the CPF returned or their money back – with or without Roy wild accusations

    Roy free speech did not hurt PM. People, who opposed CPF policies, already made up their mind against the government or PM. Likewise, those who are comfortable with CPF policies were not perturbed by Roy arguments either

    Please do not demonize free speech and get carried away with responsible speeches and turn it into a bloody political inquisition.

  328. PAP Anyhow Sue
    June 11th, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Roy is as guilty as any religious leaders. Religious leaders made wild promises and fools listen to them. Do we sue religious leaders for talking nonsense? Nope. Fools deserve to lose their money! The government allows religious freedom or to many, religious leaders are free to fleece their flocks!

  329. DumbDumber
    June 11th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    PM is a great man. PM died for you. His blood washes away your sins. You got financial problems, PM will open up the windows of heaven and bless you ten to hundred fold return of what you give to his political kingdom. PM loves you.

    You believe me right? You come to my church right?

  330. DumbDumber
    June 11th, 2014 at 8:28 am

    PM works in mysterious ways. You cannot comprehends his ways because you are blind. Faith opens up your eyes and you will see that PM ways are higher than your ways.

    I am a Man of God, you believe me right? Please hand over your money.

  331. EK
    June 11th, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I’m guessing the Ruby who posted more than once is the same person. His/Her view reflects what the captain of the sunken Korean ferry was thinking from the moment the ferry struck the rocks till the moment it capsized and sank. The 60% who voted for MIW probably thought this way as well: Everything is OK, I won’t listen to those minority who tell me something is wrong (they may be vocal, but they are minority afterall). Anyway, the water is so cold, sekully the passengers jump in the cold water and freeze to death, then how? The ship won’t sink. Even if it will sink, let’s sit tight and wait for rescue. So the passengers obediently waited in their cabins, following orders to stay & wait (and not move). Eventually they perished. In the end, only those who didn’t obey orders and left their cabins survived. Our (Asian?) system of blind subservience needs to change, whether in SG or Korea. The keyword is BLIND subservience – it doesn’t mean everytime you ask question is bad, it means the duty of a leader is to be transparent & accountable.

  332. Easy2Rule
    June 11th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    We don’t call sinkies educated idiots for nothing.

  333. lelong
    June 11th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    What’s the difference between him and religious leaders?  Is there any basis for religious leaders to condemn you to hell? Or charges you a law breaker (sinner)? In the religious mind and text book, you are as corrupted as the PM. So?   In Roy’s text book, PM is corrupted (because he is the head). So?   Sue everyone who calls you sinner because their text book said so?   Are you that small minded and INFERIOR?

  334. Xmen
    June 11th, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    It’s clear by now that the system is going to bankrupt Roy, take away his livelihood, and make him unelectable if he decides to run for office.

    The PM just threw your letter into the dustbin.

  335. Xiao
    June 11th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    The love of money is the root of all evil. Who made millions serving the people? How? By being trigger happy?

    He is evil. Should we burn the book and close down the whore houses? Should we charge religious morons for defaming the Child King?

  336. Yet another blogger threatened to be sued by the PAP leaders ….and the CPF minimum sum fiasco | Askmelah.com
    June 11th, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    […] “your government now seems to be hardening its position and going back to the old PAP reliance on a climate of fear maintained by the deployment of the famous PAP instruments of control, notably the defamation suit.” – Catherine Lim’s An Open Letter to the Prime Minister […]

  337. There Is No Joy In Being Singaporean
    June 11th, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Under a PAP government.

  338. Karam
    June 12th, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    With all due respect, there is no climate of distrust. A few protests and graffitis here and there do not imply that the people mistrusted the government. I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. As for the libel suit, it is the electorate that demand for the PM to clear his name. Someone said he is a thief and he must prove that he is not.

  339. catherinelim.sg » Letter To PM: A Follow-Up
    June 13th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    […] the past week, my open letter to the PM generated tremendous interest not only on my website but on other media sites as well. Since I […]

  340. Jacob Chiong
    June 13th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    The problem is not that LHL is not listening. The problem is that he has no respect for fellow Singaporeans. He thinks he can behave like his old man, forgetting the very important fact that he is nowhere near where his father is in terms of wisdom. When one has no respect for others, any ‘listening’ is fake and easily seen through. I, for one, has given up hope that the PAP will ever serve Singaporeans. Arrogant, foolish, short-sighted, treacherous and incompetent little people.

  341. Jonathan Toh
    June 13th, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I believe in freedom of responsible speech. Period. How else could you encourage good people to serve if all sorts of untrue and vicious allegations could be hurled against you? If you make a statement, be ready to defend the basis upon which that statement is made. If you make an allegation against someone, be ready to provide evidence.

    By the way, some alternative media are also censoring anything that are pro-government, anti-opposition or even neutral views. Yet, these sites claim to be serving Singaporeans’ interests or to be a better, neutral alternative to the Straits Times. Please criticise them too.

    When exercising one’s rights, if one also considers obligations, one becomes truly free to do the right things

  342. Chetan Shah
    June 14th, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Pedestrian, just like your writing. Far, FAR too much flowery bullshit. What exactly stops you from getting to the point? I mean, seriously. Is Singapore so deprived and bereft of decent writers that this has to be classified as among the best that the country can produce?

  343. Pikachu
    June 14th, 2014 at 2:48 am

    hi

  344. Lin Bao Ying
    June 14th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Dear Madam,

    You are quite confident that you represent majority (if not all) of Singaporeans. So am I to say that I can represent you.

    For democracy sake, I challenge you not to ignore my comment without publishing it.

  345. @ Johnathan Toh
    June 14th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    /// When exercising one’s rights, if one also considers obligations, one becomes truly free to do the right things ///

    Dun worry lah. PAP is always there to remind Singaporeans of our obligations. OUR obligations. Not THEIR obligations.

  346. Lucas png
    June 15th, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Hi,

    What makes a good leader? A good leader listens and is flexible to make changes and is always putting himself out in the field before anyone else. A good leader admits to his mistakes and make changes to improve, not by defending himself or herself with reason. A good leader gains the trust and the hearts of the people, not by injecting fear but by compassion.

    And please do listen to us, and give us our cpf pension back in CASH…. :(

  347. A Singaporean’s Open Letter that Became Viral: ‘The People No Longer Trust the Government’ · Global Voices
    June 18th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    […] Southeast Asian novelist and Singapore-based writer Catherine Lim wrote an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong bemoaning the decline of public trust in the […]

  348. Shilin
    June 18th, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I belong to the generation that is either highly apathetic about politics or highly enthusiastic about the subject. I fell into the former category for I know protesting is something that goes nowhere here.

    However, in recent years especially, it is not possible to live in that I-don’t-know-and-I-don’t-care attitude anymore. The policies made are no doubt to fulfill the prophecy or a single individual or family in this sense. It is depressing to see how events panned out to be the way it is.

    When I was young, nanny-state was how I hear we are being termed to be. I couldn’t fully understand that meaning till this very day. I am not ashamed to be a Singaporean. I’m just disgusted by how our political situation has evolved.

    I am not anti-government. In fact, I appreciate the progress and infrastructure to make me live comfortably in this little red dot. I cherish the stability that we get to enjoy. But I totally agree with you that it is time they listen. Time to prove the transparency that they claim and that there isn’t any hidden agenda.

  349. et2
    June 19th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Dear Catherine,

    I suppose that this open letter in its format was a sigh of resignation since at the back of your head, you probably knew that it was a futile exercise, to have the PM be more receptive to feedback. Nonetheless, please do continue to write such letters since you are able to put in writing what many Singaporeans feel.

    The key issue that Roy’s case raised is about citizens having the right to choose how we are to utilise the our own CPF funds. I for one believe that the concept of the CPF is sound. However, the fact that I cannot choose how I can use it and may never see the hard earned money does not sit well.

    Moreover, Lee Hsien Loong’s (LHL) response seem an over-reaction in which he used his considerable resources to bear down on someone of humbler means. By no means do I condone irresponsible remarks but Roy Ngerng (RN) had already agreed to take down the offending article and apologise. What was galling was that LHL then further demanded the removal of all CPF-related articles by RN. To me, that seemed like a heavy handed attempt at censorship. After all, RN was just asking what many of us wanted to, what happens to my CPF funds?

    In addition, the attempt to demand more damages looks vindictive and patronising when calling the offered sum of S$5,000 ‘derisory’. This is still a fair sum for average Singaporeans, and only highlights the huge gap in pay between them and the steward of the country (after all, he was elected to look after Singapore).

    I have been neutral about the state of politics in Singapore for a while, but this saga has gotten me off my feet and up in arms (metaphorically)! Enough is enough, I think we can all do with more transparency about our CPF funds.

    As for people like Ruby and J Gill, it is understandable that changes are uncertain and unsettling. ‘Don’t rock the boat’ would be the response. However, if the boat is approaching danger, wouldn’t you want the Captain to be aware? And if he persists, shouldn’t he be replaced? And if he calls upon his powers to silence dissenting voices, is he a good captain deserving of support?

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F Kennedy

  350. Jim
    June 20th, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Exactly what sort of public debate Singapore should have? Surely debate about CPF, Govt accountability and transparency to the citizenry for their life savings and retirement funds is not only 1 of the most important public interests but also principles of democracy and good government. Yet where are the free and vigorous debates, accountability, transparency, etc? Why is the reputation of the PM more important than the said public interests? Why is the Govt hiding behind defamation laws, using it to stifle debate and what are they hiding? These are some of the questions that beg to be answered by the Govt, but will they?