Be balanced in criticism.

Dear Madam/Sir,

I refer to “On Chen Show Mao, Mr Low’s motives and the WP’s missing plans” (May 01).

I reside in Aljunied GRC. As of yet, my allegiance lies with neither of the teams contesting the ward.

In fact, I salute both teams for working the ground tirelessly over the last five years. Their efforts have made it extremely difficult for me to choose whom I should allow to represent me in Parliament.

Nevertheless, I have some views that I would like to share with the writer:

  • On the issue of Mr Chen Show Mao’s commitment and connection to Singapore, we must first look to Singapore’s evolution in its short history as a nation.

    In 1997, then-Prime Minister (PM) Goh Chok Tong acknowledged in his National Day Rally speech that “we have encouraged [a] dispersal of Singaporeans by asking [them] to go regional and create Singapore’s external wing”.

    He went on to say that “the more able ones, in whom Singapore has invested the most, have a special obligation to society. We must all join hands to keep Singapore together”.

    Mr Chen is a child of the above-mentioned policy, and he has heeded the same call to return. That Mr Chen, like Dr Janil Puthucheary, is able and willing to serve the nation should be answer enough for the writer.

  • On the issue of Mr Low’s proposed budget, it would only be fair to require the Workers’ Party team (WP) to come up with a proposal if the People’s Action Party (PAP) team is expected to do likewise.

    If the counter-argument is that the PAP team is the incumbent, so it will reuse the same budget, then there is no reason why a WP-led Town Council might not do the same.

  • On the issue of Mr Low’s motives, this has been made sufficiently clear. In my opinion, I believe Mr Low wants a chance to:
    • improve the lives of Aljunied GRC residents in both material and non-material ways, and
    • be a stakeholder in Parliament so that the WP’s long-term vision of an alternative government can be realised.
  • On the issue of democracy and a First-World Parliament, the writer claims we “cannot afford to spend time debating…on every matter in the name of democracy”.

    Surprisingly, he seems to have afforded the time to categorically critique Mr Chen, Mr Low and the Workers’ Party, all in the spirit of democracy itself.

    Perhaps this is to demonstrate the WP’s vision of a First-World Parliament in action: besides the basic functions of voicing views and working together to resolve national issues, there is also “responsible opposition…to generate a culture of accountability”.

  • Finally, the writer’s concluding remark about fairness perplexes this reader.

    The writer states that Mr George Yeo responded ably to Mr Low’s queries by meeting his constituents more often over the course of five years – that is, one election cycle.

    If fairness is in question, then is the writer insinuating that Mr Low also be given the same opportunity and time frame to prove how he will manage Aljunied GRC?

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Letter from Laremy Lee” on 02 May 2011 in TODAYonline.)

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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