The parental approach must be changed!

This photo was taken from a discussion forum in the internet.

It is not about Sarawak election.

It was taken during one of  the opposition election rallies in Singapore recently. This will be remembered as the most heated election of the Island nation.  That so many attended the rallies is an indication of the people’s wish for change, even though PAP has done a very good job  in making it one of the most developed places in the world.

Those of us up North must be wondering why Singaporeans, who are enjoying a higher standard of living than most of us, want change.

I think this is a worldwide phenomenon.

During my childhood years, I had to obey whatever my dad told me to.  I can still remember the times that I had to kneel facing the wall after doing something wrong–fortunately it was not very often– to contemplate what I did  wrong and  how I should do it the next time.

We did what our parents told us to. We never ventured out without their permission. We slept early as told. We bought only those food in schools canteens that our parents told us too. We watched those shows that our parents allowed us to watch. We dressed conservatively like they did. We never argued even when we realised that we might be right. In fact, our lives centered around our parents.

I have no complaint about the rather strict upbringing that i have. It makes me into a more principled person and the Confucius teachings make me a better human being. In fact, the habits inculcated in me lasted me a whole life time.

My parents moved down from Penang and stayed with me during their last few years of lives, and as a 40s-years old then , I still had the habit of going to their room to wish them every night i came back from work, and informed them of every place that i would go.

Try doing the same thing to the children nowadays, and you will find them rebelling/yelling at you in no time.

Younger generations are more individualistic, and pursue things very differently from us. They long to be free. They do not want to be told what to do. They  stay up late at night, and listen and watch videos over the internet. They don’t even care for traffic rules; just observe how the young drives nowadays.

Extrapolate this yearning for freedom outside, and you have a society that does not want to be told how they should live their lives.

Our world is becoming borderless. We view the same information that our counterparts in US and Europe, half a world away, are viewing. We dress the same. We watch the same TV series over the internet. We listen to the same music.

Travelling overseas is no more a luxury confined to the rich. Most of us can do so now, and what we see overseas influences our thinking.

All these borderless peer-induced influence makes the people long for a life similar to what they see over the net and in their travel.

They want to have less restriction and more freedom. They want a fair and equal society as being practised in most places in the world.

Singapore’s government ‘s parental approach in implementing policies is being resented by a lot of younger people.   Then there is the loss of jobs to skilled foreigners (estimated at a million- about one fifth of the population), the escalating house prices ( partly because of  the rich Mainland Chinese who are snapping up  properties without even bargaining), high medical costs– –all these lead to an undercurrent of discontent which have been dammed up for many years. This election may see this undercurrent surfacing and opposition may win a record number of seats, even though PAP will still emerge the winner.

By all measures, PAP is doing a very good job. But the world is no longer like our times, and even if you are good parents, children may not stand the old nagging ways anymore.  The approach must be changed.


26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rhan
    May 05, 2011 @ 11:53:03

    Balance and well written.


  2. Richard Loh
    May 05, 2011 @ 14:29:48

    hahaha, Dr. Hsu, you remind me of our time, “strict & obey”.

    I agree that the opposition may dent a big hole in PAP but they will still rule.

    Just wondering what bn leaders will be thinking should Singapore Opposition create a big wave in the final results.


  3. Dr Hsu
    May 05, 2011 @ 14:38:31

    Hi Richard,

    I think after the middle east revolts, Sarawak Election (must thank you again for the wonderful gatherings and food that night), they (UMNO leaders) are actually not sure of winning the two third anymore.

    They will probably still rule.

    But if opposition can win a number of seats in Singapore, our so called leaders will shiver more, since urban people , both sides of the Causeway think more or less alike.

    If Singapore voted in many opposition MPs, then our so called leaders will shiver even more… After all , the thinking of urban people are more or less the same, both sides of the Causeway!


  4. monsterball
    May 05, 2011 @ 17:21:11

    It is good to have thousands of S’poreans do not agree with the PAP govt. That has actually been going on for decades,
    But S’pore have one huge majority race…the S’porean Chinese.
    Only around 10% are others.
    Therefore …there is no race and religion politics in S’pore.
    It is purely differences in opinions by S’poreans and the amount of S’poreans wanting changes in S’pore is not strong.
    This means….PAP is accepted by vast majority citizens being fair to all.
    They know the country is strong largely due to PAP being non corruptable government.
    If PAP is as corrputed as UMNO B…you bet your life…PAP is finished instantly..because there in no room in S’pore to fool races like in Malaysia.
    And S’pore does practice freedom of religions like Indonesia.
    In Malaysia…it is always race and religion and having poisoned millions of minds..mostly the Mahathir…where corruptions are somewhat approved by Malays.
    But as years went by….more and more Malays know they are being fooled by UMNO B.
    12th GE was the starting of eyes and ears opening for Malaysians.
    Children are rebelious in every country. It is a natural hazzards of life…parents need to accept and adjust.
    Whether that will translate into the mentalities and behaviors how they vote..depends on how smart they are.
    But in Malaysia…UMNO B love to see Malaysians stay backwards with our Educational systems.
    In Malaysia….the smarter we become…the bigger problem it will be for Najib and his Govt.


  5. Tpg2Sg
    May 05, 2011 @ 18:20:57

    Hi All,

    Don’t be fool by high turn up in OPP rally, most of the time it does not translate to high vote for OPP to win that particular seat as those turn up might from other constituency.


  6. Tony 隆吉
    May 05, 2011 @ 19:47:02

    I think the key of parental is ‘balance’ – balance between authority and liberty. Generally (assuming parent with moral integrity), young children is better reared by authority approach, then steadily relaxing for them to think critically and develop their potentials.


  7. Li Li Fa
    May 05, 2011 @ 19:55:29

    Dr. Hsu,
    Parents are always parents. They will not relinquish their parental roles, especially Asian parents.

    Metaphorically, the PAP has taken on this parental role for many years and have brought up a principled, effecive, and progressive generation. Credo should be given to the current leaders.

    Being Asian, and having practised the Confucian Asian style of leadership and governance, this island state may find it stressful to wrestle out of the doting parental mould. However, over time things can change. Just like the pendulum can swing both ways.

    But what comes to mind is: Can parental change auger in a more liberal democratic thinking both to the parents and the children and the children’s children?


  8. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 00:13:14

    The world has changed so much in these 60 years.
    People are getting more materialistic and greedy.
    The Chinese parents are stll strict and great parents..regardless from a poor or rich family….all are very proud of their Chinese roots. ..and maintain the Chinese culture and traditions .with very little change ..even now.
    S’pore is somewhat a Cosmopolitan country..with great Western influences .
    The middle class and rich suffers more problems with children than the poor ones.
    But in Malaysia…all Malaysian Chinese parents have to adapt and adjust their lives with an unpredictable government…that changes laws like changing clothes.
    Most Malaysian Chinese go overseas to study..especially Britain and Australia….and so the parents of the young Malaysian Chinese spent most of their time to slog and save and send their children Overseas for better education.
    In S’pore..the children stick to study in their country and as such..togetherness with parents are strong.
    However..the power of Western influences are very strong and Western teaches their children to answer back…while Chinese culture teaches chidren to shut up and listen with respect to the parents.
    Concerning how to vote..I think S’poreans are more serious about their future and vote for the best.
    There is nothing much to complaint about PAP except..too bossy and strict.
    The fact that PAP cares for all and S’pore is so strong financialy and in their developments…clearly shows PAP politicians are not corrupted and all are perfomimg their jobs well.
    I think in S’pore…PAP will rule for a long long time….where all S’poreans can see their difficult lives made easier by the wisdom on PAP Govt.
    A small island with nothing becomes a center of finance and trade is no easy feat to accomplished.
    But if you compare S’pore with Malaysia..our country is paradise…made into hell country.. by the corrupted Govt…and yet UMNO B governs on and on for more than 50 years.
    It is only after 12th GE…Malaysians may one day enjoy the life they used to have…at par with S’poreans if not better.


  9. romerz
    May 06, 2011 @ 01:53:10

    As always a very accurate observation.

    Spoke to a couple of my Singaporean friends the other day and the common thing they all complained about was being “talked down to”. They feel that they are just as qualified if not more qualified than some of their ministers. Having had successful careers, contributed to nation-building, brought up successful children (the next generation of nation-builders), but yet they are “managed” like “children”.

    But they still see PAP as the “safe” choice for their security. In short I think they will keep Singapore in PAP’s hands but vote out senior ministers whom they see as aloof and out of touch.

    My prediction is that the opposition will make some inroads but not enough to deny PAP the 2/3 majority. If I have to stick my neck out, I would say that the opposition could win up to but no more than 10 seats.


  10. rayng
    May 06, 2011 @ 10:21:27

    I am Malaysian living in SG. My kids are Singaporean. I was at the Worker Party rally yesturday @Serangoon stadium.

    You right that many of them show up are from different contitiuency. However, most of the average singaporean are so feedup with the PAP government because they don’t really their feedback and resentments. No doubt that PAP govt has done a very good job in running the country, high GDP, efficient public services etc, but the PAP ministers because arrogant and behave like ‘dictator’.

    I believe that Singaporean wants a CHANGE from govt. The govt focus too much on GDP so much so that local cannot tahan. They want govt to take care of social issue like health care cost, transportation cost, HDB flat affortability, etc.

    Since PAP govt won’t listen to them, they might as well take this opportunity to vote in more opposition into parliament so that the opposition can check and balance the ruling party. Singapore is develop country, now is time to have 1st first parliament with sizible opposition in parliament.

    PAP will still in power. I believe strong opposition will compliment the ruling party. I believe the opposition is constructive and professional.

    by the way, I will be back to cast my vote during Malasyia election (June11?) I am in favour of opposition.


  11. Kenny
    May 06, 2011 @ 10:59:28

    PAP may face a voter backlash because of the way it has oppressed the opposition. Compliant courts were used to bankrupt opposition politicians even for marginal comments. It is said that only those who have nothing to lose (literally) join the opposition. PAP says there is no need for an opposition because it can govern responsibly.

    This goes against conventional wisdom that there is no democracy without an opposition. Singaporeans may still want PAP to govern them but they also want a creditable opposition in parliament.

    The PAP govt is not corrupt but it has given extraordinarily high salaries to its governing clique. Their economic standing is so disparage from ordinary Singaporeans that they have become disconnected with the people they govern. There was one senior govt officer who took a his family to Paris for one week French cooking lessons at a cost which would take years for ordinary Singaporeans to earn.

    Singapore is run like a business with the govt selling to the people. There is very little social welfare net for disadvantaged citizens. In this first world country you can find many senior citizens who should be playing with their grandchildren cleaning toilets. Just as BN means ‘Barang Naik’, PAP means ‘Pay and Pay!’

    The way the govt extend its fingers into their lives is stifling. Singapore must be the only country in the world which bans chewing gum and is a criminal offense not to flush a toilet. It’s control of the mass media is one of the tightest in the world. The tight rein on freedom of expression stifles creativity. Singapore has no global brands that they can be proud of.

    You may be surprised to know that on a percentage basis, the number of people who emigrate from Singapore is even higher than Malaysia. There is economic success but spiritual emptiness.

    I predict the opposition will make big gains in this election. The large crowds at opposition rallies is an ominous sign for PAP and the ruling party may yet be given a rude shock.


  12. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 11:39:23

    I for one hope there is change of government is Singapore soon.
    It is better and healtheir that way.


  13. manaman
    May 06, 2011 @ 11:42:07

    Singapore govt had NOT done enough for low income Singaporean ! This govt (though very rich already) still made low income Singaporean Pay And Pay !


  14. manaman
    May 06, 2011 @ 11:45:26

    87.6 year old Lee KY, still don’t want to retired ? still greedy for a big big monthly salary as MM? while low income Singaporean pay and pay ?


  15. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 12:21:17

    I do not think LKY is greedy for fame and fortune by standing for election.
    When a man is a true builder of a country against all odds…he need not prove anything to anyone.
    I am glad he is still active and well…and he was returned unopposed shows how much S’poreans love and respect him.
    If Mahathir have that confidence…he will never retire as PM or standing for election,
    He even lost at a Kedah tiny village election…feeling no all.
    Of course..he blamed money politics from Opposition killed his chance. That has always been his famous style….to blame others for what he is.
    Lee Kuan Yew is respected throughout the world.
    Why should he retire?
    Returned..unopposed why?…he is holding voters at ranson…like Najib doing now?


  16. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 12:24:29

    Poor poor low income S’poreans.
    Vote against PAP forever and ever…and hope all S’poreans become low income earners…to throw away PAP.


  17. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 12:27:26

    That can only happen….if PAP learn from Mahathir.
    In Malaysia….yes ..wage earners income getting smaller and smaller…so much sucked away by blood suckers.


  18. monsterball
    May 06, 2011 @ 12:31:26

    And that’s why Najib keep holding off…13th GE.
    People have spoken in 12th GE and Sarawak State election…no matter how one sees it…did not indicate good news for him.


  19. KeyStone
    May 06, 2011 @ 16:34:36

    If you want to know the ground level sentiments in Singapore, you go to local places, not Orchard Road, or take a taxi from Changi Airport, you will stand a good chance hearing how the ordinary Singaporean complains about their struggle to make ends meet and how hard they need to work to keep up with the cost of living. As with any other economically highly developed nations, the good GDP is only good for minority who earn enough to pay for the high cost of living and those a the top tier incomes. Social reform always falls behind and this creates resentment for the larger portion of the population who has to struggle. This is not unique to Singapore or Malaysia, it actually started with the US Presidential Election in 2008 which put the first black president in the White House! It is like a Tsunami sweeping across the globe. Do you see it now!


  20. Nick
    May 06, 2011 @ 17:19:50

    All eyes will be on the results from Aljunaid seat where there are 5 MPs in a grouping (GRC) led by that idefatigable Low Thian from WP. Then there is that truly highly educated lawyer Chen fella who represents all that the PAP wanted. But he left behind a comfortable cushy job to be a opposition politician. This is what “personal sacrifice” is, putting back to society. Salute him. My prediction is 7 seats for the opposition. Goodbye Mr. George Yeo! I hope a political Tsunami will hit Singapore and spread to Malaysia for our coming GE13.


  21. Rhan
    May 06, 2011 @ 20:05:35

    “I hope a political Tsunami will hit Singapore and spread to Malaysia for our coming GE13.”

    This is the crux of two party system in SEA region. PAP never wants to see BN get kicked out and vice versa. Therefore we must play a role to criticize a dictator leadership, and hope there is a peaceful transition of power via democratic process and election. We must be consistent to uphold the same principles, no one is indispensable in politics and government position, changes is always for betterment, we work to influence each other.

    Vote out PAP, vote out Lee family empire, vote out dictator.


  22. monsterball
    May 07, 2011 @ 14:08:32

    Where there is no CORUPTIONS … RACE and RELIGION ISSUES…and the country is strong and healthy…to vote the present Govt. out is to show the power of voters…more stronger than any Govt. of the day.
    Dictators or family running the not the main reason to vote these people out…as what counts up from is the results.
    To me…I hope S’poreans become People’s Power voters…copying American voters mentalitiles.
    Even the First Black President was voted in..there is still a touch of racism seen amongst youngsters…as seen how they vote at the American Idol show.


  23. bow
    May 08, 2011 @ 02:46:00

    Despite the fact Singapore is having high standard of living among ASEAN, Singaporeans don’t equate it as the same as having their universal human rights like personal freedom of expression and speech, and many other rights respected by their government. Not even mention that the high standard of living and high income the government created for Singaporeans is not distributed equally among its people. The unequal distribution of nation’s wealth is high in Singapore compare to less developed nations in Asia.


  24. monsterball
    May 09, 2011 @ 12:59:05

    There is always reasons to complaint.
    It is nature of human beings.
    The main reason for S’poreans to vote PAP out sooner or later is time for a change and some ministers are really bossy and arrogant.
    We can smell it as an art from some bunkum unproductive menatlities there….very famous in our country.
    More and more S’poreans want a change in Govt…and that’s very healthy sign indeed.
    PAP wants to govern forever for reasons totally different from UMNO B.
    PAP thinks they are the best and have proven it..time and time again.
    PAP knows S’pore have nothing but manpower and brains and stick to a strong military rule attitudes.
    That makes young voters will rebel and vote them out.
    If PAP can find a formula to relax and an art how to talk to young voters in this 21st Century style…and learn to listen to their problems by encouraging youngsters to speak out forums after forums and walk in the streets to talk to them…PAP may learn a new art how to be humble and admit their mistakes.
    PAP must forget how they slogged and bring S’pore up 50 years ago. That’s history..young voters don’t care too much.
    What they want are better salaries..and working conditions.
    I bet you….S’pore youngsters are prepared to work much harder..faster and longer hours…to sort of ask the Govt, stop importing so many foreign workers and pass the salaries to them.
    S’pore has surpassed S.Korea and now must find out how Japanese citizens work.


  25. monsterball
    May 09, 2011 @ 13:41:14

    I repeat…if PAP is proven a corrupted government like UMNO B is…S”poreans will vote them out long long ago.
    It seems 40% voters voted against PAP.
    That’s good news that S’poreans are heading for a two party system.
    It will be better…to make PAP as the Opposition in nexT GE.


  26. bow
    May 10, 2011 @ 00:54:21

    I bet after this election, PAP will have to humble itself before the nation and Singaporeans, if not, they will be make to pay the ultimate price by the young voters in the next election. It is democracy at work, time change and younger generation of Singaporeans expectation had raised. PM. LSL shouldn’t take the election outcome too personal, but should begin to respect the voters wishes, humble himself, learn to talk and work for theinterests of avearge Singaporeans, not that of big corporations like his father.


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