on 'The Opposition'. A reply to an email

I received an email a couple of days ago from a bloke who asked me why I insist on berating the opposition given that i’m on the oppositional side of things myself.

Dear .....

There is no doubt that i’m on the side of the opposition. However, the question that begs to be asked, and which few are asking, is, ‘is the opposition on the side of the opposition?’ Or is the opposition simply determining its locale from being in disagreement with the party in power? At the core of it all, what the opposition ought to be going against is the self-absorption in the government. This translates to economic, ethnic, cultural, types of self-absorption, amongst others. Being at loggerheads with the government in one arena, or in a few aspects of each or some arena is not good enough to determine the oppositional status of an individual or party. There must be an acute awareness amongst the opposition that, given the continued and successful rule of the party in power for close to half a century, it is impossible for ‘the problem‘ to remain located in the government and none other. In the worst instance, and which is most certainly the case, the opposition themselves would be afflicted with varying and appreciable degrees of self-absorption. At this point, what would be required is that opposition to the government be complemented with openness to critique and change within the former. However, this is not the case.

It seems that the opposition goes by the selfsame approach of the government in the past, ‘if you want to get involved in politics, join a party’. Being of the party of the citizenry wasn’t enough, and this simultaneously betrays the government’s devaluation of the citizenry. Whilst the government has gradually pulled back from this position, we are seeing the same approach amongst the opposition now. They seem to have an ‘you’re either with us or against us’ approach. You could say that the opposition has become even more authoritarian than the government. Whilst the government used the ISD to terrorise and literally beat oppositional elements into submission, the oppositional side now uses the more humane and subtle means of turning the discounting cheek in the face of critique.

On the propositional side of things, we saw the worship of prominence and power in the form of supporters rallying around the PAP or Lee Kuan Yew. On the oppositional side of things, we see them rallying around prominent ‘new media’ and Dr this and thats. Just a cursory glance ought to reveal to one that there is hardly any effort at all to improve their various parties through critique, or efforts to contend with difference in opinion by bloggers. It’s either our way or the highway, goes the Confucian ethos amongst the opposition themselves now.

What led me to move against the opposition myself was, finally, their approach to ‘foreigners’ which is nothing short of, and verifiably, fascist. As I have mentioned in a few of my observations, they are just about identical to the fascist British National Party in their approach. This applies to the various oppositional political parties, the ‘new media’ such as TOC, TR, Singaporedaily.net, and just about every single singaporean blogger. As I have said in my observations, and i reiterate here, fascism is not to be known only by what is said, but what is left unsaid in the face of fascist diatribes. I have noticed, too many times for me to ignore, that the oppositional side is not vociferous in its contention with bigoted approaches by the government that disadvantages ethnic minorities, and nor do they take issue with bloggers who are guilty of it themselves in what is said and unsaid. Even then, I kept on the side of the opposition. However, when i now observe them complementing their apathy of the past with the activism against ‘foreigners’ that seek to demonise their entirety, that was the final straw.

What was especially disgusting was the way some, with impunity, went on about how foreigners were compromising their economic stability or diluting ‘singaporean’ culture. At this time, they attempted to rally all singaporeans regardless of ‘race’ upon an us vs. the foreigner stage whilst completely ignoring the fact that they weren’t as vociferous or detailed when ethnic minorities in singapore were disadvantaged via a host of means in the past and present in relation the the ‘majority’, or how the ‘singaporean’ culture they seem to be so protective of is nothing more than the result of the dilution of all cultures other than Chinese culture. it was in the face of these facts that I was forced to concede that the local oppositional movement for what it indisputably is in essence, a pro-Chinese fascist movement that is attempting to protect the privileged status they had been accorded by the government whilst unwittingly presenting it as a pro-singaporean movement. It is then that I realised that if I was still on the oppositional side of the fence, my view of the opposition was marred by the fence betwixt. The 'opposition' keeps looking toward the west and whilst lauding its version of democracy. Why, pray tell, are they not doing so when it comes to comparing themselves with the western version of inter-ethnic empathy or fascism? That, again, is one of the indicators of the fascist nature of the 'opposition'. It seems that party leaders make relatively safe economic statements against 'foreigners' whilst leaving the rest of singaporean bloggers and 'new media' to serve as the 'oppositional jugend' and perspectival thugs against difference. If you look at it closely enough, you will realise that what the government did unto ethnic minorities, the opposition validates via their apathy, and is now doing likewise against foreigners. A pathetic state of affairs really. It's come to a point that if I want to see the 'majority' standing up vociferously for ethnic minorities, I'll have to go to the UK for that. Quite the 'tourist attraction' I must say.

The opposition has been, and is being, let down by its underqualified leaders. All of them, with no exception. They ought to have been watchful of the evolution of its ranks and appreciate, with humility, that nobody is insusceptible to socialisation, and especially within a monocultural milieu that produces subservience, apathy, self-absorption, ignorance, marginalisation, and a penchant for the obvious. They, in their approach toward ‘foreigners’, have betrayed themselves victims of this milieu. My heart goes out to the empathetic out there. In seeking an alternative to the government, they will choose the opposition, not because they are an alternative, but because they hold the monopoly of the word. And if they ever come into power, those socialised within these conditions, will certainly grow to know no better.

In the final analysis sir, the 'opposition' is certainly an alternative to the government, just as the bourgeoisie was an alternative to the absolutist monarchies of the past, but when it comes to being a non-fascist alternative to the government, the combination of their oversights and insights come together as an indictment of their status and a vindication of this statement.

Keep well,



    The Flyingsaucer

  2. Very insightful article, Ed.

    The so-called Opposition addresses only on a few aspects of some arena.The fundamental issues on racial discrimination and unequal treatment of the minorities have never really been addressed.

    I fail to see any true Opposition exists in singapore - just some groups of people trailing behind the government, occasionally raising their dissatifaction.

  3. Maybe we should not see the opposition as a monolithic bloc, but rather several groups of self-interested parties with disparate ideologies.

    Certainly, while I most likely stand in opposition to your declared egalitarian democratic ideals (I have lost faith in both egalitarianism and democracy), I think I can safely say I'm also on your side, as being the opposition.

    On the issue of immigration alone, I conclude that I am opposed to the power of the state to grant favours, whether to citizen or foreigner. As you pointed out, that is fascist and against liberty in any case. So why should the state have this power at all?

  4. .

    'Being the opposition' does not put us on the same side unfortunately. And especially in the Singaporean scenario when both the government and opposition are fascist by insight and oversight respectively. In that, the latter is the progeny of the former.

    I am, however, interested to know why you might have lost faith in that which is yet to be - egalitarianism & democracy.

  5. Hi Tracy,

    Well, an 'opposition' does certainly exist in singapore except that they like to think themselves democrats simply because they are more libertarian in some respects than the government.

    However, given their oversights, they cannot be viewed as 'democrats' per se. For instance, in opposition to 'foreigners', and the tone it often takes, one could view them as ultra-right wing nationalists. And when one looks at their consistent oversights in the face of non-Chinese interests, fascist democrats whom mainly seek to maintain local Chinese advantage.

  6. .
    Hello Flying Saucer,

    Thank you for considering :) But I dare say that few would bother as it does not deal with 'majority' interests.


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