Dear “Bryan Lee”,
From one world-class educated Singaporean (and Lance Armstrong fan) to another, I must say your work, which I saw on the Party page, is a piece of art. Allow me to reproduce your work and offer some critique (in italics) should you feel compelled again to craft a sequel.
Sharing an article received in the mail (these weren’t your words but I love that it suggests that ordinary people outside the Party agrees with you and care enough to spread your message).
Like many young Singaporeans, I have been thrust (oooh – strong word that suggests violence being forced upon you and the reader wonders, by whom? probably those ungrateful and unkind Singaporeans that supports other parties) into this dilemma (strictly speaking, this isn’t a dilemma which is “a problem offering two possibilities” but I love how you introduce some imperfections into your argument to make it more convincing – masterful!) that plague (yes, it’s a disease!) my generation – I seem to be living in an affluent society, yet I am the recipient of the clear messaging (masterful! I love how you counter one “clear message” with a subtle one! it also suggests to the reader that there is an agenda behind this “clear messaging” where we are the passive recipients) that I have to despise and oppose the government and the system I live in (a bit strong but I love the passion! please keep driving the message that those who oppose the party are violent, disorderly and ungrateful! love it!).
For the better part of the 23 years of my life (i think it’s great to reach out to young people but perhaps in the sequel, you could be 40 as we would need to reach out to older people as well), I have constantly been barraged by criticism and cynicism about everything associated with the government here – from policies, the government’s “direct role” in certain areas and why it isn’t doing enough in others?
Growing up with this cynicism has also brought me to be sceptical and suspicious of the government and its actions, no matter how well-meaning (masterful – dropping “well-meaning” here! so subtle!) they may be. You can’t really blame me for thinking this way, can you? (could this be your best sentence yet? you are giving permission to the reader who has been critical of the Party to feel ok about themselves and getting them on your side! genius!) After all, subliminal messaging (masterful! I love how you counter one “subliminal messaging” with another!) can be a convincing tool, especially when it happens regularly. Worse still, some of this scepticism has also extended beyond the government to bring me to be disengaged with the country (bravo! those who question the Party harms the country! genius!). So when I served my national service a few years ago, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this? Why should I dedicate my 2 years to the country? After all, what has it done for me?”
Call it a prickling conscience or the desire to learn and understand for myself (yes, if only we could think for ourselves, we would love the Party), but I was uncomfortable feeling this way. My life is pretty good. I seem to be in a better position than many of the people I see in neighbouring countries I have visited. What is it that this country has given me?
Serendipity struck (hehe, if serendipity was as handsome as Michael Palmer. swoon!) and the by-election in Punggol East suddenly arrived. I thought to myself, “Here is a chance for me to do some introspection.”
So on Friday night, I went to the first by-election rally, incidentally (i love how this suggests that you are not a Party member. wink wink.) that of the ruling party. I heard many individuals go up and make speeches amidst the rain to a crowd, which I suspect may not be as large as one may see at a WP rally for example (they may be popular, but they may not be right! dammit!). But then, I didn’t expect anything else as facts and figure (YES! the Party sticks to the facts. the Others tell fake stories which is why they are popular! love love love!) often do not make for exciting fodder. Admittedly, some of the speeches were delivered eloquently and with passion but a couple made me wish I were elsewhere (love it! a strategic admission of weakness makes you more convincing. it’s ok to be dull, it’s not as bad as the Others who only know how to tell fake stories to make the crowd angry. not the crowds’ fault but the Others).
But one thing struck me during the speeches, particularly those made by the PAP political leaders on air during the rally. Education.
That one word, reiterated by many of the PAP leaders on that wet (wah! so real! you give such a wonderful sense of place! i feel like I am there!) Friday night in Punggol East, answered the burning question (wah! so passion!) inside me. That is what my country (love how you use “country” so interchangeably with the Party!) has given me: A world-class education system (I admire your resourcefulness. housing, public transport, quality of life aren’t that hot now but your determined focus on “world-class” education tied to employment and self-esteem is truly without peer). One that will stay with me for the rest of my life. That is the best gift any parent can give any child, (love it! always credit the parents. also, if we take all the credit, nobody will believe us) and any government can give any citizen. A system that will provide you with an education, that will not only suit your abilities, but one that will make you employable so that you are empowered to be able to provide for yourself and not be dependent on handouts by the government. In short, an education that is the pillar (great word choice! education is erect with esteem!) of our self-esteem.
On the way back from the rally, I pondered over this a little more. I thought about my neighbour, with whom I had honed my footballing skills with (football is a great popular choice! and truly, what a classless system we have!). He didn’t do too well in secondary school and went to ITE. But that wasn’t the end of the road for him. He has just recently completed his polytechnic diploma in electrical engineering and has landed a job as a technician with a MNC here (MNC is sexy! much better than SMEs or Party-linked companies like AIM).
Then there is also my younger cousin, who didn’t have a conducive learning environment at home and fared poorly in her PSLE as she had problems reading complete sentences. Many of our relatives spelt doom for her (obviously, with your “world-class” education system, you are not suggesting that your relatives are causing her harm. i get it! again you’re trying to introduce imperfections here to enhance the persuasiveness of your message! gennnnius!). She went to Northlight school, completed her education there and moved on to the ITE. In her second year in the ITE now, she has new found confidence (love how you drop the word “con-fidence” in this piece. i get it!) and is even being sent abroad by her school for an industrial experience program her (on a personal note, if she exists, I wish they send her to another country with a “world-class” system because they are not that many. send her my love!)
Such is the influence of education that even those from more fortunate backgrounds benefit from it (thank you for reminding us that the Party isn’t just for the downtrodden and despised but also for the rich and esteemed). Education is a great social leveller, even in today’s age, and has helped Singaporeans bolster their self-esteem, financial and emotional well-being (may I suggest that the next National Day song incorporates this message– “whenever I am feeling low, I look at my O-level cert and I know”?). For that alone, I am indebted to Singapore and the government (gennnnius! Singapore=Party! “one Nation, one Party, one Singapore”).
“Bryan Lee”, our country owes you a great debt. Looking forward to the sequel.