|What about net happiness?|
For a "seasoned politician", MP since 1997, Zainul should have heeded the Bard's words from Macbeth, "Where we are, /There's daggers in men's smiles." He joins a chorus of sore losers who blame "national issues" for their downfall. There's nothing "national" about bread and butter issues like cost of living, affordable housing and being crowded out by foreigners, except that these are nation wide detritus of defective policy making. When BG Tan Chuan-Jin told the May 4 lunchtime rally at UOB Plaza that the ruling party has to change in order to retain the "moral authority", he only scratched the surface of a metasizing malaise in leadership. Debunking Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim's cavalier everything-is-water-under-the-bridge dismissal, Zainul Abidin Rasheed maintains otherwise: "You need only ask the Malays and Muslims in Singapore - many were hurt by those (MM's Hard Truth) remarks and remain so".
Zainul was once seconded to Mendaki and MUIS, where he was in position to provide inputs to aid a minority group. Personally, he represents a triumph over the marginal placing in a multi-racial society, thanks to being included in a higher income tax bracket. His children succeeded while their peers are still trying to play catch up in the fast paced GDP rat race. But Chinese and Indian Singaporeans have also slipped through the cracks of a jaundiced system that tend to favour the anointed elites. The income disparity will never narrow when the rich continue to be pampered with policy changes like the abolishing of estate duty, while the call for exemption of GST for essential items fall on deaf ears.
Zainul said that he is unlikely to stand for election again in 2016, but will remain as adviser to the grassroots organisations in Aljunied GRC, unless the party decides otherwise. The curious bit is his steadfast refusal to be the next Speaker of Parliament. One would think a voice in parliament has more impact in transforming society than a voice in a Residents' Committee. Perhaps he is sending a message that the wayang will go on, despite all the abject apologies and promises to reform their bad old ways. Besides, "Having not been elected, it is not appropriate for me to be considered as Speaker of Parliament." For this affirmation of personal integrity, Zainul can hold his head up high.