Speaking on the platform of the ESS' (Economic Society of Singapore) annual dinner, PM Lee Hsien Loong boasted how well Singapore has performed, "In terms of per capita GDP we are slightly above US$50,000 (S$64,000) last year, which placed us 11th world¬wide, ahead of the USA." He reminded his audience that in a similar speech in 2003, he had personally outlined then how he could transform Singapore into a dynamic, global city. What he did not take credit for was what he termed the "daily stresses and strains" i.e. more crowding in public places, housing and public transport falling behind the needs of a larger population, friction between locals and new arrivals. That he would lay blame on the moaners and the groaners.
It was a far cry from the "apology" at a lunchtime election rally of May 2011.
"...because of the IR, more Singaporeans are at risk of problem gambling, more families are at risk. High growth is good, but because of growth, we have to take in somewhat more foreign workers, we have to be prepared to accept a little bit more congestion for the time being.
...These are real problems – we will tackle them, but I hope you will understand that when these problems vex you or disturb you or upset your lives, please bear with us, we are trying our best on your behalf. And if we didn’t quite get it right, I’m sorry, but we will try and do better the next time."
Compare the know-it-all posturing at the ESS dinner to what Khaw Boon Wan abjectly acknowledged during the Hougang by-election rally,
"...But infrastructure, especially housing and transport, could not cope with the sudden increase in population. We are adjusting the policies, slowing down the growth of foreign population, while ramping up the infrastructure.
These national issues are of concern to all Singaporeans, not just those in Hougang. The Government is attending to them. We are confident that within 4 to 5 years, the situation should improve significantly."
Singapore is fortunate in that we do not lie within prominent seismic zones, such as the Alpide, which extends from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic. What we suffer most is from egoists who think they alone have all the answers, and refuse to own up to their duds.