Tuesday, October 11, 2011


By Mansor Puteh

Orchids are the official flower of Singapore; they do not have much of a smell. And they are now starting to really bloom in this country, and out of season, as much as jasmine has since May in the few Arab countries.

The Melayu in Singapore who were taken out from their villages and areas especially Geylang and Geylang Serai so they could not form any significant group, so that they are spread widely and thinly amongst the non-Melayu and Chinese majority.

They are now a political force to be taken for granted, even if they don’t know it.

Not allowing female Melayu students to wear the headscarves to school while readily embracing Islamic banking and the halal industry, and taking some opposition to court may be some of the reasons for the PAP to lose votes in the last general election.

Does this mean to say if this rule is still enforced the Melayu in Singapore will continue to respond to it accordingly in the next general election?

And does this also mean if the PAP government in Singapore allows Melayu students to wear the ‘tudung’ in school, they can count on the votes from the Melayu?

So it’s up to the PAP to decide to choose ‘tudung’ and votes from the Melayu.

Not allowing Melayu and Muslim students to cover their heads in school can result in the PAP being covered in the next general election.

But Singaporeans are not comfortable to speculate on political issues and such matters, so they are not discussed openly. They only know they can vote any which way they like. They are now empowered by it.

Their senior political leaders, however, do not practice this, as they often give their views on things related to Malaysia and get away with it most of the time.

The Melayu in Singapore may be outnumbered, but their fourteen percent population size in many areas and political constituencies are now significant than ever before.

After having been sidelined for so long, their hopes for a better future may not be with PAP after all, if they don’t know that too.

I am sure many of them have realized this and wanted to show their contempt by voting opposition in the last general election.

So the Orchid Revolution of the Singapore Spring which happens almost unconsciously and in an unusually quiet way befits the manners and civility the Singaporeans are known to have.

Has the Orchid Revolution of the Arab Spring finally come in the Singapore Spring?

It has, and almost unexpectedly, from under their feet as many of the PAP leaders were looking elsewhere, to find ways on how to get more sand, for instance and other things.

The Jasmine Revolution in the Arab countries gave many Singaporeans an idea. But they did not know what to do with the emotions and secret fantasies before which they do now.

They found out better come 31 August, 2011, when Malaysian prime minister, Najib Tun Razak announced the repealing of the Internal Security Act or ISA.

The repercussion could be felt south of the Causeway and right into the heart of the Singapore Left.

This has caused a lot of consternation and even uneasiness by the PAP government leaders in Singapore.

So now it is better to talk of the PAP government of Singapore and not just the Government of Singapore anymore.

Are the Melayu in Singapore with the PAP? What did they tell the PAP in the last general election?

Did the Melayu who could not say or do much tell the PAP that they had had enough of them?

The Melayu in Singapore with fourteen percent of the population had stagnated numerically, since they are not allowed to expand their numbers biologically, and by percentage by design, and economically, too.

We now hear Singapore prime minister who talks about the Melayu there whom he said are slowly rising up with more of the younger ones who are able to enroll at the universities.

Doesn’t he know Melayu in Malaysia enter the universities in Malaysia and those abroad almost without much effort?

In Singapore when their Melayu do that, it is a stunning achievement.

The PAP government leaders never talked about how the Indian students who could enter university and get important posts in the government and the private sector in the country with many of them being given top posts in the cabinet and the diplomatic missions.

One has yet to see a Melayu being appointed ambassador high commissioner of Singapore.

Most of those who were sent to their mission in Kuala Lumpur were Chinese and Indians. There is not one Melayu who had been given this job.

The first president of Singapore is a Melayu called Yusof Ishak. Because of that his photo is used in the currency of the country. This post was originally meant to be rotated between the major races.

For a while this was what had happened, yet no Melayu had been given the opportunity to become president of the republic.

Now that the post is elected by the voters, chances for a Melayu to become president are even remote.

There is simply no Melayu in Singapore who can fit the bill to contest in the presidential election in Singapore, even if the PAP government wants to nominate one.

So the new Singapore Dilemma is: It now has to decide if they want to repeal their own ISA or not.

They had said they would do it, if Malaysia did it first.

Their new leaders do not remember this ‘pledge’ which was reported in the papers. It was probably made by some senior in their cabinet.

Now the PAP government says they are not about to do it, since their own version of the ISA is not the same as that of Malaysia.

No ISA is different than the other.

Long-time ISA detainee of Singapore Poh Thye Chia, who has served 26 years in prison and the last few years living on an isolated island by himself stand to gain the most from this talk on ISA.

He and fellow former ISA detainees of Singapore are suddenly given a trust.

Could Poh become the leader of the New Singapore? He can.

The more he is left alone in physical restriction on the island, the more he will become a freedom icon.

On the contrary, if he is finally released back to society, he can do as much damage to PAP as he languishes on the island.

Either way, the PAP government loses. The future of the PAP in Singapore is bleak. They had achieved their peak after barely forty-eight years forming the government.

Repealing the ISA had created Malaysia into a new freedom icon. It challenges America’s position and standing in the democratic world.

Guantanamo Bay must be shut down, so that America can aspire to come up to par with Malaysia’s.

There is nothing that America can teach Malaysia on democracy, but there are a lot of things that Malaysia can teach America on it.

Poh can be trusted to lead the fledging opposition of Singapore who despite having won six seats in the last general election, yet, they do not seem to have any real leader.

This act is cunning as it is surreal.

Anyone who is seen to be a leader of the opposition can be targeted. So they end up not having one.

In the end, it is the voters of Singapore who are the ‘leaders’ of the opposition.

And forty percent of the voters of Singapore comprising of about 800,000 are those who did not care to vote for the PAP. And the number is increasing by the day.

The repealing of the ISA by Malaysia in the last day of August, which is the Merdeka or Independence Month of Malaysia, sees a tide to the Left in Singapore.

Now with the reemergence of Poh, there is a very good chance for the tide to surge forward even more and in all directions.

But in Singapore – and it is a Uniquely Singapore! way, the people are just voters. And they have to wait for the polls to come around for them to show their true feelings.

In normal pre- or post-elections time, they remain placid keeping their feelings and emotions on anything concerning Singapore to themselves.

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