June 25, 2017

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by George Khoo

I saw the signs a couple of months before my daughter’s wedding. The year running up to this point had been rough. I was feeling upset, tired, irritable and angry almost every day. I teared up easily and was constantly thinking negative thoughts, sometimes even suicidal ones.

Even though I was so tired most days, I wasn’t able to sleep properly, often waking up in the wee hours of the morning. How I felt added to my fatigue, frustration, hopelessness, guilt and feelings of worthlessness.

While the truth that I was clinically depressed started to sink in, I was probably still in denial and hoped that with time, rest and exercise, things would improve. However, it just got worse and the low moods and negative thoughts persisted.

Part of the reason for not seeking help early was because I’m from the medical profession. I felt that admitting that I needed help would not reflect well on me – a healthcare provider who’s not even able to care for himself.

 

How did it get this bad?

It wasn’t the volume of work that affected me most but the issues in my relationships. I have always tried to live peacefully with my fellow man and it’s not in my nature to confront others. However, the leadership roles I’ve taken up at work and in my church have increasingly put me into situations that require confrontation.

I had patients that year that I expected would be grateful to me but turned around to question me on the wisdom of the recommendations I had made with their best interests at heart. I had a colleague who was pushing me to pursue something I was not comfortable with. And I had to confront people who had made wrong choices and required disciplinary action. Meanwhile, in church, a man told me to my face that he wanted me to step down as a church leader.

The worst was when a leader at work, unhappy with a policy I was trying to revise, accused me of being more interested in systems and policies than in caring for patients. I had spent sleepless nights worrying for my patients and trying to get them good healthcare and while what the leader said was absurd, it really hurt to hear him say that to me.

All of this played into my feelings of worthlessness and frustration, causing me to feel even more irritable and upset than I already was.

 

An unusual sense of loss

At some point, however, I realised that these were not the only causes for what I was feeling. It dawned on me that a big factor was the prospect of ‘losing’ my precious daughter once she gets married. That year, we must have attended close to 10 other weddings and I dreaded going to them because they just reminded me that soon, I was to give away my own daughter. Each wedding became more and more difficult to attend and the worst was the one two weeks before her wedding. I teared throughout the wedding thinking of what it was going to be like on that day!

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I was unable to make sense of how depressed this made me feel until I read Unmasking Male Depression by Archibald D. Hart:

“Then there was the time when my first daughter was going to be married. I found myself quite depressed a few months before the wedding. Finally, it dawned on me that my little girl was saying goodbye to me in favour of a young man who was not part of me. Like it or not, being excited for my daughter was not enough to overcome my sense of sadness. I was facing a loss that could never be replaced. There were those who said to me, “You’re not losing a daughter but gaining a son-in-law.” What a ridiculous idea! What I was losing could not be counterbalanced by what I was gaining. Every father of a daughter knows that a son-in-law does not equal a daughter!”

Coming across that passage was like hitting the jackpot (not that I play). Finally, someone understood how I was feeling – he had been through the same thing and knew how I felt.

 

Getting help

I finally plucked up the courage to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to confirm my own suspicion. I needed to know for sure, to be fair to my family and my loved ones. In any case, I had reached a point where not much else mattered and I wasn’t bothered about the stigma associated with taking anti-depressants 

I had reached a point where not much else mattered and I wasn’t bothered about the stigma associated with taking anti-depressants

I was put on Lexapro (escitalopram) and during my review, three and half months after my first appointment, my psychiatrist doubled my dosage. I was definitely feeling better in terms of having less frequent thoughts of hopelessness and a stop to the suicidal thoughts but I was not “walking on clouds”. About a week later, I distinctly remember waking up one morning and thinking: “Oh, this is what it feels to be normal?” That morning, after many months of feeling down, moody and negative, I felt that burden lift. My medication was working well.

The other thing that helped me greatly was reading the Bible and other Christian literature on depression and burnout. I found them to be great in creating self-awareness and for self-therapy.

 

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”Psalm 27:13-14

“Despite being a dedicated gospel-hearted Christian who preached grace, the truth is that I was dangerously close to living a gospel of works, not grace.” – Christopher Ash, Zeal without Burnout

“The surprising truth is that the person who pauses long enough to refresh his soul along the way actually becomes more alert, more alive, more efficient.” – W. Phillip Keller, Strength of Soul

 

The other main factor on my road to recovery was the tremendous support given to me by my beloved wife and family. At the end of our family holiday, six weeks before my daughter’s wedding, I decided to be open with them at the airport while waiting for our flight back to Singapore. I am thankful that they took it very well and were very encouraging.

My wife, who knew my struggles all throughout, was a pillar of strength when my whole world was crumbling emotionally. She is not only my best confidante and my best friend, she also makes me laugh and reminded me to rest. She was ever patient with me when I was negative and moody and even scratches my back to help me sleep! God gave her the strength and grace to put up with me.

It’s been a two and a half year journey and while my psychiatrist has encouraged me to try weaning off the Lexapro, I realise that as long as I am in my current role, in church and at work, it would not be possible. I have tried weaning it off but have had to go back on my medication rather quickly. Nonetheless, my dosage has halved and my recovery has been steady.

Having been through the worst periods has helped me to be more disciplined about taking regular breaks. Now, I take a week off every three to four months and am intentional about observing the weekly Sabbath as a time of rest from work. As the writer Christopher Ash puts it in Zeal without Burnout, “God needs no day off. But I am not God, and I do.”

 

Stigma

I have chosen to be open about the fact that I am still on anti-depressants because there is a need to remove the stigma associated with it. In Singapore and in this part of the world, to be on anti-depressants is still very much taboo. Thankfully, I work in a Christian organization that fully understands and supports my stand. However, other employers may not be as understanding and that is probably one of the main reasons why people do not speak up – the fear of losing their jobs or not getting one should they be honest.

While it is probably too idealistic to expect no discrimination at all, I hope that we can help employers be open to accepting applicants with a history of mental illness but are stable on medication. They should be at least considered in the same way as those with other chronic illnesses such as hypertension or diabetes. As long as they are capable of performing the tasks and do not pose a danger to themselves or others, they should be given equal opportunities.

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. – Psalm 16:6

 

Dr George Khoo is a general practitioner in his late 50’s and serves as the Medical Advisor for a Christian organisation. George is married to Mabel and has two grown up children, both happily married. George and Mabel have a newborn grandchild and are expecting a second within the next few weeks.

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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THE Ministry of Health will merge the current six healthcare clusters into three clusters to serve the central, east and west of Singapore.

The naming’s a little funny for regional-focused clusters: National Healthcare Group + Alexandra Health System will be called National Healthcare group (NHG). Eastern Health Alliance + Singapore Health Services will be called SingHealth. Jurong Health Services + National University Health System will be called National University Health System (NUHS). One would have thought that “Jurong”, “Alexandra” and “Eastern” would be self-explanatory and save everyone the trouble of realising that “National” and “Singapore” don’t actually serve the whole nation of Singapore.

Whatever you call them, three clusters instead of six means that each cluster will be able to offer a full range of healthcare services and options, including general hospitals, community hospitals, polyclinics, and a medical school each. Specialist centres in each of the clusters will continue to serve the whole of Singapore.

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The revamp will be an opportunity to optimise resources and manpower and centralise more functions. It is designed to meet challenges ahead, such as our ageing population, and an increased chronic disease burden, although reports did not specify exactly how it would achieve this. Better integration in care?

Healthcare analyst Jeremy Lim said in TODAY that the changes were a shift towards preventative health, although the health ministry said that the patient experience will not be impacted in the short term. Just go about using the healthcare system as per normal and over the long term things will improve. We’re terribly curious to know exactly how that will work out.

From mega-healthcare clusters to mega-childcare centres. Two 1,000-place centres in Punggol (My First Skool and PAP Community Foundation), a 400-place one in Sengkang (Skool4Kidz) and a 300-place centre in Bukit Panjang (My First Skool) will be ready by mid 2018.

Registration for places starts in the second quarter of 2017.

Asean should band together and cooperate on tourism, says PM Lee Hsien Loong. This will help the bloc succeed in a global climate of isolationism and uncertainty. He called regional cooperation a “life raft” in tough times.

To that end, a new campaign was launched to promote Asean as a unified travel destination and celebrate Asean’s 50 years as a grouping. However, the name “Visit Asean@50” seems more like it is encouraging people to go on holidays once they’ve hit the age of 50.

Not that it puts any damper on tourism from China to Singapore. There was a 36 per cent rise in China tourists from January to November 2016, compared to the same period in 2015 and that meant that Chinese were the largest visitor group by nationality, pipping Indonesians by 2.6 million to 2.5 million. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) wants to reach out to tier two and three Chinese cities now.

 

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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by Elvin Ong

SINGAPORE appears to be entering into a prolonged period of economic stagnation with its eyes wide open. As said by Mr Manu Bhaskaran and Mr Donald Low in a recent article, recent domestic and global developments mean that “all the main engines of growth seem to have stalled”.

So what should the G do?

The two esteemed economists argue that the G should provide fiscal counter-cyclical support within the overall context of Singapore’s declining cost competitiveness. They suggest a series of one-off discretionary measures, such as the front-loading of construction contracts, cash transfers to households, and one-off rental and income tax rebates.

They also suggest developing stronger “automatic stabilisers”, such as unemployment insurance, although that point was justified only briefly at the end of the very long article.

Another recent article published by The Middle Ground suggested other forms of short-term counter-cyclical support. The author suggested easing the current restrictions on foreign labour entry, wage freezes, and even cutting the employer’s CPF contribution rates.

Unfortunately, a few key questions regarding these recommendations are left unanswered.

For instance, if a government only has finite resources (monetary, intellectual, and bureaucratic capacity) to expend, which type of counter-cyclical measures should they prioritise?

Moreover, which type of counter-cyclical measure would actually be better for the future economy? The answers to these questions are strongly contingent on one’s view of who the measures actually benefit.

 

Jobs, but at what cost?

Let us first look at what the G did in response to previous economic recessions. In response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, it introduced a $20.5 billion Resilience Package. The core component was a jobs credit scheme which subsidised the wages of Singaporean workers, thus promoting job retention.

The response to the 1998 Asian financial crisis was similar. Wage cuts, CPF cuts, and tax rebates of all sorts to promote job retention. All short-term one-off discretionary measures for companies.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that these measures benefited companies more than they did for workers.

Ostensibly to promote “job retention”, these subsidies and cost cutting measures provided a safety net for companies to buffer them from the creative-destructive forces of capitalism. Low-productivity and incompetent firms thrived from such subsidies and chugged along, safe from the winds of change with their G-sponsored safety bubbles.

To be sure, Singaporean workers kept their jobs. But they kept their jobs in firms that would not have survived in the absence of G intervention. The present quagmire of Singapore’s productivity stagnation is partly attributable to low-productivity firms that continue to thrive. The easiest place to do business in the world means that low-productivity firms continue to find it easy to do business.

 

People first

Rather than implementing textbook remedies to subsidise businesses in order to “retain jobs”, the G should let failing firms fail, and direct their attention towards helping unemployed workers. There are generally two forms of unemployment measures – passive and active.

Passive unemployment measures include “automatic stabilisers” like unemployment insurance. The argument for unemployment insurance is not just that they are counter-cyclical or immune to political cycles as Mr Bhaskaran and Mr Low rightly pointed out, they are also necessary for allowing workers to buy time to find the right jobs for their skills.

If 20-year-olds find it difficult to learn coding, how many 50-year-olds can you convince to do the same?

Contrary to popular belief that “any job is a good job”, and that one should not be too picky about their jobs, persistent underemployment (the phenomena where one is overqualified for a job) fuels an education arm race with little corresponding increase in wages and productivity.

The extra time bought by passive unemployment measures also neatly complement active unemployment measures, such as training programmes to up-skill or re-skill workers.

Unemployed workers need to undergo at least a few months of training to fit their new jobs in higher-productivity firms. The higher the value of the new job, the higher the value of skill needed, the longer and more intensive the training regime required. Moreover, the more different the job, the more time required to get adjusted too.

Arguably, the current puzzle of the mismatch between jobs and skills in the local economy reflects the very long time lag needed to retrain workers for jobs in different industries, or for higher value jobs. If a significant proportion of 20-year-olds find it difficult to learn how to code, how many 50-year-olds can you convince to stay in the course to learn coding?

 

Help needed

To be fair, the G currently has numerous programmes for the training and re-skilling of workers such as Adapt and Grow programme. But the vast range of schemes available makes it very difficult for an ordinary worker to navigate, much like how the “many helping hands” system of social assistance schemes make it difficult for poor Singaporeans to understand.

Just like how we currently have Social Service Offices dotted throughout the country to coordinate assistant schemes to help low-income Singaporeans, perhaps we need more physical e2i offices to coordinate outreach to unemployed workers.

Another dead horse needs further flogging – better coordination between G agencies.

For example, the recently launched 2020 Healthcare Manpower Plan says that we need 30,000 more healthcare workers by 2020. That means about 10,000 more healthcare workers per year. While the fancy press release outlines the various schemes that are available to reach the target, it provides next to no information about how to access such schemes.

The details for mid-career entrants contains one single weblink on Page 36, to the generic website that redirects back to the Workforce Singapore website. No ownership and coordination by MOH.

 

Learning from failure

Upgrading an economy is no easy feat. It requires governments to build institutions to bring together self-interested actors that do not often see eye-to-eye. These governments need to be backed by broad societal consensus that short-term restructuring pains will bring long-term benefits.

That is why Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has taken time to try to explain to both companies and workers why restructuring is a messy and long-term endeavour that cannot be treated with short-term medication.

Taking Strepsils for a sore throat is the wrong treatment for someone whose addiction to cigarettes can cause lung cancer.

Governments committed to upgrading also need to resist the temptation to adopt easy textbook solutions that can be implemented at the stroke of a pen. Taking Strepsils to provide temporary relief to sore throats is the wrong treatment for one’s addiction to cigarettes that causes lung cancer and persistent smoker’s cough.

Likewise, it is time to do away with short-term one-off discretionary counter-cyclical measures that subsidise low productivity companies.

Forget about cutting costs. Let failing firms fail. Let capitalism work. Invest in Singaporean workers for the long-term. Surely the G, with its much lauded longtime horizons, can see the logic of that?

 

Elvin Ong is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Emory University. He can be reached at https://sites.google.com/site/jyelvinong/

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Ryan Ong

INSURANCE riders have been blamed for pushing up treatment costs by 20 to 25 per cent. This could drive up health insurance costs, because the more insurers have to payout, the higher premiums get. A panel on controlling the rising cost of health insurance has now suggested riders be done away with completely. It’s the old age problem of consumption: when you don’t have to pay for something, you tend to use more of it.

Clock showing 0830

THE current healthcare system cannot be sustained, said Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat. Singapore cannot simply scale up the number of hospitals and healthcare workers, so there is a need to question why certain rules or procedures are the way they are in order to become more efficient. More data is also needed to progress, especially when it comes to billing.

At the same event, geriatrician Carol Tan of The Good Life Co-operative said that greater priority needs to be placed on prevention. She also highlighted that third party administrators are damaging the quality of care and making the system inefficient by charging doctors, mainly private specialists, fees for each patient they see. These organisations represent insurers and their corporate clients to help manage claims. Mr Chee said that he did not know enough about the practice yet but that the ministry would move to curb it if it was parasitic.

The G’s computer systems cannot be linked to the Internet, but this doesn’t mean there will be no Internet for the G. That’s what Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, the lead man for Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, said in Washington DC. In fact, Dr Balakrishnan said that cyber security is an absolutely essential part of being a smart nation. This is because of a clear and present threat of espionage and criminal activity on the Internet and people need to realise this and protect themselves, even as individuals.

That means you, reader, on the Internet right now reading this article.

The ecosystem cannot support these 400 workers so we will retrench them, says RWS. It’s because of bad debts, say some analysts, while others point to the slowdown in tourism and the gambling industry, especially from high roller clients from China in the wake of a graft crackdown. But casino rival MBS is still hiring.

The lift system in block 299A Compassvale Street cannot make it, says a resident. The latest in a spate of five lift incidents in eight months, some of which have resulted in deaths and injuries, was about how the lift stopped between the third and fourth floors, dropped down to between the second and third floors, and then had a hard landing on the first floor. Mr Zainal Sapari, who is both Pasir-Ris Punggol MP and Town Council Chairman, said that the lift was tested but no fault was found. The Town Council is checking other lifts. Residents say that the lifts have been malfunctioning regularly over the last year.

 

Featured image from TMG file. 

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Last Call02! (Feature Image)

HURRY hurry!

Ladies and gentlemen, booking for your favourite Bukit Batok tour guides will close in two days’ time. Which tour guide will you choose? The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Murali Pillai or Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Chee Soon Juan?

Last Call02

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Featured Image by Sean Chong and Natassya Diana.

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Black clock showing 8.30

IN RESPONSE to the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium a week ago, where 31 people were killed and more than 300 were injured, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – echoing remarks delivered by Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam on March 18 – said “we face a severe threat in South East Asia, [and] it is not a matter of if, but when a terrorist attack will take place here.” In addition to the tightening up of counter-terrorism measures and the strengthening of institutional capacity to diffuse threats, Mr Lee stressed the need for vigilance and the importance of “getting [this message] through to all Singaporeans.”

And it would appear that Singaporeans are cognisant of potential terror attacks, even if they may not be prepared for the ramifications. According to an ST poll of 500 people, three in four respondents believed “it is only a matter of time before the country comes under a terror attack,but about three in ten respondents thought Singapore was not prepared for such an attack. Along this tangent, almost seven in ten respondents were willing to undergo “more thorough and increased security checks”, even though some also raised concerns over the loss of privacy. And beyond endeavours by the government to enhance security, what can – and should – Singaporeans also do?

One of these locations where Singaporeans are likely to experience “more thorough and increased security checks” is MRT stations, especially since – in recent years – metro or train stations have been targets of choice. The frequency of bag checks, screenings, and patrols in key installations such as MRT stations has increased since the Brussels attacks. NUS associate professor Bilveer Singh said, “We will have to make these installations tougher to crack. Security checks will create inconvenience, but there is no choice, and people will have to understand this.”

In Brussels, a suspected third bomber – said to be involved in the attack at Brussels Airport – has just been charged with terrorism. Last Tuesday morning during the rush hour, several men had blew themselves up with nail bombs at the airport and a busy metro station near the headquarters of the European Union.

Closer to home in the Singapore military camps, restrictions on smartphones and other electronic devices have been relaxed, and these devices can now be used in the red zones. The Ministry of Defence responded to ST and Zaobao that “servicemen will have to prove that the cameras in their modified smartphones or smartwatches comply with its standards of ‘being permanently unusable’ before being allowed into the red zones“.

And finally, physical and verbal abuse against nurses are “on the rise“, according to anecdotes from Nurses gathered by ST as well as an editorial published by local medical journal Annals Academy of Medicine. The editorial estimated that seven in 10 healthcare workers have faced physical abuse – the frontline staff who interact with patients, in particular – and this problem is exacerbated by “significant under-reporting” in this area.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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Green clock showing 8.30

GOOD Monday all! Are you working today or already planning the year-end vacation because of the long school break? Yup, it’s Nov 30 and the last month of the year starts tomorrow.

And probably to take advantage of the fact that students are on vacation, the G is launching (yet) another public engagement exercise. Remember the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) which some of you might have taken part in and wonder what happened to it? The G is using the results of that conversation as a base to launch a discussion about the future. You can go to www.singapore50.sg/sgfuture to sign up. Now, if we only remember what we said at the OSC…

A third person has died of dengue this year – and no, the 79-year-old man’s residence in Toa Payoh Lorong 8 isn’t a dengue hot spot. It’s worth noting, however, that the intermittent rain-and-shine we’ve been getting is conducive to mosquito breeding and more dengue cases are being detected over the past few weeks.

Here’s the tally:

Week ending Nov 14 – 198 cases

Week ending Nov 21 – 254 cases

That’s a big jump. For the week ending 3pm on Nov 27, there were 228 cases. Here’s hoping the numbers will go down over the weeks.

Talking about the weather…The world is getting together in Paris to discuss climate change and how to prevent catastrophe because we treat the Earth like a garbage bin. Business Times has an excellent spread on climate change issues and what Singapore is doing to stop us from being boiled alive in the future (Our average daily temperature last year was now 27.7 degree Celsius, compared to 26.6 degree Celsius in 1972, while sea levels in the straits of Singapore rose at the rate of 1.2 – 1.7mm a year between  1975 and 2009). Maybe that should be a primary subject for the SGfuture series of dialogues that is being conducted.

There’s also an interesting article from Dr Jeremy Lim in TODAY calling on visits to the GPs and polyclinics to be made “free”, as in financed by taxes and insurance. He said spending on preventive healthcare might be the best way to get people to look after their health than looking at the hospitalisation end of the spectrum, which is where the focus is now.

Oh. And the big bad boy of Sim Lim, Jover Chew, is being sentenced today. Will or will he not get the three years jail the prosecution asked for? Stay tuned.

 

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The typical rally speech
The typical rally speech

by Bertha Henson

WE’VE noticed that the rally speeches of the People’s Action Party and Opposition candidates actually follow a pattern.

Candidate gets up on stage to shouts, whistles and applause…

“I come from a humble background, however you may define it. But I am definitely not rich. My parents worked very hard to put me through school. They struggled to put food on the table and buy new clothes for me and my XX siblings. So I know what is a hard life. A difficult life. I know your pain, your concerns, your worries. Because I am like one of you! (Clap! Clap!)

Now, what are your concerns. You worry about cost of living. How things are so expensive.

PAP: That’s why we, in the PAP, have put in place many programmes to help you. Have everyone got their GST rebates? (Yeeesss! Clap! Clap!)

OPP: That’s why you need to vote us in, to tell the PAP that they have made this place too expensive for us Singaporeans! (Clap! Clap! Clap!)

PAP: Singapore has gone from Third World to First, led by the PAP and with the help of the first generation of pioneers. We owe them a debt. That is why we acknowledge them with the Pioneer Generation Package. Please give all the pioneers a round of applause!  (CLAP! CLAP!)

OPP: Singapore is the most expensive city in the world, thanks to the PAP. Our forefathers gave their blood to this country and what do they get? They have to pick up cardboard for a living and are worried about going to hospital because they cannot afford the fees! Down with the PAP! (Clap! Clap! Down with the PAP!)

PAP: Look back over the past 50 years. What our grandparents and parents have done. Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team has left us a beautiful country. We have good jobs, a roof over our heads. Our education system is hailed as among the best in the world. Even though we are a little red dot, we are exceptional. Give yourselves a hand. (P-A-P! P-A-P!)

OPP: For most people, our lives are still very hard. We have jobs but our salaries are stagnant and we have to worry about foreigners taking our jobs away. We don’t really own the roof over our heads; it’s the HDB which does! Our education system is elitist and rewards children from privileged backgrounds. The rest, along with the parents, struggle with the pressure of exams. Tiok boh? (Tiiioook!!!!)

PAP: We have plans for your future. After lift upgrading comes the Home Improvement Programme. We will upgrade your parks and fitness corners and make sure there are more childcare centres and centres for seniors. We have listened to your feedback, that is why we will do this for you. You are the centre of all that we do. Because….we care! (Clap! Clap! Indistinct shouts of candidates’ names!)

OPP: The PAP will promise you things. Don’t be fooled! What they give with one hand, they take away with the other. These are things that they should do for you anyway if they say they care. Be careful that they do not take things away from you. I tell you they will raise GST after elections! Do you want to live under this type of Government, where they decide everything for you and where you have no say? (Nooooo! Boooooo!)

PAP: Think very hard before you vote. Who can give you a better life? We’ve done it for 50 years and we’ll do it for 50 more! We have CPF Life to make sure you have money till the day you die. We have Medishield Life to help you cope with medical bills. We have SkillsFuture to prepare you for the economic transformation that must come with technology. Ask yourself: Can the opposition offer you all this? Can they make sure that Singapore can compete in this global marketplace? (Nooooo! Vote PAP! P-A-P!)

OPP: The PAP wants us to grow at all cost! See what has happened! The truth is they are locking away all our money in the CPF, money which is rightfully ours. They talk about higher wages but there is no minimum wage. They talk about raising productivity but it is still so low. The PAP has failed in its promise to give us a Swiss standard of living! Ask yourself: Why do you still want to live like this? Vote in the Opposition so that they will be forced to work for you, not for themselves! (Clap! Clap! Indistinct shouts and cheers and the occasional Huat ah!)

PAP: Don’t let the Opposition fool you. Do you need them to check the Government? Have we been corrupt? What can they do besides make a lot of noise during election time like a tiger? Have they said anything useful In Parliament, made any changes? In fact, they are like a mouse in the house! (MOUSE! MOUSE!)

OPP: The PAP is the real mouse in the House. PAP MPs speak a lot but then all vote the same! Without us, do you think the PAP would have made the changes like build more homes? We are not saying that we are responsible for the change. It is you who did it! You are the people with the power to move the PAP! (HUAT AH! Indistinct shouts of candidate’s name)

PAP: The Opposition can’t even run a town council properly. You know there is something wrong over there, right? Right? You really want to vote them in? Give them more towns to bankrupt? Let them take over the government? You serious or not? You want to scare away foreign investors? Push our economy downhill? (NOOOOOOOO!)

OPP: Don’t listen to the PAP! They think only they can do everything. There’s no problem with the town council. The problem is the PAP! The problem is groupthink. We’ve shown you that we have good candidates. Professional candidates. Bankers. Lawyers. That sort. Give us a chance! We won’t let you down! (Depending on political party, chant initials)

The speaker ends with…

Now, remember on Sept 11, next Friday, vote XXXXX!!!!!!

SHOUTS! APPLAUSE! GARLANDING. WHISTLING…then crowd goes home to bed.

 

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