Channel News Asia reported on a study carried out by the Institute of Political Studies (IPS) which measured the political cynicism among Singaporeans and found that 30% qualify to be cynics.
They then went on to say that “it is believed this cynicism is targeted, to a greater degree, at the ruling party.” Um, seriously, believed? Where did this believe stem from? The believe of the writer or the news agency as a whole? I don’t think publishing make belief is a good idea but then, that’s not my point.
I am doing this limited blog because I find the response from people interviewed interesting.
I think Mr Vikram Nair is not doing very well differentiating cynicism from criticism. He keeps talking about being criticised. We are talking about cynics not critics ya? If I am a cynic, nothing you do is right. Even if you answer to my feedback (which I won’t since I’m cynical), I will still think that it is crap. If I am a critic, you might have a chance to change my view with an intelligent response.
Since he is addressing criticism, I am of the opinion that it not true that more criticism are levelled at the PAP because they have been in government a long time. It is because we have limited opposition in parliament to criticise. As an active citizen, people criticise when there is a lack of it. If you kena criticise until damn jialat, I will not waste my energy to criticise somemore. Where got time? You will probably have less criticism if there were more opposition in parliament but then again, you can’t have the cake and eat it can you?
Mr Baey feels that “that each society needs to be looked at on its own” and the level of cynicism at 30% is not alarming because a similar study in the US found that 47% to 74% of their people are politically cynical. I think 30% is alarming.
Voting is not compulsory in the US. The cynics generally don’t come out and vote because to a cynic, their vote don’t matter. In Singapore, voting is compulsory. So cynics will come out and anyhow vote. I would say that 30% of people coming out to anyhow vote is pretty dangerous.
As for the opposition MPs who decline to comment, well maybe they don’t know the difference between cynicism and criticism so better shaddap. Or maybe they just want to stay below the radar. They are indeed quite stealthy. I’ve not seen a single one of them in Aljuneid since they won the election. Or maybe they are still feeling sore about not being invited to PA events. I don’t know.
I agree that cynicism must be kept in check. The best way to go about this is not to answer to criticisms because good response won’t appease a cynic but a crappy response will contribute to the growth of cynicism.
I think transparency in governance is the way forward. A transparent government will show the electorate that they have nothing to hide, gain their trust and hence, eradicate cynicism. Except for some high level cynics who will just say “Transparent meh? Fake one lah!”