In the midst of the slamming and flaming, what many missed out was Minister Vivian Balakrishnan did give a pretty good speech last night. I  feel that this is the kind of speeches PAP candidates need to give more often. It reminds us of what the elections are here for, what we face in the years to come and he addressed one of the burning issues of this election.

Here’s the highlights from his speech.

1) Politics is not a game, not entertainment and not a debate

Mr Balakrishnan highlighted well that we are talking about Singapore’s future here and not just about bashing the PAP for entertainment purposes. We all enjoy a good laugh at the ruling party’s expense and it is fair to do so. They have not been perfect. But what is important is where we are and where we are going.


2) The opposition now look down on PAP politicians

To be fair, after much condemning of the PAP at rallies over the last week, it’s not all too far fletched to say this may be true. Balakrishnan continued stating how some PAP candidates have gone down to check drains (presumably for mosquitoes) and chase after rats and have been ridiculed for doing these. He stated that they do it because they want people to know they are there to help.

3) There are challenges coming

Mr Balakrishnan also spoke about the challenges Singapore is likely to face in the next 50 years. The world is changing and he brought up a pertinent point that technological advances partly caused inequality with some lower skilled jobs becoming redundant. He highlighted that workers need to upgrade skills through courses and SkillsFuture.

4) He spoke about the dreaded 6.9 million figure

He also spoke about the government’s apparent 6.9 million population target that the opposition has been attacking throughout the campaigning. He mentioned that his bigger fear is the population will actually never reach beyond 6 million. He highlighted that with the low fertility rate and if foreigners are not coming because of a sluggish economy, people do not need to even worry about having a 6.9 million population cause it won’t happen.

5) One of the most boring speeches in his career

He actually started by saying it was going to be a boring but necessary speech. But I felt it was more appropriate to end with this. Great speeches are often boring. The dozens of commencement speeches we always hear at graduations are often terribly draggy but they are there to inspire people to greater heights. So yeah, I think Min Vivian’s speech was boring. But he presented it the same way a conversation goes, not a research paper. There was 49 minutes and 3 seconds of it so maybe a tad too long. But that does not mean it was not great.

And in case you feel like watching the entire speech (and not that we recommend you to), here’s the YouTube video.

(This post was a contribution from a reader)