Everyone is talking about Brexit and the shocking results. The future of its people suddenly seems uncertain and as many as 1 million of its people had actually petitioned for a re-vote.
Analyst were spot on, that the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) in the #Brexit referendum is a turning point. It reflected the anxiety of the British population over immigration, their resentment at having to negotiate with and accommodate European partners, and their desire to assert British identity and sovereignty.
The impact of the UK exiting the European Union (EU) is unimaginable. Nobody can foresee all the consequences of the Brexit.
Beyond noticing that the pound sterling had suddenly became much more attractive, I think Singaporeans are too far away to relate to the sentiments in Europe at this juncture. With Gareth Bales and Christiano Ronaldo in Euro 2016 as distractions, Briexit is just another European phenomena to most Singaporeans.
In reality, the Brexit phenomena could easily have been Singapore.
If politicians were divisive and xenophobia allowed to take root, we would be celebrating SG50 in a much different fashion – without the fireworks and fanfare.
Remember how sentiments against the government were at an all-time high in 2011? Shocked by the results of the General Elections (PAP garnered the lowest vote ever at 60.1%), PAP took immediate steps to ease the pressure points.
PM Lee and his cabinet ministers continued to rally (like a broken record) that opposition members in Singapore cannot be divisive, that their main objective must not only be for the betterment of Singaporeans now but also for the generations to come.
Any opposition members who played the racial card, who tried to turn Singaporeans against one another were immediately called out. Websites like The Real Singapore which formulated lies and seeded resentment against Singaporeans were immediately taken to task and their owners put behind bars.
Brexit is a grim reminder that things can go wrong if politicians choose to be divisive and short sighted. It is an example to remind Singaporeans to use their head and actually think for their future instead of following their hearts and echo poisonous narratives.
The UK may have got themselves to blame for their predicament. We must be smarter than them.