Overthinking It

Dear Dr Tan Cheng Bock: A Letter

Dear Dr Tan Cheng Bock,

Many of us thought that you have given up. You have proven us wrong. You are fighting back, and in the process, revealing that you really, really want to be president.

We read the news reports about your press conference on Friday morning. You called for an open election for this year’s presidential election, and question the government’s motive for counting the presidential term of the late President Wee Kim Wee in their decision to trigger a reserved election for the Malays this year. You also asked the government to explain why they simply accepted AGC’s advice to include Dr Wee Kim Wee’s term, warning that otherwise, the “Elected Presidency will always be tainted with the suspicion that the reserved election of 2017, was introduced to prevent” your candidacy.

You’re right, the government has always referred to the late Ong Teng Cheong as our first Elected President. But the government has also always consistently said that Dr Wee Kim Wee was the first President to exercise the powers of the Elected Presidency.

You’re splitting hairs. The fact of the matter is, the government could easily have started the count from Mr Ong Teng Cheong, but reduced the cycle from five terms to four. In that case, this year’s election would still be a reserved election. What would you say to this?

You also overlooked the fact that even if this year’s presidential election indeed becomes an open election, you wouldn’t be able to qualify as you have not been the top executive of a company with $500 million in shareholder equity. You did not address the point of whether a change in the qualifying criteria was necessary, given the increased complexities and size of the national over the years. You simply said that we shouldn’t define the presidency by money.

You are right. We shouldn’t. And I don’t think we are. In fact, we are defining the presidency by the ability and experience to handle large sums of money, and not by the individual’s wealth per se. That’s quite different.

Back in 2011, many of us (myself included) voted for you because you seemed like the best candidate. You seemed to have an independent mind, despite your many years with the PAP. Between a PAP candidate, an opposition candidate, and a candidate who didn’t seem to know what he was doing, you appeared to be the best choice.

But I’m not sure if this is still true today.

I’m sure many of the PAP old guard have abandoned you after your decision to contest against Dr Tony Tan in 2011. And in their absence, you have chosen to bandwagon with the opposition. Just look at the number of opposition figures who turn up at your events and lend you their support. You could claim the moral high ground in the past that you were the most independent candidate, and most would buy that argument. Can you say the same today?

In the last presidential election, some touted you as the doctor who could heal the nation after the hotly contested 2011 General Elections. You have also called yourself a ‘Unifying Figure for Singapore’. You seemed like a nice and humble man back then.

Are you still the same ‘Unifying Figure’ today, or have you allowed your ambition to get the better of you?

Seems like the latter, for you seem to be willing to sacrifice the hopes and dreams of the Malay community for your own personal ambition, and deny them the Malay president that many of them hope for.

That’s a sad and ironic turn of events, isn’t it?

You claim to be fighting for Singaporeans. I’m sure part of it is true. But it seems that you’re fighting for yourself, too. It ain’t very subtle. You must love yourself a lot – placing a cardboard picture and an oil painting of yourself in your own home, and make sure that you’re right at the center (or the front) in your photographs. How do we know? It’s all over your Facebook page.

And perhaps, just perhaps, your ultimate dream is to have a picture of your in all schools, public institutions and government buildings?

That must really be nice.

That is all.

The end.

1 Comment

  1. Never seen a more idiotic article.

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