7 Dec 2014, the PAP Sec-Gen rallied his troops with the never-before uttered, ‘the coming GE is a dead-serious battle’. The troops themselves lapped it up – unthinkingly. None questioned, ‘How come, from the default party of choice to dominance threatened, possible defeat even?’
Tellingly, too, the Sec-Gen was betting that non-party voters will be as unquestioningly daft to believe his assertion that ‘if the PAP is in trouble, Singapore will be in trouble’.
The ruler didn’t think that the previously daft electorate has been subjected, like the peasants of the French Revolution, to PAP’s own version of ‘let them eat cakes’. In place of a lack of food, we have been strangled, subjected to the non-stop treadmill of PAP’s rent-seeking, money-robbing schemes. In place of gathering outside the palace, the enlightened among the dafts have coalesced on the internet.
Deception is the key to cultivate the crowd
We’ll be mistaken to believe that the PAP are a clueless bunch when it comes to political strategy. Since overtly piling and playing on voters’ fears can backfire very badly, rationalizing for voters that their fears are intelligent, legit will serve PAP better.
Little wonder that the Sec-Gen scheduled a (rigged) Q&A session with his Propaganda Dept (14-15 Jan) to casually inform the GE is not yet. But, for good measure, Singaporeans must know that his successor remains at large. Voters should understand that they may well be voting in the Next Chosen One from amongst the new faces PAP will be fielding. Left unsaid, ‘So please, hor, give your vote to our new candidates.’
Yet another move in the well-crafted grand strategy to secure the long-time supporters while reaching out to FMMs (fence-sitters, marginal supporters and mal/mis-informed) is PM Lee’s Facebook Q&A. This exercise is not unprecedented. What is, is the follow-up masterstroke of Tea with PM for some 13 lucky fans 18 – 63 years old, all gullible as props to serve the PAP’s end. The guests to tea must be so impressed that they must tell the world of a ‘true, caring’, approachable, working-like-shit PM who is “the Man to lead Singapore for the next decade!”
Desperation is the kink in their armour
So, what gives with the paper-general Chan Chun Sing’s (CCS) new Union Chief appointment? A surprise? That would be an understatement in PAP’s 60 years in existence. The PAP Singaporeans know is one beast that leaves little to Lady Chance. PM#2 and PM#3 talked about succession even as they just ascended their thrones. The NTUC Sec-Gen position, with its hundreds of thousands of members and its historic role played in PAP’s ascension would rank high in importance – even if it isn’t the normal route to premiership.
Consider, as early as 2011, PAP tried to sell Ong Ye Kung as a ministerial potential with his NTUC background.
Therefore, the staggeringly surprising change in CCS’ appointment, usurping Heng Chee How (NTUC Dy Sec-Gen since 1999) as the next Union Chief (all formalized in one day) speaks of a decisive if desperate move by PAP. But is it ‘strategy’?
Consider this angle. PM Lee did publicly assess that ‘Singaporeans want PAP to govern Singapore’. If this is the assessment (actually, he cannot possibly say otherwise), then how would that inform PAP’s GE strategy? We already heard that the PM-in-waiting has yet to be anointed, so please hor, vote our new candidates. PM Lee also tried to seal the image of a hardworking, friendly servant of the people via an ‘unexpected’ FB Q&A – orchestrated a week after a live one with the Press..
Are these seemingly casual moves or well-planned ones meant to reach out to the FMMs?
So, whither CCS’ new appointment?
I submit that it is THEIR chess move to subtly focus the minds of the electorate. The voter needs to see PAP’s (voter’s) future in PAP’s (voter’s) choice of PAP’s next possible PM (voter’s personal future situations or children’s) secured – or at least steps taken to the effect.
Leaving little to Lady Chance, PAP even enlisted their has-been PM Goh CT to chime in that CCS is destined for a ‘bigger role’. Goh, in blind service to the PAP instead of the people of Singapore, saw no disconnect in his endorsement of CCS whose record is as follows;
1987 – 2011
: Military career. Achievement, Chief of Army.
26 Mar 2010 – 25 Mar 2011
: Chief of Army (Paper Chief for all of 365 days). Achievement, not publicly discussed.
27 Apr 2011
: Elected MP on Nomination Day. Achievement, rode on MM LKY’s coattail.
21 May 2011 – 31 Oct 2012
: Acting Minister, of Community Development, Youth & Sports. Achievement, nothing to publicize even by his boss, PM Lee.
1 Nov 2011 – 31 Aug 2013
: Acting Minister of Social & Family Development. Achievement, promoted to full minister. Achievement, no notable citation of specific KPI reached.
1 Sep 2013 – now
: Minister of Social & Family Development. Achievement, nothing but nonetheless, got Goh’s ringing endorsement as the next ‘bigger’ thing in Singapore politics.
(N.B.: There’s zilch in his whole life that he’s shown even an inkling of working for workers’ welfare. Absolutely zero.)
If a jack-of-many-trades-with-quantifiable-achievements-in-none is premiership material – in PAP’s current configuration – then shit has hit the fan. When LKY dissected PM potentials in the 80’s, he carefully explained both their strengths and weaknesses. Remember ‘wooden’, ‘Indian’ to explain why PM-shortlisted but not PM-anointed? What’s more, LKY had 4, 5 to pick from. Now, PAP has only one – perhaps, he’s the only one who gleefully ‘kee chiu’ (volunteered) for the job?
So, for all the razzmatazz (‘excited action or impressive display’ or is it ‘evasive or misleading language; double talk’?), signs of desperation writ large as a kink in their strategy armour.
Summarizing, CCS’ dazzling ascension can be read as the normal, predictable almost, way of the PAP we have come to know – i.e. succession planning. But now his inexplicable butt-up into Union Chief territory, coming less than 2 years into his 2 achievement-less Ministerships, leaves us wondering if this is a desperate or reckless or bold move by the PAP?
Recall once again why would PAP Sec-Gen Lee say that the next PM choice “is not entirely certain, because I will bring in some MPs and some new people with leadership calibre in the next General Election” on 16 Jan, then barely a week later, agreed to NTUC’s request to second CCS to be their deputy Sec-Gen – all within a day.
Rounding off with Goh’s unabashed endorsement. Goh’s not known for verbosity. That’s impossible for anyone wooden, except in the hands of the late ventriloquist Victor Khoo as Charlee. From his brief 61-word 25 Jan FB post lavishing praise on CCS, he found it necessary to draw voters’ attention that with the CCS’ move ‘Singapore needs to look forward’.
Therefore, does not the whole affair smack of PAP’s grand strategy at mind games; to calculatingly, psychologically assure party supporters while simultaneously manipulate FMMs with a view to intimidate the one or confuse the other into voting a ‘certainty that what we have now is going to continue’ come the GE?
Now, opposition parties and anti-PAP troopers, what are you going to do about that?