1.7.05

Wisdom collected

Real Singaporean
Only The Real Thing

I was at a Conference today on the virtues of public consultation (the "collective wisdom" all policy-makers should gather). The Conference's opening speech was delivered by a politician, who remarked that politicians must never lose touch with the people etc etc, especially in societies where class, cultural contexts and social conditions are diverse and divisive. Yet after admitting that ours is a plural society, he went on to say that the politician must always try to understand the concerns of the "REAL SINGAPOREAN".

I was confused. Dear me. Who can possibly be the real Singaporean? Or rather, a fake one?

Which politician would ever dare to name so confidently the "real American/British/Indian/Cambodian"? Maybe only a politician in real Singapore would ply this slippery rhetoric and politics of essentialism, and with such earnestness!

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