Stressing the value of communication, he said: "It's not good enough just to do the right operation ... It's very, very important to talk to the patient - to explain these choices and the different trade-offs and make sure the people of Singapore understand this and participate more actively in the decision-making process."
Words of wisdom. Lessons learnt .... apparently.... until you note the first part of what he actually said: "....It's not good enough just to do the RIGHT operation".
So what he actually meant was that the PAP was right all along, and that the electorate had misunderstood all along. The PAP only failed in so far as it did not persuade the electorate of its 'rightness'. Informed consent to him, is to persuade the patient to agree to the correctness of the solution administered. Really?
Sodesne !.... And all the while I thought they were going to be truly more consultative.
To be fair, his boss, PM Lee had in the post-election press conference hinted at a future more inclusive relationship with the electorate: "And that means not only the Government working hard on its own with a population of passive but engaging Singaporeans in the more difficult decisions and trade-offs which governing Singapore involves. There are often no easy choices and the more we can appreciate this and grapple with the dilemmas and the trade-offs together, I think the better the answers we'll come up with, and the more we'll be able to have workable solutions."
I for one am truly hopeful that there will be a reformed PAP that will seek to lead rather than rule. They have done a magnificent job thus far as rulers, but I want much more than that. I really want to see them enter into a new social contract with Singaporeans, one that includes a greater degree of engagement and involvement in decision making with respect to critical problems. But the real deal-breaker is whether they trust Singaporeans enough to be transparent in their decision making processes. Or whether they will just continue to pretend to be consultative, but secretly (well, not so secret...) go on believing they have the only truth and only real solution, and just work harder to convince Singaporeans to be compliant.
I think that would be a disaster.