I couldn't help thinking of this as I read Mrs Lim Hwee Hua's comments of the recent elections:"We had spent the last five years working hard, trying to understand - in the areas where there are gaps - what the problems were, what the deficiencies were, and to address those," she recalled. "We have also, of course, been trying to engage the residents on some of the current issues."
"It is a surprise for us that the resentment is so deep and the unhappiness is so deep." In fact, it was only during the campaign, that "we began to fully appreciate the extent of the unhappiness and resentment towards the Government, hence the pledge by the PAP team led by Mr George Yeo for us to have a strong role in the transformation of the PAP itself."
One cannot really deny that the PAP MPs do work hard. And they are generally very good at what they do. But for Mrs Lim to admit so candidly they were caught by surprise at the level of resentment and unhappiness on the ground is indicative of how badly they had been betrayed by the people they surrounded themselves with. With their huge machinery and wide range of grassroot organizations, feedback channels, how can they not know?
They are not and will not be the only emperors who get be caught out by the sycophantic crowd. There will always be self-serving sucker-uppers who seek only to further their own fortunes by selectively telling their masters the 'truth' they want to hear.
Perhaps the first step in the transformation of the PAP is to weed out these self serving elements from within.