作者:雷雨风 4:22pm 16/03/2011
Letter to ST: MM Lee’s ‘apology’ sends mixed, ambiguous signals
On 8 March I wrote the following letter to the Straits Times Forum, on a recent political issue which I had been following with interest and concern. Since it has not been published, I am putting it on my site, to share my personal views with readers.
I refer to the report ‘Malay integration: MM stands corrected,’ (The Straits Times, Tuesday March 8, 2011)
As a long-time observer of the extraordinary impact that MM has on the Singapore political scene, I would like to comment on his change of position with regard to the failure of the Malay community to integrate with the rest of the society.
The shift bears all the marks of a constrained rather than a spontaneous change of mind and heart. Firstly, the terse statement ‘I stand corrected’ is far short of a genuine apology and may even exacerbate rather than assuage hurt feelings. Secondly, the explanation of an oversight of the community’s successful efforts at integration in the last 2 years, is unconvincing, given MM’s sharp, meticulous thinking and observation. Thirdly, the statement, coming so long after the comments (first reported in the Straits Times on 3 January, 2011) and presumably very soon before the coming general elections, smacks of an opportunistic move.
It is tempting to conclude that this reversal of position is a consensus decision of the PAP government, rather than a conviction decision by MM himself.
Singaporeans like myself, who admire MM for the boldness of his convictions even if we disagree with them, would have preferred to see him maintain his unique role of telling hard truths and taking responsibility for them, rather than give the impression of taking a position so at odds with his strong personality and forthright style.
That way, we are not confused by the sending out of mixed signals.