In a letter to The Huffington Post, Minister Chan Chun Sing took issue with the publication for giving SDP sec-gen Chee Soon Juan “considerable but undeserved attention and space”.
Chee had published two opinion pieces, Without Freedom There Is No Free Trade and Free The Singapore Media And Let The People Go, were published on Nov. 13 and Dec. 11 last year, respectively, that were critical of the government.
We imagine Chee’s response to Chan:
“The ruling party must move away from name-calling and character assassinations. If they want to point a finger at me, they must realise that they are also pointing three fingers at themselves.
It is more than a bit rich for the Minister for Social and Family Development to remind others that I have never won an election.
It must be reminded, if we care to recall correctly, Minister Chan Chun Sing himself has not won an electoral battle either. In the General Election 2011, he was parachuted, like an ex-Chief of Army could, into Tanjong Pagar GRC where there was a walkover.
If I am indeed a “political failure”, he must be a political recruit who has never tasted war despite the stars on his epaulette.
Therefore, to remind others of my failings while neglecting to highlight his lack of victories, is criticism that rings hollow. At least I have contested and ran in multiple elections before. At least I tried.
And is it really accurate to say that Huffington Post had given me “undeserved attention and space”?
The Huffington Post is an international website that publishes thousands of articles each year. For my articles to occupy but two webpages on their site is hardly “undeserved attention and space”.
This is democracy. If Chan prefers to spend time writing Op-eds and commentaries in the Western media like I have, he would be able to see more articles published in his name. To his credit, I think he will do well in an American publication, given the Westerners’ innate propensity to “raise their hands in the air”.
If this criticism is supposed to pass muster, then Singaporeans can also turn the criticism back on the PAP as well. Because why is The Straits Times giving the PAP undeserved attention and space all the time then? Doesn’t a page in The Straits Times cost at least an arm and two legs?
And by extension of this “undeserved attention and space” argument, why not take it further? Because won’t the same criticism Minister Chan used about me also be used on the PAP in parliament? Hasn’t the Singapore Parliament also given the PAP considerable but undeserved attention and space, as even though the PAP only won 60 percent of votes in 2011 elections, they retained 81 out of 87 parliamentary seats?
Therefore, we launched our campaign slogan: “Your Voice in Parliament”, just as Chan wants to be “Your Voice in Huffington Post”.
From this episode, we can diagnose what definitely is part of the PAP’s systematic problem: Any sort of criticism is seen to be embellished and magnified and the worst is made out of it by going after the critic. It is almost as if they need to be immune to critics to be truly safe from themselves.
Now more than ever, we need a genuine conversation about Singapore and Tanjong Pagar’s future. Indeed, we need a bold new vision for Tanjong Pagar that goes beyond [email protected] – something that doesn’t cost $918,000.”
Update: Jan.16, 1500Hrs
Below is Chee’s reply to Chan: