NDR 2009 and Navel Gazing Disappointment
There was lots of talk on race and religion’s delicate balance in Singapore. At least for me, it was preaching to the choir and I am already a convert on the importance of mutual respect on race and religion. I don’t like the word tolerance as there are implied messages that X is not liked, but it is tolerated or Y is irritating, but it is tolerated. Respect, not tolerance, for different races and religions is a better idea to establish in the minds of the average Singaporean.
The recession is still around us but the government has not given any handouts this NDR surprisingly. The economy might be that bad that they are tightening their belts. Also, no handouts is a writing on the wall that an election is not around the corner at least for the next 9 months, since the Budget in February 2010 is another window for angpows. I wasn’t expecting any focus on political space, but I certainly didn’t expect race and religion to be the engine driving the whole of the NDR. The messages of peaceful co-existence and respect in multi-ethnic Singapore is an important one, looking at how Malaysia is at the precipice of racial chaos, but it is an inappropriate one for this rally during this gloomy period. Where were the subsidies and rebates I was anticipating?
Or am I just another spoiled pampered Singaporean dependent on goodies every NDR and Budget and lost sight of the big picture?