I managed to catch a little of the MM Lee forum today before we headed to church for the Good Fri service.
If you had read just the transcript that came out in ST a few days ago, it would seem like the MM was really laying the smackdown on young punks. Using cross-examinational skills, unassailable logic and the weight of several decades of experience was not something inexperienced 20-somethings could possibly hope to counter.
And let’s face it, he gave the answers we expected him to give anyway.
But after watching the program, I thought differently.
1. The young guys (mostly journos) kept harping on the same issues. Eg. People fear the PAP cos it does not play fair. Opposition should not be wiped out. And so on and so forth.
2. MM Lee often answered before the question was completely posed. Not because he was rude, but he already had an answer.
This actually indicates a breakdown in communication. Firstly the young participants were bent on trying to get one simple answer. And the elder statesman had already figured out that was all they were going to ask.
End of conversation lah.
But what puzzled me was the lack of understanding of power relations by some of the young participants. There is no level playing field in any contest of ideas. Might is right, and there is no plausible reason why any ruling party should relax their position.
Perhaps the forum’s emphasis was on the problem of voter apathy.
But voter apathy does not just arise from “Oh I can’t do anything about the ruling party so I shouldn’t care”, it can be a result of a lifestyle that simply accepts the status quo and seeks to maximise monetary returns rather than care for the words of policy-makers.
In other words, the young people who were being targeted by the programme’s producers were probably out making money or spending it during the broadcast.
Who’s got time to watch TV these days?
PS. The Gahmen needs to finetune its desire to keep reaching out to the young. In this forum, I doubt any of them were married with kids. And though I’m still a sweet youthful 29 till Aug, my view on life/universe/everything was completely transformed the day I became a father. I used to be an idealist till the bread and butter issues cropped up.