工人党的左派政治

Mar 12, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

经过一周的唇枪舌剑,针对财政预算案的辩论在周一结束。这是首次公开播放的预算案辩论,相信不少公众都非常期待工人党的表现,毕竟他们在去年大选中斩获更多议席,这是在国人面前展现他们论政能力的机会。不过,纵观这支由反对党领袖毕丹星率领的新团队,在国会上提出的观点和言论,让人联想起美国某些政党的极端左派政治路线,确实令人有些担忧。

被誉为工人党“明日之星”的林志蔚,提出的提议都让大家听了摸不着头脑。首先,他提议让政府删除获释犯人非暴力罪行的案底,让未来雇主无法得知他们曾坐过牢或犯过法。如果这项建议获得通过,那是否意味着曾经非礼过孩童的人,获释后可以在托儿所上班;曾经在地铁上非礼乘客的前囚犯,可以继续在公共交通任职;犯下破门行窃的小偷也可以当保安人员,这样的情况是否让人喜闻乐见呢?

林志蔚接着建议,让教育部重新鉴定入校的制度以及给学校的资助,即在小一新生报名2A/2B阶段,学校收取越多学生,当局给予的资助就越少。这提议到底有什么实质意义?难道学校出名有错,那些选择较出名学校的家长和学生也有错,必须以减少资助给予惩处?这样的建议不但不会改善学校里的制度或学生的生活,殊不知有可能弄巧成拙,将让在名校里读书的贫困学生的生活变得雪上加霜。

林志蔚也表示,我们的学生能够在国际上取得骄人的成绩,完全是因为补习而不是老师们苦心的教育。我的女儿在某小学当老师,她日出而作日入而息,在学校里为莘莘学子劳心劳肺,林志蔚在国会上一番谈话就要抹杀了老师们的功劳?

不仅如此,林志蔚这名经济学副教授,在国会上给我们上了一堂经济学课,并主张货币投机行为将对新元有益。理论上,他的建议固然有吸引人的地方,可是他却忘了要顾及国人的生计,可见制定政策似乎并非他的强项。投机货币将导致新元贬值,进而严重影响小市民的荷包,因为新加坡很多东西都依靠进口,如果没有稳当的货币政策,无论是一杯咖啡、一包米或小贩中心的食物价格将翻倍,影响大家的生计。一直仗着以新加坡和新加坡人利益为先的工人党,怎么能任由党员发表这样的言论呢?

另一方面,工人党秘书长毕丹星指责新加坡高级公务员都被自己的宗教所影响,虽然他并没明确点出,但意指渲染反基督教的情绪,声援认为高级公务员及国会中有太多的基督教徒,希望以此争取非基督教徒的票数。可是,他在阿裕尼集选区的队员费沙又要求政府,允许制服团体的回教公务员戴头巾,这样的建议不会让人觉得回教公务员也被自己的宗教所影响吗?真是大搞双重标准啊!

工人党在财政预算案辩论中的提案到底达到了什么目的?是否如在竞选期间所说的在监督政府,抑或在社会各阶层,各宗教之间制造对立和分歧,加深彼此间的怀疑?不考虑国人安全,提议删除犯人案底,是否是为了走捷径,免除协助前犯人融入社会的责任?

问政绝对不是一件容易的事情,因为它将直接关系到国家的兴衰起落,所以必须在深思熟虑之后才发言提议。然而,目前工人党团队的建议和言论颇为极端,问政方式又显然与前工人党秘书长刘程强的观念背道而驰。这样的新做法是否能够继续留住工人党支持者,又或是为了哗众取宠而意在吸引其他选民,这一切还有待观察。


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This commentator thinks MCI ad should not have featured poor Malays

May 12, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
A Hari Raya advertisement by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was 'cancelled' by certain netizens online for depicting lower income Malays according to reality.

"Message for Syawal", a two-and-a-half-minute video published last month (Apr 30) captures moments in the life of a low-income Malay family living in a rental flat.

Storyline


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"

The video, which is peppered with Malay proverbs, shows the family moving out of their rental flat to a new home several years later where they celebrate Hari Raya.

The father of the family works as a mover while the mother is a housewife.

Their young son, Syawal, skips school to earn extra income for his family before a teacher flags his absence from school to his parents.

The mother in the video later decides to return to work to alleviate her family’s financial difficulties while the father gets a new job.


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"



Why some netizens are outraged

The video sparked backlash online, with some viewers saying that it contained stereotypes about the Malay community.

The stereotypes:
  • The father works as a mover - commonly perceived to be a low-income job
  • The mother is jobless
  • The son plays truant
  • The family lives in a rental flat for low-income earners

Commentator implied that poor Malays shouldn't be portrayed in public to prevent stereotypes


Pictured: Screenshot from Homeground Asia video

A video commentary by The Homeground Asia went further by criticizing how the video propagates the narrative that Malays are poor and lazy, and that the ministry should have created a video that is more relatable to both the less fortunate and the more affluent Malays.

Adi Rahman, one of the interviewees in the video went further by making sweeping assumptions that the ministry lacked cultural intelligence and did not consult the community on the narrative.

Ironically, in talking about inclusivity, Adi implied that the realities of poor Malays should not be shown in public.

For example, his rationale suggested that the video contained characters (the mover, jobless mother and the son who skips school) that contribute to the problem of other races seeing the Malays in a stereotypical and reductive light.

In other words, show the good stuff but not the reality.

Adi even accused the ministry for not consulting the Malays in the vetting of the video narrative.

His accusations were without merit, however, when the Ministry said in a statement (Apr 30) that Malay-Muslim viewers - presumably a focus group - had seen the video prior to its release, and perceived the story to be heart-warming, although some expressed reservations.


Pictured: Adi Rahman - one of the commentators in Homeground Asia video



Stereotyping or masking reality?

The ministry said last month (Apr 30) the video was meant to show "a family’s journey of resilience in facing challenging circumstances and how mutual support and encouragement could nurture the process”.

Other netizens felt it was an overreaction and that low-income families shouldn't be dehumanized in a way that they are removed from the conversation. They felt that the video was a call-to-action for those from the underprivileged to strive for a better life through hard work and seeking help that's already available.

The only missed opportunity in the MCI video was perhaps the suggestion that Malays in low income families living in a rental flat could not celebrate Hari Raya unless they get a flat on their own.

But of course, like Homeground Asia, that is also a sweeping assumption.