Like most Singaporeans, I have grown up reading the Straits Times. I based my life and the decisions I make on information supplied to me in this daily. The strength of the influence on me was so great, I couldn't see the obvious problems of people around me. I took it that it was completely "normal" for people not to be able to afford medical care. for children to skip meals because parents have no money and that the everyday strain of those around me is just "normal". Things are alright the Straits Times tell me. If people suffered, they deserve it under our meritocratic system because if top leaders have to be paid millions for their competence, it should be okay for lesser mortal to take some suffering.
My biggest regret in life is that I never looked into the eyes of those who suffered. Let me explain. When old men come to my table to ask me to buy tissue, I would continue eating with one hand and wave the other to ask him to go away, My belief is these people "foul up" their own lives and now have to sell tissue paper. When the aged cleaner comes to clean my table, I will just take it as normal that she has to work since the doctrine our leaders is those without money should never retire...while they get millions in pension after they serve 2 terms in office.
A few months ago, when an old lady hunched and with hands shaking came to clean my table, I looked at her. I want to show you a picture similar to what I saw:
It was the lines and wrinkles so many ...so many reflecting the years she had to struggle to reach her age. I asked myself why is there no rest for this old lady...why is she still working? Here we have a country that can afford to spend $300M on a youth event and billions on the most advanced weapons but cannot give something to make this old lady's life better. What kind of country do we live in? What kind of leaders do we have?
I was very touched and moved when I heard Nicole Seah talk about what motivated her to go into politics. She said she worked as a volunteer to deliver food to old folks and as a volunteer she could only make sure that some of the old folks have food for that day. The old folks had a roof over their heads but did not have any money left after they paid for govt fees and utilities. The question she asked herself eventually led her to join opposition politics to try to bring about a more lasting change.
I think Nicole Seah shames all of us ...for not thinking more and doing more.
The last elections, I didn't care much about anything and spent my time watching TV and shopping - I thought everything in this country is "normal" and I should just accept the status quo. But 4 months ago, I was awakened from my slumber and felt that I cannot do nothing this time. I've offered my time to be a volunteer for the WP and as a minimum I'll attend all rallies as a sign of support for the men and women who stepped forward.
Go look around you. Open your eyes and your mind. This is a country very much in need of change. We cannot keep the status quo. I biggest regret is that I took so long to wake up and do something about it. It is almost too late....and perhaps already too late but we must try!