GE2011 Conspiracy Theories
Never in the history of Singapore since its independence has the PAP had so many spectacular failures. Thus the question of why and how come a multi-million dollar cabinet can trip over its own feet every step of the way becomes quite a curious assignment. Assuming that no established political party can be THAT stupid and assuming also that the Singapore Flyer's orientation has nothing to do with the cosmic elements surrounding the PAP's ability to govern, might I propose some interesting possibilities.
a) Internal Strife: Could there be an internal divide within the PAP where one side comprises loyalists to the age-old philosophies that transformed Singapore from the 50's to the 80's, and the other counts those who favour a more modern and open approach? This might explain an intentional rubbishing and sabotaging of the processes - throwing up ridiculous candidates whilst a few current politicians resign. And perhaps this political divide manifested in Lee Hsien Loong's 'academic discussion' of the hypothetical Two PAP System?
b) Flawed System Finally Fails: Perhaps the system that was all along based on a flawed principle finally ran out of the magic additive that kept it seemingly in perfect condition. When this system was established, everyone feared Lee Kuan Yew and so, from the second top man to the man-in-the-street, it was important not to allow favouritism to affect any choice. It was in fact a case for reverse favouritism - if you were going to choose someone because you liked them, then it was prudent for you to just choose the other guy and CYA.
But that mythical fear has eroded dramatically over time and now the younger politicians could be using the system sans the 'magic additive'. This means that meritocracy no longer needs to be in the black-and-white terms of 'scholar', 'stellar grades' or 'demonstrated achievements' but can be justified by the subjective 'experience', 'good work at grassroots level' and even as arbitrarily as 'bilingual and able to connect well with people of different ages'.
While the initial manifestation of the system demanded that only the best be sought out with serious repercussions should someone better be found to have slipped through the cracks, it is now simply a case of 'choose the best from what we see in front of us can already'. Hence the situation of 'every mother son' turning up as a candidate.
c) Give Singapore a Dose of Bad Government: Remember Lee Kuan Yew's chiding of 'whiny Singaporeans' with a "the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government"? Maybe that's what's happening - a strategic push towards favouring the opposition, getting them into parliament whilst PAP holds on to a reasonable minority. The idea would be to allow the new government to run the show for 5 years (or even less, should the opposition falter too much and give up) before coming in strongly back into control.
Why now? Because the opposition is reasonably strong and credible enough to challenge in the political arena but (possibly) not established enough to form a credible government yet. By giving the reigns over temporarily to a team that has yet to peak, the objective may be to sow enough doubt to ensure a longer period of power subsequently - the lack of confidence in the opposition would prevent the current active generation from voting them in again for a decade or so, at least.
d) Time To Close Shop: It has been a close knit endeavour for the PAP this past half-century and only death seems to separate the core players from relinquishing their involvement in politics. Perhaps seeing as to how the global economy has become so intertwined with the local economy, and having no tangible Singapore Identity to speak of, the backbone of the PAP may have collectively decided to hang up their proverbial white trousers and finally retire because Singapore is a lost cause with no more money to be made.
Therefore, in order to make a clean escape, they may have allowed the younger politicians to run amok with random ideas with the full knowledge that these 'new faces' having been yes-men and yes-women all heir adult lives would not have the gumption to actually survive in a real democratic political arena. The plan would be to let the PAP lose through these novices, then blame them and leave the country for better pastures. With many of them having children based overseas, it would not be hard at all to resettle and even use the opportunity to go on speaking tours and book-writing.
While there is no way to ascertain whether there is any truth to these theories, the fact that we do not have enough information to dismiss them outright is a cause for concern. The question to ask is whether the government has been demonstrating any tangible benefit to the people (as opposed to just lip service) or has it only been making more money all along - be it from the people and/or from the processes it puts in place.