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Musings

A “First World Parliament”: What’s In A Slogan?

The Workers’ Party’s (WP) slogan, “Towards A First World Parliament”, has been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny since its concurrent introduction with the WP’s election manifesto. Naturally, throughout this period of campaigning, political candidates and their corresponding parties – through media interviews and rally speeches – have been forthcoming in their queries and propositions, respectively questioning or supporting the concept of a “First World Parliament”.

Therefore, given the proliferation of comments and perspectives expounded (some of them quite lengthy and convoluted), the following diagram summarises the opinions made by representatives from the WP and People’s Action Party (PAP). At the same time, I have included assertions raised by various members of the public, as well as politicians from the other political parties. The purpose of this is to reflect my personal view that nothing is absolutely “right” or “wrong”; and while it is quite impossible to be objective all the time, it helps to understand where your opponent is coming from. At the very least, this maintains a decent level of civility in debate and discussions.

If Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had taken more time to read the comments from his WP counterparts – and comprehend that their definition is not simplistically to have “a critical mass of Opposition in Parliament”, but to proactively act as checks and balances et cetera – perhaps he would not have unfairly dismissed the slogan as being “nonsense” and “absurd”.

Here’s the link to the references in the diagram.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “A “First World Parliament”: What’s In A Slogan?

  1. I don’t really understand the claim that there is ‘no successful model for a First World Parliament’. The standards for ‘success’ here are unclear. It seems to be clearly ludicrous to claim that the parliaments of, say, Sweden and Finland have not been successful in running their countries over the last 50 years. Of course they have not been perfect, but no parliament anywhere has been. Surely by any reasonable (i.e., not superhuman) standards of success, they have been successful.

    Posted by twasher | May 2, 2011, 9:40 am
    • I understand where you’re coming from, and I’m pretty sure the supporters of the “First World Parliament” would concur with your observations. Regardless of whether there has been “successful” instances – in the past and present – around the world, there seems to be nothing ostensibly wrong with nurturing a Parliamentary model that is unique to and effective for Singapore.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | May 2, 2011, 10:53 am
  2. Hi, that’s a well-done diagram.

    But I think you should go beyond “Proposition” and “Opposition”, and come out with your personal stand. Otherwise your diagram is only useful for secondary school students.

    Posted by Aloysius | May 2, 2011, 11:10 am
    • To be honest, I don’t have a particular stance on this issue (though I will admit that I am more inclined to the idea of having a greater, more credible Opposition presence in Parliament); the intent, as aforementioned, is to highlight the need to understand both sides before proper discussions or debates are conducted.

      In particular, I hope that increased comprehension of these varying perspectives will help voters recognise fluffs when politicians rhetorically disagree without backing their assertions substantially.

      In any case, if the diagram is “only useful for secondary school students”, that’s not bad news for me. When I was a secondary school student, I don’t think I would have had the patience and energy to sieve through the plethora of information and commentaries available. The value of the diagram is variable; but, to each of his own I guess.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | May 2, 2011, 11:25 am
      • Highly commendable diagram, sieves out the rhetorics, and addresses the crux of the matter.

        And I think it’s perfectly ok with your proposition vs opposition approach 🙂 To me, that is how I filter through the barrage of misinformed opinionated commentaries. It has to be about facilitating the process of weighing it up (a la informed vote) and not obsession with wanting to be ‘heard’ (a la own opinion). Great work there.

        And asking stimulating questions like, ‘What is wrong with a unique model?’ Good question. I think unlike many things or ‘risks’ in life where there is an undo button, in this case, it’s effectively risking the well-being of the masses. And any responsible government or party should think of how to minimise this risk before jumping head-in to ‘try’ anything ‘unique’. Especially in today’s volatile world. Further, the human heart is deceitful and even the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions I always say.

        The way I see it, the onus is on WP, or other opposition parties, to raise their game further – hopefully over the next 5 years to ensure the risk of such a unique coalition is minimised not just by putting together a stellar team, but perhaps in the quality and substantiating of their policies. 🙂

        Posted by fivetwosix | May 5, 2011, 11:36 pm
      • On a personal note, the buzz from the General Elections has been quite enlightening; in the sense that when you start looking at both sides of the picture, it can be quite difficult to dismiss comments that readily. Has allowed me to take a more comprehensive view of matters actually.

        Jin Yao

        Posted by guanyinmiao | May 6, 2011, 10:02 am

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