Author Catherine Lim wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the lack of trust which Singaporeans have in him.
Catherine Lim is a Singaporean fiction author known for writing about Singapore society. Hailed as the “doyenne of Singapore writers”, Lim has published numerous political commentaries to date. Her social commentary in 1994, titled The PAP and the people – A Great Affective Divide and published in The Straits Times criticized the ruling political party’s agendas.
In the letter, Lim expressed that people are resorting to forms of high-visibility, high risk protest never seen before, because they are starting to lose trust in the government and that the government no longer cares about regaining their trust.
Lim pointed out that the older generations were grateful for simple amenities such as modern sanitation and clean streets while the new, better educated, globally-exposed, internet population demands much more. Yet, she does not feel that they are spoilt or that they take things for granted. Lim feels that it is natural for the younger generation to see these achievements as no more than what is owing to them from leaders who have chosen to pay themselves handsomely to do their job, terming these efforts as self-serving strategies to advance party interests and to stay in power. According to Lim, the distrust has already widened the original disconnect between the PAP and the people into an almost unbridgeable chasm and that as long as the crisis of trust persists, all the government’s advice, caution, encouragement to the people and all the statements about the need for good politics and good policies, for constructive debate, for all Singaporeans to work together in harmony and goodwill to build a strong, prosperous, stable society, where everyone will be cared for, which everyone can call home, will fall on deaf ears and be construed as no more than PR pronouncements of much pretension and little worth.
It is without a doubt that Lim is aware of the scale of destruction distrust in the government can cause a nation. Yet, ironically, she has constantly tried to create distrust in the government through her writings. There is a distinct difference between constructive debates and stirring up storm in a calm sea. If there are fewer people out there trying to taint the mindset of fellow Singaporeans, the government may be able to spend more time and resources in developing the nation than on gaining the trust of its people. Stirring disparity among Singaporeans will not lead to a more harmonious and united nation.