5th April 2013
Recently I had occasion to take a taxi. During the 10-minute ride, I
had an interesting conversation in Mandarin with the driver, who looked
As everyone knows, taxi drivers are fonts of wisdom because they travel all over Singapore and “have seen everything”.
Soon into the ride, the conversation veered to politics. The driver
said in Mandarin, “My friend is scared that if we change government
(i.e. PAP loses power and an opposition party, presumably WP, or a
coalition of opposition parties takes over), investors will pull out
their money. I say nonsense!”
I agreed that investors would not pull out their money if PAP lost power for two reasons:
1) the infrastructure and money remain for the new government to
govern Singapore as well as or better than the previous government, and
2) it is costly for foreign investors to withdraw suddenly because they would be making forced sales.
The taxi driver continued, “If a 6-month old child loses his entire
family in a disaster, what happens to the child? Will he die?”
“No, he will carry on living. In fact, he will even prosper (成财 pronounced chen chye).”
“Will the head of army resign? No. Will the head of police resign? No. Will the head of HDB resign? No.”
“If they resign, promote the number 2. In fact, the number 2 will be
grateful to you (i.e. the new government) for promoting him to number
PAP has always used scare tactics to get people to vote for them. It
worked in the past because no one knew how to refute them. Wise and
experienced Singaporeans such as our brother taxi driver could only be
heard in coffee shops, and his excellent refutation was thus limited to a
But now there is such a thing called the internet, as a result, our brother taxi driver has a larger, indeed global, audience.
So the next time PAP employs their standard scare tactic i.e. foreign
investors will all run away if PAP is not returned to power, we will
all know how to answer them.