Category: Current Affairs
Published on Friday, 23 September 2016 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
The following is a conversation overheard at a coffee shop. The names have been changed to protect the conversationalists' identity but here's the gist of their conversation.
Lup Cheong: Ah Johnny. There you are.
Johnny: Why? What's up?
Lup Cheong: I wanted to get your thoughts about what's going on with the Elected Presidency.
Johnny: Why me?
Lup Cheong: Because you're a Eurasian. A non Chinese son of Singapore. I wanted to hear your thoughts about the proposal regarding minority representation.
Lup Cheong: Why?
Johnny: They can dress the gesture up however they want, but to me it's basically affirmative action. To me, it's a damning indictment of the PAP's brand of meritocracy. It shows or at least reinforces the perception that most of the rich and successful people in Singapore, the people who would be qualified to stand for the position, are from the Chinese community.
Lup Cheong: Are you saying that this minority clause shows that Singapore is basically a Chinese boys club?
Johnny: Exactly. Think about it. Can you think of any non Chinese Singaporeans who've held top executive positions in a company with shareholder equity of at least $500 million?
Lup Cheong: Not off hand. I don't remember seeing any super successful non Chinese Singaporean businessmen being profiled in the newspapers' society pages either. But we also shouldn't say that Singapore is a Chinese boys club just because we can't recall any non Chinese names or faces in the news.
Johnny: I hope you're right. I would love to be proven wrong about this. But okay let's continue talking hypothetically for a minute.
Lup Cheong: Okay? What do you want to touch on now?
Johnny: Let's say that we're in a presidential election where the reserved minority clause is triggered. Does the "top executive position in a company with shareholder equity of at least $500 million" requirement still stand? Or do we get a Presidential Election where we actually get to elect someone from a range of Non Chinese candidates on the basis of their character and temperament?
Lup Cheong: That's an exciting prospect.
Johnny: We'll just have to wait and see what they say in parliament when they table and debate the coming constitutional amendments. Otherwise we'll just be caught in an endless loop of pointless speculation.