One metaphor used in the #GE2015 campaign is the one that likens Singapore to a 'cruise ship'. The one who proposed it is deluded, and the one who opposes it is equally deluded -- and paranoid. Our little red dot has never been a cruise ship and will never survive as one, iceberg or no. The moment we start believing we are a cruise ship, everyone will want to be a first class passenger, no one wants to work any more. And given the rhetoric that's been passing for 'campaign speeches' on both sides, this belief is strongly setting in already.
Most of us have forgotten what we truly are: a pirate ship. All we have is what we have taken from others. Sure, we are nice pirates and we don't do bloodshed, but we own nothing but the planks we stand on and that's all that's shielding us from rough seas, bad weather and rival privateers, some of whom wield larger cannon and bloodthirstier warriors than those we seem to have on board.
No one in this campaign is talking about them. No, we are stuck with squabbling over how to cut the pie that we have into larger pieces for everyone. For now, it may look like a huge pie in it's totality, but if everyone wants a bigger share of it, we will find out how quickly it becomes a finite resource. Look, if we want more pie, the answer for our little pirate ship is to go plunder other people for what we need. That's all we have to go on.
And, no, on a pirate ship, there are no lifeboats, no safety nets, unlike a cruise ship. The reason why we've been confidently sailing the 7 seas for the last 50 years is because we knew our vulnerabilities and we've played by the rules of our constraints. We do have a few rubber rings, but more importantly, we have each other and we have each other's backs. At least, we did, until we started recognizing that some of our shipmates were starting to look and talk a little differently from ourselves. Then we were no longer 'we' any more, but 'us' and 'them'. And now it's getting to be more like 'me' vs everybody else.
A pirate ship does not become a cruise ship. We have all got to get back to being pirates. Everyone works, no passengers unless they are hostages held for ransom. Not happy with a pittance of a fixed wage? Take a risk. That's what the top-paid pirates are doing. Not happy with the income disparity? There's a way to get some of that money back for yourself. It's a free market, so sell a better product or provide a better service. Make other people say, 'please, take my money'. Plan your own raids, recruit your own crew, branch out and remember to pay your taxes (kept low to encourage entrepreneurship) when you make it big. But if you don't make it big, remember that it was a risk you took and it doesn't always pan out. Either settle; or learn, grow and try again. Can't stomach the risk of a raid, then don't complain about swabbing the deck. Your fixed salary will see you through, as long as you're careful with your expenses. That's the pirate's life.
More importantly, there are opportunities out there that we are missing. Those opportunities are what we should be talking about. We need to be planning adventures, expeditions into the unknown; seeking new resources and planting our flag everywhere. It's not like anyone died and has left us an inheritance to divvy up (although we are behaving a lot like that). Rather, we are building on the foundations laid down by our pioneers, building a stronger, better, faster, more nimble ship that will carry us into our pirating future. And as crew, we don't need the 'leadership' to tell us how to manage ourselves -- we take care of each other.
If the competing candidates now want to captain a cruise ship instead of a pirate ship, well, it's been a fantastic 50-year voyage. There are no lifeboats...