Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A parallel Révolution française?

I have a fertile imagination. I was watching the The History Channel several months ago about the French Revolution, and I find many similarities between France on the eve of the revolution with the present day Singapore, and a haunting view of what can happen if the current PAP government is overthrown via violent means through some kind of people (mob) power.

In my thought experiment, the alternative is not pretty. There are many idealistic, rational thinking citizens (like Mr Wang, heh) who can use the vacuum left behind by the incumbents to rise to public prominence and institute progressive change to society and the state. But my cynical self says it would probably be the likes of people from a certain online kopitiam to sweep them aside and radicalize the Revolution a la The Reign of Terror:

The Revolutionary Tribunal summarily condemned thousands of people to death by the guillotine, while mobs beat other victims to death. Sometimes people died for their political opinions or actions, but many for little reason beyond mere suspicion, or because some others had a stake in getting rid of them.


During Robespierre's Terror — often believed to have been a bourgeois-led, peasant-backed uprising against an autocratic nobility — nearly 95% of its tens of thousands of victims were, in fact, poor or middle class. And those left alive were tyrannized by the very same revolutionary fanatics who once claimed to be liberating them from the ancien régime. - Publishers Weekly's review on The Terror: The Shadow of the Guillotine: France 1792--1794

Think it is far fetched? Think again.

A descent into insanity and excesses.

Who knows, our neighbors may also make use of the unrest as an excuse to mount a military invasion and takeover.

PS - Of course I am not saying that the status quo is good; on the contrary, there has to be a change, a shift towards a Singapore for Singaporeans, and not Singapore Inc.


"...we need to examine the need for civil and rational discourse in society, before the voices of xenophobia and anger consolidate their presence in the web." - BL

To BL's quote, I will also add: "and onto the streets."


SM said...

A similar parallel could be drawn to the Salem witch hunts, made famous in The Crucible by Arthur Miller...

Ned Stark said...


I concur with your views. It is a rather frightening prospect. I hope Singaporeans do not need a disaster or a revoluition to start focussing on stuff other than $.