On developing a democracy of deeds

On developing a democracy of deeds


Journalist: There is a sense amongst some quarters that some Singaporeans anyway, are looking too much to the Government to solve all their problems. And it is of course the duty of the Government to look after its citizens. But, where do you draw the line? I mean, you have spoken about democracy of deeds, where people also help each other in addition of taking ownership of their own problems, taking ownership also of the communities problems and actually getting involved. PM Lee: Yes. Journalist: How do you think we can get there? PM Lee: Well, I think that we have to take a somewhat detached view of the issues, so that when issues come up, our first instinct is not (about) government to do something about it. Whether it is a problem with rats in the neighbourhood, whether it is a problem with feeding the birds, and therefore, other vermin turned up, whether it is a problem with neighbours upstairs, downstairs. The government should be the last recourse and should not be the first recourse. I mean, there are all sorts of community groups which have formed. The RC (Residents’ Committees) and NC (Neighbourhood Committees) of course do a lot of work. But there are many other groups which get together, and look after their interests. For example, when we have the new HDB neighbourhood precinct, and people are beginning to get ready to move in, they have already bought the flats and waiting for their keys, or they may be renovating and preparing to move in. Before any RC is formed, there is already a Facebook group. And they will share information about where to get the best curtains, which interior decorator is good, who gives you good value, who is to be avoided, and when to get together to go and see the new MP and asked for something which is not fixed. So I think MPs sometimes feel a little bit anxious about this, because (MPs may think): “Wow, they are getting organised so fast, when is the request going to come?”. But I think it is a good thing that people are organising and through the social media, it is easier for them to organise. But actually, you ought to organise to get thing done. Not to organise to ask the government to do things.

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