Is Chen Show Mao Singapore’s Wei Zheng (魏徵) or Wei Zhong Xian(魏忠賢)?
Posted by temasektimes on October 14, 2012
In his maiden speech in parliament last year October, Workers Party MP Chen Show Mao proclaimed to the entire Singapore that he will be Singapore’s ‘魏徵’ (Wei Zheng) in parliament to be a fearless critic to check on the ruling party?
Wei Zheng is a Chancellor of Emperor Taizong during the Tang dynasty and was well-known to be an upright and honest official who dared to speak his mind to the extent of offending the Emperor.
When he passed away, the Emperor lamented:
“Now that Wei is gone, I have lost a mirror!”
There were high hopes for Chen when he was first introduced as a candidate for the Workers Party during last year’s general election.
A high-flying corporate lawyer who was based overseas before returning to Singapore to contest in last year’s General Election, Chen was regarded as many Singaporeans as a credible candidate to take on the ruling party in parliament.
Unfortunately, Chen’s performance in parliament has been most dismal so far. Not only did he fail to raise important national issues of concern, being completely overshadowed by PAP backbenchers such as Tin Pei Ling, he was accused of plagiarizing a netizen’s article to be used on his Facebook.
While one might expect Chen to spear-head discussions on current affairs and politics on social media, his Facebook has degenerated into a sort of coffee-shop circus filled with mundane chit-chat and gossips.
Is this the kind of performance we expect from Singapore’s self-styled ‘Wei Zheng’?
By saying and doing nothing, Chen is giving legitimacy to the ruling party and indirectly helping it masquerade Singapore as a ‘democracy’ to the international community.
In this aspect, Chen is more like ‘魏忠賢’, an infamous eunuch in the last days of the Ming dynasty who gained absolute power by currying favor with the Emperor and shutting his eyes and ears.
As a matter of fact, the entire Workers Party is performing well as a ‘忠’ (loyal) and ‘賢’ (virtuous) ‘opposition’ of the ruling party which earn party chief Low Thia Kiang praises from its Supreme Leader Lee Kuan Yew a few years ago.
Aljunied residents voted for the Workers Party in the election last year partly because of Chen’s ‘star power’, believing that he will bring some change in parliament. They did not vote for him just to ‘wayang’ in the constituency now and then for photo shoots.
The Workers Party’s election slogan was ‘Towards a First World Parliament’ and not ‘Towards a better-run Aljunied and Hougang’.
One does not need to be a lawyer to be a grassroots leader. An opposition MP who does not oppose is worse than a dummy. With his impressive credentials, Chen should emulate the opposition MPs in other countries like Tony Pua of Malaysia to fight for greater democracy in Singapore.
Will Chen be remember as Singapore’s Wei Zheng or Wei Zhong Xian ten years down the road? Only time will tell, but at the present moment, his words and actions (or non-action) are resembling those of the latter rather than the former.