The last hour of the Prime Minister’s first National Day Rally was pure history in the making. A sweeping array of new schemes, policies and strategies were announced, including the equalization of spousal health care benefits to husbands (instead of just wives), the extension of maternity leave from four weeks to twelve weeks, maternal and paternal “child care leave” (to be used for a variety of child care activities) of two days annually for parents with children under seven, all sorts of other incentives, tax cuts, levy-reductions (infant care, new first and fourth child benefits, cheaper maids, grandparent incentives) and (most shockingly) a five-day workweek for the civil service (though the 44 hour workweek remains). Wow. My initial reaction when listening to all this was, “This might actually work!” Truthfully, my first reaction was, “Is this really the same Singapore/PAP??”
Now that the initial buzz has worn off, I observe that PM Lee (II) was precisely the person opposing the enactment of about half of these exact same measures that people have been requesting forever. So now we’re supposed to applaud the wisdom and leadership of the person who spent about a decade blocking the measures he now deems necessary, even though nothing much about the arguments on both sides and the environmental forces have changed. And with no signs of embarrassment whatsoever at having dramatically changed positions (both literally and politically). At least he seems to be saying and doing all the right things now.
From now, I am busy. I have back to back engagements and driving lessons before my test on Wednesday, when Woj arrives (yay!). Then the travelling begins Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and back in two weeks. I can’t wait. Then it’s just a couple more days till Cambridge days begin once more. Miss me yet? I do.