Political commentator Catherine Lim to write less, mentor more

Author and political critic Catherine Lim.
Author and political critic Catherine Lim.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Author and political critic Catherine Lim announced on Friday that she will shut down her website to focus on mentoring young Singaporeans who are interested in discussing politics.

In a post on her website, Ms Lim told her readers that she has decided to write fewer political commentaries and deliver fewer lectures, and will take on a "new role in the political arena".

Instead of being a commentator, she will now be a "mentor and consultant to the young".

She said she made the decision as she had nothing more to say about the Government's persistent reliance "on fear as an instrument of control".

"Since any more of my usual lectures and articles, with their usual themes, will only be tedious repetition in the current political transition, the logical follow-up action will be the imminent closure of my website," she said of the website that she had set up to share the pieces "the mainstream media were not willing to publish".

Ms Lim added that she would invariably mention the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in her commentaries, as he was the "mainstay of the PAP governing style".

But she did not want to make anymore critical comments about him, since he is no longer around to refute the comments.

She said: "It would seem to me a breach of both social responsibility and human decency to make critical comments about someone when he is no longer around to refute them."

But Ms Lim added that she would continue to share her observations and views with fellow Singaporeans, as she has been doing for some time now, at informal "tea-and-chat sessions".

"I will be keenly sharing my views and insights with like-minded, equally concerned Singaporeans, in the role of mentor and friend, and will be ready to take on, once more, the role of public writer and speaker, as and when the situation warrants it, which may be years hence," she said.

In 1994, Ms Lim penned an essay published in The Straits Times about a divide between the People's Action Party and Singaporeans, which she termed a "great affective divide".

More recently, in 2014, she wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arguing that this divide had escalated into a "crisis of trust" between the PAP and the people.

This was refuted by the Government in a letter from Singapore's Consul-General in Hong Kong Jacky Foo, published in The South China Morning Post. The newspaper had reported on Ms Lim's open letter.

Mr Foo said in his letter that the Government has done much to improve people's lives, including addressing problems of income inequality, slowing social mobility and the middle-income squeeze in a "sustainable and responsible" way.