Get the full picture

The frenzied pace of the election campaign and the arguments made by some candidates remind me of the story about blind men describing an elephant.

They latch onto a fragment of the truth that resonates with their ideals and arguments, and gloss over the rest, usually drawing very different conclusions from some others, who are doing the same thing.

Often, the audience listening to such piecemeal arguments would be none the wiser.

While it can be entertaining to watch, such behaviour hides the many serious and complex underlying issues that Singapore is faced with, which, by their nature, cannot be addressed with a simplistic observation or argument.

Worse, the effects of such issues often manifest insidiously over a considerable period, making it difficult to wholly link cause and effect. When the damage becomes evident, it is too late.

It takes a truly caring, responsible and enlightened candidate to communicate the risks and consequences that result from each proposal and choice the people make.

Let us not wait until the elephant starts stomping about before we try to make sense of it.

Toh Kim Sai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Get the full picture'. Print Edition | Subscribe