LKY once said that for a surgeon, the scalpel is his chief tool, and for a politician, it is words. Watching the US Presidential elections, how well the candidates are able to speak, without notes, with conviction and passion in their voices, I couldn’t agree more. Notwithstanding that the current crop of ‘opposition’ politicians are not ambitious enough to want to form a new government, it is disappointing to see how poorly most of them speak.
They read prepared speeches in Parliament. They read prepared speeches in rallies. They even read prepared speeches when they attend political forums! It makes me think that most of them do not have strong convictions and passions. Because if you really really believe in something, if you have thought deep and hard about that something, you will have a strong message to deliver, and that message does not come out of prepared text, but it comes out of your heart, and the words will form themselves.
Just for once, try it. Speak as Mitt Romney does at an election rally. Look at the audience, not at your notes. In fact, don’t prepare notes, get rid of notes! Speak to them from your heart. Look at them! Rally them! Laugh with them! Cry with them! Get mad with them! Engage them!
You are speaking to an audience of thousands, people who are here to hear what you really have to say, what you really think, what you really feel, what you really want for the country, what you really want to do for the country, what you really want to do for the people. People will forgive your occasional stumbles if they sense that your words are truly and deeply from your heart, that you are really engaging them.
There are powerful and moving orators in the ‘opposition’. Vincent Wijeysingha, Chee Soon Juan and Pritam Singh come easily to mind. Other passionate speakers include Tan Jee Say, Ang Yong Guan and Tony Tan– although perhaps they have too much anger in them. Nicole Seah too, especially in her very moving speeches when she cried as she praised Chiam See Tong.
But we need more of such speakers. We need people who can take on the PAP in fiery debate without stumbling, who can trade punch for punch and be the last man standing, not whimper and fade away when PAP’s mad dogs like Vikram Nair start attacking.