Christians in the lion’s den of power

From WSJ: “Christians as a proportion of the population grew to 18% in the last census in 2010, from about 15% a decade earlier and 7% around the time of independence. . . Christians are also heavily represented in the halls of power, with about 40% of Singapore parliamentarians in the term now ending identifying themselves as Christians. In Saturday’s polls, roughly half of the incumbent People’s Action Party’s new candidates vying for seats identify themselves as Christians.”

If you put into account the 2010 statistics that 33% of Singaporeans who went into the uni are Christians, roughly you could make this observation:

– Proportion of the population who are Christians: 18%
– Proportion of uni-level Singaporeans who are Christians: 33%
– Proportion of Singapore parliamentarians who are Christians: 40%

Thus we could see an increasing percentage of Christians as the social strata goes higher. It perhaps shows how Christian religion is linked with Western lifestyle and social status. To put it in other words, conversion to Christianity doesn’t necessarily means conversion to Christ. Sometimes it could simply mean conversion to Western way of life.

Interestingly, the proportion of Singapore parliamentarians who are Christians are similarly high for the opposition. Of the nine opposition MPs in current parliament (6 elected + 3 NCMPs), at least five are Christians (WP’s Sylvia Lim, Yaw Shin Leong, Yee Jenn Jeong, Gerald Giam, and SPP’s Lina Chiam).

Not to mention that many prominent members of the opposition parties are Christians, too.

SDP: Chee Soon Juan, Ang Yong Guan, Tan Jee Say
SPP: Chiam See Tong, Benjamin Pwee
NSP: Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss
RP: Kenneth Jeyaretnam

So, the high proportion of Christian PAP parliamentarians doesn’t mean that Christians are simply a bunch of obedient people who will submit uncritically to the authorities. In some sense, I think many of them want to make Singapore better by working within the system (personally I like BG Tan Chuan Jin). However, the same high proportion of Christian opposition leaders perhaps indicate that many of them want to make Singapore better by working outside the system as well. In this case, they believe that the system itself needs to be changed.

(The other side of the story which will be interesting to look at is the non-religionists — be it atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc., which is another step from Christianity in terms of religion if we follow the Enlightenment metanarrative. They are well-represented as well in the halls of power.)


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