Gaslighting by Politicians: No wonder Singaporeans are susceptible to scams

Singapore, a bustling hub of technology, finance, and innovation, boasts a highly educated populace. It’s a country known for its rigorous academic standards, with many of its citizens pursuing higher education.

So, it’s indeed puzzling when we see statistics indicating that scams are on the rise, with victims losing a staggering SG$1.3 billion over the past two years.

It’s even more surprising to learn that over 53% of these victims are between the ages of 20 and 39.

While Singapore’s scam figures are alarming, we can also observe a similar trend in its neighboring country, Malaysia.

The upward trajectory in scam cases there includes online trading, business email scams, and more. But the question remains: why is this happening in a nation like Singapore, which is so well-educated?

A hypothesis that comes to mind is the conditioning by Singapore’s political landscape.

It can be argued that Singaporeans are often conditioned to accept questionable logic and narratives, especially when they emanate from established authority figures such as police officers or institutions like ministries.

This conditioning can lead to a weakened sense of judgment when confronted with half-truths, misrepresentations, or blatant lies.

Case in point: the notion that a seasoned politician who has been affiliated with a particular party for decades, can suddenly disassociate from the party’s ideologies and adopt an independent stance.

For many, this is a difficult pill to swallow. It’s akin to expecting someone who has sung the same tune for 20 years to suddenly change the lyrics while maintaining the same melody.

When such arguments are propagated and largely unchallenged, it can create a populace less adept at spotting inconsistencies or fallacies in reasoning.

If one can accept the above political scenario, then it might not be a huge leap to fall for the manipulative tactics of scammers.

But it’s essential not to conflate political conditioning with susceptibility to scams entirely.

There are other factors at play. The proliferation of technology, especially among the younger demographic, exposes individuals to a wider net of potential threats.

The anonymity of online platforms, coupled with advanced scamming techniques, has made it easier for perpetrators to deceive their victims.

However, it’s also worth noting that fostering a culture of critical thinking is beneficial for any nation, not just in terms of warding off scams but also in promoting informed decision-making, especially during significant events like elections.

As Singaporeans approach the polls for the presidential election this year, it’s crucial to weigh the claims and credentials of every candidate critically.

While every nation has its unique political intricacies and nuances, at the heart of a thriving democracy is an informed and discerning electorate.

The rise in scams should serve as a wake-up call for Singapore to reinforce the value of skepticism and independent reasoning among its populace.

It’s not just about protecting one’s assets but also about safeguarding the very fabric of a democratic society.

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