I’ve not posted anything about the elections, although I’ve followed the more notorious candidates pretty closely and also the twitter feed as the results were being announced. Loved the commentary on PM Lee’s red crocodile brand underwear for luck and how antsy everyone was getting about the results they started taunts like “breaking news: election results to be announced some time before GE 2016”.
My political sympathies lie with apathy for the most part, and if i must choose, the opposition. Doesn’t matter which one (well, maybe not the one who didn’t know the pledge or the one who was too noob to submit the nomination form on time). I like their sentiments and their passion and their competence (for some of them), but most of all, their morals (which they may lose upon entering parliament?). Even though I don’t really like the welfare-state direction in which most of them are headed. But I too will have to face the cruel reality of housing prices in singapore when we start looking to buy a flat for a song.
Like hq, most of my fb newsfeed is peppered with anti PAP, pro opposition sentiments, and I’ve only recently met some people at cornell who were genuinely surprised at my disappointment about the opposition’s losses in marine parade and holland-bukit timah. I don’t understand why. Even if I were to support the PAP, they are not without demerits. Why would one hope for a clean sweep in parliament when some of their candidates are clearly not up to the task? People vote for the opposition not necessarily to try to oust the PAP candidates from power in their constituency (my zone, Nee Soon, for example, is a lost cause) but to make a statement as to how screwed up they’ve become and how if they didn’t watch it the population (not as stupid as they think) would give them a good hard kick out of parliament.
Here are several reasons why I don’t support the ruling party. I disagree with the PAP’s lack of morals in bullying anybody who disagrees with them (that’s right, our “democratic” government does not admit dissent), in their dismal treatment of citizens in opposition zones as well as opposition MPs themselves to “make a point” about how their policies are better and shit. Have a look at Chiam See Tong’s office, for example. This is the office of an MP who has been in parliament for 27 years and who has been denied funds for a proper working space because the PAP simply 看他不顺眼. He might get a better office as a construction worker. It’s so artificial! Punishing the people who did not vote for them to engineer a sense of superiority of their policies versus that of the opposition’s. How dare they take all the credit for Singapore’s prosperity and financial resilience! Did the entire Potong Pasir not contribute in any way to our financial growth? Were they not subject to the same policies/taxes that govern the rest of the nation?
I disagree with the PAP’s gerrymandering (a word i only hear every 5 years) as they redraw constituency boundaries to favour themselves (come on, try to win the elections like a man for once) and with the way they are motivated by money instead of the welfare of their citizens. We have intelligently sent into office people who claim that without their high ministerial pay, they would not be in politics because they’d be paid better elsewhere (really >.> ). We knowingly elected people who told us to our face that they are working primarily for the cash, not for our good. What then are we complaining about when we face rocketing housing prices and an influx of foreign talent/overcrowding to build up the country’s reserves? You mean you didn’t see it coming? No matter how competent the candidates the PAP fields, a precious handful would do what they are doing for a typical middle-class income, regardless of how much they say they are here primarily to serve us. Perhaps some would say it is impossible to find people who would work for the common good for a pittance, impossible to find people who are so civic-minded they are more concerned about the citizens than about their own paychecks. But having worked in a non-profit organisation like Singapore Youth for Christ where everyone is paid a pittance (just enough to survive), and having observed no corruption in that organisation, I think it is not such a flight of fancy. Every one there works toward what they think is best for the youths in Singapore, and not for themselves. These people literally interact with semi-literate punks from the dregs of society on a daily basis, trying to turn them into guai kias for less than minimum wage, investing in these youths with their tears and prayers and heartache. So I think it is not impossible to find genuinely altruistic, uncorrupt people who will look out for citizens over themselves.
I was disappointed that the opposition did not manage to take Holland-Bukit Timah or Marine Parade despite the PAP fielding jokers in those GRCs and strong opposition candidates. If there were a triangle of success for the opposition in a constituency, they would need
a) crappy, incompetent PAP candidates
b) charismatic opposition candidates who are good at winning people over with their sincere speech
c) citizens who share their political POV for singapore’s progress, citizens who are not just interested in their own security or who are easily intimidated to go with what they know best.
while a) & b) were met, c) was a tough call. there are a lot of old people in singapore who don’t like change. a) wasn’t even really met since the PAP fielded some well-liked, spoil market MPs in the GRCs with crappy, incompetent candidates.
Where the opposition can go from here
I think they would really benefit from a rogue PAP MP who became corrupt despite high ministerial salaries, thus invalidating the PM’s constant justification of his and his cabinet’s salaries based on low corruption rates. Some young, passionate opposition advocate could infiltrate the ranks of the PAP perhaps by marrying a party member and establishing trustworthiness based on spousal loyalty. The double agent would then proceed to work on the inside to reduce the credibility and popularity ratings of the ruling party, trying to convert ardent PAP supporters to the opposition’s cause. This could be done by pretending to have shockingly little knowledge of how things work in the government or on the ground and rattling off thoughtless, irresponsible statements to reporters that make headlines for sheer immaturity of thought. She could then use her hiked up salary to buy branded american apparel, further distancing herself from the middle-class, thus herding them in droves over to the opposition camp.