The time has come.
Well, everyone with half a brain knew it was going to happen this year, just not the exact date.
Billed as the biggest GE since forever, it really is one of the most important elections we’ll ever have. With Lee Kuan Yew gone and the results of GE2011 quite dismal for PAP’s standards, there will be no better time for the opposition to get a better foothold in the Parliament. There will be no better time for the people’s choices to make a difference, to tell the PAP that they cannot afford complacency, the same complacency that led them to lose Aljunied GRC in 2011 and continues to turn people away from them.
I admit, I come from a non-PAP supporting family. But there are plenty of reasons why I never liked the PAP even without the influence of my parents. Yes, the PAP has done some great things for the country, and I’m proud to be Singaporean. Our political system, no matter how flawed, is still a damn sight better than the ludicrous US election cycle.
But I see Singapore as a first world country. We should have first world aspirations, and we should work towards an ideal democracy. The political system favours the PAP heavily; GRCs and first-past-the-post means that they can get 60% of the popular vote yet dominate the Parliament with an overwhelming majority of 90%. There is no accountability to the people either; their policies are not negotiable.
Just look at the building of the casino. How many Singaporeans were for it? In the end, we had no choice. Let’s not even talk about how ERP doesn’t actually alleviate traffic conditions yet earns millions, or CPF, where we are assumed to be so untrustworthy with our own money we have to age longer and longer before we can withdraw all our money.
With regards to money, why do we have two sovereign wealth funds, and why is Ho Ching, the wife of PM Lee, the most qualified person to lead Temasek Holdings? Even while on her long, long, long hiatus?
Let’s see, what else? Ah, how about the ‘abalone porridge’ episode, where they tried to bribe voters with abalone porridge in Potong Pasir? Or threats to push opposition wards to the end of the queue for upgrading works, or denying money to town councils for the same? How about the continuous changing of the GRCs and SMCs, which many have reason to believe is just gerrymandering?
Or what about the AHPETC episode, where they just keep harping on the WP’s failures to keep the town council in the black? Or pushing SG50 like crazy, or the Pioneer Generation packages, all transparent attempts to garner votes? They haven’t invoked Lee Kuan Yew’s name much, but it’s already started in their first rally, held strategically in Tanjong Pagar where Lee Kuan Yew started and had walkovers for several elections.
Childish comments from people high up like DPM Teo Chee Hean about ‘orh luak’ and ‘eating up Fengshan’ only heightens my distaste for many members of the ruling party. And to see these army or civil service officers shoot up the ranks in record time, getting a place in Parliament without any work on the ground, and then get talked up for leadership qualities and whatnot? It’s unpalatable, and smacks of elitism.
There’s a danger of groupthink when a PAP-dominated government already makes all its decisions in unison. Combined with the terrible efficiency of our SAF, and you wonder who the hell will trust these men and women to lead us, listen to our voices and represent the citizens in Parliament. Because when I was in NS, there sure as hell wasn’t anything of that sort.
At least the WP has a big, diverse roster of different people who can offer different opinions. At least they have a manifesto that isn’t bulked up by being in 4 languages, literally having pictures on every other page, and prattles on about past achievements. PAP, you said it yourself. This is about the future of Singapore. So stop throwing me your past achievements and start talking about how you want to improve Singapore with some concrete policy plans like WP outlined in their much better manifesto.
In the end, I’m way too disillusioned by PAP to be won over by their attempts to soften their stance. Being fair with the opposition by pointing out their errors on nomination forms, not responding negatively to jeers, talking up their ‘work’ in the heartlands, organising MP candidate reveals in coffee shops, having upgrading works for sheltered walkways just as the elections come around…it’s all too transparent. Cheap propaganda such as this only makes me more determined to vote differently.
It’s a pity I no longer stay in the east, where I might have a chance of voting good opposition MPs into Parliament to maintain a semblance of checks and balances in our practically-single-party government. Instead, I have SingFirst who can’t even get the Tamil translations for their campaign theme right. Sigh.