From being Politically Apathetic to writing a blog post about Singapore General Elections 2011

Disclaimer: As i understand it, expressing one’s political views during the rally period is legally… well, legal. If any part of my below expression of feelings and personal opinion is illegal or not supposed to be published, please do let me know and i will take it down. I mean no harm nor hurt. If not, here goes:

Just a few days ago, even at nomination day 2011, i was politically apathetic, aloof even. I had no idea what GRC i was in, who my MPs were, or even if i was in a GRC or SRC. I had no idea how our PM was chosen, no idea what it means to vote for the Opposition, or the Ruling Party. Man, i didn’t even know who the Opposition were (I always thought them to be the Worker’s Party only).

Now i know i’m in Nee Soon GRC, have a vague idea who my MPs are. I know who the opposition consists of (Basically any contesting party that isn’t the current party in power, namely: WP, SPP, SDP, SDA, NSP, RP). This can be credited to the substantial amount of rather well written Facebook notes shared by my friends, patient explaining done by some friends, and several rally videos on youtube.

WTF is this?

As mentioned, there are already many notes circulating around, written by well informed and well opinionated people. So why the **** am i writing this?

This is basically for my own benefit, for me to reflect upon after the 7th on May 2011. To see if my views are right. This is to mark the milestone in my life where i first start to transit from being politically ignorant to mildly informed, at least informed enough for me to pen down some of my views.

Thats right, i have some views about the current GE. Finally i’m getting to it. :p

My views

The PAP will ‘win’ and we all know it

Judging from my limited knowledge of Singapore’s politics and how the elections are carried out, when i say ‘win’ in this context, i mean getting more than 50% seats in parliament.

Its basically ‘PAP’ vs ‘The Opposition’, and ‘The Opposition’ consists of the above mentioned Worker’s Party, Singapore Democrats Party, Singapore People’s Party, National Solidarity Party, Singapore Democratic Alliance, Reform Party. Out of the different parties in the opposition, the worker’s party is the largest, and arguable the most favoured. However, even if the Worker’s Party wins all the wards it is contesting in, it will not hold the majority, unless, of course, PAP loses a lot of the other wards to the other opposition parties, which from what i feel, is not going to happen. Thus, in the end, even if the PAP does not win more than 50% of the seats, they will still hold the majority seats. And thus they will still be the ruling party.

Therefore, we can see that at least for the next 5 years, the opposition party is not looking to ‘take over’ the government (if they want that, a coup would be more realistic). Their aims, from reading between the rally lines, and from what other people are saying, are:
1. To give an opposing voice in parliament, protecting the interests and welfare of the citizens. (This i agree with, and will expand on later)
2. To take the first step towards dominating the government, which will not happen this election, but may eventually happen after 10 to 20 years.
3. For the world highest MP salary. $15k shiok shiok, then retire and xiang fu (this is a joke, please take it that way).

I know i’m making a rather broad assumption. But i’m too lazy to go through all the fine points. The PAP will win laaaaah. ;P

What kind of voter are you?

Since the PAP is gonna win anyway, why in the world are we bothering to vote? First, i shall state what i think would be the criteria the voters keep in mind when voting.
There are different kinds of voters, there are those who vote because:
1. They want a better Singapore, meaning they vote with the future of Singapore in mind.
2. They want a good estate to stay in, meaning they vote for the party they think will do the most for their GRC/SRC. i.e the MP that they see, and like.
3. They just hate the PAP.
4. They just love the PAP.
5. They want a comfortable life and don’t really care who’s in power.
6. A mix of the above, with differing priorities.
7. They don’t know what’s going on, so they ask their friend who are they voting for, and ‘ok lo, i follow you’.

So what kind of voter are you?

Why are we voting?

Since we know the PAP will win anyway. These points have been stated many times over, by different people and in the different rallies. I’m just consolidating the points i feel should be the more important ones, or rather, are the more important ones that i am weighing to decide my vote.

Prevent complacency
I will be voting because i feel how much the PAP wins by will determine the direction they will take with the future political decisions. Winning by a large margin will breed complacency. The complacency that they will stay in power even if the policies they put in place are not well received by the public.

What i feel is happening now is: given a choice between 3 solutions to a current political problem, the PAP would choose the one that yields the largest economic gain despite a low citizen welfare, the opposition would choose the one that gives the largest citizen welfare despite resulting in a very slow economic growth for Singapore. This is a very general assumption and is not very fair in representing the different parties, i know. But with the limited knowledge i have on the political decisions and claims made thus far, this is the best i can get.

So i guess what i would want is the solution that balances citizen welfare and economic growth.

Thus i guess if i vote for the opposition, it would be because i don’t want the ruling party to get too complacent.

Not single party run
Currently, as i understand, PAP holds a rather large percentage of seats in the parliament. This means that they can pass bills and such easily. This doesn’t really matter as this current GE will reset the ratio again.

Assuming within a party, all the MPs agree with each other and would take the same stand, if a party holds more than 50% or 75% seats, they can make decisions on what to pass. If all parties hold <50% seats, this means bills and such won’t pass with only one party’s POV.
(Please correct me if i’m wrong here, i didn’t read up much on this)

Therefore, if i don’t want a single party deciding everything, i would vote for the opposition.

Another voice
As MPs, they will have a voice and vote within the government. This is assuming that within a party, not all MPs have the same view towards a certain decision or problem. This is much more realistic and thus i guess, a better argument.

Therefore, with more opposition MPs in parliament, there will be more voices to sway more votes towards a more people centric solution, assuming of course the opposition’s solution is the more people centric one.

I believe whoever is voted up, will definitely have at least some calibre so an economically non-viable or long-term will cui solution with lots of loopholes will not even be contested at all. This means that only solutions which are beneficial towards Singapore and her citizens will be debated.

Therefore, if i want another voice, and i believe the opposition is qualified and good enough to give it, i would vote for the opposition.

If i vote for the ruling party, it is because i know they can do the job well, and have proven it. As can be seen from the awesome track record they have so far. Please don’t argue with me over this. I feel they have done a good enough job for me, as i can’t do better. So thats my yardstick. You have your own criteria, and that is your opinion. Shuddup. ;p
That said, if you want to have the whole pro-PAP argument, here’s one:
I’m sure you can find many more online to refute. Go there are comment. Bye bye. :D

So, this one reason may be enough to sway my vote towards the ruling party, as it IS a very strong reason. Why choose the unknown over the proven?

These above factors will be those influencing my vote.

Now, to the second, and more juicy part, in my opinion.

Stupid suggestions by the Opposition
As stated by a friend over lunch today, people can see that many of the ‘solutions’ proposed by the Opposition is economically not viable, to put it in simple terms. In the long term, the decisions and policies made by the PAP thus far, are pretty much on the right track, with much thought put into them, and all possible outcomes analysed. This means that the solutions they have come up with, are the most economically sound. And many of those short term solutions that the Opposition has came up with are just that. Short term, with much negative repercussions in the future.

I do agree with that wholeheartedly. I have not looked through all the claims and promises made, but from the few i know, i do know that they not long-term solutions.

I am pretty sure the Opposition, who’s candidates are not stupid as well, would know that the policies they are suggesting will not hold up to the test of time, heck, they probably won’t get passed anyway. So why are they promising all that?

The answer is simple, Political tactics.

Politics is dirty. We can’t deny that. From dangling carrots, to fear-mongering, over-promising, and controlling the media. These tricks are dirty, and yet, all is fair in love and war, or in this case, GE. :)

So back to the topic, why did the Opposition promise all that even though they know it won’t happen?

My guess is that the general public do not look in the long term, or rather, refuse to look in the long term. As humans, i believe that we all feel that the grass is greener on the other side, nothing currently is ever good enough. Therefore, we always ask for more.

Thus, the opposition is giving us just that. By promising what the citizens want, they get the votes that will get them into parliament. Once there, they can half-heartedly push for what they promised, knowing it won’t come to pass. Therefore, it is just a means to an end.
Notice that i did not state supporting the Opposition’s policies as one of my reasons why i would vote for the Opposition. :)
Thus i feel the opposition are fielding all those promises and suggestions just to call on the crowd mentality to gain the popularity needed to get the votes. Their aims, i feel, are still the three i mentioned above.

So, if you’re against the opposition because of their shitty suggestions, did my argument above open another train of thought?

Why the opposition has such a great following online?
Judging from the amount of airtime the opposition vs the ruling party is getting on national TV, and the national newspaper, i can only conclude that the national media is controlled. Either that, or the staff really support the ruling party. Ha?

Well, as mentioned, i think that is perfectly fine. If you have the power, use it la. Media is a very powerful tool. If you control what the people know, you control what they think.

Therefore, with the official media taken by the ruling party, the opposition takes the other: the online community. My Facebook feed is dominated by >75% pro-opposition posts. Most blogs are stirring shit about the ruling party. And well, as the national media is greatly skewed towards the ruling party, the online media is equally skewed towards the opposition party.
One example is a post exclaiming that the PAP rally lorry is making so much noise with no MP in it. Just today i saw a WP rally lorry with no one riding in the back.

Therefore, i feel that the large online following for the opposition is pretty justified.

Overwhelming support for opposition at rallies
Seeing pictures of the WP rallies compared to the PAP rallies, with posts exclaiming that half the already small crowd at the PAP rallies are ‘zi ji ren’, and many saying that the PAP should be scared of the large support the opposition is getting. I feel that we will only know if the support will translate into votes. Being at the rallies doesn’t mean one will vote for that party. They can just be there to bask in the ambience. :)
In the end, i feel a person’s vote is influenced by what i said in ‘what kind of voter are you’

We will only know for sure after 7th May 2011, if the support is true, or not.

Blind support for the Opposition
Many of the generation before me are voters who ‘3. just hate the PAP’. They like the short term policies fielded by the opposition, and dislike the policies put in place by the PAP. We can say they are short sighted, or not well educated. But say what you like, they are the generation that put you through your education, and brought you up. So respect people, respect.

That said, from the online support, the rally support, and the blind support, i feel that these are the only pillars of support the Opposition have against the Ruling party. With no proven track record for most, this is the only kind of support they can get, and they will definitely milk it for all its worth.

Imagine if there were no people blindly supporting the opposition, there are no online support whatsoever for them, there are equal number of people at both opposition and ruling party rallies. The Opposition will have no hope against the track record of the ruling party.
It is these bind support we need, to allow at least a small strand of hope for the opposition party to stand against the all mighty ruling party. So don’t pray pray ah. Important hor all these. :D

In conclusion, i have stated my views on what is influencing my vote, and why the current situation of the GE is as such.

Well, i guess i will end my long rant by saying, once again, that i’m not pro-PAP, nor pro-opposition. My vote is yet to be decided, and i am still weighing the factors i stated above in my not very well organised post.

I will not ask for all to vote wisely, as i’m sure the opposition do need a few blind votes, but still, do put a little thought into the cross you are going to draw on the polling slip. :)

If you have read everything till this line, i applaud and thank you for your patience. I presume you did not enjoy it, i know i can’t write very well.
If you skipped many parts, i don’t blame you, but i hope you got my points.
If you skipped everything, then why are you still here? Tsk. Go away la. :p

Good night!

P.S: i'm thinking of publishing this as a facebook note too, but scared level too low, tio shoot. So this shall stay in my relatively unknown blog. :)


  1. Here's something to balance the post by Dr Desmond:

    It's true that everyone makes mistakes. But you apologise for your mistakes sincerely whereas PAP will not even admit mistake but will push the blame to everyone else but itself. They only apologise during the elections only to save themselves. They are not sincere in their apologies.

    It's not that we expect perfection from ministers but we expect value for money. How can they on the one hand claim to be the country's best, deserving multi-million dollar salaries and at the same time fail so miserably?

    The dark clouds in the horizon didn't appear suddenly. They have been there for quite a while already. But the PAP solution is so cosmetic thus far. Not enough babies, import more people. We need change.

    Yes there will be poor people. But even the poorest in Continental Europe are well taken care of. Here, we deliberately flood the job market with cheap labour to make the poor people even poorer.

    The PAP is not clean if you realise the lies they have been telling. Until now, they are still peddling asset appreciation as good for the country. Think about it, what we gain, our children and children's children willl pay for it.

    You asked a good question - is GDP growth sustainable? At some point, it must slow down. Yet the PAP cheated this slow down with massive import of labour. That came at a price which the people ended up paying for. You must realise the PAP will stop at nothing to maintain high GDP growth, even if it detriments the people.

    You are right. We have no right to ask this and that from the government if the government didn't take anything from us in the first place. The government took away all our land on the cheap. Is it not fair that we ask for cheap housing in return? If you say we shouldn't ask for cheap housing, then ask the government to return cheap land back to the people please.

    You ask why should the govt satisfy instaiable appetite with each generation. You asked a good question. Ask yourself, are people getting greedier? What we ask now is a flat. Our fathers asked for a flat too. So did our grandfathers. You see? Our appetites never grew. But something else grew. The price of flats grew, that's why. The present and the future generations will end up paying for all the asset appreciation of our fathers and grandfathers. That is the ponzi scheme that the government created. If price of housing has been stable, it will anchor the price of everything as well.

    It is not true that we need a GRC for racial representation. In every GRC, the minority MP will be given an area to govern. So we can just simply say that that particular area be a minority constituency where only minority candidates can vote. That's it, we got minority representation there already. No need GRC. The assigned minority constituency can change from election to election.

    Don't be tired about opposition anger because there is logic in their argument.

    1) I can't speak for WP but the plan for Ajunied can be seen from Hougang. It's a decent neighbourhood. They will do their best with the funds they have. Whatever extra which depends on state funds which the PAP withholds, blame the PAP, not the WP.

    What do you want Mr Low to announce? That they are going to have some multi million dollar rejunvenation which only state funds can pay for? Let's get real, the govt holds the purse strings and if we continue to allow the govt to act like a gangster and withhold fundings from opposition wards, people like you will always be asking: "where's the plan?" which is basically asking "where's the money?"

  2. Hmm, i think you posted the comment in the wrong blog.

  3. Hi there! Just wanted to point out that to say that Dr Mao's post is pro-PAP is not exactly accurate. If he is, then he would not be in a dilemma would he? Also, he did raise points against the PAP and for the opposition and vice versa. I'd say that if you would want to a read a balanced view, then his article serves that purpose ;)