Of course, I eventually had to write a kaypoh GE2011 post.
April 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Am I particularly well-informed in the sphere of politics? No. Politically apathetic? Hard to be in the current political climate.
For over 40 years, soccer and American politics have been far more interesting for Singaporeans to discuss than our stagnant and immovable PAPlitical scene. But there’s a whiff of change in the air, and regardless of whether the 2011 elections will bring in actual tides of change, it is undeniable that something has cracked in the veneer of a peaceful and contented society that the PAP has tried desperately to mask for the past decade. This little tear in the fabric has now morphed into an fast evolving monster that the PAP is clueless in handling.
I’m no expert, and I’m not going to pretend to be. But there are just a few things I’d like to point out.
I may not know what is right, but I know that something is wrong when
1. Civil servants are tweeting, leaving messages on Facebook and blogging questions such as “If I vote for the opposition, does it mean I won’t get my promotion/bonuses?” And while we may sound like we’re saying this candidly, behind it is a knowledge that our suspicions on this may not be entirely unfounded.
2. I go to an opposition rally and the moment people see the camera, wary eyes dart upwards and faces turn away with immediate effect to avoid the camera in fear.
3. Pedro goes to the rally with a handicam and a member of the public thinks he’s from the secret police.
4. We joke half-seriously that if we don’t vote for the PAP we won’t be able to get a HDB flat.
Don’t tell me that there’s ‘nothing wrong’ with the way things are because no citizen should be making his choice based on fear. People shouldn’t be voting for the PAP just to secure their estate’s upgrading program, a better chance at getting public housing or maintaining their public service jobs. We want to vote for you for what you can do, not what you will not do should we not vote for you.
The fear card may have worked when Singapore first gained independence because the threat of annihilation was very real. But please, three generations down, we appreciate everything the PAP has DONE for us, thank you, but that doesn’t mean we have the confidence in what you CAN DO for us, in the present and future tense, especially when so much of what you’ve done and said (especially online) lately seems so far removed from my version of reality.
I’m not going to say much else, because as Pedro succinctly phrases it, he admits that he’s no political expert & has no credibility whatsoever. But like everyone else on the internet, he just wants to be a well-informed shit-stirrer.
Here, instead, are some pictures from yesterday’s Workers’ Party Rally at Serangoon Stadium.
Crowd spilling outside the stadium. In true ‘kaypoh’ Singaporean spirit, everyone wanted to just ‘be there’. (Me included) Behind those rows of people behind the fence it is jammed packed to the next building as well.
Some articles on the elections worth reading:
Paul G. Buchanan: A Door Cracks Open in the Little Red Dot
“Among the ranks of the opposition are defectors from the PAP, former government-sponsored overseas scholars (who usually pay their scholarship debt by returning to assume bureaucratic positions and joining the PAP), former Internal Security Act detainees (the ISA allows for the indefinite detention of suspects without charge and some of the current opposition candidates have spent long periods in confinement) and political exiles.
Most of the new (opposition) candidates are in their mid 20s to mid 40s, thereby representing a coming of age for their generation of free thinkers. In response, the PAP has trotted out the usually ensemble of former bureaucrats and politicized retired military officers, interspersed with a handful of younger neophytes (including one whose qualifications for office apparently are that she is the wife of the Prime Minister’s executive assistant and has a penchant for shopping). What is most revealing is that the PAP is no longer able to hide its internal divisions, with leading officials, Ministers and even the Minister Mentor (how’s that for a title?) Lee Kwan Yew himself openly disagreeing about issues of politics, policy and social construction. Sensing a shift in the public mood, some PAP candidates have withdrawn from the election. All of this underscores something that the Minister Mentor said last year: that the PAP must rejuvenate or stagnate, and that democracy would only come when the PAP proved incapable of responding to public expectations as a result of its stagnation.”
What’s So Bad About Another PAP-dominated Parliament?
“This argument for diversity amidst increasing complexity is the single most important reason why I believe a continuation of PAP dominance is no longer in Singapore’s long-term interests. Given the improved quality of the Opposition’s candidates, a long-standing obstacle to voting for the Opposition has also been removed. But more importantly, the time to build diversity and resilience in the system is when it is still successful and stable. By the time the system runs into crisis, it is usually too hard to develop the capabilities needed for adaptation.”
Yawning Bread – Deadlock Boogeyman
“This year, old bogey has been renamed “Deadlock”. The message is the same, though: if the PAP does not have a sweeping victory, there will be deadlock in parliament and Singapore will grind to a halt.
Old bogey emerged very soon after the Workers’ Party unveiled its key message: Singapore needs to vote significant numbers of opposition members into parliament if we are ever to acquire the security of an alternative government-in-waiting should the PAP one day flounder. This message has since been distilled into the catchphrase: A First-World parliament.
Immediately, the PAP declared that in this respect, Singapore must remain Third World. The First World is a very scary place. There, legislatures are in gridlock, governments do not function. How then these countries managed to reach first-world status in economic, technological and social development, is a mystery left unexplained.”
21-year old disgusted with Straits Times
“A Social Movement, indeed, was what I saw when I walked through the supporting crowd of the Workers’ Party. Never in my life in Singapore have I heard the voices of Singaporeans so clear and articulate. Yes, I was convinced that Singaporeans are talking. You should stop having this mindset that Singaporeans are apathetic. In case you still didn’t know it, I am informing you now. Go write about it. The Singaporeans want to be heard. But I guess you won’t. Because what Singaporeans are saying is what you dismiss as just a rowdy bunch of comments from a rowdy bunch of “uninformed and ignorant” Singaporeans – who didn’t know what the PAP had been doing for them. Mind you, your dismissal of their valuable comments make you yourself ignorant of what the united voice of Singaporeans are speaking.
At this point, I admit, you do look stupid. You sound a tat-bit senile to the massive crowd at the Workers’ Party rally, where you took a photograph of and placed in page A8. Every head you captured has a brain attached, and those brains must be thinking: Is that all you got out of the Workers’ Party rally? It is such an unmoving piece, from a moving social movement. It is not purely emotional as you claimed on the front page. There was some substance, if you were to observe and listen more. I juxtaposed your PAP coverage on page A4 with it, and I see so much more of your enthusiasm, in covering the uncalled-for responses of the wives of contesting MPs.
Honestly, what you covered on voices of the wives in the PAP rally are nothing – kosong – as compared to what you had missed out in covering the voices of the citizens in the WP rally. You didn’t cover how the PAP “crowd” was made up mostly of its own white-shirted people, who are somehow related to the people standing on stage. Almost none of the non-PAP Singaporeans who were there gave a “Majulah Singapura” roar when called to. And yet, you covered an MP wife’s comment that the crowd at PAP’s “responded to him… the response seems good.” Wait till you hear the comments at the Workers’ Party side! But wait… it was not covered.
When I read your coverage of the Worker’s Party rally, much of what I had just read was just another bunch of skewed words, based on the ideology of the PAP which defines what constitutes a “clean and fair fight”, and what does not. PAP calls the shots all the time. No wonder PAP says in Buangkok: “Where were the opposition parties for the past 10 years? They only come out during the elections, wanting you to vote for them.” Have PAP even given the opposition a chance to serve? Come on. They don’t even have the means to. Give them a break. Stop giving them double-standards. I find myself reading in mounting degrees of disgust as I flipped through the papers I spent 90 cents on.”