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Singapura, are you ready to taste something different?

四月 26, 2011 By: 栢齊 Category: 環球視野

[The following article is a message I wrote to a Singaporean friend recently as a casual sharing on the parliamentary election of the Republic of Singapore to be held on 7 May 2011. Let see if the upcoming election would be a turning point of the country’s politics.]

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XX,

Nice to read your notes on the upcoming SG [=Singapore] election following our discussion two months ago.

As an outsider I’m not well-versed in SG politics to make a comment on it. Just wish to share my immature views here. As students of political science, we all hope for an ideal type of election with rational debates over public issues between candidates, open and fair coverage by mass media, free and active participation of voters not only in election but also in daily community affairs, etc. In real world, as we can see in different countries, North and South, East and West, except for a handful of activists, majority of voters often just focus on (or are “directed” by media and/or parties to turn their eyeballs to) superficial stuff, say smart and pretty look of candidates, being presentable regardless of substance, gossip and scandal, whipping up people’s populist “high” sentiments (popular campaign tactics of Taiwan parties), “blank policy cheques” issued by incumbents without enough attention to their past performance…

Just like the NS vs TPL case [NS=Nicole Seah; TPL=Tin Pei Ling; both candidates of the upcoming election], despite appeals by some, people will still keep an eye on “the battle between two ladies” by comparing their performance before camera, like this -

which has limited significance for community welfare. Some would say this’s a trick by opposition camp that I trust is part of their campaign strategy. Sorry that this term may offend some but frankly speaking, politics is all about tricks! For sure having blandishments isn’t enough. Politicians should still have outstanding or at least satisfactory performance to keep their positions. That’s what all elites in PAP [=People’s Action Party, ruling party of Singapore since 1959] know well and work for.

But this’s from the ruler’s perspective. What about the ruled? As a foreigner who has only visited the city-state for short periods of time, I’m not in a position to make a judgement of PAP’s right and wrong. All I want to say, from a comparative point of view, is that after almost half a century of PAP rule, it would be an appropriate moment for Singaporeans to review the present situation of their nation and consider if it’s time to change. I’m not saying that SG needs to change government overnight as I don’t think PAP’s performance is so bad that has reached the “critical point”. However, to try something different would be good if people want some breakthrough in present mode.

As a diversified society with a globalized economy, such demand isn’t excessive. It’s both normal and necessary to have different views and interests to be represented in the superstructure of the country especially if we acknowledge the fact that 1/3 of votes actually went to opposition camp in the last (2006) election. It shows people’s hope for an energetic political environment and more checks and balance in the establishment. For sure not all candidates of the opposition camp are qualified enough. Notwithstanding, if there’s going to have 10+ opposite MPs [=Members of Parliament] in the new parliament, the Lion City will enter into a new and refreshing era that can better cope with all kinds of opportunities and challenges.

It’s time to rethink and make the prudent choice for future.

A casual sharing from a native Hongkonger.

Best,
Pak Chai

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1 Comments to “Singapura, are you ready to taste something different?”


  1. MARY says:

    The opposition parties of Singapore have made a good start on the nomination day as 82 out of 87 seats are contested, which has not happened since the independance of the city-state. It is possible that the oppposition can make a breakthrough in this election as they have quite a lot of well-qualified candidates such as Dr. Chan Kao Mao from the Worker’s Party and two experienced opposition MPs (LTK and CST) are courageous enough to move out of their comfort zones to contest in GRCs.

    Actually the Worker’s Party has a very good team in Aljunied GRC which has great possibility to win. Just see how many people like the WP in Facebook (over 10,000, compared to PAP 14000), you can sense that the WP is quite popular amongst the younger generations!

    1


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