Monday, May 01, 2006



From my observations of the events leading up to the big day on 6th May, elections in Singapore is pretty much a politically apathetic affair for the general populace.

Its strange, really: If you observe elections in other countries, elections are pretty charged up affairs. Politicians of all shapes and sizes pandering their grand schemes for the future of their respective nations, and the general buzzing of fiery discussions on the various serious issues at hand.

Here in Singapore, however, political myopia seems to be the core focus of elections.

Most of the election topics, both from the ruling incumbent and the opposition parties, include:

1. Lift upgrading: Making lifts stop at every floor.

2. HDB upgrading.

3. Furore over James Gomez's failure to submit his minority status form.

Too much emphasis on material comforts, and too much fixation on one overblown molehill, has been the highlight of the elections.

While the SDP has made an honest effort to expose the NKF scandal with the government, the PAP has successfully sidestepped the issue by dangling the "upgrading" carrot.

Given the rarity of elections (Once in every five years. For some wards, elections don't come by for decades), you would think that people would treasure their rights and pose more difficult questions for the government.

But no. Singaporeans are unique when it comes to political myopia. I can understand if the less wealthy Singaporeans raise issues pertaining to educational and other forms of grants, because these are issues that have a direct impact on their lives. Don't get me wrong, raising HDB upgrading issues is a matter close to every HDB heartlander, but there is no need to keep raising these issues every time the candidates go about making their rounds in the HDB heartlands!

With elections just 5 days away, perhaps it is time for the opposition, as well as voting citizens, to reconsider their positions and focus on more fundamental issues, such as freedom of speech, the rights of whistleblowers, more accountability from CPF and other government institutions using tax payer's money, and the need for a more open society.

I urge every Singaporean and opposition party to make use of this GE to strike fear into the hearts of the ruling incumbent. Show them we aren't citizens of third world callibre, and our opposition parties aren't just a bunch of "riff-raffs".


At 3:46 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger anonymous said...

I'm more than slightly worried about the apparent lack of knowledge of fellow voting singaporeans. Most who quip "those who vote for the opposition are morons" haven't even peeked at the various parties' manifestos. They're relying solely on what they see on CNA, which isn't really anything much.

At 4:16 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger BEAST said...

I understand what you are driving at.

The problem is, CNA's coverage of the elections is more often than not, PAP's vintage point of view.

This elections, however, I do see signs of CNA and even Straits Times opening up a little bit, althought they are still very much eschewed with govt propaganda.

I hope this small little signs of change will be the catalyst for greater change.

At 8:33 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter that CNA shows material favouring PAP (like giving long coverage to Brig-Gen Yeo's statement on Gomez's mistake.

I think the main and influencing difference between this elections and previous hotly contested ones is that most singaporeans, in particular, the young have access to the unbiased Internet. That's the burial ground of the PAP's propoganda machine vide CNA and ST. And there's no excuse for any singaporean to be ignorant of issues covered by the Opposition Parties.


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