THE X-FILES: MYSTERY BEHIND GOMEZ'S MISSING FORM
Every once in a blue moon, we hear about conspiracy theories behind certain unexplainable, inconceivable screw-ups, particularly the ones that no one with an intelligence of a church mouse would make in highly-volatile situations.
James Gomez, the WP candidate for the Aljunied GRC has made the headlines in the past week for all the wrong reasons. Failing to submit a form to the Elections Department, he had told the Department that he had submitted them, and upon the disclosure of a security camera, he then admitted to making an "honest mistake" and issued a public apology. Which would have been left at that, if not...........
It seems to me that James Gomez's supposedly "moment of folly" at the Elections Department has triggered off a series of speculations, no thanks to our "140th" media and the dogged determination of the ruling incumbent to smear the Worker's Party with as much dirt as possible.
Amongst the conspiracy theories I have heard so far:
1. Gomez plotted a deliberate campaign to craft an "abused housewife" image, so as to goat PAP into a personal attack on his character. That way, he would win sympathy votes for the Worker's Party cause.
2. According to the PAP, Gomez's intentions was to put the Elections Department "in a very bad light".
According to MM Lee:"Mr Wong gave him the last three days to come clean, repeatedly asking to answer simple questions. Gomez chose to say nothing. Low Thia Khiang said he had asked Gomez for the details. Low chose to defend him but refused to clarify his position on Gomez's deliberate trick to put the blame on the Elections Department." 1
Now, assuming that Mr Gomez is up to his "bag of dirty tricks", allow me to dissect these theories and perhaps provide a clearer perspective to the plausibility of such unfounded accusations.
THE "GAINING SYMPATHY VOTES" THEORY
Assuming that Gomez had an intention to cook up a storm in an attempt to solicit for sympathy votes, he need not have resorted to creating unnecessary fracas at the Elections Department.
The rationale is simple: Even before the Elections are held, the Opposition parties in Singapore are already underdogs, so the need to grab "sympathy" votes would become a non-issue anyway. The ruling incumbent has captured 37 out of the 84 seats even before the elections have commenced (damn the walk overs!) and have all but secured their place in parliament anyway. In any case, the ruling incumbent has a long history of sueing its political opponents to bankruptcy, and so it is pretty clear who the underdogs really are.
In any case, the issues highlighted by the Worker's Party seems highly indicative of the WP's determination to focus on more important issues: Escalating health costs, lower wages for ordinary Singaporeans, and so on. It seems that WP's strategy is more focused towards credibility rather than sensationalism. Hence any accusations of "cooking up a storm in a teacup" deserves no credibility whatsover.
THE "ATTACK ON ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT" THEORY
The PAP has charged that James Gomez's real intentions, it seems is to "undermine the Elections Department".
Is such a charge valid? In any elections, the real objective is to present political ideas to solicite votes, not pick up fights with the Elections Department, which really serves no purpose whatsoever. Given the fact that James Gomez has already issued an apology to the Elections Department, it is highly indicative that James did make an honest mistake with regards to the minority candidate form. It also signals Gomez's attempt to avoid a head-long confrontation with the Elections Department.
Despite WP's attempts to leave the issue at that, the ruling incumbent has steadfastly refused to let the issue rest, insisting that Gomez be held accountable for what seems to be a genuine act of carelessness on his part (he did the same thing for the 2001 elections, which resulted in the WP not being able to stand at Aljunied GRC).
PATHOLOGICAL FEAR OF WP MANIFESTING ITSELF IN THE SHAPE OF GOMEZ?
Conspiracy theories aside, the PAP's insistence on pursuing a largely administrative fracas seems indicative of a real, underlying fear:
THE Worker's Party could jolly well win at Aljunied GRC, which Gomez happens to be contesting.
It is also testimony and tribute to Mr Low Thia Kiang's competency this time round as a real, viable opposition party leader, leading a team of credible candidates in his party which the ruling incumbent cannot fail to take notice.
By shifting the public's attention to Gomez's paperwork phobia from the real, important issues at hand, the PAP has seriously exposed its weaknesses to those who can discern and analyze the real picture behind the smokescreen.
It is time to stop making a big fuss over Gomez's trip-up. Sure, he made a mistake. He is careless, sloppy, and probably a sucker for paperwork. But give the guy some credit. He's come up with decent suggestions so far at WP rallies, and save his lack of paperwork savvy, there really is nothing to indicate that he is a liar and a cheat.
Comparing his "sheer forgetfulness" to TT Durai's misappropriating of charity funds, James Gomez really has nothing to gain from kicking up a storm in the tea cup, while Durai stands to gain millions from his deeds.
Let's just move on, PAP. Focus on the real issues. Stop this shadowy politics and move on. We Singaporeans have more to be concerned about than ET episodes from the X-files.
1. CNA, May 3: "MM Lee says Gomez is a liar, a bad egg in Workers' Party"