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Tuesday, April 04, 2006 

What “Elections” Mean to Me

With the hype of the General Elections circulating in our media, I wonder to myself if Singaporeans really and truly understand the meaning of elections? To the apathetic youths, the General Elections might only be a procedural formality to affirm the PAP as the legitimate government. To the polarized youths, they looked at the GE with skepticism on the fairness of the PAP and the GE. Some sections of the public believed that the voting slip is deliberately coded to trace people who voted against the PAP. Over 20,000 people voted for Oppositions (in Jurong GRC) during the last elections, and we didn’t see 20,000 people being discriminated against. I’ve friends who openly declared their preference for the Oppositions but yet, still hold high offices in the civil service and never been discriminated against. Many urban legends have sprouted and many are false. Personally, I don’t think the PAP is that vindictive nor have that many resources to track who voted against them.

Apathy of a Singaporean

The problem is that it has become a convenient excuse for the people to self-censor their political preference and using their non-participation as a smoke-screen for their apathy. Stand up for what you believe in and stop being a “closet” opposition or “closet” PAP! If there is one argument that really irks me, is when people grumble over not being able to vote when their constituency is not challenged by the oppositions. Then, they will start blaming the PAP repression, the lack of democracy, the paternalistic governance or the inability to demonstrate their political ownership due to the “unfair” electoral rules. If you seriously think that you need an alternative voice in the polls, sign up and pay the membership fees to the Oppositions so that they have more resources to work with. All it takes is for 30 Singaporeans to pool their Progress Package bounty, one for candidate to stand for elections and another 50,000 people will be able vote. Seriously, the empty talks and the groundless accusations should end and Singaporeans should start exercising their political voice. The system can only be as democracy or as autocratic if your mind permits. If you think Singapore is not democratic, you are already seeing through a biased perception lens. Far too long, Singaporeans chose to self-censor. I say, forgot about so-called PAP repression. If it existed, it is history. Political ownership is not about whining and groaning, it is about knowing your beliefs and sticking to your beliefs. We lived in one of the smallest surface area in South Asia but we are one of the richest in the world. However, in our mindless pursuit of wealth, we lost our souls. The world may be your oyster, but you only have one home, a home called Singapore.

Meaning of Elections

Do Singaporeans truly understand the word “elections”? We all ought to but never tried to. This word encapsulates 2,600 years of human trial and error, blood, sweat and even lives. Yet, we treated the “elections” with skepticism, apathy, distrustfulness and even ridicule the whole sacredness of it. If one looks through the philosophies and histories of the concept of elections, three words persist through the thousands of years, millions of minds: Equality, Justice and Happiness. It is no coincidence that the three words, Equality, Justice and Happiness appeared in our pledge, written by the late S. Rajaratnam. Raja did not simply throw in these three words into our pledge just because they are suitable words. These words are the ultimate goals of the human race that we have strived for the thousands of years. A learned man like Raja seeks through the thousands of books he read just to understand the purpose of life. What is life and what would man seek that they are so willing to forgo their lives just to pursue this end? Ultimately, every human will have to die someday. Life is not about pursing wealth, fame and fortune, but serving an end beyond itself. An end the purports equality, justice and happiness to future generations.

Demeaning Elections

Sadly, an increasing disturbing trend of elections in Singapore is equating upgrades and material wealth for representation. Such economic benefits should not be placed on the table as a stake for your votes or mine. If we do start a trend of votes equating to upgrades, MRT stations and other economic wealth, it will only dilute the idea of Singapore identity and replaced it with economic pragmatism. Should candidates or parties be chosen because they have “deeper” pockets to provide Lift Upgrades? Maybe yes, maybe no. But on any given day, I would insist that the answer is no. Regardless of your voting preference, no Singaporeans should be made less well-off in terms of assets than another just because he/she prefers the Opposition to represent his political voice.

The idea of elections is to decide the best people to lead and represent the interest of the Singaporeans for the betterment of Singapore. Elections and votes should never be on self-interest in preserving their own asset values and forsaking the idea of a better Singapore. Parties and candidates should be compared not on the “depths of their pockets” but by their abilities to represent the interest of Singaporeans and make Singapore a better place. Do not vote for the Oppositions just because they are the underdogs or that you simply want to exercise your political voice by not voting to PAP (since you think the PAP will win, by voting for them is similar to not voting – “By-Elections Effect”). Similarly, do not vote the PAP just because you want to have upgrading at your blocks. Judge them by their quality of ideas, opinions, character and sincerity. They should represent not just your own interest but must benefit Singapore as a whole. By that, we don’t need 84 President’s scholars seating in the parliament. We need Members of Parliament to serve the people, not to serve power; who know the ground, not just knowing figures, numbers and statistics.

Words to Would-be-MPs

Most, if not all, of the new PAP candidates will be elected into the parliament. Yes, many of them are corporate high-flyers that have recently “helped” out at grassroots and community events. If anyone of the new-MPs ever read this, may I just provide my 2-cents worth. Do not be blinded by the sudden fame and power. With elections nearing, you are pushed into the media limelight but do keep your head up and your feet on the ground. We don’t need opportunists in parliament that seeks power, fame and fortune. Many argued that politics is about serving power, but I would naively beg to defer. Politics is about people and serving people. In the past, we have seen new candidates promoted into Ministerial positions straight after elections, with their impressive credentials. Paper politics is vastly different from people’s politics. Some found out that they are not suited to deal with lower strata of society and quit office before the next GE. They have nothing to lose as by quitting office, they could easily step back into the corporate world or even the GLCs (Government-linked Companies) as Directors or CEOs.

Truly, I do hope that the new candidates know what they are up for and against. Being a MP or Minister is not always about the high-life, of glam and prestige. It takes lots of personal sacrifices, human relationship and energy to translate ideals to actions, actions to reality. Be a pro-Singapore MP and not a pro-PAP MP. Ideally, what is best for the country is best for the Party. But in reality, things may not be so simply. When the crunch time comes, all you need to know is whether you are born as a Singaporean or a “PAPian”.

Words to the Oppositions

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.” – John Anthony Ciardi.

Perhaps one of the major flaws of democracy is the tendency for Oppositions to oppose for the sake of opposing. However, I do have strong admiration to some opposition members for their devotion to serving the people and playing fair. These opposition MPs do seek to better outcomes and future for Singapore. For every credible and good opposition, there are the wayward ones. There are other “unelected opposition members” that rants to foreign sympathizers on how the Singapore system is undemocratic and so on. They are fighting based ideologies such as civil disobedience and liberal democracy but have nothing to show when it comes to the polls. Why is that so? Another conspiracy theory on how the voting forms are coded? Has he ever wondered why is Mahatma Gandhi able to mobilize the masses to be civil disobedient against the Colonial powers but not him?

The system did not fail him, but he failed to understand the system. Has he spend more time campaign on his ideals, protesting, jetting from seminars to seminars, countries to countries to make mockery of the Singapore system or has he sat down with the residents the write petitions for them? Perhaps, more than any other countries, Singapore and Singaporeans are mindful and pragmatic on their needs, wealth and wellbeing. If you are an ordinary layman that received help (not just financial but social and physical help) from avenues such as Meet-the-People sessions, would you vote for someone who rants about the faults of the system or someone that sat down with you to help you with your problems? Paper politics and opposition based on ideologies do not serve people but only blinds the politician with power, angst and anger. If you think that the system is unfair to you, and you go raging to foreign media and press, are you benefiting your self-interest or the interest of Singapore?

Once, in the American Presidential Elections, the candidate that was favorite to win, lost due to some dodgy inconsistency in votes and large number of spoilt votes in the last polling state. The governor of the last polling state was the brother of his rival candidates. Under such suspicious circumstances, he has every right to call for an investigation or vote recount. But he didn’t and accepted defeat. The reason is that he didn’t want to make an international mockery of the system and harm the public image of the country for his own self-interest. While you may disagree with the system, ask yourself if by going to the foreign press, are you doing Singapore’s image good or harm?

Chasing an Elusive Goal: Knowing What and Why You Chase

What is democracy? Is democracy a means to a better end or is this the end itself? Liberal thinking youths often criticize the government for their strict controls over freedom of speech and media restrain. But what is freedom of speech too? Another ends, or a means to an end? If today, the elusive “freedom of speech” has been granted to all, what is the next forbidden fruit you are going to pursue? Freedom of speech needs to purport an ultimate end, an end that is not simply explainable by criticism and the whole notion of democracy. Ultimately, the first fighters of freedom of speech and democracy are people striving for equality, justice and happiness.

Yes, no doubt that PAP will return to power on the next General Elections. But never should we take our every vote for granted and for ridicule. If you vote just based on hatred or apathy, you have betrayed your future generations and the learned men who seek Justice, Equality and Happiness. If you want the responsibility, you will first have to think beyond self-interest or even beyond the interest of your inner circles. You, determine Singapore and Singapore is just an empty shell without you. Individuals come and pass, but Singapore will live on, but how well it lives depends on your action today. Today, it might just be an Election on whom and which party becomes the government. But tomorrow, it will determine the future of the next generation. Men strived for democracy for hundreds of years just to have a stake in the nation’s future. Today, you inherited this intangible gift and it is your responsibility to exercise it with care and understanding.


Regulations on Blogging


By the way, many bloggers have expressed their concern on the recent parliamentary speech on blogging. Much of this have been sensationalized by the media such as Reuters. As long as you blog responsibly, you should not fear of any prosecution. So, don't go buying into all the "repression" arguments and folklores again. Below is the parliamentary text made by Senior Minister of State, Dr Balaji Sadasivan:






QUESTION NO. *424 FOR ORAL ANSWER

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts whether the Government intends to change the laws and regulations concerning the use of Internet and new technologies such as podcasts for campaigning during the General Election and, if so, what will be the main changes and when will such changes be made public.

Response from the Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Balaji Sadasivan:
Currently, there are several pieces of legislation and guidelines which cover Internet campaigning issues or which touch on such matters. These include the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA) and the Election Advertising Regulations under the PEA, and the Class Licence Scheme and the Internet Code of Practice administered by the Media Development Authority (MDA).

2. Political parties, candidates and election agents are permitted to use the Internet for election advertising based on a “positive list” of activities listed in the Election Advertising Regulations.

3. The “positive list” ensures the responsible use of the Internet during the elections. In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debates could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse flush with rumours and distortions to mislead and confuse the public. The Government has always maintained that political debates should be premised on factual and objective presentation of issues and arguments. The regulations governing Internet campaigning have served well to safeguard the seriousness of the electoral process.


4. Political parties, candidates and their election agents will continue to be guided by the “positive list” in the Election Advertising Regulations in the coming general elections. Party political websites must be registered with the MDA. Failure to register is a breach of the class licence conditions.

5. Private or individual bloggers can discuss politics. However, if they persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues relating to Singapore , they are required to register with the MDA. During the election period, these registered persons will not be permitted to provide material online that constitutes election advertising.

6. Mr Low has asked about podcasting. I take podcasting to mean the provision of an audio feed over the Internet to subscribers. As I have noted, during the election period, political parties, candidates and election agents must keep to permitted election advertising set out in the “positive list”. Podcasting does not fall within this list.

7. There are also some well-known local blogs run by private individuals who have ventured into podcasting. The content of some of these podcasts can be quite entertaining. However, the streaming of explicit political content by individuals during the election period is prohibited under the Election Advertising Regulations. A similar prohibition would apply to the videocasting, or video streaming of explicitly political content.

8. At this point, the Government has no intention to amend the legislation regulating Internet campaigning during an election. But the review of government regulations is a continual process so as to ensure that they are kept up-to-date. We recognise that in our society, people will have their diverse opinion and some will want to share their opinion. But people should not take refuge behind the anonymity of the Internet to manipulate public opinion. It is better and more responsible to engage in political debates in a factual and objective manner.

"..disturbing trend of elections in Singapore is equating upgrades and material wealth for representation."
So can we do anything about it? The people who practise this pork barrel politics is none other then former PM, and current SM, Goh Chok Tong. You claim going to the foreign press about this is "doing in" Singapore, but in reality we are crying for external help to save Singapore from the internal bullies. If the people's threshold of pain is breached, the defacing of the NKF building will be a daily affair.

Hi Anonymous

Yes, SM is quite a different person when it comes to the GE. I guess you and I don't buy into upgrades equating to our votes.

As mentioned earlier, you have a choice to do something "internally". If one is so highly disturbed by the "bullies", then lend your support to the oppositions. I never believed in going to "external" sources to "deface" Singapore internationally. People, like Gandhi, Machiavelli or even Lim Chin Siong, who are truly patriotic and cares about Singapore, will fight the battle internally. Anyway, this is my personal opinion which might be wrong to many. Just a thought, nothing more.

From your language, I guess you are the same "anonymous" person who left comments in other articles. Perhaps to better address comments to you, you might wish to consider leaving a nickname rather than leaving it as anonymous. Thanks!

Cheers!
T

Hi Thrasy:

If u are refering to the US 2000 election, the governor is the brother ,not cousin, of the winner.

Also, the thing about equating upgrade and $ with votes, I would like to point out that it is the ruling that start this trend. It had been used so many time to the point of being sickening. Just like a broken record player keep repeating the same old tune...

However I also agree that some candidates from other parties are just not credible.

Perhaps both side should examine some of their actions for the better good of the Singapore.

As much as i agree with apathetic-ness of singaporean, i believe freedom of speech is necessary for the sake of an open debate. Why an open debate is necessary is because ideas will be explore in many various ways before concluding. This would ensure the minimum errors of a particular problem or idea to materialise and be tackled. Ideas are ideas and no one of it is perfect. Every one of it needs to be tune to it's best. No one is perfect ;P

The apathetic state is seriously pathetic. However, this time the pap looks like the pathetic one which has to resort to such methods to buy votes. A good political party win votes, not buy votes. This underlying reason for them to stay in govt is a guess for all. Hrmmm...what is it, ha?

Hi Amatu

I wouldn't go to the extent in saying the they are "buying votes". This is quite a loaded statement.

But, yes, I agree with you that debate and freedom of speech is necessary to grow ideas. But I also agree with the authorities that when people voice their views, they should be responsible to them. In all fairness, they have ensured that, maybe slightly too much though. If someone does "fire" an irresponsible comment, he should be held responsible for that. Even in the judicial courts in America has concurred with that. Maybe this link might add some info into that: http://www.georgetown.edu/users/jlh3/Murray/1953E.htm

Cheers!
T

Equality, Justice and Happiness are nouns, not verbs.

Oooops......late nights taking it effect....haha

"In 20, 30 years' time, the whole of Singapore will be bustling away, and your estate, through your own choice, will be left behind. They become slums." That was a threat, clear as day.
The "Progressive Package" is buying votes, clear as day.

Hi, I just wonder where you got the transcript of what Dr. Balaji said. Looked all over the 'net (or maybe I didn't look hard enough ^^;;;) for it.

I seriously dont understand what the fuss about taking responsibilities of your own opinions. When you make an opinion of something, isnt it your own and responsible for it?

It's more like a threat when the govt make such a statement. Implicitly, they are telling you to be careful of your words and not cross the line.

In this instance, should i or should i not take responsibilites of my comments in here, or are these comments my responsibilities?

"... if they persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues relating to Singapore, they are required to register with the MDA"
Sorry for being a busybody, but is your excellent site registered with MDA yet?

Hi Mandy

Well, I have not register with MDA and have no intentions of doing so. The rationale is this, if MDA doesn't ask you to register, why should a blog volunteer itself and be subjected to more rules? I guess there is an implementation problem with blogs as blog addresses can be changed easily without affecting the content. This actually renders registration obsolete.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I think the whole issue has been blown out of proportion by the media and bloggers. Dr Balaji didn't add in any additional rules but seems like the bloggers are intepreting it the opposite way.

Hi Amatu

While I am sure you will take responsibility for your comments, there will be people that is not willing to. As Elfred said in the past, sometimes, we need to see things from the perspective of the govt. If two person insults each other. Both are unwilling to take responsibility of their comments but wants to sue each other. How should the government structure the law to mitigate the issue?

I guess you are still a young man, with passion and fire in the belly. Beyond that, we all need to think of issues from multiple perspectives and not just feverishly question without thinking of the faults of the answers. Don't worry Amatu, the world is much more cynical than politics in Singapore.

Cheers!
T

Hi Ashke

Thanks for your suggestion. I'll take note of that and probably change the outlook of this blog in time to come. You can obtain the transcript from www.mica.gov.sg

Look under the "mica news", parliamentary questions. You should be able to find it there.

Hi Kontiki

I hear your views. You do have a point there. But a lot of issues are not 100% either way. In truth, it is always a 60-40 argument. While we all know that the progressive package is an "election sweetner", during non-election time, at Budgets, the govt have given out S$10,165 billion in welfare for the lower income and other Singaporeans.

So, every issue is subjective and we all have out biased opinions about it. But your opinions are as good as mine. ;P

Cheers!
T

Well thrasy, did you include the ERS and NSS inside the S$10, 165 billion (that's a lot of money by the way, I am sure poor sinaporeans won't remain poor if they get paid out evenly from 1/10th of that figure).

I would like to differentiate the ERS and NSS payouts with direct welfare payments to the poor Singaporeans. There is a difference between them, and no this is not about nitpicking.

Here's an enjoyable read :
http://xenoboysg.blogspot.com/2006/04/danger-of-silence.html#comments

"If you seriously think that you need an alternative voice in the polls, sign up and pay the membership fees to the Oppositions so that they have more resources to work with."

good idea!

Singaporeans really need to do some thing instead of looking for excuses!

Hi T,

This really sound illogical to me when you said,'If two person insults each other. Both are unwilling to take responsibility of their comments but wants to sue each other.'

Let me explain. When one person insult the other, which is an act of spewing hurtful, demeaning words from the insulter's mouth towards the insultee. Do you mean that the hurtful, demeaning words not belong to the insulter? If the insulter doesnt take responsibilty, it would mean that the insult doesnt stand because the insulter is insulting no one. And without taking responsiblities of their own opinions, where is there for both side to sue? Btw, i dont think insulting should be punished. If it is the case, then LKY have to stand before the court for how he insulted Jeyaratnam - of what he said to devan nair wanting jeyaratnam to crawl.

Your logic dont make any sense to me. And seriously, i dont think it's that complicated.

Remember, the govt is to serve the people not the other way round.

Hi Amatu

Precisely, that is my point.

You mentioned, "When one person insult the other, which is an act of spewing hurtful, demeaning words from the insulter's mouth towards the insultee. Do you mean that the hurtful, demeaning words not belong to the insulter? If the insulter doesnt take responsibilty, it would mean that the insult doesnt stand because the insulter is insulting no one."

Thus, the law should and must ensure responsibility on the owner of words. The act of human rights also encompass that each person have to be protect to seek legal recourse if he/she is unfairly spoken against. If no law governs that, human rights is infringed. That would contridict your very first logic of freedom of speech, which is to safeguard human rights.

Seriously, law makes absolute sense if you are the victim. If you are never defamed or discriminated against, I guess you would never imagine the displeasure of the inability to seek legal recourse.

Sorry about all these law definitions, my secondary vocation in action.

Yes, govt is to serve the people. A lawless society doesn't serve anything except trouble.

Now, look. I am not here to oppose you. But you have to see the construct and the purpose of the first creators of liberal democracy, freedom of speech and reasons for law. Don't make the novice's mistake of being a rebel without a cause. Chill man.

Cheers!
T

Hi Ted and Locky2ky

Thanks guys for your comments. If I am not wrong, that sum is the 5 years budget payout to the Singaporeans from 2001 to 2005.

Cheers!
T

Err... I gotta clarify a bit.

When I (for instance) would to handle political issues I always take into consideration from the other parties position.

Just as the Thai issue, I ever told Redbean if I were the King or his advisor, I would come in early (without the military, without letting Thaksin has a chance to bla bla bla) to stop Thaksin for bla bla bla reason. And if I were the opposition I'd expect them to mobilise against Singapore and bla bla bla...

This is how politics goes, basically.

But from a citizen's point of view... Hehehe... I am sure some know I'm seeking PM's assistance, I cannot consider the government view. Because that's not politics anymore. It's a servant to public relationship. And to earn respect and morale, a Public servant must deliver. No ifs no buts.

If excuses to and (worse) blames on citizens are as a result instead of meaningful assistance, something is very wrong.

Amatu should try to consider the government's stance of view, because only that can't handle the govt's political issue on more organised and professional manner.

But when it comes to demand, you have to focus on yourself and be reasonable. You still have to consider the government's stance but your interest comes first before the one who serves you. But that doesn't mean you ask for the skies. It just means getting you ready to make reasonable demands of which reasons you have to make up reasonably to be put across.

And a point about national image... I cannot agree with the issue of preserving a louya system to protect image. To me, it's a viable system should generate image. Don't ever make your land, your life and your nation an imagination.

You have to weigh and think properly because a nation thrives on solid quality, not on a ground of sufferings fronts by images.

That's all. Thanks. :)

Dam-n shit... More typos... Pai sei.

Dam-n shit... More typos... Pai sei.

Hello T, where did you find the amazing collection of old photos? Looking through them makes me feel very proud of our history, especially pictures of Goh Keng Swee at the industrial zones. They should put those in the school books instead of pics of the obscene extravagances like Esplanade a.k.a. Durian. And the artist impressions of the proposed Sands Casino in today's papers really make one's blood boil - it's a rude reminder of how the people's moral objections are overruled. Let's hope they won't put it on our dollar bill.

Hi T

Apologies if i sounded harsh.

You didnt get my point. What im saying is that if a person do not want to own the views/opinions made, then any discrimination, insults, excluding defamation,libel here, do not stand against the targeted subject. Being do not stand for treating that unsults, discrimination non-existence for it being like an orphan, no one to claim and, in this instance, targeting no one as well. You see my point? It's as good as saying but not saying.

Besides, I dont see anything wrong with people denying what they have said as it is their rights to deny and agree. If a law is set to curtail one's right to deny, isnt it infringement of human rights? Anyway, denying is seen as some sort of cowardice in the social context.

No offence.

Thrasy mind telling us where'd you get that figure from? I think you mean S$10.165 Billion not S$10,165 billion.

Please note the difference in the 'punctuation' used (what do you call those dots in financial terms anyway?).

Because the latter I think means S$10.165 Trillion. Which is quite unbelievable.

Hi Ted

Thanks for letting me know the puctuation mistake. Btw, there is also a correction in the figures. It is S$10.675 billion. The figure was given but an Economist writing on the TODAY papers 3 months back. That article was in response to the 2006 Budget debate on welfare handouts. The full name and date is somewhere in my data file which I have to check.

Sorry for the mistake. Apparently, the PAP is more generous than my memory permits. =P

Cheers!
T


And Amatu

No worries. Words sometime misplay emotions. Just to add. The right to deny ownership of words spoken is never constitutionally allowed in any countries. Not even in the most liberal of countries.


"Genuine politics -- even politics worthy of the name -- the only politics I am willing to devote myself to -- is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole." - Havel

Hi Thrasy:

新加坡人笨不笨?

Dear T,

Personally, I am looking forward to listening to the dialects (especially Hokkien) rallies. Rallies in these tongues usually up the temperature a few notches. T, I wonder if you know of any recordings of Lim Chin Siong's or Ong Eng Guan's Hokkien speeches? It will be fantastic to hear rabble-rousing speeches touching on people wearing dog tags or stirring audiences to stand up on their two feet. I first heard Ling How Doong's Hokkien speech in Bukit Gombak when I was a primary school kid, it was simply unforgetable, a classic performance of a demagogue, a rare sight in the technocrat dominated political scene these days.

Hi Kelly

Thanks for your comments. Yes, the casino issue was really badly handled. Even if a referendum was passed, casino might still get their way. So it is a tough call on whether moral objections are overruled. Just a thought. ;)

Cheers!
T

Hi at82

I guess Singaporeans are not stupid, but a pragmatic bunch. It there is words to describe our behaviour, i might say that we have "protestant ethics" as Max Weber would called it. It is good thing but we might be too overly hardworking in pursuing material wealth.

Cheers!
T

Hi Ben

If you are into Teochew rallies, maybe Low Thia Khiang might appeal to you. Nope, I don't have the recordings of Lim Chin Siong and Ong Eng Guan, though I would love to get my hands on it. Perhaps National Archives might have.

Well, that is probably one of the highlights of GE. ;)

Cheers!
T

Goh Chok Tong is reported in today's papers as saying that the Government might consider the wishes of residents of Realty Park — a landed estate of 172 households in the fiercely contested Hougang ward — if more than "60 per cent" of them vote for the PAP. This really, pun unintended, opens up a Pandora's Box - how will Goh Chok Tong know how the residents of Realty Park vote? Is our vote secret?

Hi Meng Wai

If I am not wrong, the statistics of votes appears in 3 forms. 1) Total votes per electoral area (GRCs, SMCs), 2) Total votes for individual constituencies (division within a GRC) and 3) Votes in Bloc areas, which is within the area, eg Seletar Private Estates (division estates of 150-200 units of private estates) or Residential Zones (comprising about 10 or more blocks).

Nonetheless, I am quite put-off by the actions and words of SM. Just my personal opinions.

Cheers!
T

Today I was listening to the radio and at 12pm, they mentioned abt SDA (if i'm correct. i know its opposition party but cant say which one for sure) introducing their new members... then the 1pm, 2pm up to 6pm news, NO news on the parties members and their voice clips anymore. Maybe the 12pm news i've heard is old news? but does opposition introduced members on Sunday? ok, if its the case, then its still acceptable. I hope that radio stations shld be fair for their bit of information. Dont tell me that China citizens receiving hoax calls that make them pay unnecessary $ is more important than introducing the opposition members over the radio???

Whereas for the big party, i can hear it for one whole day. and the 1st time they introduce the new batch (1st batch) of members, they are on FRONT page of straits times. I am not sure abt subsequent batches because i'm not checking close enough. However, when SDA introduced their 1st batch of members, which is so called urged by PAP since they want oppositions parties to introduce members earlier......... how come papers never put them in headlines? never put them in front page? I dont really rem seeing them even in the front page of HOME section. They are like in pg3 or pg5 of it........

seriously, i am not sure if our local media, be it papers or radio giving fair share of 'advertising' or awareness to the election. As in FAIR SHARE of information. Give the same space and column when its been given to one of the parties. media should take note of this.

meng wai,

i'm not sure if i'm correct but this happened to Potong Pasir. Senett Residents votes more for PAP so they get their area 'upgraded' even though they are private residences.

And pls, its been so many years that PAP is linking UPGRADING to ELECTIONS. this is really unfair. Dont tell me people at Hougang and Potong Pasir dont need to pay taxes? They are still paying all the same as the normal citizens living in other estates. Why is it that some towns can have BILLIONS of $$$ thrown in for upgrading? Why? Why so unfair? Why not $ distribute equally among all estates according to the size? Why? The $$$ dont come from HDB. The $ dont come all from Govt. It also comes from tax payers. and Tax payers are all ard singapore. I really dont understand this. its really unfair. Voting for oppositios doesnt mean anti PAP. it just prove that they like them to rule their estates because they prove their capabilities with the limited resources they are having.

anon April 11, 2006 2:08 AM:

hello... juz to remind u, $ from HDB and Govt also come from taxpayers!

Hi thrasy:

Got watch how MM Lee demolish the panelists on "Why your vote matter"? Did u feel the fear? lol

Hi At82

Yes, I did watch the MM dialogue. I would actually call it a horror show! Firstly, I was surprised by how inadequately prepared the panelist (namely 3 journalists) were in dealing with MM's style of answering questions. MM is famous for deconstructing his opponent's argument and they didn't seem prepare nor did their homework in studying MM's style.

Another thing that struck me was that, quiet assertion that he still wield tremendous clout in the Cabinet and that he is not shying away from stating that. I think both of us agree that he is out of touch with our generation and not knowing the apathy plaguing our youths.

He seemed to be one that guns for the median voter (51%) rather than make himself a popular figure. Nonetheless, for a 85 year old, he is quite amazing. Very sharp and analytical.

Seriously, I think it is doing more harm to his reputation than good.

Cheers!
T

Well, I had the fortune of conversing with MM for a mere 10 mins. He was not fearful nor intimidating but he just possess such an aura of confidence and charisma. But we have to understand that he grew up in a generation of conflict and unrest. The opponents he dealt with is one which our generation could not understand. Maybe he would never understand the kinds of problems and challenges that lies ahead for our youths.

Hi trasy:

Actually I admire MM Lee alot, but seriously I think he needs a change in role.

It will be much better if he can juz withdraw himself from the domestic affairs and concentrate on foreign affairs.

Afterall PM Lee had took over already, at the very least he shd trust his son.

I also agree with MM Lee that politics is not juz debate, it is abt our homes, jobs etc. But seriously are we better off since the last election? I am afraid that isn't the case. If we are all better off, there won't be "workfare" already.

Hi at82

I agree with you on the MM comments. However, MM's role in Cabinet is not as simply as most thought. He didn't mentioned this but there are two very important reasons why he is still in the Cabinet.

First, Singapore, to many other countries is brand. A brand that is a textbook example on how to progress from a Third World country to First within a generation lifetime. And MM is the icon and chief architect of this brand. Thus, in terms for Foreign Affairs, his role is significant.

As for the second reason, I can't tell you explicitly. Maybe you could guess what I am driving at. Many think (they still do) of political parties as a single entity, but is often not the case in reality. Like any human groups, there are fractions and cliques. This may not be visible to the public eye, but whenever there is a transition of leadership, this party cleavages may sometimes be evident. Eg: UMNO, in the 1987, was split into the Mathatir clique and the Tengku Razaleigh group.

Thus, transitions need some form of stability and gel to bridge the party consensus. No matter how unified a party maybe, you need a leader (not necessary the number 1 man) to gel all groups together and consolidate the new leader's mandate.

at82, I'm sure this is implicitly explicit enough to suggest something about the role of MM. Of course, this is just an opinion from a bystander, me. I am just a inexperienced newby so what I said may not be accurate. ;)

CHeers!
T

Hi Thrasy:

Isn't the much vaunted renewal process of PAP one of the most effective way to prevent "cliques"?

By retiring large no. of MPs every elections, it effectively deprive ambitious party members outside the core grp from forming their own power base.

Actually when the all of the 1st generation leaders were retired, the problem of "cliques" is already greatly reduced. Bcos when that happens, MM Lee is no longer just the 1st among the equals but the person above all the rest.

Hi at82

Well, sometimes getting people into the system is also process of taking sides and showing loyalty to your selector. It is the same in the corporate world where new entrants will soon see which "horse" to bet on and ride on it.

Typically, humans tend to self-select people who are like them. This "group think" creates their own bases as well. Anyway, I am not saying that there is separate power bases but just that my cynical studies in political sciences said so. Humans are political animals...and we all take sides and have the tendency to associate ourselves to groups.

THink I am getting old and cynical...haha

Cheers!
T

It was all up to your heart to decide .I am sure singaporeans have the heart to scope into the current situations :).

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Actually I admire MM Lee alot, but seriously I think he needs a change in role...

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