Saturday, May 07, 2011
Structured campaigning and orderly dissent
There is almost a 'no show' of election fever the way we know it. Crossing into Tuas on the second link, I expected to see some form of campaign posters and banners, but none was to spotted.
It wasn't until Novena when I caught sight of some form of posters, and all in pairs, one representing each party against the other. The one on 'top' was always PAP, and the one being pijak on was the opposing party. The subtlest of superiority shown here with the message 'big brother' always on top of things!
It was rather disappointing that the coffee session with Alex Au of yawningbread, Siew Kum Hong , and TOC did not materialise largely due to the fact that most of them were busy with their coverage (at least this is what I have been told) so the next best thing was to hook up with my regular buddy and another, a first time voter.
Singapore having a wired (not weird) community tend to feed of online content more aptly then their friends around the region, so the likes of online portals such as this is also as quick and quirky like ours in coming up with content fit for opposition symphatisers.
In our quick 3hrs session catching up with what is happening from the ground perspective of our legally proficient source, it was obvious that Singaporeans (some at least) are breaking away from the 'Big Brother knows best' syndrome. The fact that those standing in the opposing seats against PAP star some former 'not so big' wigs of the Singapore government gives hope to those demanding change, and their encouragement to shed the fear previously held close.
One parliament hopeful that was a former career diplomat apparently made his statement public that in his own personal capacity PAP did not 'touch' him despite having voted for the opposition in the past.
It is through public statements like this that is providing hope to those that always look over their shoulders in the past.
Clear indications of cracks in the PAP ranks stem from different messages from their party leaders (It was widely reported that MM Lee and his PM son had made public differing views in the 'repent' statement', and responses like these seems to show that regular Ah Bengs would now finally be able to say no to him) and this has also provided fodder to those hell bent on sending more opposition leaders to Parliament.
One thing for sure is that although I cannot relate to the grouses of the electoral voters, the one clear thing is that Singaporeans who turn to online content are showing signs that they have had enough with the PAP led government. Questions on Public Housing (itself a favourite issue with the late JBJ) are one of the most talked about.
But if anything is for sure, its that large turnout at political rallies do not necessarily translate into votes, and this has been the case in previous elections here. However, my buddy tells me otherwise this time around. He is sure that the opposition will be victorious by at least 30 percent, a point not shared with the other person in our discussion.
The latter is of the opinion that although there will be new grounds gained by the opposing side to PAP, a maximum number of 12 seats is the most the opposition might gain from the 82 contested. 81 to be exact seeing that MM Lee was unopposed. Mind you, this guy knows what he is talking about too as he has his source that is almost official ( I shall leave you guessing here)
So what else strikes me most about the election in Singapore?
Here are a few and I guess these are the differences that will always keep Singapore 'sterile'
1. New voters are shown videos on how to vote! (maybe where to tick too)
2. Matured citizens perhaps? this from the way campaigns are run - no super giant Rockets or scales, giant posters and moon emerging from bamboo sticks placed high up on coconut trees. But I did see a bright flash of lightning from the sky! (see the relevance?)
3. a 24 hour 'cooling off period' between campaigning and polling day (and this extends online!! Ithink!!)
4. Definitely no street demos and processions and 'The Final Countdown' playing in the background whilst their Opposition leaders emerge for campaign speeches
5. The emergence of eloquent speakers who curiously share the same strategies with some who prefer to use their guitar and share their favourite song on stage to win over the young electorates.
So I missed the rallies, but I was definitely given a handful of links to catch up on who said what and who is gonna be the new faces that dissenting Singaporeans are routing for.
I leave you a video of one of these stars who funny enough relies on her communal service (when she was in school to carry her to parliament) - so to sum it all up, Singaporeans would rather see greenhorns voted to parliament just so that bigbrother is paying attention to the real issues that Singaporeans have to live with - and what might that be?
Expensive public housing, not the lack of it!
Posted by Tony Yew at 08:03