Nothing can stop you from voting, if you really want to.
By Edmund Tee
THERE’S this guy I know who maintains that he was a technical virgin well into his late twenties.
All through his teenage years, his stint in the army, then university, and career, he dated a good number of women and was physically active with many of them, but never went all the way despite the hormones racing through his body and nether regions.
I guess it was a deal his mind made with his libido – he still gets teased about it by his wife today for saying he stayed a technical virgin for so long until he fell head over heels in love with her.
Well, my political experience is quite similar, because for lack of a better way to say this, I’m a “technical” Virgin Voter. I’ve never voted, but I’ve gotten to what I suppose is Third Base.
As a citizen, I’ve persuaded others to vote, rooted for and cheered for candidates, helped when I could, and commiserated with the underdogs. As an ex-journalist with the mainstream press, I’ve had to follow and cover the electoral process, sometimes to my disappointment and frustration.
So yes, I’ve done every thing but vote. This is because I live in Braddell Heights, which became part of Marine Parade GRC after a close contest inthe polls of 1988 and 1991.
Since then, it has been walkover after walkover. UNTIL NOW.
Ironically, I now live abroad, in Seattle, USA, and so my engagement with the elections came a little late – almost too late. But thanks to my friends on Facebook, it became clear to me that this election was going to be far different from previous ones. Thanks to Facebook and YouTube, we had unprecedented access to the opposition.
And I liked what I was hearing and reading. I especially liked what a level-headed, mature, and smart advertising executive from the opposition had to say.
So, on the evening of Sunday, April 17, I decided I would register on the Singapore Elections website as an overseas voter so that I could travel to Washington, DC, to cast my ballot. Sadly, given the time difference, Sunday night was also Monday morning on April 18 in Singapore, and the Writ of Elections had been issued.
For those of you back home, this meant that overseas voters who had failed to register before then would no longer be allowed to vote abroad.The only way to vote would be to travel back to Singapore.
And so, for this Election Day, I will take time off work, leave behind my wife and kids, and sacrifice a significant amount of my monthly income to flyback to Singapore to have my Electoral Cherry popped.
As it turns out, thanks to the creative restructuring of electoral boundaries,when I step off my early morning flight, bleary-eyed, on Election Day, I will be heading into the key battleground constituency that is Marine Parade. How will I vote? That’s for me to know, but I leave you with this quote from a man that is respected in Singapore and across the world.
“Let us shake off this oppressive shroud of sycophancy and unquestioning homage to authority. For if we just drift along, we may get to a positionwhere it is not only wrong to talk, but also wrong to think.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, New Year’s Day Message, 1965.