Tag Archive | "General Election"

Aljunied residents: ‘PM Lee must personally run in Aljunied GRC if PAP is serious about winning it back’

Aljunied residents: ‘PM Lee must personally run in Aljunied GRC if PAP is serious about winning it back’

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Anything less than PM Lee is just lip service.

pm-lee-election

Aljunied residents from all walks of life have thrown down the gauntlet ahead of the upcoming General Election expected to be held in September or October 2015.

They are challenging Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to leave his Ang Mo Kio GRC stronghold and form a GRC team to contest in Aljunied GRC to show that the incumbent party is sincere in winning back the only opposition-held group seats in Singapore.

One resident, Fan Dui Dang, who stays in the opposition ward, said: “Personally putting skin in the game would allow the prime minister to show with conviction that the PAP is sincere, keen and game to take back Aljunied GRC from the Workers’ Party, no matter what it takes.”

“Or else, any team PAP forms that does not have PM Lee’s presence will be understood to be a suicide squad to merely make up the numbers.”

However, other Aljunied residents said PM Lee himself contesting in the GRC against the WP will look gimmicky.

Another resident, Gao Zhen Zhi, said: “Therefore, PM Lee himself must contest the GRC with four other Cabinet ministers. That’s when they will look serious. Or else, it is an affront to politics and the spirit of servitude.”

“And I will feel they are not sincere enough and it is just lip service.”

 

 

 

 

 





S’pore makes plans to industrialise voters

S’pore makes plans to industrialise voters

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Aim is to make elections less labour intensive and remove human errors.

By Nyi Nyi

election-machine-cropped

Following in the same vein as the successful industrialisation of factories in the 1960s and 70s, Singapore has decided to implement the same process for the election process.

Much like how the initial industrialisation decreased the need for manpower by introducing machines to make manufacturing simpler, the plan in the 21st century is to slowly make voting more efficient by replacing voters with machines.

The machines will automatically choose a party by making careful calculations regarding how a typical Singaporean will vote given the present conditions and work out rationally which party is the best for Singapore.

This will help to get rid of human error and biases inherent in irrational voting.

The next General Election in Singapore is scheduled to be held by January 2017.

Marx Tan, a government spokesperson, said the merit of industrialisation is that machines will make the entire process much simpler for the average Singaporean, by removing Singaporeans from the equation: “We understand that voting is an an extremely tedious process and requires large numbers of manpower and effort. So, if it can be automated in this day and age, it should.”

“So what this policy does is to give you the freedom to do whatever you want instead of queuing and ticking boxes.”

Many Singaporeans welcome this proposed revamp of the electoral process and the perks that might come with it.

Ben Di Ren, a Singaporean, said: “This is a natural progression. We are already being sidelined by foreigners in the name of productivity. So it is natural to bring this advancement to its natural conclusion.”

 

In other news involving hardware:
Minimising air con use in schools an insult to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy

PAP must lower aspirations to avoid greater sense of failure in next GE

PAP must lower aspirations to avoid greater sense of failure in next GE

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The higher you aim, the further you fall.

ng-eng-hen-pap

Singaporeans from all walks of life who enjoy wearing blue are advising the PAP to lower their aspirations for the next general election.

This after Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, said the higher cost of living in Singapore is the result of Singaporeans having higher aspirations.

One Singaporean, Mei Qian Tu, said: “Oh, I understand. This means that political parties, Singaporeans and virtually anyone who aims high will have a higher distance to fall further.”

“Therefore, by aiming to win the majority of votes in the next general election, the PAP is simply setting itself up for greater disappointment.”

Mei Xi Wang, another local, said: “If the PAP can calibrate their expectations, it won’t hurt so bad.”

“By conceding now that they have lost a good portion of Singaporeans and the earlier they recognise the ground has significantly shifted, the better they can reconcile with defeat.”

 

 

 

 

 







PAP needs to lower aspirations to avoid greater sense of failure in next GE

PAP needs to lower aspirations to avoid greater sense of failure in next GE

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Because high hopes will lead to greater disappointment.

ng-eng-hen-pap

Singaporeans from all walks of life who enjoy wearing blue are advising the PAP to lower their aspirations for the next general election.

This after Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, said the higher cost of living in Singapore is the result of Singaporeans having higher aspirations.

One Singaporean, Mei Qian Tu, said: “Oh, I understand. This means that political parties, Singaporeans and virtually anyone who aims high will have a higher distance to fall further.”

“Therefore, by aiming to win the majority of votes in the next general election, the PAP is simply setting itself up for greater disappointment.”

Mei Xi Wang, another local, said: “If the PAP can calibrate their expectations, it won’t hurt so bad.”

“By conceding now that they have lost a good portion of Singaporeans and the earlier they recognise the ground has significantly shifted, the better they can reconcile with defeat.”

 

 

 

 

 







S’poreans suspect next General Election planned for 2015

S’poreans suspect next General Election planned for 2015

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Channel News Asia gets $13 million to make feel good documentaries to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary.

2015-lky-ndp-song

Singaporeans from all walks of life are suspecting that the next general election will be held in 2015.

This after Channel News Asia unveiled ambitious plans to develop iconic Singapore-made documentaries to celebrate the Singapore story as 2015 will be Singapore’s 50th birthday.

The channel will commission, produce and outsource over 30 hours of documentaries with the support of the Media Development Authority with a budget of $13 million.

Qu Tou Piao, a local said: “Come 2015, people will be in good mood because it is half a century of existence. The Channel News Asia documentaries will remind Singaporeans who made Singapore and there is expected to be a free flow of good will from the electorate.”

These plans were announced at the Old Parliament House on Wednesday.

Channel News Asia’s managing director, Debra Soon, said these documentaries could be one-off one-hour titles, or in a series which celebrate the Singapore spirit.

This has sparked intense interest in who will be featured in the documentaries.

Self-styled political pundit, Eric de Yaya, said: “If they put me on TV to make me famous, I will do the right thing and ask people to vote correctly. Call me ok, Debra Soon?”

 

 

 

 

 





30% of voters are sceptical, but not politically cynical

30% of voters are sceptical, but not politically cynical

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Survey shows this group of voters are more politically knowledgeable.

The sceptical but non-cynical voter has been described as a non-mainstream media consumer who is more likely to be male, more educated, have more household income and younger.

A survey, conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies that polled 2,000 voters who cast their ballots at the recently concluded General Election in May, showed that 30% of these voters are sceptical consumers of information, but are interestingly, not politically cynical.

This group of information-consumers expressed less trust of the mainstream media, but also perceived blogs, Facebook and Twitter as not always fair.

They are not politically cynical because they care to stay engaged and are not distrustful of politicians’ motives and do believe that what they do can make a difference through their understanding of the process and participation.

This group is termed the non-mainstream media demographic by the researchers. This label coined by the researchers is for a group that tended to be young, male, more educated and come from a household with more household income.

However, it is also noted in the research that the online and offline participation of the non-MSM demographic is overall still low in absolute terms.

This article is a 60-second reduction of the original article published in The Straits Times on Oct. 5 (below).

Tip for the PAP: Build a church

Tip for the PAP: Build a church

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To win the next generation of voters, it needs to do something it has sucked at doing: Getting emotional.

By Terence Lee

Church.

I WILL never forget the day I attended the Worker’s Party rally at Serangoon Stadium, where the crowd of 40,000 roared in laughter whenever the speakers slammed the PAP, and where Singaporeans, led by the booming voice of Pritam Singh, recited the national pledge like they meant it. Putting it mildly, it was an awe-inspiring moment when we worshipped the sacred values that guide our nation.

It felt like church.

The only PAP rally I attended, which was in Yishun Stadium, was lame by comparison. There, nubile cheerleaders attempted to rouse wrinkly seniors to cheer, grassroots leaders sang praises of the PAP candidates for half-an-hour, and a small welcome party was planted to drape garlands on Shanmugam and Co. like they were kings.

And many in the crowd were not even true-blue PAP supporters. No pun intended.

Sure, there were small outbursts of spontaneity here and there, but it was nothing like what opposition commanded during their rallies.

The stark contrast signals an affective divide between the two camps. Sure, some of the opposition candidates are questionable, and some policy proposals downright ludicrous, but they have won the battle of attracting organic, ground-up support.

Even in the online sphere, the paragon of democratised participation, the discussion appears to be overwhelmingly anti-PAP.

So it’s pretty well-known that the pews for the Church of Lightning has been empty for decades, which means there are only two reasons why they are voted in again and again: Sheer technical competence and Lee Kuan Yew.

Sure, the PAP has to tweak and rethink some of its existing policies to win voters back. But more than that, it needs to win the hearts of both the online and offline community.

In the past, they had Lee Kuan Yew. With his charisma, intelligence, and iron-fist leadership, he brought Singapore out of the slums and inspired songs of praise. Schools were named after him, and even the uniquely Singaporean title of Minister Mentor was created for his sake.

Brutal as he may be, it’s hard not to like that son of a gun.

Fast forward to today. The Old Man has now stepped down from The Cabinet, leaving the son in charge. No doubt that PM Lee is an okay speaker, but I wouldn’t call him Obama-esque. But that’s okay, surely his party branding is there to pick up the slack?

Not really. Not when being “struck by lightning” has become a byword for the government’s heavy-handedness.

Sure, filling stadiums at rallies has never been an accurate way of predicting vote share. But it is a symptom of a deeper problem: Lack of emotional connection to the PAP.

Going forward, what the PAP has to do now is to win affection back from the 40 percent of Singaporeans that voted against them, and the untold numbers who voted for them only because the opposition sucked.

It’s time for the PAP to take a leaf from churches.

Religious entities excel at doing one thing: Building a strong network of supporters. A very successful one, City Harvest Church, attracts about 13,000 worshippers every week (despite its money-sucking practices, which makes it even more amazing).

Churches are successful at fostering strong emotive connections through music, social bonding, and preaching. They enforce moral values through weekly reminders at the pulpit, through monetary donatons and charitable work in social welfare organisations.

That is what the PAP needs. Instead of winning voters through facts and figures alone, it needs to encourage organic support in both online and offline communities, on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as well as in the kopitiams and neighbourhoods. It needs to address the moral issues that irritate voters, such as the unfair playing field in politics against the opposition, and the lack of a social safety net for the poor.

The PAP needs to carry a new message; a new vision. And they need to execute it. It needs to bring tears to my eyes, like George Yeo almost did.

Lee Hsien Loong, sad to say, cannot be the torchbearer of the new PAP because he is too tainted already. We need a new personality to front a rebranding effort; someone with a clean slate. Less boring old geezer, more Stevie Tyler authenticity (Chuan-Jin, I’m looking at you).

Relying on the Singapore brand like it did in the past will not do. As the last elections has showed, Singaporeans are now more comfortable with divorcing the Lightning from the Merlion. By voting in the Worker’s Party, they are comfortable with the idea that PAP/LKY is not Singapore, and vice-versa.

Sure, filling stadiums at rallies has never been an accurate way of predicting vote share. But it is a symptom of a deeper problem: Lack of emotional connection to the PAP.

Rallies also serve a useful purpose: It’s at such mega events that affiliations are reinforced, and thousands are inspired by the political pulpit.

In the next half a decade, the PAP will have to do a better job of becoming viral (not in the Tin Pei Ling way, please). For years, they’ve been saying that politics should be rational, calm, and measured. Yes, we need that. But voters are human beings: We need to be inspired, entertained, and engaged.

And when all the right buttons are pushed, that’s when we click that ‘share’ button on Facebook.

Popping your election cherry

Popping your election cherry

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This virgin voter gets nervous about his first time.

By Alvin Phoon

THERE are many moments in life we just can’t seem to erase from our memories (assuming your life is as exciting as i’m making it sound). First times generally claim a spot in our hippocampus’ hard drive.

You know how it is. The idea forms and instantly, the lack of experience terrifies. You trawl whatever medium you can for information; books, videos, websites, hoping desperately for an epiphany to unveil itself. Eventually, the moment arrives. You try to look prepared, but, your mind threatens to empty itself out. You make your way through those doors with sweaty palms amongst other sweaty body parts. Finally, it’s time. You pull out your instrument and linger for a moment, before finally making your move. And after 10 seconds, you’re done.

Damn voting must be tough.

At 23, I’ll be popping my election cherry in less than a week. I’ve never known myself to be an emotional person; I don’t cry at movies, I don’t smile at cute babies, and I don’t let stray dogs lick my face, no matter how adorable they are. This week, I’ve seen a side of me I’ve never known, and am quite frankly a little ashamed of.

All this time, I’ve believed that Singaporeans were mostly cynical, apathetic people who’ve accepted that we would never have a shot at toppling the mighty men in white. I’ve convinced myself that I would be one of the few who were willing to invest their hearts and heads into what appeared to be a losing battle. I have, myself, conceded defeat, and made plans to exit the country as soon as I can. Yet, as I stood atop a tiny bump, watching the first NSP rally at Aljunied, as my pupils scanned the horizon and my ears took in the deafening roar generated by the crowd, I felt my eyes grow moist.

We are educating ourselves, and we are getting braver by the minute. We are no longer afraid of imaginary consequences, and we no longer care about short term rewards.

I have never been to a rally until Thursday, and even then it was to a rally whose party I had written off as late as February. I have never been in the presence of so many disgruntled Singaporeans. And I have never seen so many hearts linked by the same ideology (yes, not even during national day).

I have never participated in so much political conversation, online and offline. People I don’t even know to be politically aware are suddenly reposting quotes and videos. People I’ve always thought to be indifferent are displaying, very outwardly, their anger at the current administration. I have not seen a single pro-pap status update since the start of the rallies.

If there’s anything I’m sure of this year, it is that there is a wave of political awakening sweeping through our island. We are educating ourselves, and we are getting braver by the minute. We are no longer afraid of imaginary consequences, and we no longer care about short term rewards. We are getting angry, and we’re demanding change. We are steadily realising the power we hold as citizens of this country, and we’re learning to utilize it.

I have never been this glad to be wrong. Come May the 7th, this virgin voter is ready to get it on.

Image: BARBARA DURAND. Modified with Creative Commons license

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Why we should care about the elections

Why we should care about the elections

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Visakan Veerasamy ponders on the significance of the General Election in bringing people together.

Worker's Party rally at East Coast GRC. Photo: TERENCE LEE

I AM the ultimate virgin voter: Since I was born in 1990, I won’t be able to vote this time around.

But I’m here to share why we should care about the coming elections, even if we can’t vote, or feel that our vote doesn’t count:

The coming elections are symbolic of something far greater and more profound – the elusive, indefinable entity that we call the Singapore spirit.

It’s much more than a matter of deciding who gets to receive our tax money and sit in a bunch of chairs in a big room on our behalf. The elections serve as a focal point for us to rally around, to discuss and have conversations about, to foster closer bonds between Singaporeans across individual social circles and create social capital that we haven’t seen since the pre-war kampung days.

People naturally crave to be a part of a community that is something greater than themselves.

Singapore can and should be more than a collection of individuals working to make ends meet independently of one another. It has to grown and evolve to be a community, a team – and I’ll gladly bet my Grow and Share package that I am not alone in feeling this way. It’s a simple but poignant idea that really ought to permeate our collective psyche and become a part of our collective vision.

It is no longer pragmatic for Singaporeans to remain apathetic.

Singaporeans have been politically apathetic for several decades – It was forced upon us for our own good, so that we would focus on jump-starting our fledgling economy. I can see the logic behind that. Political freedom is worth very little without economic freedom, and I would’ve probably made the same decisions were I faced with the same situation as our heroic forefathers.

But times have changed. Now that a substantial majority of us are fed and have roofs over our heads, our needs have changed as well. If we are to evolve into something more than a pit-stop and a piss-break for the international community, we will need to have something more to offer. Our industrial-age selling points- safety, political stability and a compliant, competent workforce- are all quickly becoming obsolete. Let’s be pragmatic here- the growth that we have sustained for so long cannot continue without a more enlightened and proactive citizenry behind it.

The coming elections won’t magically change everything, but things won’t be the same

For most of us, life will go on as usual after they’re over, whether the opposition seizes several GRCs or the PAP dominates all the seats. And yet, things will not be the same. Because it is ultimately the electorate itself that is changing, and will continue to change. We have a unique opportunity to shape our culture – never before have ordinary Singaporeans have had so much power to influence what it means to be Singaporean. Social media – Twitter and Facebook – give each individual greater leverage than ever before.

Powerful ideas are harder to suppress than ever. The #SGelections hashtag is positively bursting at the seams. As I sit here writing this in Siglap Starbucks, I can hear several tables of people talking about the elections, too. The atmosphere is electric, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

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While the buzz is evident, let’s not get complacent. Let’s get more people involved. Talk to your families and friends – especially older voters who have been around for a long time. Grill your teachers about it in school. Use it as a conversation starter and discuss it with strangers at your favourite watering holes, and with that hot girl you wordlessly share a cigarette break with in the Butter Factory. Whatever it takes.

The benefits are intangible and unpredictable, but I’m betting that they will improve the quality of life in Singapore far more substantially than a lift upgrade or a Grow and Share package.

Do you feel like a valued member of Singapore? I’m guessing that you probably don’t – and that’s dangerous for the future of our nation. If you feel valued here and have a sense of belonging to this country, you have an opportunity to contribute tangibly beyond yourself, to be a part of something greater than yourself.

Paying tax dollars somehow doesn’t quite cut it, and voting isn’t really very much of a big deal either, realistically speaking. I’m after something bigger than that. Ask yourself what is it that you want Singapore to be. Let’s turn this place into something that we can be proud of, that we can all feel like we belong to. Let’s start by talking about it.

Visa is the ringleader of a secret community of non-partisan, non-apathetic young Singaporeans. Hit him up on Facebook (facebook.com/visakanv) or Twitter (@visakanv) if you’d like to join the conversation. He also blogs about Singapore and pretty much anything else you can possibly imagine.

Low Thia Khiang: PAP not playing fair

Low Thia Khiang: PAP not playing fair

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The Worker’s Party chief says PAP sets up barriers to stop opposition parties from getting involved in grassroots activities.

Photos and text: Terence Lee

WORKER’S Party Secretary General Low Thia Khiang, speaking at Bedok stadium, whacked the PAP on Saturday night for making it tough for opposition parties to serve residents.

He was responding to criticism from Sengkang West PAP candidate Dr Lam Pin Min that opposition parties disappeared from contest grounds after the 2006 elections.

Low mentioned that because new constituencies are often created at every election, it is impossible for them to appear in a “previously non-existent ward.”

“We certainly would love to do more to reach out to the residents, but do you know we are kept out by barriers set by the PAP?” he said.

The first barrier he mentioned was that Town Councils in PAP wards have rejected applications by the opposition party to hold dialogue sessions and forums at the resident’s void decks.

Second barrier is that opposition parties cannot set up physical premises to launch activities in PAP constituencies. The PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which is a network of pre-schools, is able to rent property from the Housing Development Board (HDB) for cheap prices. As a result, they can sublet space to the PAP.

“That’s why you see that every constituency there is a PAP branch, which is usually next to PCF.”

“Sometimes, some foreign reporters who come to Singapore to interview me, and they wonder, why we conduct Meet-the-People’s sessions at the void deck. So much for a first world nation.” – Low Thia Khiang

The Worker’s Party has no branches. And since they have no access to PCF facilities, their only option would be to rent from the open market, which is too expensive.

Furthermore, opposition parties are handicapped in their own constituencies.

“Sometimes, some foreign reporters who come to Singapore to interview me, and they wonder, why we conduct Meet-the-People’s sessions at the void deck. So much for a first world nation.”

PAP MPs, on the other hand, get to do such sessions in a facility of their own.

Opposition MPs are also disallowed from using Community Centres to organise courses and activities for residents, while PAP MPs can do so. “I thought community club are meant for community, not for propelling the PAP’s interest!”

He added that in Hougang, where he was an MP, the defeated PAP candidate became the grassroots advisor through the People’s Association, a statuary board promoting social harmony. Government bodies worked through him instead of Low, and when his town council paid a sum to the HDB for lift upgrading, it was the PAP candidate who announced the initiative instead. This allows the defeated candidates to gain a foothold at the next elections.

So, while the government says that the political playing field is fair, Low firmly denied that is the case.

“When they ask me to play a game of soccer, they use a goalpost smaller than the ball!”

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

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Speakers emphasise the PAP’s constant presence in the constituency, questions Opposition’s commitment.

By Grace Chew

Photo: STRAITS TIMES

SUPPORTERS shared the limelight from the Ministers of Parliament yesterday night at the Pioneer Single Member Constituency rally by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Cries of “PAP huat ah!”, “PAP Cedric Foo”, “Cedric Foo we love you!” and many other permutations of cheers were sounded by party activists and grassroots leaders, mostly in their 50s and 60s, together with deafening whistles whenever the Ministers asked for response from the roughly 500-strong crowd.

Many supporters sang his praises at the rally. The Indian emcee noted his contributions in the Pioneer Indian Activities Executive Committee (IAEC): “Cedric has done a lot to promote the Indian community through various cultural activities.
He takes part in various Frontier CC and IAEC activities, and even recognizes most of them by face and by name!”

The emcee added that Cedric has drafted letters to the authorities for quality Tamil classes and tuition. “He’s an ardent believer in bringing quality education,” she said.

“In the past, no one would want to live in Jurong. Now it’s a thing of the past. Pioneer has transformed!” said Foo, the ward’s incumbent for 10 years.

Foo mentioned the various facilities as evidence of his decade-long track record: From a “wasted land” to a place where “flats are in hot demand” with Jurong Point 1 and 2; Pioneer MRT; SAFRA Club; Jurong Medical Centre and resident centres. He has also organised 6500 activities for the residents with grassroots leaders, to build the “cohesive and warm community” of Pioneer.

“What warmed me are the sessions we have with the needy people every Monday night over 500 weeks. We have written 2500 letters to help them. We take one family at a time, and do all we can to help them because they’re part of Pioneer!” he said, to a rousing round of applause from a crowd.

In addition to the various cultural activities and facilities he had pushed for, Foo also talked about the influx of foreign workers in the area, a worry bugging most Pioneer residents. He said, “I went to foreign workers’ living quarters to understand the situation.”

He mentioned about building a place of their own – a five-million dollar recreation centre, and successfully seeking permission from the authorities to allow beer to be sold inside their dormitories.

“This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections?” – Cedric Foo

Dangling the carrot for voters, he said that closed-circuit television will be installed at every void deck, and posters put up in a variety of languages to advise foreign workers on appropriate behaviours. He also promised more childcare centres and a new primary school.

In comparison, he said that the Opposition have no concrete action. He asked, “How many outings have the Opposition had with you? How many wakes did the Opposition attend? In the 5 years that they were here, where have they volunteered?” and to that question, the crowd fervently replied “Zero! Kosong! Toilet!” with one even replying they “play marbles!”

West Coast GRC members Lawrence Wong, Foo Mee Har and Arthur Fong were also present at the rally to support Foo. They urged residents to re-elect Mr Foo, who is facing a challenge from National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) Steve Chia.

To the wonderment of the crowd, Mr Arthur Fong spoke in Cantonese about Foo, his “good friend and comrade”.

“I have seen Foo’s hard work in the last 10 years, and I hope you would vote for him!”

More seriously, Foo, a banker, spoke of the Government’s success in steering Singapore through the recent financial turmoil. She advised the crowd to vote for the government they trusted and could get the nation through tough times.

As the former Energy Market and Authority (EMA) chief, Wong observed that many top firms like Shell and ExxonMobil have chosen to invest in Singapore due to her political stability, creating job opportunities for Singaporeans.

Singapore’s health-care system was internationally recognised, he added, evident during the World Health Congross in Paris when global health-care leaders approached him.

“They knew about Medicare, Medishield and Medifund, and they knew our health-care system worked and theirs didn’t,” He said.

He talked about a 70-year-old woman whom he met recently. She declared that she would only vote for the PAP, as she could always seek subsidised medical treatment from polyclinics and hospitals.

Mr Wong then asked the crowd, “Which other government in the world serves its people like the PAP does?”

He added, “This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections? Think carefully before you vote, and choose the party that represents Peace and Prosperity.”

Stuck in Switzerland

Stuck in Switzerland

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With the nearest voting centre in London, students in Switzerland will not lost their virginity for the next five years at least.

By Lee Jian Xuan

Photo: TAHIR / Creative Commons

THERE’S a common consensus among university students that exchange programs are generally beneficial.

You get to do all the touristy, sight-seeing stuff, meet new people, eat cheap food and stay in crappy youth hostels while chalking up Eiffel Tower-sized debts.

What’s not to love about that?

No, really. My exchange experience in Europe this semester has definitely opened my eyes. (Bad pasta and rude Italian housemates aside.)

Actually, more like it’s grabbed me by the hair and yanked my eyelids wide open.

I don’t know what it is about being overseas. Perhaps it’s the sheer distance from home and the estrangement from friends and family. Or maybe it’s the unsettling feeling of being the minority in far-flung lands.

But Singaporeans abroad seem to work harder at staying connected to our country than those of us who live on the island.

A friend I stayed with in London reads books by Kishore Mahbubhani and Cherian George (who are the so-called “public intellectuals”). My brother and his friends at the University of Leeds descend upon Channelnewsasia.com during their daily web rounds and discuss Singaporean politics at dinner.

Inadvertently, I find myself doing the same, devouring any material I can find online: Following the General Elections buzz closely and having the sort of no-holds-barred political discussion with friends that would instantly be shushed at dinner tables back home.

Quite an amazing feat for someone who previously did not even know the names of the six Presidents of Singapore.

But life has a funny way of working things out.

Just very recently, I learnt with great disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to cast my vote while overseas as the nearest polling center to the little Swiss town of Lugano where I’m at now is more than a thousand miles away in London.

This cruel irony is further intensified when I learnt that Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, where I belong and one that traditionally succumbs to a walkover, is to be contested this year.

Sidenote/ complaint here: I’ve no clue why the Elections Department chooses not to delegate more polling centers in Europe for voting.

There’s a perfectly proper and fine consulate here in Geneva. It doesn’t get any safer than here, right? I mean, Switzerland is practically the world’s panic room!

It’ll be years before I get to cross off my first ballot, but slightly more than a fortnight before the Singaporean electorate goes to the voting stations.

So to all you maiden voters out there, I say this: Wield the power of the vote wisely and choose the right party to run our country. If not for yourselves, then on behalf of those of us who can’t.

In any case, vote or no vote, come May 7, all Singaporean eyes from Switzerland to Sweden will be fixed on our sunny island set in the sea.

I can’t wait.

I will still be a virgin.

At voting, that is.

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GE results

GE results

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Find out the election results here, as well as who your MPs will be. Map updates will lag.

2011: PAP: 60.1%, Opposition: 39.9%

2006: PAP: 66.7%, Opposition: 33.3%


View Larger Map

White: Constituency goes to PAP

Blue: Constituency goes to Opposition

Update:

2.49am – PAP wins Potong Pasir at 50.36% while SPP garnered 49.64% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 81, Opposition – 6

2.21am – PAP wins Jurong GRC at 66.96% while NSP garnered 33.04% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 80, Opposition – 6

2.10am – WP wins Aljunied GRC at 54.71% while WP garnered 45.29% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 75, Opposition – 6

2.03am – PAP wins Choa Chu Kang GRC at 61.20% while NSP garnered 38.80% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 75, Opposition – 1

2.03am – PAP wins Holland-Bukit Timah GRC at 60.10% while SDP garnered 39.90% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 70, Opposition – 1

1.56am – PAP wins Nee Soon GRC at 58.56% while WP garnered 41.61% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 66, Opposition – 1

1.54am – PAP wins Sembawang GRC at 63.89% while SDP garnered 36.11% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 61, Opposition – 1

1.48am – PAP wins Pioneer SMC at 60.73% while NSP garnered 39.27% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 56, Opposition – 1

1.45am – PAP wins East Coast GRC at 54.83% while WP garnered 45.17% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 55, Opposition – 1

1.38am – PAP wins Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at 56.94% while SPP garnered 43.06% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 50, Opposition – 1

1.34am – PAP wins Punggol East SMC at 54.53%, WP garnered 41.02% of the votes, while SDA got 4.45% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 45, WP – 1

1.28am – PAP wins Ang Mo Kio GRC at 69.33% while RP garnered 30.67% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 44, Opposition – 1

1.22am – PAP wins Sengkang West SMC at 58.08% while WP garnered 41.92% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 38, Opposition – 1

1.19am – PAP wins Yuhua SMC at 66.87% while SDP garnered 33.13% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 37, Opposition – 1

1.12am – PAP wins West Coast GRC at 66.57% while RP garnered 33.43% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 36, Opposition – 1

1.04am – PAP wins Hong Kah North SMC at 70.61% while SPP garnered 29.39% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 31, Opposition – 1

1.04am – PAP wins Tampines GRC at 57.22% while NSP garnered 42.78% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 30, Opposition – 1

12.58am – PAP wins Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC at 64.79% while SDA garnered 35.21% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 25, Opposition – 1

12.56am – WP wins Hougang SMC at 64.81% while PAP garnered 35.19% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 19, Opposition – 1

12.53am – PAP wins Marine Parade GRC at 56.65% while NSP garnered 43.35% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 19, Opposition – 0

12.44am – PAP wins Joo Chiat SMC at 51.01% while WP garnered 48.99% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 14, Opposition – 0

12.30am – PAP wins Moulmein-Kallang GRC at 58.56% while WP garnered 41.44% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 13, Opposition – 0

12.27am – Strong win expected for PAP at Sembawang GRC.

12.10am – PAP wins Whampoa SMC at 66.11% while NSP garnered 32.89% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 9, Opposition – 0

12.07am – PAP wins Radin Mas SMC at 67.11% while NSP garnered 32.89% of the votes.

12.04am – PAP wins Bukit Panjang SMC at 66.26% while NSP garnered 33.74% of the votes.

12am – PAP wins Mountbatten SMC at 58.65% while NSP garnered 41.35% of the votes.

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Don’t be hoodwinked: Social media will have limited impact on GE

Don’t be hoodwinked: Social media will have limited impact on GE

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Trust me, the only version of Windows the computer illiterate folk operate regularly is on hinges: Their kitchen window.

By Belmont Lay

WITH the General Election due, I have a pronouncement to make: My sincere belief is that social media will have a limited impact on the outcome of the voting results this time round.

Simply put, social media being influential is overrated.

And I’m terribly afraid I might be the only person who actually realises this.

You and I have heard about the oft-cited example about how powerful social media such as Facebook and Twitter are as tools to galvanise support from the constituents.

We are often reminded that Barack Obama used social networking to win his 2008 presidency because he connected with the younger voters and encouraged a larger turnout using a medium that translated online participation into offline action.

(You can read the latest example of this argument laid out by 16-year-old uber tech blogger, Xavier Lur, here.)

In Singapore, it is true that we see a lot of people compulsively molesting their iPhones in the spirit of navigating a Facebook page even when they are on the go.

And yes, you can discharge your democratic duty these days by dispensing dissenting views while moving your bowels, if you so happen to have access to 3G while on the throne.

Happily, of course, when you’re done, you can use Twitter to conveniently declare to your universe of 15 followers that a so-and-so minister as well as your toilet are so full of shit.

For social media users with some clout, any kind of declaration such as these can be influential. Indeed.

However, just by thinking a little deeper, I can name you just two counterarguments to ruin Xavier’s point about the powerful effects of social media that really has nothing to do with social media at all but more to do with context: 1) Voting in US is not compulsory 2) Singaporean voters don’t just have to deal with two choices.

In the US presidential elections in 2008, it is the whole country voting by choice for either the optimistic black man with a vision and no policy or a very old man who can barely comb his own hair.

That’s it.

In Singapore, matters are vastly differently.

For one, we are not in the business of electing presidents this GE. We are electing individual candidates.

I am thankful that non-users of social media are not subjected to the tyranny of this sort of free flowing rubbish that comes out from the Internet and so-called influential social media.

Hence, there are so many bloody constituencies cut up in so many ways.

There are as many candidates from the incumbent and opposition as there are brothels in Joo Chiat.

And there are more political parties than I have cousins.

True, Singapore might have 2.35 million Facebook users at last count. But that also just means that there are another 2.35 million, at least, who don’t use FB.

And when you think all that funky 2.35 million FB users form a critical mass, you realise one thing: 50% are apathetic (because that’s who they really are offline), 25% are simply pathetic and sexually frustrated, 20% are stalkers and the remaining 5% are wholeheartedly, politically-minded.

Plus, based on the fact that voting in the US is not compulsory, they have a self-selection bias. The Americans who care about the vote will show up. The Americans who don’t, won’t, and they can’t spoil the winning chances of those who turned up.

But in Singapore, when voting is made compulsory, shit happens.

Because Singaporeans can be paranoid, they will still vote for the incumbent just because there is a serial number on the voting slip and since voting is compulsory, it means someone somewhere is keeping count (according to the Singaporean logic), and hence, losing their jobs and their house and their dog is a real possibility for anyone who tried anything funny like put an “X” next to the non-PAP candidate’s name.

Therefore, people harnassing the power of social media will have their efforts thwarted just because anyone who can vote will show up and this causes votes to go all over the place, including being spoilt.

Oh wait. Did I mention that because the other 2.35 million non-users of FB cannot be influenced by FB, this election is as much about non-social media users as it is about social media users?

So here’s the point of today’s missive: When you remove the context from the argument, you are left with a narrative that resembles a myth.

And people who buy the myth subscribe to the lie and regurgitate the same kind of rubbish in all their naivety and foolhardiness.

They usually end up doing it over social media.

And I am thankful that non-users of social media are not subjected to the tyranny of this sort of free flowing rubbish that comes out from the Internet and so-called influential social media.

If you actually made it this far reading this, my suggestion is to turn off your computer and spend some time with your children, parents and real friends who are offline and find some real people (not avatars) to talk to by having a rational proper discussion about politics or why your vote is indeed secret.

But as always, feel free to share this over Facebook or retweeting it.

Thank you.

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