Singaporean author pleased with how the PE turned out

Posted on 30 August 2011

Politics taking a step in the right direction, says our very own literary Ah Jie, Catherine Lim.

I am writing to thank the four Tans who stepped up to the plate to stand for the 2011 presidential election. At the end of their campaigns, I was left in no doubt about their sincerity in wanting to serve the nation. I acknowledge that they have served the nation in various capacities.

Their campaigns gave me more room to reflect on the issues in an election that has been described as “polarising”. From the start, Dr Tony Tan was a front runner for my vote and at the end of the campaign, it was Mr Tan Jee Say.

Even after I voted, during the ballot counting, I still wondered if I had voted for the right man when it came down to the wire between the two Dr Tans.

During the campaign period, there was the debacle between the Workers’ Party, the Housing Board and the People’s Action Party, and the issue of how Dr Tony Tan’s sons served their national service, for which the online community provided interesting counterpoints that could not be ignored.

In the end, I did not get the president I voted for, but I will support the man who is now my president for these reasons:

First, Dr Tan has said he will work for those who voted for him and for those who did not. The fact that he won by a hair’s breadth over the next closest contender is a constitutional issue, not a personal one.

Second, he has said the office of the president is “a work in progress”. At his media conference, Dr Tan said he looked forward to the analyses that would be forthcoming after the election and indeed, within hours, there were considered commentaries online, including how the election process can be improved.

Third, there is Dr Tan’s expressed desire to continue to work the ground and engage the online community, which, to me, reflects a man who is willing to learn.

Dr Tan has said it has been the hardest battle he has fought in the political fray.

It has been a difficult decision too for the voters, especially those with no party affiliations.

The other three contenders have said they will continue to serve the nation and I wish them all the best.

What lies ahead in the next six years for the country is what we make of it. And the political maturity demonstrated thus far is a step in the right direction.

This letter was published in The Straits Times forum on Aug. 30.

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- who has written 230 posts on New Nation.

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