Tag Archive | "Dannon Har"

Vote out of belief, not fear

Vote out of belief, not fear

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Virgin Voter Dannon Har observes that some of his peers, who work in the public sector, fear voting for the opposition because it might stunt their career prospects.

Proud of being a Virgin Voter? Put this as your Facebook display picture! Enhanced from photo by STEPHANE TOUGARD / Creative Commons

I WILL be voting for my very first time this coming elections. I’m feeling a flurry of excitement coupled with apprehension, and I hope dismay won’t follow after I’ve done the deed.

What brings out such a mixed bag of emotions is that giant question mark bobbing above my head saying: “Does my vote really matter?”

As an average youth living in Meritocratic/Autocratic Singapore, I wonder if my vote will make a difference when opposition giants like JB Jeyaretnam and Chiam See Tong have failed or attained limited success?

Needless to say, the PAP government has been in power since day one. Those who have tried to step up and challenge them have been deliberately quashed under their iron fist.

I’m certainly not exaggerating: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew admitted as much in his his series of interviews with the Straits Times.

Despite our turbulent political history, what disturbs me much is the indifferent, laidback, nonchalant attitude of many of today’s youths. What disturbs me even more is some of their ignorance or misconceptions.

To be fair, there is a notable rise of youth participation in Singapore’s political scene. Even though there’s plenty of nonconstructive rants online, the fact that more youths are voicing out is at least a sure sign of a diversification of views.

Yet many young Singaporeans only seem to care about the food on their table.

With an overbearing corporatist culture constantly looming over our heads, I fear becoming just another cog in the machine. And I know I am not alone in this.

Singapore’s citizens are described as consumerist, materialistic, and pragmatic. These are now our defining attributes as Singaporeans.

The drastic fall in Total Fertility Rate is a clear sign to me that we are thinking more and more in economic terms, putting all other concerns second place.

In a Straits Times article I read, a lawyer said regarding the reason for not having children: “It’s a question of opportunity cost, and I can’t afford the downtime from my career.”

Political sentiments in Singapore often reflect our materialistic culture.

During sessions of coffee shop talk with peers my age, they tell me they are going to vote for PAP this coming election, as they feel pressured to do so. But Pressured? Pressured by what?

The presence of such fear is a shock to me – regardless of whether there is any truth to it. Why should there even be fear of going against the ruling party – as distinct from the state – in a democratic society?

Apparently, there is an onset of fear about going against the grain. On the ground, there is fear that voting for an opposition party would result in indirect repercussions of some sort.

I hear of comments that are utterly ridiculous. Some tell me that since they work in the public sector, they had better vote for the PAP lest they get stunted career growths and diminished pay packages.

The presence of such fear is a shock to me – regardless of whether there is any truth to it. Why should there even be fear of going against the ruling party – as distinct from the state – in a democratic society?

Such ideas are plainly absurd. Then again, nothing surprises me anymore.

Other comments I’ve heard include feelings of gratitude for what PAP had done for us in the past. With this argument, some think we should continue voting for them since they have done so much for us.

They further add that the good track record is testament that they’ll do as well if not better in the future.

But I say that if a party’s recent track record is any indication, then recent hot potato issues like immigration, housing prices, and ministerial salary among others would indicate that the time for change has come.

I will be voting in Tampines GRC this coming election, where PAP veteran and minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan will be contesting.

He may not be very popular, based on online sentiments, but how many votes will actually swing in his favor simply because of PAP’s dominance?

My personal belief is that each and every contestant should be judged based on what they are really offering on the plate instead of party affiliations or worse, empty promises.

Sadly, the political game is often reduced to a shallow popularity contest rather than a substantial analysis of political manifestos.

In deciding who to vote for, I realise that jumping onto the same bandwagon as everyone else simply displays a lack of forethought on my part. I am given a mind for a reason, and that reason is to reason.

I can’t let others decide for me whom I’m going to vote for.

But I am not blindly advocating western ideals in Singapore, as each country is different and should be run differently. A system that works in one place may not work in another. I’m clear on this.

My beef is with people refusing to stand up for what they believe in, when they should be voicing out their concerns for a future they want to see happening in Singapore.

Seriously, if we look closely enough at the PAP government’s current policies and scrutise it, can we confidently say that we are able to sit down and stay passive?

At 23 years old, I am ready to do the little I can to express my personal beliefs, perspectives, and values in the political realm. It is my own conviction to eliminate indifference among Singaporean youths, starting from myself.

So to all my fellow Virgin Voters out there, be daring enough to do what you sincerely think is right for the sake of our own generation’s future.

And to all experienced voters out there, good for you if you have not compromised your ideals. But if you have and are thinking of voting ‘safely’ time and again, do not for a moment think that others will do the fighting for you.

As Dr Chee Soon Juan once mentioned, “Democracy cannot be wished for, it must be fought for.”

Dannon Har, 23, has studied in neighborhood schools all his life. He is currently majoring in Sociology and minoring in Communications at SIM University while interning at a prominent business news organisation. He spends his free time clearing his school assignments hanging out with his better half who keeps his humanity from dispersing as he chases the Singapore dream.

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Just being Ris Low

Just being Ris Low

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New Nation catches up with the former beauty queen, as well as actress Irene Ang and magicians J C Sum and ‘Magic Babe’ Ning at the m:idea Youth Choice Awards.

By Dannon Har

Arriving late on scene but enjoying the limelight nonetheless, Ris Low ladies and gentlemen. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG

Award winners

Cutest Male Personality I Wanna Bring Home – Dai Yang Tian

Hottest Female Personality I Wanna Date – Joanne Peh

Best OMG! MomentRis Low’s April Fool’s Day prank on 987FM

Band I Wanna Throw Myself At – Jack & Rai

Celeb Duo I Wanna Chill With – The Muttons

Coolest Blogger I Wanna Gossip With (Xoxo) – Xiaxue

Favourite Nightspot – Zouk

Favourite Tech Brand – Apple

Favourite Fashion Brand – Topshop/Topman

Favourite Restaurant – Swensen’s

Favourite Dessert Café – Frolick

Favourite Online Store – Love, Bonito

AVID reader of The Business Times? Then consider yourself in the same league as former beauty queen Ris Low.

“People who don’t know me might think that I am a shallow person, but mind you I do read Business Times one okay!” she says.

She also admits to putting on her best behaviour recently, considering that her 24 months probation for credit card fraud is finally coming to an end.

And yeah, she had just won the “Best OMG! Moment” award for two years running at the m:idea Youth Choice Awards held last Saturday.

The event is organised by m:idea – Singapore’s first youth-led media conglomerate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

But some things don’t change: Ris arrived late (read: after the event), and one wonders if this was another publicity stunt. Her excuse this time? Bad weather and vehicular malfunctions.

The event saw about 200 people turn up. Youths gave their verdict on their favourite celebs and brands by casting over 58,000 votes between November 15 to December 14 last year.

Popular celebs that made the red carpet event include heartthrob Nat Ho, funny host Irene Ang, comedic DJs The Muttons, local musicians Jack and Rai, and illusionists J C Sum and ‘Magic Babe’ Ning, just to name a few.

Irene Ang, a famous comedienne, cafe owner, and movie producer, had audiences laughing out loud.

Better known as Singlish-speaking, flowery-dressed, Ah Lian, Rosie Phua from the hit sitcom Phua Chu Kang, Irene turned heads and melted hearts as she stole the show with her unique brand of humour.

“I come from the school of hard-knocks, hard-work, and heart-breaks,” says Irene when asked how she became so good at what she does.

Her wisdom for the young and entrepreneurial: “The thing is, don’t give up so easily, and if it doesn’t work, be brave enough to say this is not what I am good at, let me look for something else; because you’re still young; so when you are young don’t feel like you have to get it right the first time.”

Want more advice from top celebs?

“We use Facebook alot” says Ning the ‘Magic Babe’, lashes fluttering. “It’s really wasted if you aren’t contemporary; we see ourselves as commercial artists and you need to constantly revamp and be in tune with what today’s people wanna see.”

J C Sum added: “With YouTube we can see what other people are doing so we make sure we don’t do anything that anyone is doing; and what we do is first in the world.”

But there’s more to it.

“If you want to do it (magic) commercially, for money; just understand that this is showbiz and it is a different ballgame altogether just like any other commercial creative artist.”

Finding it difficult to resist, I asked them for next week’s winning 4D numbers (since they successfully predicted the winning digits before). Ask and you shall receive, right?

“Zero, zero, zero, zero,” says J C Sum confidently.

But I wouldn’t bet on it if I were you.

  • Eager audiences line the red carpet anticipating for the celebrities that should arrive anytime now..or now..or now.. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • No it’s not a protest. Nat Ho’s fan club came down in full-force bearing posters, placards and neon signs all for the sake of fandom. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • The ‘bad weather’ Ris Low was talking about. Somehow other celebs managed to come on time. Sorta. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Multi-talented artist and entrepreneur Irene Ang graced the event as a Celebrity guest host. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Winning “Celebrity Duo I Wanna Chill Out With”, The Muttons agree that the best chill-out spot is still at home. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Duane Ho, finalist in Singapore Idol 3, is here to do a surprise opening number for the m:idea Youth Choice Awards 2011. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Luminiq: Dance crew and runners up of One Moment of Glory. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Dual-wielding Sai action by 'Magic Babe' Ning. This scene was probably more alluring than the illusion itself. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG
  • Dannon poses with Ris: She does look smarter now! Maybe it was just a matter of wearing the right accessories. Photo: KIMBERLY ONG