Tag Archive | "singapore people’s party"

Why there will never be opposition unity

Why there will never be opposition unity

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And why diversity should be celebrated.

By Belmont Lay

Photo borrowed from Yahoo!

Six key members from Singapore People’s Party have resigned.

This has left a lot of semi-professional political observers sighing and wondering what went wrong again.

But don’t blame the “Opposition” for not playing as a team and being dramatic.

Why? Because there never really was a united team to begin with.

What is occurring now is similar to a rearrangement. Not unlike what happens when you clean your bedroom.

It has to get messier before it gets any tidier.

This is a process. Not the finality. After which, things will get better.

Because so what if we are in this lull period after the General Election where the hype and fury has subsided?

Let’s just put it this way: The many complex personalities, the past historical baggage and competing perspectives will intermingle and act up time and again.

And this latest SPP incident is just one such case in point.

So think about it this way too: We can either go along with what we have now or go back to the days when Singapore politics was as interesting as watching paint dry.

If you don’t yet know what makes our politics tick, I implore you to show up at the various open houses by the political parties and have a feel for yourselves.

You will find personable politicians who can talk to anyone and anything, including a lamp post, and change their lives.

You will also find politicians who are quick on their feet with assertions and spurious statistics.

And then, there are also those that are just plain weird.

And I will even implore you further to support them, jeer at them, laugh at them, laugh with them and even begrudge them.

But whatever you do, do not allow politics — I repeat, DO NOT ALLOW POLITICS in Singapore to slide back to what it was in those days when watching grass grow was more interesting.

In fact, I believe it is this richness and the diversity of our political landscape that we are seeing now that should be celebrated.

This is a phenomenon that probably hasn’t happened in Singapore since the 1960s. Which was a time where people actually had something interesting to say about politics other than “Oh, it will be a walkover again, for sure”.

And all of us who are living through this right now are probably witnessing something pivotal. So pivotal and buttocks-clenching exciting in fact, that you do feel you want to look back in 10 or 20 years’ time and think to yourself what an honour it was to have experienced the height of it.

Politicians are human. And humans have their pet peeves.

And when they do fight, it only makes the making up sweeter.

So back to the SPP resignations. The six of them can leave and form something else or join another party, it doesn’t matter.

The fact that talented people would rather walk away and consider their options than acquiesce to a structure or system that they don’t relate to is highly laudable.

I don’t like apologists or the gutless who bend over backwards to make concessions. And you shouldn’t too. We mustn’t fancy the spineless.

I’m pretty sure at some point in your lives you probably wished that you developed the courage to not settle but instead went for the next option, however uncertain the outcome might have been.

It might have been another competing dream job you turned down, another girl you didn’t marry or that asshole you wished you should have just punched in the face.

If you settled, I hope it turned out well.

If you didn’t, continue to aspire.

Vote for the opposition: PAP will not lose

Vote for the opposition: PAP will not lose

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong needs to have more faith in the political system his dad built.

By Fang Shihan

Like it or not, PM Lee has plenty of supporters. Photo: SINGAPORE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES / Creative Commons

IN HIS dialogue with 12 Singaporeans who supposedly represent various sections of the population, PM Lee remarked, as a reply to a question about having a level political playing field, that it cannot be equal.

He also noted: “If you ask the people in Potong Pasir, whom do they want to make the government of Singapore? I think they’ll say they want a PAP government, so too in Hougang. But then you ask them who do they want to vote for, they’ll say Mr Chiam or Mr Low. In other words, they’re counting on someone else to vote for the PAP, so they can get the luxury to vote for Mr Chiam or Mr Low….”

Replying to a question of why opposition wards get bumped down the upgrading queue even though opposition voters are Singaporeans too, he replied that this is to incentivise residents in opposition-held wards to vote for the PAP.

Quite frankly, PM Lee has nothing to worry about. Wearing a pink shirt as a lucky charm all the time is actually quite unnecessary.

While there are plenty of keyboard warriors and TV critics out there who will make a song and dance about voting the opposition (and some have their minds made up, judging by the comments posted online), the PAP is in no serious danger of losing just yet.

Opposition supporters, go ahead. Enjoy your luxury of ticking the box under “Worker’s Party” or “Singapore People’s Party” because MM Lee has put in place a robust system to ensure the continued longevity of his son’s party.

We have the lazy voter to thank. Not just your usual ‘politically apathetic youth’, but also the contented Malay welfare recipients, the uncles and aunties who’ve lived in walkover wards their whole life and couldn’t give two hoots about the new opposition candidates, and the white-collar baby boomers who’re too busy keeping their salary in step with rising COE prices. People who wouldn’t bother reading political information, and consider the elections only marginally more important than the season finale of a soap opera.

But one has to applaud PM Lee for his honesty. He does not resist taking jibes at the opposition and their inability to provide upgrading services, simply by being the opposition. This time, at least, he has more tact and no longer claims to ‘fix’ the opposition, unlike 2006.

Political constructs built with the purpose of keeping the incumbent authoritarian party in power do not disappear overnight. Lazy voters especially, only take the path of least mental resistance, towards the only party they’ve been familiar with their whole lives.

If you’re the biggest bully in the playground, and your father happens to be the contractor who built the playground, there’s no point pretending to be humble.

Each and every fixture in the playground has a purpose, and this is for the good of all who have a stake in it. Non-Constituency Member-of-Parliament schemes? A good transition for opposition politicians to break into ‘real’ politics. Nominated Member-of-Parliament provide more substantive debate than NCMPs?

But of course! That was by design. Using public infrastructure as incentives for the public to vote for the incumbent? Ah-bor-den? Without the PAP, you wouldn’t even have public infrastructure because politicians would be too busy tearing each other apart to take care of you.

The PAP system was built so well that the best losing and nominated opposition MPs can speak but not vote on budget and constitutional matters. This results in a wayang for public entertainment, without the government policies being actually affected. Lacklustre entertainment as it may be, with MPs falling asleep in parliament, this wayang provides fodder for political conversation yet spares the lazy voter from thinking too much, or taking time off from more important matters.

Why? Because it’s only talk, no action. Don’t need to worry.

Unlike our neighbours up north, so frequently cited as an example of freedom gone wrong, Singapore has little chance of becoming an actual democracy even though PM Lee might actually have a chance of losing. Political constructs built with the purpose of keeping the incumbent authoritarian party in power do not disappear overnight. Lazy voters especially, only take the path of least mental resistance, towards the only party they’ve been familiar with their whole lives.

So why fret? Root for the quiet kid building his sandcastle in the corner. He doesn’t have that many friends, and the bully doesn’t need you anyway.

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