Elections

I must confess that I know close to nothing about politics in general, and Singapore politics in particular. I don’t read the papers, and the only ministers I can name are those who are my friends’ dads. Even so, it seems impossible to ignore the ongoing elections, and I thought I’d give my two cents. Again, I don’t know the specifics of many things, nor who the candidates are, nor even how the political system works. I know many will say that I hold a very idealistic view of politics and governance, but I’m not sure that’s entirely bad.

It seems to me that there’s this hype about the opposition rising up. I agree that it is a historical event, but I think people are saying that for different reasons. There are those who have always been anti-PAP, for whatever reason. This is an opportunity for their party to contest seriously, and put a dent in the PAP’s power. I understand that, but I think we need to be very careful about this. Disagreement with specific standpoints or policies of the PAP should not necessarily be extended to full-blown anti-PAP sentiments. Just because someone makes a mistake, do you rail against their entire being? I hope not. Similarly, we need to show grace.

Wow, this is really hard to type. I don’t quite have my thoughts together, and they’re pulling in so many different directions. Perhaps I should just do this in incoherent fragments.

Opposition for the sake of opposition is stupid. Apart from being stupid, it does not help the nation. Popular opinion on these things is very strong, and if you don’t know the facts and form your own opinions from them, you will be swayed, and voting like that is irresponsible. The PAP’s been in power for so long, and it’s very easy for us to blame any outstanding issues on them, but that in itself should not be reason to vote opposition. Vote for those who are worthy.

It’s really frustrating to see everything become so polarized. PAP or opposition. Is there really a point in saying that? I think we’ve seen that within each party, there is so much variation. There are candidates who are obviously stronger, and others who seem to be getting pulled along by those stronger individuals. I know we can’t necessarily pick out those individuals, but things could change in the future. We need to start thinking about that. Perhaps in this election, we are still constrained to the way the government is set up, but why settle for that?

A certain level of competition is definitely healthy, but the current levels don’t seem healthy to me at all. If the ultimate goal is a shared goal of good governance and the best for the nation, then why should there be so much competition? Okay yes, everyone wants the best for the nation. They just disagree on what that is and how to achieve it. Fair enough. But then why are we so closed-minded? Are you 100% sure that your way is the best? If so, you need some humility. If not, then why this factionalization? Nobody ever got anywhere on their own. We need to share ideas, be willing to engage in dialogue, be willing to listen to opinions that conflict with our own, be willing to reexamine our own ideas and admit that we are not always right. Unless our government is willing to do that for us, we will only decline from here.

It doesn’t really matter who has the best policies or who speaks the most eloquently or whatever. I want the people in government to be people who listen. Really listen.

What’s the point of supporting either party or marveling at their respective strengths if in the end, they’re still fighting against each other rather than fighting together for the sake of the nation?

I said before that this is a historic event. I agree. Things are obviously changing. But whether the change will be for the better or the worse really depends on us. What are we doing as a nation? What are we doing as citizens to help the government govern us well? We can’t sit back and expect them to do everything, and voting alone is not enough. I will be the first to admit that I am pretty passive about politics (as you can tell), but we need to speak up when we see something going wrong. We need to feedback to the government, and provide that accountability, as far as we can.

Okay that’s all.

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