Singapore Election 2011 – People Bite Back

Before I go any further with this post, let me first state that I’m neutral in stand to all contesting parties in this election. My vote is for Singapore to be constantly, positively progressive to ensure our survival because we are a very small country with not much land and no natural resources. All we have are Singaporeans. And it’s a pity to see us split because of differences in ruling party preference.

It doesn’t matter if the party I voted won or lost. Whoever wins, I pray he/she/they will serve with commitment and a sincerity towards the community’s best interest. One colour lacks variety. Too many colours lacks unity. The ideal, often difficult and intangible, is to achieve a balance in the political palatte. To have that optimal tone where state interest is in harmony with the aspirations of its people.

Let me also state that I have very little interest in politics until this election so I don’t have a wealth of background and knowledge to allow me to make any qualified judgement. I’m not seeking to be a political analyst or an expert, but to truly have my grounds to stand on when I make a decision or argument instead of being convinced by peer opinions or a focus on the hot button issues brought up by candidates. I prefer not to treat a symptom without first having an idea of all the contributing ailments.

The extent of politics is far and wide with many inter-connected elements to consider before a legislation or policy is passed. And Singapore has the political backbone built vertebra by vertebra on Wall Street, HSI, FTSE, NASDAQ, etc. Then again, which country isn’t? So the challenge is always balancing macro global economic demands with the interests of the people who makes up a micro national economy.

In a way, countries are run like businesses. It is a cold analogy and some people detest this idea. I don’t like it either, but we are in the age of a global marketplace. If it is a market, trading takes place. Which business will prosper or fail will depend on the quality of products and services, supply and demand. In Singapore, our product is the people. Our services is by the people. We supply people. We demand on our people.

So the bosses must know how to develop, grow and take care of each and every single person since so much is being ask of us. If the boss/es did a good job in meeting our needs, we’ll follow he/she/them. If not, we choose another boss/es by joining a new company (party) or migrate. I think that’s what happened during this election. The ’employees’ want the higher powers to come out of their white office to start listening.

An unprecendented 14 out of 15 constituencies were opened for contest this election round. If I remember well, most of the time, only a few constituencies had an opposition party contesting against the ruling party in the past elections.

If you’re unfamiliar with the political system of Singapore, no worries. I have no idea too. But now I do. Somewhat.

A law, legislation or policy is passed through after a debate in Parliament. The Parliament is made up of 87 leaders representing 14 constituencies of Singapore. A constituency is a zone in the country, so basically Singapore is like a pizza divided into 14 slices. On the pizza, there could be one piece of salami (Single Member Constituency – SMC) or 4 – 6 pieces of salamis (Group Representation Constituency – GRC). And the salami/s fight to represent the flavour of a slice.

Currently, most of what Singaporeans have on each slice is a salami or salamis (People’s Action Party – PAP). There’s no choice and the salami/s dictated the taste of the whole pizza. A monopoly undermines diversity and in most cases, isn’t healthy. So the customer wants more variety and was given 6 other choices to choose from :

– Calamari Ring (Singapore People’s Party – SPP)
– Onion Rings (Singapore Democratic Alliance – SDA)
– Ripe Tomato (Workers’ Party – WP)
– Red Capsicum (National Solidarity Party – NSP)
– Orange Capsicum (Reform Party – RP), and
– White Cheese (Singapore Democratic Party – SDP)

Look at their party logos here and that’s how they are associated with the pizza toppings. The Wiki article also provided a comprehensive explanation why Singapore Election 2011 was momentous to my home nation and the results. (Please excuse the use of pizza rather than something with a more local flavour like bak chor mee (minced pork noodle) as I came back from a 14-day European trip just 2 days before voting.)

Out of 87 seats, the People’s Action Party won 81 while the Workers’ Party won 6 seats. The hype wasn’t so much on how many seats who took but the political vibrancy and will that Singaporeans are capable of exhibiting. A Singaporean who isn’t politically aware is becoming extinct. I for one have been awakened and no longer a National Day Singaporean. And I believe it is even more so for the younger generation.

While I don’t take sides, I do have issues with inflation and the lightning rise in the standard of living (food, transportation, healthcare, etc), public housing’s high-rise prices, more transparency in political conduct, and the increment of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 10%. At this age when I’m planning for retirement, I worry there may not be one in sight with annual wage increments just breaking even or below inflation rate.

Granted that marginal wage increment could be a company-centric practise but the government can help to ensure that wage policies are more transparent and constantly offer resources for the working community of all levels to upgrade so as to move on to a better pay bracket. Living in Singapore is becoming a heavy load on our shoulders. But comparing to some neighbouring countries, we still have many blessings to count.

This election, Singaporeans roared. I hope the PAP who continue to win a majority of the parliamentary seats really heard us this time and keep to their repeated promise by various party members to “work harder” in the next 5 years to serve the people. And not just empty promises.

While the photos here were taken during the gathering for Workers’ Party supporters at Hougang Stadium, I would like to emphasize that this doesn’t constitute support or non-support. The contesting parties in my constituency was NSP’s Ken Sun and PAP’s Heng Chee How so I really have no business being here. I went simply to be a part of this unique Singapore experience and the photo opportunities that night.

It didn’t matter which party we supported. It’s just heartening to know that so many Singaporeans are for Singapore by the political enthusiasm showed through their participation in this election nationwide.

I’m not pro or against anybody. Like all, I am for Singapore… For a democratic society based on justice and equality that is built by one united people regardless of race, language or religion to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our home.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jassy
    May 08, 2011 @ 20:02:06

    i hope singapore will open its door to foreigners like me who want to work there 🙂


    • Darren Ng
      May 08, 2011 @ 23:50:35

      actually, our doors are very very open! in fact, one of the hot button issues was that we had an immigration policy revision not too long ago and suddenly, within the span of s few short years, our population shot up from 4 mil to 5.5 mil. i’m not sure about the specific ration, but it’s something like 1.35 is foreigner for every 4 Singaporean.

      i have no qualms about having foreigners here since the original population of Singapore were all immigrants to begin with that’s why I didn’t state this hotly debated issue in my blog.


  2. jassy
    May 09, 2011 @ 22:02:30

    if only you could expand your land (in a peaceful manner)…hehe…then you can accomodate more people 🙂


  3. cs1im
    May 12, 2011 @ 10:52:50

    Like the ‘pizza’ analogy and the wonderful b/w photos. Like most of us we are just rooting for a better Singapore. Singaporeans have risen and are now planting a very firm signal to the elected to work harder, perform better and keep a heart for the underprivileged, not just the GDP scoreboard.


    • Darren Ng
      May 12, 2011 @ 15:34:11

      thanks… :o) the merlion has awakened to bite the white. it’s a really loud wake-up call for govt to listen and citizens to start getting involved and speak up. i think Singapore is up for some exciting times ahead politically… :o)


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