Out with the old, in with the new

29May06

The elections that recently passed saw an unexpected surge of interest from us 'apathetic' youths. Now that everything's died down, perhaps it's a good time for the government to rethink its strategy and see what exactly went wrong. Did they adopt too hard-line an approach? Should SM Goh have kept his nose out of Potong Pasir? Was victimising Gomez really the right thing to have done?

The answer, is no, no and no. In my opinion, the problem lay not with the election strategy, but with a strange mindset that has pervaded the youth of today and caught on like wildfire. Strangely enough, this problem only surfaces with the 'intellectual' segment of the population.

I'm talking about the 'I want to live in a democracy' people.

Got democracy?

There's nothing inherently wrong with their argument. Democracy is a political system that means, literally, rule by the people. Our political system, being dominated by one party, is thus arguably unrepresentative of the population. And having studied Constitutional and Public Law, I realise that there are many aspects about the government that ought to be changed, such as the GRC system, Electoral Boundary Review Committee etc. When I introduce myself to the Brits here as a Singaporean, I can practically see their eyes widen and the word 'dictatorship' float to their lips (ok, actually what they inevitably talk about is chewing gum)

However, what irks me is people wanting an opposition purely for the sake of having an opposition.

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Isn't that slightly irrational? Doesn't it kind of defeat the original purpose of having some sort of opposition in parliament? And more importantly, do you really want someone like this around with a say in government policies?

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I'm not saying the government as it stands is perfect – I mean, after the brouhaha leading up to elections, what do we have to show for it? Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong, people who've been in Parliament but have nothing to show for it. Criticise the NMP system all you want, but one Walter Woon or Indranee Rajah is worth ten Chiams.

The Worker's Party did field credible candidates this time round, and though they came close in certain constituencies they were ultimately defeated. Isn't that what a democracy is about? Representative democracy is about people selecting representatives to a governing body or assembly, and we did it through our votes. Seriously, you can't pretend to be an intellectual yet at the same time insist that fear grips you when you vote because of the pervasive shadow of the PAP.

I foresee the next election (whenever that will be) marking the turn of the tide, with this election being a precursor to change. The Worker's Party will come back stronger, with even more qualified candidates, and people who actually remember to file their applications. Till then however, Lau Lee and his gang still have my vote.

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3 Responses to “Out with the old, in with the new”

  1. 1 jj

    What you said maybe true, but consider this: If there was any other country in the world that had a former power-monger create a new govermental post for himself AFTER his retirement from the previous power-monger post and do it TWICE, wouldn’t there be murmurings of the C (ends with tion) word? Not even China does that for crying out loud. Perhaps it is time for a changing of the guard. For real this time. Not just in name.

  2. Point taken, but you can’t really think that Singapore is worse than China right? I mean, their symbol of democracy is the guy standing in front of a convoy of tanks in Tiananmen Square, ours is Chee Soon Juan going on a hunger strike before sneaking glucose.

  3. 3 jj

    No, I’m not saying that it’s worse, but it’s food for thought the next time you are tempted to say Lau Lee has your vote.


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