|Dark Clouds Predicted On Horizon|
Hence the switch to the "dark clouds" strategy. No less than 5 ministers, including PM Lee and DPM Teo Chee Hean, are suddenly portending a future of political and economic upheavals. Not too long ago, George Yeo dismissed the Middle East turmoil, smug with his own assessment that "it is less likely that the changes in these countries will be disruptive." Suddenly, Teo Chee Hean is scared of his own shadow, "All these could impact our growth, stability and security." Problems with the radioactive fallout in Japan, debt headache in Europe, government finances in the US, are miraculously washed ashore our little island. They are now yapping away like Chicken Little, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
Half a century of research has shown that fear is one of the most politically powerful emotions a candidate can tap, especially when the fears have a basis in reality, e.g. Mas Selamat embarrasses Wong Kan Seng again and does a reprise of the toilet break to really blow up something spectacular. The politicians who have exploited voters' fears and anxieties figure they can grab attention in a way that other appeals, such as those to experience, competence, vision or even anger do not. Balakrishnan's attempt to toy with the fundamentalist and homophobic hot buttons fizzled out in a hurry.
"In politics, the emotions that really sway voters are hate, hope and fear or anxiety," says political psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University, author of "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation." "But the skillful use of fear is unmatched in leading to enthusiasm for one candidate and causing voters to turn away from another."
Stay the course, stand by the incumbents, we will steer you clear of the hidden dangers as before, is the new mantra of the ruling party. The hiccup here is that when Charlie Rose asked Lee Hsien Loong why Singapore was not sunk by the 2008 crisis, Lee said, "“I think firstly we were lucky. The world picked up better than we expected. I think the American team, Paulson and Bernanke, Geithner did a good job and we are beneficiaries." See, nothing to do with skill, knowledge or experience, it was pure dumb luck.