Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Safer In The Matrix

When General Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st Airborne defending the besieged town of Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge, was told of the Nazi demand to surrender, McAuliffe responded with the famous retort and a morale booster to his troops: "Nuts!" Like the puzzled Germans, MM Lee must be trying to comprehend how Low Thia Khiang managed to respond to his 2006 taunt to move out of Hougang SMC and secure a GRC.

Except for that spearhead victory, and Low's protege's impressive debut at Hougang, Singaporeans may not have much else to celeberate. True, the poor showings at Goh Chok Tong's Marine Parade GRC (56.6%) and Wong Kan Seng's Bishan-Toa Payoh (56.9%) may be a harbinger of the same fate at Aljunied at the next election. Bottom line, the incumbents still garnered 60.1 % of the votes.

One of the hot button issues in this election, resonant in all the opposition camps' rallies, was the cost of public housing. Workers’ Party candidate Lee Li Lian, who contested the Punggol East SMC, took the fight to the hated National Development Minister thus, "Dear Mr Mah Bow Tan, I am sure many Singaporeans here tonight would agree with me that the length of our mortgage loan is an issue. Mr Mah, I am just curious... do you want your own child to take 30, 40 or even 50 years to repay his or her own housing loan? And I am sorry Mr Mah, I forgot you actually do not have that issue, you have the money to pay for private housing, unlike us."

But when Mah counter attacked by claiming the Workers' Party's proposal to lower land prices for HDB flats would devalue the assets of 1 million HDB home owners, he struck at the Achilles heel and hit a raw nerve. In this toxic policy of the private sector linked HDB pricing, Mah is like the drug peddler who gives free shots to get one hooked. Fearful of the pangs of withdrawal, the addicted will refuse the horrors of the cold turkey cure. Suddenly, the status quo appears more desirable than the alternative.

This year's voter turnout at 93.06% represents the lowest in more than two decades - it was 94.04 % in 2006, and 95.91% in 1991. Lina Chiam lost Potong Pasir by 114 votes (0.36%), and Charles Chong barely made it with 382 votes (2%) in Joo Chiat where the turnout was only 87.7%. There could be a myriad of reasons, including the mysterious failure of the Elections Department to send out thousands of ballot cards and vague cut-off dates to qualify overseas voters. But the fear of impending doom looms large. Never mind if the international commodity prices have already crashed, and oil price is starting to head south. And if the property bubble bursts in 2012 as predicted by some pundits, some Singaporeans would rather let nature take its course than be associated with it through a vote for the opposition's salvation plans. They seem to prefer the seduction of Mah's blue pill, instead of a rude awakening.


  1. It's called Stockholm Syndrome in psychological terms, where the victim feels indebtedness to his abuser or the one taking him or her hostage. I was feeling hopeful for a really short while, but constantly had to tame my optimism with the fact that there are a lot of sentiments pertaining to fear (especially about the votes being tracked, just like civil servants who are fed that indirectly or directly), indifference and apathy. Perhaps, the ones who cannot bear it like me have to learn to plot my path out of this land.

  2. Once out of SIN,
    one is out of disappointment,
    sadness and woes.

  3. I think it's more complex than that. There are equal challenges to be met overseas out of Singapore, even if one does not like the way things are run in terms of politics. But then, it really depends on whether a person likes the "flavour of the grass" overseas, not whether "the grass is greener on the other side". We cannot force other people to make informed choices, although we can present them with the options while we still can. I hoped for change, and still pray for it, but I know that it is often an uphill battle here, and I am especially in admiration and respect of the ones from the opposition who campaigned and canvassed even knowing the limited resources they had. I hope that they will continue to fight for the hearts of Singaporeans, and that one day, Singaporeans will see the true colours and the light for what it is. Till then, we have to either learn to live with what we have here, and if not, leave the country for elsewhere. It is very sad but very true too.

  4. The 13% of eligible voters in Joo Chiat that who didn't vote may be explained by the number of very elderly folks in the constituency and perhaps also (and this is a nation-wide factor) people who are imprisoned cannot vote. I think that per capita, Singapore has one of the highest prison populations in the world. Anyone care to verify? For Potong Pasir and Joo Chiat, the votes of people in prison would probably have been crucial to swing it to the WP and SPP. Why can't such incarcerated citizens vote? It would be a simple matter to station a group from the Elections Department in Changi Prison on Polling Day.

  5. @12:34,

    Been living in Oz for a few years. Can't say I regretted making the move. The thing to remember is, when one moves out of Singapore, one is not suppose to expect the new place to be like Singapore. It's the mindset. If you can condition yourself to adapt, you will survive and even thrive. For every one Singaporean who complain about tougher life and regretting for leaving Singapore, there are many who are very happy for making the decision. Let's just put it this way, migrating in not everyone's cup of tea.

    Back to the topic of election result. I'm really happy WP managed to take down a GRC. It's a pity there were a few other close calls. Singapore badly needed alternative voices and I think the citizens are mature enough, in the political sense, to exercise their citizenship rights responsibly. It is time for PAP to stop painting people who support alternative parties as anti-government and anti-Singapore. Well, they can continue to do that and further alienate the population. If they have learnt nothing from this election result then there will be bitter medicine to take in 5 years time.

    I must say Singaporeans have made political progress in the last 5 years despite the weekend result. This could be due to changing demographics, with the younger generation being less beholden to the legends of yore, or heightened political awareness due to increasing hardship one has to endure in this so-called first world country in reent years. This doesn't detract from the fact that some in the PAP are still stuck in the old school mindset treating their more than worthy opponents with contempt.

  6. The cut-off date for registering for overseas voters was not 'vague'. If those complaining about being cut off had looked at the Elections Department website, it said right there that registration closes when the writ of election is issued. It is issued on the same day that the ruling party calls for elections. Of course, only PAP insiders had any clue as to when this would be. For this reason, the Elections Department cannot state when that is, even though they can tell you that that is the deadline. If these overseas Singaporeans had read the Elections Department website, they would have realised that they should have registered ASAP since the PAP could have called for an election anytime in the last year or so.

  7. Click on the link to find out how votes are considered unacceptable

  8. I have just came to know that our Elections Commission will accept your valid vote for PAP even if you write "Fuck you, PAP" in the box allocated for PAP.

    Apparently, they are not shameless to take it as a compliment. Why don't they as might as well say that anything you mark or write in the allocated box is considered just as acceptable.
    And next time anyone can "Fuck you" if they so choose to.

  9. I love singapore...

    And i am willing to fight & die for Singapore and her people...

    But NOT for the PAPigs and its cronies... a number of others who has make the necessary physical plans for this...i too will be making my way out of singapore...

    Singapore and its people will always be in my heart till the end of days.


    But never the self centred papigs and its low life self serving cronies : (

  10. Hi all, I did a commemorative WP video for Aljunied here