Thursday, September 01, 2011

Why I am not a “PAP die hard”

Our recent presidential election (PE) had as much drama as any TV addict could hope for: four pre-qualified candidates (when all previous PEs after 1993 failed to produce even two!) and a recount that created a nation of temporary insomniacs.

Now it’s all over and the Net is awash with post-hoc analyses about why who got how many votes and so on. Much of it, however, lacks any real depth. (The only exception, perhaps, comes from Yawning Bread).

You see, I voted for TT; by some accounts, I am now labelled – along with 35% of my fellow voters – as a “PAP die-hard.”

I detest that label. I am not a PAP die-hard and had in fact voted opposition during the GE.

It was in fact a process of elimination.

First, as the president is an apolitical position, I tried to view each individual as such.

I could not in good conscience not vote for TKL because he appeared to be very much out of his depth. During the exchanges/debates, he was clearly outclassed by the other three candidates. He tried to be like a favourite uncle, but I was voting for a president, not an uncle.

I saw TJS as being divisive; sure, he had grand plans and promises, but the issues he raised are meant for Parliament. Given the role of the president as defined by the Constitution, I felt that there was a fundamental misfit between the person and the post.

I remained undecided between TT and TCB until polling day itself.

I did not buy TT’s claim that we need him as president because of the impending financial crisis. After all, in a fire, our best fire fighters should ideally be in the SCDF, not the Istana. Hence, he should have stayed in GIC. I also did not feel that he (or MINDEF) had adequately addressed the brouhaha over Dr Patrick Tan’s NS obligations.

TCB’s plan to boot the Prime Minister out of the Istana did not make sense to me. I did not see it as congruent with his claim that he would unify Singaporeans; after all, how can one unify a country if he feels he cannot stay and work in the same compound (and a very large one at that) as the Prime Minister?

My one vote was precious to me. I did my due diligence and thought over my decision carefully. I believe that many other voters likewise did not take their decision lightly. Those who are too quick to label voters as “die hard” fans (of either the PAP or anyone else) are guilty of shallow reasoning.


li345feng said...

All points are good, valid and reasnable.
But why you simply ignore the aspect of "safeguarding national reaserves and CPF Funds" that all these money was accumulated by generations of Singapore. To have "clearer picture" (not full picture that some netizens envision) of the money is important. What is your stand for this matter? Will you change your mind after take this into consideration? And you may be too young to think that this is really immaterial?

Anonymous said...

In the US even a peanut farmer can be elected President. No, not here with our many self-proclaimed sophisticated and savvy voters who could see gold even when it gleams before their eyes.

To be sure, it wasn't entirely their fault, the crafty ruling party's complete command of the mass media and manipulation of compliant groups such as the unions, ethnic organizations etc. had a lot to do with it too.

The result: Singaporeans ended up with precisely the EP that the vast majority don't want.

Would we do better the next time? Not likely until we learn to distinguish the real rat catchers from the rat breeders. Until we learn not to be blinded by the trees and thus missing the wood.

sai kor said...

IMO we do not require a president with financial expertise to safeguard our national reserves. The government's task is to seek the president's concurrence if they feel that it is necessary to unlock the reserves and the president simply holds the second key. What we need is someone who able to understand the depth of the economic situation as well as the pain which Singaporean families are experiencing; he then has to decide if the situation is sufficiently dire to require the unlocking of these reserves.

I think this requires someone intelligent, but equally important, empathetic. President Nathan, who unlocked the reserves in the government's response to the 2008/2009 crisis, does not appear to have had significant experience in the financial or economic arenas. But it did not stop him from carrying out this role of the president.

Electing someone in whom the majority do not want. That is one possibility from the winner takes all voting system. The alternative is a two-round system in the PE, where TCB and TT would go to head-to-head in the second round after the top two contenders have another chance.

Anonymous said...

You just give reasons why not to, but you didn't give reason why you should. But then again 2 keys doesn't work if one person or party is holding it. Although they keep saying president is apolitical, does it mean the president is apolitical or its the presumption of it being apolitical or the person who is holding the office of the president is apolitical. Whatever office or name or organisation, whatever the rules or constitution says it is, at the end of the day how that office or organisation is run is very much dependent on the person. The constitution or rules are set by the players themselves and upgraded all the time, whoever is in power can change it at will to fit their needs, or they can change it to fit the need of the people. Personally, TT has evaded too many questions, seldom answering the questions directly, and often give irrelevant events as proof, as if he can see into the future 20 yrs later terrorist from religious group would be problematic. If he really can, shouldn't he help resolve the conflict, then to help support or simply turn a blind eye, while the government went on a witch hunt? There are too many questions left unanswered which in my opinion shows he has alot of skeletons in the cupboard, and definitely not make a outstanding person least a $4mln president.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the PM office is not located in Istana. Please get your facts right!

Anonymous said...

The PM's office is indeed at the Istana.

TCB raised a valid point to separate the location of offices of president and PM.

Allow me to cite an example, currently arrangement in Singapore is like PM of Britain David Cameron sharing the same office as the Queen at Buckingham Palace instead of 10 Downing Street.