Dear residents of Punggol East (Or actually Sengkang East),
By now, you’ve read enough and heard enough from the parties and online commenters on whom you should vote for. Perhaps you’ve made up your mind. Perhaps you are still deciding.
Please allow me to share my last word on this:
1) What Do You Want?
Voting for a political party is pretty much like finding a partner to be in a relationship with – You need to know what you want. If you do not know what you want, you are only going to find a partner, whom you are willing to cruise along with. But when times are bad, this is when you will start blaming your partner for being untrue to you, when you finally see the person for he or she is. But in the first place, you had been the one who was willing to choose a partner without knowing what you want. You had gone with the person whom you think will love you enough. But that’s not enough. Because is he or she what you truly want?
Voting for a political party is similar. You need to know what you want. Do you want a life which is financially focused and where the very best continue to rise, while some get left behind? Or are you someone who looks out for the person next to you, and want to help others along to achieve their full potential?
We’ve learnt to select the party which we think will do things that are good for us. But without really understanding what we want and what our needs are, we will not truly know which party will represent our ideals best. So, you’ve got to understand what you want and see if the values of the party align to your values, and not whether your values align to theirs.
The starting point must be you.
2) Ensuring Checks and Balances
In a country with responsible governance, the estates of the country will stand apart from one another and act independently, so that they can provide checks and balances on one another. So, in Singapore, optimally, the government, president, economy, judiciary and military are able to act independently, so that our interests are safeguarded by the estates keeping one another on their toes, to ensure there is accountability to Singaporeans.
However, as of now, the PAP government owns the economy, through owning Singapore’s richest companies, by way of Temasek Holdings. The president is endorsed and supported by the government. This president makes the decision as to who is appointed to the judiciary and military. In effect, all the estates of governance in Singapore are owned by PAP. Is this in the best interest of Singapore?
The only way that we can truly provide checks on the government is to ensure that we can bring balance into parliament, by electing representatives from different parties to speak for us, and we need to elect enough representatives who have enough weight to counter the PAP-led government, so that the voices of the rest of us can be heard.
Does this mean the PAP government is not good? No, it does not mean that. It only means that PAP can only represent the voices of some Singaporeans, but not all. And if the rest of us want to be heard, we need to put people in parliament who will speak for us.
Some of you might then think, let’s vote RP and SDA then. Here, I would remind you that it is important that we use our vote wisely. We need to know which party has a realistic chance of winning the Punggol East by-election. As of now, it is PAP and WP. RP and SDA will not garner enough votes to win the by-election. They simply do not have enough clout, at this point. Voting for them will mean wasting your vote. And this is not a criticism of them, this is simply a case of practicality, and exercising your vote based on informed calculations.
If you intend to vote for a alternative voice who will speak up for you, then you need to vote decisively for WP.
If you would vote for PAP, then the matter is more or less settled for you.
3) What is the Future of Singapore that You Envision?
Finally, what future would you hope for Singapore, and for your children, and their children?
Is it one where there is continuous competition and stress, where we’ve learnt to fight for ourselves and leave others to fend for themselves? Is it one where our elderly continue to work into their old age, because they do not have enough money and need to work just to feed themselves, even in their old age? Is it one where we discriminate against others, because of the competition we face, and thus we’ve learnt to push others out of our way?
Or is it one where policies are enacted, to reduce the stress levels in Singapore, where our elderly are able to be protected because they’ve contributed so much to Singapore, that we need to afford them a life that is respectable and comfortable for them? Is it a life where we feel is comfortable enough where we are willing to raise children, because they will be able to explore and find themselves in, at their own pace?
What is the future that you hope Singapore will take? This will determine which party you should vote for.
The PAP government has been a good government. And it continues to grow Singapore economically.
But can PAP still represent all our voices? We know it cannot. We know that if you are well off, you continue to benefit. If you are well off, you will have more ways to rise. We know that the system is no longer fair.
Is it a fault of PAP? Not completely. PAP has brought in people who align with their thinking and thus they’ve effectively moulded themselves into a party which is aligned to wealth generation, as their governing principles.
But they’ve began to lose touch with some other Singaporeans. Is it their fault? Well, everyone has preferences and their unique beliefs. What it just means is that they continue to be relevant, but only to a group of Singaporeans.
For the rest of us who know what we want, and do not align ourselves to the vision of PAP anymore, we need to put another party in so that there is also someone else who will speak for us.
Also, if we vote decisively along what we believe in, then the message will be soundly and roundly drummed into PAP, where they will perhaps take the rest of us Singaporeans seriously again. If they don’t, then we need to prepare ourselves to vote decisively for change in the general election of 2016.
So, Singaporeans, it’s not about being pro- or anti- any party. Singapore belongs to all of us, and all of us have a stake in it, to want to make it work together for us. All of us want to help sculpt a life for Singapore and ourselves which we can be proud of and be happy with.
It’s about being pro-Singapore. I want the best for our country and for us to all be responsible stakeholders in Singapore, who will use our power wisely, to remake a Singapore into what we truly want and can truly be proud of, where we once again feel the joy in the air and are able to live with passion, fairness and acceptance for one another.
On Saturday 26 January 2013, please use your vote wisely. Please vote decisively. Know what you want and vote for the party which will affirm your beliefs and needs.
For a Singapore that all of us own and can create together in.