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Much Ado About Optimism April 28, 2011

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
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The elections are finally here and this time there appears to be much optimism online about the opposition’s chances. A quick view of the opposition line up shows us that, for perhaps the first time in a long while, the opposition is, in theory, able to go toe to toe against PAP.

Unfortunately, one must be wary of over-optimism. Indeed, it is highly likely that the PAP will have a clean sweep this election, as reported here. The opposition is playing an extreme high risk game – by vacating their seats, Low and Chiam have left Hougang and Potong Pasir vulnerable to the respective PAP candidates. Furthermore, while the WP team in Aljunied is extremely formidable, the PAP team in Aljunied is equally formidable. Also, in the previous elections, the WP lost Aljunied by 7%. While this seems insignificant in terms of %, this possibly translates to 1000+ votes and it is unclear if Low Thia Kiang’s formidable persona is able to cause a shift in the ground. This is ignoring the fact of gerrymandering and the usual fear mongering present.

Therefore, the possibility of a freak election is a real one; namely, the PAP wins all seats and the opposition is left with 9 toothless NCMPs in Parliament. The notion that the ground appears less sweet is problematic because firstly, to me at least, it appears that the ground has always been less sweet in every other election, yet the PAP still took the ground. Secondly, even if people are angry, it may not necessarily translate into votes for the opposition. Of course, a factor in the opposition favour is that this appears to be their strongest lineup ever; and if one looks to the new PAP candidates, there is indeed a discernible difference in standards.
Hence, I look forward to May 7 with great anticipation and not a little trepidation for this is the opposition’s gamble; this is akin to Napoleon’s gamble at Waterloo, to Zhuge Liang or Jiang Wei’s attempt to restore the House of Han. Regardless of the result though, I salute the bravery of each and every member of the opposition for standing up to be counted. Though you may not win this battle (though i fervently hope it is otherwise), you all are truly worthy of respect for daring to stand up and be counted. It truly is a tragedy of our times that people with such conviction are often derided or dismissed by those that ought to know better.

Having said that, I must say that I hold the old guard and the SM and some other members of the PAP in high esteem. But as Mr Wang so astutely notes, the new generation of PAP is not the same as the old PAP. While there are undoubtedly good people serving the PAP now (I personally feel that Mr George Yeo is one of them, and it is unfortunate that he has been put in a hotseat), not everyone is of the same calibre. In light of this, one hopes that when casting one’s vote, one would be able to look at the issue through less tinted lenses and consider carefully whether the PAP’s future direction is the right one. After all, its not about the past, but about the future of us all.