No, it's about you or me or us. Elections are about the candidates looking to possess power. If we are lucky, they want the power to help us do better, not for our sakes but that would be very nice because it would help them return to power the next round; but it is for their sakes.
Philistine MPs and Ministers want power to satisfy their carnal appetites. No shortage of such in Africa.Their highly educated and cultured equals have different appetites ranging from simple acquisition wealth and power to bolstering their egos to history judgement of them. It is not about us. They are using us, and we better learn to use them too and don't be naive to think that they will teach us how. Even if they would, they would be no different from the banks and brokers teaching us to invest our money right? Conflict of interest! We need to help ourselves here. May be some NGOs would chip in. Perhaps some religious organizations even, but that is dangerous.
If it were about us, there would never be a need or occasion for the PM to say sorry. At the same time, the Opposition would not be coming up with these populist and obviously mostly unachievable manifestos. All of them are dishonest. It is only a matter of degree. I say this with respect to morality rather than breaking the law.
Today the PAP is relatively more honest. You can tell from the way they had crafted their manifesto. They are clueless of how the challenges facing us will appear, combine and recreate themselves as various threats and opportunities to us. So they are not committing the details. The fact that none from the Opposition had pointed out this defect is because they are even more clueless. You need to explain the inchoate external forces pressing on Singapore, but they are not up to it. Therefore this round I am completely sure there isn't a Dr. Goh quality candidate among them. Not even in Chen Show Mao.
We need government to be more and more transparent because politicians cannot be trusted with too much. Here the Americans got it right but they fumble badly thereafter and do not enjoy good governance. Our government may be acceptably trustworthy until the last few years, but sometime tomorrow they wouldn't be. We wouldn't know when that would happen. There would not be an early warning to alert us about that terrible turn. Some of us will catch it first but there would be too few of us to matter. To mitigate this risk, we need government to keep growing their transparency. Similarly investors appreciate companies which disclose more too. Such companies and governments will enjoy a handsome premium from investors and traders. We must take Singapore in that direction.
None of the political parties competing for our votes have offered to grow and run a more transparent government. The opposition is eager to "help" the other side reveal more but I am sure they are not prepared to be transparent themselves. Of course, their longer term objective is to take over and is trying to seduce voters to help them. They have just become more sophisticated about it and I hope voters are also matching them.
Everyone is using everyone. George Yeo is right about the Worker's Party team seducing Aljunied voters to take over his ward, but he has obviously found in unnecessary to share that he is tarred by the same brush. It is of utmost importance that voters must also recognize that we are in essence no different. They make use of us, we make use of them. We increase our leverage, and protect our interests better if we are able to force the government to be more transparent. If not, you will create more opportunities for the PM to say sorry in future, and I am sure you do not want to forgive a PM for rounds after rounds of misery because he is always prepared to apologize. He can't helped it you know. It's a small price to pay to hold on to power.
Therefore if I were a voter in Aljunied GRC, this round I would still vote the PAP. Lee Kuan Yew and his comrades risked their lives to take us here. Fortunately as Dr. Goh admitted they didn't know the foolish risks they were running. It was grave enough to scare any of them off had they been less naive. No harm and all upside if voters make the Workers' Party wait for the next round and see if they can get even better to take Aljunied GRC. If for any reason they fizzle out, then we are lucky they didn't get in this round. What is important to us isn't the PAP or the WP. As we invest in our own education, travel widely, stay nimble and alert, from our population we will produce new PAPs, WPs whatever if we deserve to survive and thrive as a small and vulnerable city state. The hard fact of life is that politicians are always just making use of us to get power. If it weren't so, would history have produced this parliamentary system? We would still be living under benign, people loving monarchs. No, it was their tyranny that destroyed them. It was their despotic ways that created the Magna Carta. The CCP in China, watch out. History is not on your side.
Without free elections, I believe the PAP government would be like the CCP in China. I am sure we all do not want that. A curious system that is good for the country and elite but bad for the people. We had toyed with just a little of that for the last few years. It was very unpleasant.
Never love your government especially when they are so happy to be your highly paid servants. Always be vigilant that they are working and delivering on their promises through increasing transparency. If they go join the private sector, good shareholders would hold them to account the same way. Let's be good and active "shareholders" because we can't sell this stock for another.
Insert, May 6: Polling day is tomorrow. I imagine I would feel even more torn now if I were an Aljunied resident, and angry if I had been hived off to AMK. What should I do? When all the analysis is done, vote according to your conscience. Analysis has helped you count the cost of each option but life cannot be lived without a clear conscience which most politicians do not have or more likely self deceived into thinking they do. I recalled a young queen once called to serve her people in a time of genocidal danger. Analysis would have led her to play it safe but conscience told her to remark to her uncle, "If I perish, I perish". She made the right choice. Her name: Esther or Hadassah. And that was a truly beautiful woman.
Notes: Goujian didn't know he would be a tyrant after he had overcome Fuchai. Fan Li knew and left in good time. How many of us really know ourselves? So it is the same with these politicians. Some thought they were completely noble but I guessed they have not given themselves more time with the religious writings and great literature. Human nature just isn't like that.....want to debate this, we can go on forever.