Recently, I’ve noticed two distinct camps on social media. Those defending the government voraciously while ravenously attacking the opposition vs. those attacking the government aggressively while enthusiastically defending any form of opposition.

My personal preference is moderation. Regardless of the good that we think the government has done, e.g. nation-building, low crime rate, etc.  (the former camp) or the shortcomings, e.g. overcrowding, cost of living (the latter camp), I prefer not to take camps and instead objectively think and politely engage.

I say this because, as a born-Singaporean, if I question (not even criticise) government policies, I run the risk of being labelled “ungrateful.” If I defend government policy, I run the risk of being labelled a “brainwashed minion”.

In this environment, civil discourse can often become difficult.

I’d prefer to take ideologies and partisan sentiments out of the equation and discuss the issues objectively. Then, whomever is to be taken to task, should be alerted. If the majority are not happy, there is the election process. (OK, I admit GRC makes the democratic process a little challenging).

I’d like to have a civil discourse without the flaming. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a wimp but I’m guessing more people with become engaged in a tempered environment.

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No beating around the bush. No, not in this case. He’s made his stand known plainly and categorically.  Minister Chan Chun Sing is against Ashley Madison (link deliberately not provided) coming to Singapore.  From his Facebook page:

Saw media reports on Ashley Madison, a dating website targeting married spouses, which has plans to launch in Singapore next year.

I do not welcome such a website into Singapore. I’m against any company or website that harms marriage. Promoting infidelity undermines trust and commitment between a husband and wife, which are core to marriage. Our marriage vows make it clear that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. This includes staying faithful to one another.

I’m heartened by the responses of many Singaporeans who also spoke up against such website. This reflects the significance we all place in commitment and fidelity in marriage.

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“I think residents of Hougang are special. I don’t think they’re representative of voters in Singapore as a whole.” – DPM Teo

Lots of well trained and regurgitated soundbites. How many times did he say “I’m my own man” or variations thereof? And the “underdog” card is a nice touch.

I’m having my air-conditioned serviced at home as I write this.

My conversation with the air-con guy disturbed me. He is Chinese, 30, married with a daughter. He is in the Mountbatten SMC. He admits he has not been following the elections.

However, he has decided to vote for the PAP. Why? Because he does not believe his vote is secret and his daughter attends a PAP school and is worried that she will be kicked out if he votes for the opposition. This was a serious, honest conversation. This is terribly, terribly worrying.

Later on in the conversation, he related his conversations with the various people he has met. You see, in his job, he goes from home to home servicing air-cons and being a young man with a pleasant disposition, he strikes up conversations easily. This is what he said to me. He said that almost everyone in private homes have indicated that they will vote for the opposition while almost everyone in HDB will vote for the PAP.

I was surprised. He was surprised I was surprised. He raised two points. HDB dwellers need the PAP to fix stuff. They equate PAP with HDB. Secondly, their lives are already so difficult that if they vote against the PAP (note, not for the opposition but against the PAP), their lives will be made all the more difficult. They too, do not believe their vote is secret. He even gave me an anecdotal example of someone who voted against the PAP and he was denied certain privileges.

This is a scary thing. A very scary thing.

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So, for the first time, I get to vote.

I’m not a PAP man. Neither am I an opposition man.

I’ll vote on the basis of perceived merits and what I feel is best for the constituency, the nation and myself – in that order.

However, I already have a dilemma when looking at the PAP candidates for my GRC.

I like S Iswaran. I think he’s a good man and has substance.

I’m not enamoured by Arthur Fong for reasons I shall not elaborate here.

However, I really, really, really don’t want Foo Mee Har in parliament. I really don’t. Really.

So, if I decide to consider PAP, I’ll have to decide whether my desire to have S Iswaran in parliament outweighs my aversion for having Foo Mee Har in parliament.

GRC system is not good. I’m not sure what I’m voting for anymore. I want to vote for individuals based on merit and not a GRC. Isn’t the nation built on the foundation of meritocracy? What formula do I use to vote?

This announcing of Tin Pei Ling as a MP candidate for the People’s Action Party was a very interesting one for me. I have no opinion about Tin Pei Ling. Mainly because apart from watching a short clip and an abbreviated biography of her, I know nothing about what she is capable of. Absolutely zero.

What was interesting is the displaced aggression heaped on her by a vocal minority.

Perhaps it was wrong to field a candidate so young to such an important position. If that is the case, it is not Pei Ling’s fault but the people who had the power to field her. Direct the ranting accordingly.

She will potentially hold a position in a public office. With it, come the scrutiny, the glare and judgment. Potential MPs know this and will have to take it in their stride as part of their job description. I think Wong Kan Seng learned that when Mas Selamat took an extended holiday and George Yeo when he came to the defence of Jack Neo.

But I’m not saying we should defend her. I’m saying, let her do her thing. If she is not elected, people will forget after a while and move on to the next flavour of the hour. If she is elected, evaluate objectively what she has done.

I’d say that’s the mature position. So, let her be and let’s come back to this a year later.