Iā€™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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Last Sunday, I was invited to be a judge. It turned out to be the best judging gig I’d ever been to. The story of how it began will follow at the end of this post.

Before you read it and watch the video, let me tell you the verdict. It was a draw. They’ll have to have a re-match. The judges will have to re-convene. Shame that šŸ˜‰

The Story (written by Penguin and Crow):

In the beginning, Penguins and Crows lived in peace across the world. Rookeries of Crows resided harmoniously beside colonies of Penguins, sharing Mother Natures bounty. Then, the humans arrived, and began colonising the lands. The humans spread like a disease, consuming all in their path with a furious hunger, leaving behind less and less for the Kingdom of Animals. At first, Penguins and Crows fought as one against human advance. One storytelling of Crows, made crazy by hunger and starved of wisdom invaded a penguins nest, leaving nothing behind save for a tale of gory murder. The Penguins, wild with rage and with only a hunger for revenge, dispatched a parcel to the Crows, who were already mustering, to exact revenge. Since that fateful day, the fair feathered fraternity of Crows and Penguins have never mended.

Emperors led their Penguins to Antarctica, well below the frigid southern seas, leaving only one colony behind as equatorial emissaries. The Crows, led by Ravens, spread themselves across lands temperate and the warm climes of Asia. For thousands of years, neither colony nor murder have caught glimpse of each other. Until…

Two months ago. A Hooded Crow arrived at Penguin Equatorial HQ, with a message. There was to be a showdown. A simple culinary battle on neutral ground would decide the victor. One afternoon of cooking would decide the fate of all Crows and Penguins. An enmity born over food would finish with a meal.