Who’s afraid of the 24 hours?
Anyone who belittles the p65 people should see Fredric Fanthome’s defense of the 24 hours of political silence prior to Election Day:
One argument [against the rule] being touted is that the fact that political broadcasts and news reports are allowed is unfair as the media is “in the hands of the government”. Well, if we assume that is the case, then by the same measure, the population will disregard anything the media puts out in that period, and moreover, it would actually be incensed by any blatant misuse of the media – and hence vote against the PAP rather than for it.
An excellent piece of rhetoric that simply works in Singapore. Because too many Singaporeans are not as the above argument implies they are.
I have never seen anyone else take every Singaporean (or every person of any other nationality for that matter) to be so sophisticated that s/he is able to distill subtle political messages from seemingly innocuous news coverage, and attribute it to governmental control over the media, and hence vote against the PAP. (Hey, is that last bit not a tad irrational?) If Singaporeans were so sophisticated, Fanthome should not even be attempting such a defense. And he should be able to come up with a more sophisticated defense. If Singaporeans are so sophisticated, they would also be discerning during the nine or more days of rallying by various political parties and would not need a day to cool down and think rationally, so maybe the new rule should be ditched.
But perhaps the 24 hours does not matter. Or it need not. It is not the 24 hours of virtual silence from political parties, but what the people have been told to do that matters.
As a general observation, whenever the PAP appeals to rationality, it is merely telling people to think silly. It is telling people not to be political. For the PAP can only thrive when Singaporeans are completely politicized by having their political nature suppressed. Be rational: forget about all those little inconveniences of your existence and compromise in the PAP’s favor for you know not what might befall you if the PAP does not have your favor. If you fail to persuade yourself to generate reluctant complicity with the PAP, Dr-acula Chee might appear at midnight and suck 7% of your blood and murder your domestic worker because she is not local, the ghost of Jeyaretnam might pay you a minimum wage and cause you to lose your job. Low Thia Kiang might defile your potential saviors, and Chiam See Tong devalue your expensive HDB flat. Heaven’s wrath will send floods to your doorstep and drown your car together with your COE. (Freak floods for freak election results, anyone?)
Are we being told to be rational or being told to fear? One cheap tactic that always works in horror films: get the audience to scare themselves; it is the best solution when the filmmaker only has puerile antics that will not really scare people. Let people scare themselves silly. And silly is the key word.
When we are being told to be rational, we are being told to be irrational and everyone should understand the rationality of this seemingly irrational statement.
24 hours to be irrational. 24 hours to scare ourselves. But we can always choose how we want to be (ir)rational.
Let it be a day of memory.
Remember the expensive people who tell us to be cheaper.
Remember who spoiled our Mee Siam with cockles.
Remember who tells us not to politicize lifts but try to buy our votes with lifts.
Remember the Frankenstein behind every oppositional monster spun with the demonic threads of a crippled press.
Remember who promised to help the poor and created a lot of poor people needing help.
Remember the Public Order Act that does not allow you to show your cancerous dissent alone.
Remember more, more than I can.
Remember who forced 24 hours down your throat, telling you to remember.
Remember to remind others to remember.
Remember the 24 hours. Remember during the 24 hours.
Never forget (yourself).