6 Dumb Singaporean Election Claims

With the General Election around the corner, members of the electorate who are perfect examples of the PAP government’s immense success in lowering Singapore’s average common sense and logical abilities. Many PAP apologists have internalized PAP myths and are vomiting them out through the ST forum, which is more than willing to stamp its brand name on the vomit on a daily basis. Amongst some of the stubbornly dumb claims related to the General Election are:

1) The Opposition only appears when there’s an election

It is said that the opposition never appears until there’s an election. The implication is that the opposition is only putting up a show before the GE in order to get votes.

Examples: Mrs Elsia Wong and Mr Bahrat Samtani

Why it’s Stupid

Well, it isn’t quite true. And it seems as if those who make this claim want opposition politicians to go round shaking people’s hands on a daily basis so that brainless (one shall not say “brainwashed” since the term presumes the presence of a brain) PAP supporters who are never going to vote for the opposition anyway can experience the joy of seeing them around. Perhaps these voters want opposition politicians to knock on their doors and listen to their individual woes even though the opposition politicians have no means of taking care of their individual troubles and their elected PAP MPs ought to be the ones doing the job.

If the people have obstinately refused to vote opposition politicians into the Parliament, how much can opposition politicians do? For many years already, there are only two opposition MPs in the Parliament. We are talking about opposition politicians who have to work to support themselves after their PAP opponents have been voted into Parliament and some of them have pledged to quit their jobs and devote their time to serving the people if they get voted in because MPs do get an income. If there is to be a comparison, it would only be fair to compare opposition MPs with PAP MPs. But first, opposition politicians need to become MPs.

But it is actually untrue that opposition politicians have done nothing for the people. It is just that the nature of what they are doing is going to be different from what their MPs do. Because they are not MPs. Would Dr. Chee Soon Juan and company get into so much trouble with the law if they have done nothing to speak up for the people?

It seems that there are people who suffer from a bad case of KPI fever which causes them to believe that wayang is paramount. And the KPI here? Show your face so that you can prove that you are “engaging” the people. It doesn’t matter whether you care about the people or if you are indeed engaging them as long as you fulfill the key indicator that says you have done so.

2) The Opposition is being elitist by fielding highly qualified candidates

For a long time, it has often been said that “the opposition is not credible” and unable to attract the talents that the PAP is able to attract. And the PAP’s definition of talent appears to be lawyers, doctors, and high-flying civil servants or military men—people who have been criticized for being elitist. It appears now, however, that the opposition is increasingly attracting highly qualified persons and suddenly the opposition is accused of being elitist as well.

Example: Jason Soon

Why it’s Stupid

No one is saying that highly qualified people are elitist. It is simply that the PAP’s selection of “talents” are usually highly-qualified people for whom the horrifying system created by the PAP gods have worked exceedingly well. (Of course, now there is greater diversity. There new-citizen PAP politicians who haven’t been through the Singapore system. But they, too, are where they are thanks to the Singapore system created by the PAP.) Or PAP politicians might be people selected, based on simplistic assumptions about the common man, because they seem to have the attributes that make them similar to the peasants that the PAP needs to extract votes from. Like a certain Kate Spade spokesperson. She’s young, so young people will vote for her. Her family has a coffeeshop business, so all those coffee shop people will vote for her.

Overheard: “Let’s field a baby next. Will appeal to the millions of people we’ve infantilized.”

The main criticism of the PAP is not that it consists of highly qualified people but that it consists of people who might consider normal Singaporeans lesser mortals who should, as the cliché goes, get out of their elite, uncaring faces instead of whining and whingeing about the high costs of living because they ought to eat fish if chicken is too expensive. Nevertheless, in order to discredit the opposition, the likes of Jason Soon would resort to propagating the stereotype that highly qualified people are “elitist” or, worse, that it is elitist to field qualified people:

For this general election, the PAP has fielded a slate of candidates coming from diverse backgrounds. Isn’t PAP doing what it thought the people wanted – which is to see some representation from people having similar heartland roots?However, it appears that whatever the PAP does, a minority group of the electorate remains dissatisfied, and some PAP candidates were criticised by netizens.

I wonder why the opposition is offering a slate of impressive candidates now, especially after it has persistently labelled the PAP as elitist.

If Jason is right, I suppose the PAP thinks that so-called heartlanders are all like Tin Pei Ling. (And that’s not thinking very highly of us, PAP.) And elitist opposition members surely can’t feel for Singaporeans who are crying in pain because of the escalating cost of living.

3) A gay MP will only take care of the gay community

It has been said that a gay politician will have a “gay agenda” but this is not the most damaging myth that has sprung from the saga generated by Balakrishnan. After all, not everyone can make sense of what a “gay agenda” is or why a political party made up of people who mostly don’t seem to be gay can have a gay agenda. Many Singaporeans also do not care about their MPs sexual orientation because they just want someone who can represent their concerns.

The most nonsensical myth, however, is that if we vote for a politician who happens to be gay, he would just take care of the gay community. You know, he will be able to tell which households in his ward have gay people and will only take care of them. He will know who amongst those who go to him asking for help are gay and will only help them. Because he is gay, he won’t take care of people who are not.

Example: Overheard from a random stranger

Why it’s Stupid

Using the same logic, I’m sure the gay “community” must have been terribly neglected by straight MPs since straight MPs will only take care of the straight community. A Chinese MP will only take care of Chinese people. And I suppose the elderly in Singapore must be very, very well taken care of because we have an octogenarian MP.

But, clearly, a gay person isn’t homosexuality personified. He isn’t pure homosexuality. Surely a gay person can have a diverse range of concerns that can overlap with the concerns of the electorate.

Molly: Better vote in a bimbotic MP to take care of the bimbo community. And a kitten too.

Let’s say you initially wanted to vote for the opposition because you felt that the PAP has screwed up and hasn’t taken care of your interests in the last five years or more. But upon realizing that the opposition team has one gay person, you decide to vote for the PAP because you think the opposition now won’t take care of your interests and will only take care of gay people. What do you end up with? The PAP who won’t take care of your interests. So why not stick with your original decision? After all, you should not assume that gay people will not take care of only gay people. It’s a ridiculous assumption.

Let’s say you initially already wanted to vote for the PAP. You are not voting for the PAP because anyone has any gay agenda or some shit. . . . Eh, why are you even here reading this?!

4) Voters can tell if the PAP government is doing well, so we do not need opposition MPs

The claim can be represented by what Martin Tan says:

WORKERS’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim argues that at least one-third of the parliamentary seats must be in opposition hands to secure a first-rate House (‘PAP ‘trying to confuse voters about WP’s aims”; Sunday).What she is saying is that Singaporeans cannot tell good from bad government and requires the opposition to do so.

The argument also implies that the electorate voted wrongly in the past, which is an ironic counterpoint to her view that Singaporeans are intelligent voters.

Opposition parties must tell Singaporeans why they deserve to be in Parliament. There should be no notion that because we have a dominant ruling party, let’s shoo in some opposition members for balance.

I am heartened by an increased participation by Singaporeans in the political fray. It bodes well for the future of our country. These political discussions must bring us forward as a country and not push us backwards into systems that we are neither prepared for nor perhaps desire.

Why it’s stupid

That’s not what Sylvia Lim is saying. It does not quite matter whether Singaporeans can tell a good government from a bad government. It does not matter how intelligent Singaporean voters are. But assuming that Singaporeans are discerning and intelligent, they have no way of challenging the PAP if it turns out to be a “bad” government unless they have representatives in the Parliament to voice out their concerns. We need people who can influence policies. Which brings us to the next ludicrous claim.

5) Gridlock! Paralysis!

If we have more than 0.000000 opposition MPs in the Parliament, the PAP would have to spend a lot of time fixing the opposition and won’t be able to serve the people well. OK, no. The claim is stupider than this. The claim is that having opposition MPs in the Parliament will prevent policies from being implemented and Singapore will be doomed.

And Martians will seize the opportunity and gain control of Singapore.

“All your reserves is belong to us.”

Why it’s stupid

It is assumed that people really want PAP policies to be implemented smoothly and quickly. Policies such as GST hikes to help the poor. And the Public Order Act. And the Films Act.

No one is saying that with more opposition MPs, the PAP will still be able to implement policies as “efficiently” as it did in the past. But this does not mean that there is going to be parliamentary paralysis. It means that every policy will be examined more closely, from more perspectives. And if certain policies are blocked, there may be good reasons to block them. Who wants a 200% increase in GST to be implemented efficiently even if it’s supposed to help the poor?

There is a confusion between having checks and balances and having a gridlock.

Of course, if we have such a great fear of The Gridlock, one alternative is to have 82 opposition MPs and 5 PAP MPs in the Parliament after May 7. (Note: Sorry, but even in this scenario, we will stilll have Kuan Yew telling us how daft we are. Well, there’s no perfection in this world . . .)

6) The PAP has done a good job

Very often, we hear people telling us, without even thinking, that the PAP has done a good job. And their most probable source: the claim itself.

In other words, we are meeting parrots who deem themselves intelligent and intelligible speakers even though they are only parrots.

If you press them for evidence, they may not be able to say how the PAP has done a good job. Or the only area they may bring up is economic growth. And that’s only because they are looking at statistics simplistically.

Why it’s stupid

The PAP has done a good job?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! If there’s a book of political ironies, this could form the most outstanding chapter.

It has certainly done an excellent job in making it seem as if it has done a good job in governance. It has the mainstream media reporting as though it has done a good job. And it claims to do so. And it doesn’t quite invite anyone to think otherwise. Since everyone seems to say so, it must be true.

And perhaps it is true for those who earn lots of money. But for people who have to deal with stagnant of salaries (or persistent unemployment/under-employment) in the face of an ever-rising cost of living while worrying about retirement and medical costs, the PAP has done a very good job of drowning their voices—precisely with claims that it has performed incredibly well in the area of economics.

If Singaporeans continue subscribing to the belief that the PAP has done a good job, then the PAP will continue doing the same good job it has been doing.

It might even do better. More foreigners to create jobs for us. More GST to help us financially. More ERP gantries to ease traffic jams. More fare hikes to solve bus and taxi problems. More restrictions in expression to promote harmony and social cohesion. More liberal immigration policies to compensate for low birth rates. More work-till-you-drop policies. More CPF withdrawal restrictions. More “affordable” HDB flats. More opacity in governmental spending in events like the YOG. More smear tactics against the opposition during elections. More happy Singaporeans dismissing the validity of your misery.

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