GE2015: Strangeways, Strangedays in Uniquely Singaporean Politics

It’s only been four days of campaigning and already I’m jaded and sick of all the GE news.

Essentially, it’s boils down to this. Vote for me because you are doing it for you.

Don’t vote for me to get elected, but vote for me to empower your future.

Don’t vote for me to get elected, but vote for your voice to be heard in parliament.

Strange ways. Strange days.

Election Narratives – Hyberbole

Bless their hearts for finding it in them to participate in politics. It’s not easy – but its not easy to listen to hyperbole either.

You are not voting for us. You are voting for you. You are voting for our future together.

Forgive me for saying this but this reminds me more of the times where insurance agents try to sell me a policy. Sure, his products may be useful one day in the future – but does he really care about my health coverage or the commission he gets from meeting his target?

Election Narratives #1 – Vote us to keep the PAP on their toes

Perhaps the strangest thing I find about the elections is this. Vote for us to keep the PAP on their toes. By our mere presence, the PAP will work harder. Policies and values will stay the same – but your life will somehow be better.

This narrative was used to great effect in 2011 when WP garnered votes for being a credible opposition that will not rock the boat. It must have been effective because SDP seems to have adopted a similar approach this elections.

We won’t take the incumbent power out – but we can help you

As further proof of this – many opposition candidates begin their speeches by saying “Don’t worry. We are not looking form Government”.

Election Narratives #2 – Loves me, loves me not

Hence, it seems that most people (or at least the campaigning opposition) want the PAP to form Government. The PAP Government is thus a fundamental part of their campaign strategy as it forms the platform to build the rest of their campaign.

A PAP Government must exist for us, the opposition to exist. .

Perhaps to demonstrate how their proposed roles would work, candidates will proceed to denounce the many instances where the incumbent government could do better. They call this slapping the co-driver.

Why are we paying so much for fishball noodles! Why are we paying so much for parking! Why are we paying so much for phone bills! Why are we paying so much for air-con!

Vote for me instead of the PAP so that I can ask these questions of the PAP.

Surely one must realize that for every vote that contributes to the existence of an opposition co-driver would diminish the existence of a main driver?

Election Narratives #3 – What am I voting for, really?

In the end, what am I voting for? This is perhaps the reason why I find the campaigning in this election the most perplexing. Take away the fact that none of them intend to form Govt and you’re left behind with a group of people who want to get in to ask questions.

This is probably clearer in larger countries where there’s a clear distinction between the values political parties. The Democrats vs the Republicans. Labour vs Conservatives. Where state votes along to certain ideological lines. (Out of the 50 states in the United States, only 5 were deemed swing states)

Yet, if the narratives laid out in this elections campaign is true, then Singaporeans are all voting amongst similar ideological lines.

We need the economy to do well but want a bit more wellbeing.

Not for change. Not for other values but somehow for; a cheaper and somehow better life.


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