Politics, Singapore

Vote with your brain, not your heart

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The General Elections is upon us once more. I must say that I think it’s extremely exciting, yet at the same time thoroughly exhausting.

Exciting because we once again get a say in charting Singapore’s future, exhausting because there is so little to be heard from the various political parties about their detailed plans for nation building. Much of what I’ve heard revolves around defending one’s party and its values, attacking one another via character assassination and accusations, and the proposal of illogical, naive policies. Then there’s visual fatigue – what’s up with all the non-news photographers shooting the rallies?

I am no expert in politics. In fact, I’d consider myself to be largely apathetic about political issues.

Those who have read my recent tribute to Singapore or the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew may be inclined to think that I’m a fan of the PAP.

Yes, I do believe that Singapore is by all means a very decent place to live in in the larger scheme of things, and especially so after I started working in Shanghai. But I recognise that Singapore has what I see to be flaws as well.

For the record, I do not support any political party.

Rather, I support reason and a clear vision.

There will be a segment of the populace that will without much thought and hesitation vote for the PAP, the WP or whoever, just for the sake of doing so – it’s similar to why Liverpool supporters will never change their allegiance and fly a Manchester United banner, and vice versa. Others vote based on their ignorance of reality. Others let their anger cast their vote.

I reckon many people will be voting for the party that they think can create a utopia. Look, a utopia for you isn’t gonna be utopia for others. There is no such thing as a perfect country. There will be something in every country that will piss the living daylights out of you.

The one thing I’d like to advocate is that we make an informed decision about who to vote for this General Elections. Vote responsibly, not blindly, because, believe it or not, that cross you’re about to draw will make a difference.

Naturally, most people will be voting based on their individualistic needs. The financially challenged will likely be voting for someone who advocates minimum wage. The wealthy will be likely voting for someone whose policies favour their businesses. The electorate is divided, and it forever will be. The winning party will never complete the societal jigsaw. Instead, the challenge is putting together as many pieces of this puzzle as possible within the limited time frame.

It’s human nature – you can’t expect everyone to vote based on what they think is for the greater good. Even if they do, the amount of subjectivity involved eliminates the objectivity required for this feat.

In the ideal world, making an informed decision simply requires putting together the facts and figures, taking a step back and picking the options that makes the most sense. But in reality, the legitimacy of information is never certain and the “objective” news you get from the media should always be taken with a pinch of salt (trust me, I’m a journalist).

The one thing I simply cannot stand about pesudo-intellectuals is that they think the facts and statistics they have pulled together via sources open or semi-open to the public constitutes the absolute truth. Firstly, most of these people aren’t even qualified or intelligent enough to process the stats. Secondly, it’s time we all acknowledged that there’s no surefire way to decipher the truth, not with the sort of transparency available.

So, I beseech you to perform due diligence and try to discern fact from half-truths and fiction before you cast that vote. I dare not say that we must be objective, because objectivity is a fallacy – it is nothing more than an ideal that we seek in order to maintain some semblance of order.

I reckon the closest we’d get to achieving objectivity is via an aggregation of alleged facts.

One fact we can be certain of is that Singapore is a nation divided. But realise it or not, events like the General Elections actually bring the people together through discourse. Intelligent discourse breeds ideas and fuels change, change that will be important for a nation to evolve.

And therein lies my decision – I believe that there needs to be a greater level of discourse in parliament. Yes, I’m saying that I’m inclined to vote for the opposition to achieve this.

But only if they can convince me that they are credible enough.

I might vote for the WP or SDP if they actually contested in my GRC. But I’ve got the SDA as my only opposition option. How liddat?

Thanks for the comic relief, Arthero Lim, but that Hokkien MTV of yours is far from inspiring.

So, who are you voting for?

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