According to my sister (Jia Yi), We are a PRO-PAP family. I was laughing away when I heard her because this is so true, if you know each and every one of us.
And so... the conversations that happen during meetups with friends lately evolved around the topic on General election, voting for the government in Singapore which happens once in every 5 years. To foreigners, you have an extra day of public holiday. However, to the locals, this is a very special day to us. As I ponder and ask Hans if I should write a blog entry about election, he told me, 'You can, if you want to, but people who want to vote for XX will find one reason to fault against YY and people who are voting for YY will do the same, so basically, don't need to get involved into this entire online-sharing hooha". Well, I am a hooha person :-) So, here are some of our thoughts on why we support the People's Action Party.
This is what my parents educate me on in the past and what I have decided on my own over the years.
The former part is crucial because everyone comes with certain prior understanding or context about Singapore and how she was founded and built. For me, a huge part comes from my family and even my religion. It is strange that I cannot exactly pinpoint anyone who said something meaningful or state any incident but I guess this is what the growing up process is. It is vague, complex and importance because it really shapes someone. With that, your inclination and decision impacts people around you.
On the latter part, I was reminded of the previous election four years back. Ours was a walk-over for voting (Tanjong pagar) but of course, I knew how I am going to vote then if given a chance. However, for the president, I rang up my mum and asked her which picture I should take note of. She then told me (like all other nagging instances, haha) and highlighted, Ah Jie ah (meaning elder sister), you need to put a cross, not a tick, remember that! No offense to the president hor, anyway, you are welcome! haha! (Thank you mummy, next time I know what to highlight to my kids).
Which one do you think is most important? The heart or the brains?
In my humble opinion, it is both the heart and the brain. Perhaps I have tons of confidence in human nature. I truly truly believe that Singaporeans want the best for themselves, their families and their neighbors (aka everyone here in Singapore). Thus, I do not doubt their intention to do something good. But, the question is, do they know how to?
I remembered that during our studies, we learned theories, concepts and big ideas from books, videos and lectures, which is like the "What" and "Why". Of course, this fundamental is very important because we need the right people with the mindset in field.
Then comes "HOW". The 'how' process would be another level up because one need to apply what they learn into practice. In the education field, it would be crafting lesson plans, formatting assessment tools and standards and so on. To be able to accomplish this is no easy feat because it requires deeper understanding across all the modules such as children's developmental milestone, teaching approach, subject area etc. Then, to assess the child's ability - would it be fairly well, good, excellent or require support? How would all these look like so you can observe these signs during assessment? Eh, really not easy leh.
The unaccounted for/missing funds in certain GRC made me very fearful. What does it mean for my friends or loved ones living there? Hans and I will not be living in Tanjong Pagar GRC next year onwards, with that, we have a right to be concern about other areas that we will be in or beside us.
Over the years, I have seen Ms. Indranee during many community events and a particular one stood out. She came to my secondary school during a concert as a guest of honor and the arts students (me included) presented her a piece of dyed fabric as a gift. Many months later, she attended another community center event and my friends and I represented the Taekwondo club and demonstrated Taekwondo aerobics and kicks. And there she is, wearing a sari that was made of the fabric that we gifted her. This means a lot of to me because it depicted that she valued that piece of fabric, a gift from students, in the school under her care. Plus! She didn't only appear during election period hor, or to get votes during G.E period (We are Tanjong Pagar). I was so moved by her very simple speech last night when PAP won Tanjong Pagar. The sincerity was heartfelt as she blinked back tears. Having said that, I feel that If both of parties have the heart, I would pick someone with the brains too (meaning having the skill and capabilities). People's Action Party - Take action (not only use mouth hor). You think it is so easy to manage a nation? Ms. Indranee and many current MPs learn directly from the late MM Lee. Some said Mr. LKY is himself, 'we love LKY but hate PAP' I would say otherwise because the party that he leads very much validate his beliefs, planning and vision, in my opinion.
No room for trial and error
And leading to this next point, there is no room for trial and error when it comes to nation-building. Yes, there is no prefect government and everyone is cracking their brain for solutions. But the standard and level cannot be too far-fetched from high-quality practices. The 'Why', ’What' and 'How' does not appear over few nights. It takes years and years and years of immersing one self into the community, studying policies and so on. I remembered from one recent conversation, a friend shared that her colleagues defended a particular candidate's dress sense (think bodycon dress) because they think that she dresses up just like you and me (usual youngsters) in Singapore. When I heard it, I am like whattttt... (haha), Exactly, just like you and me, you think we can be MPs? Here we are, sitting in Spize (great world), eating and watching movie later at Great world. The potential MPs are volunteering their time somewhere, doing something other than this.
The mister also shared that if people are capable, they can work hard towards becoming MPs wearing white because they know that they can make a difference in people's lives. I wonder is that part of the reason why some candidates named their own party names wrongly? *sings-what is deep inside your heart? And there are sayings that the other parties also shared that they do not want to be the main government (is this true?) but only taking roles of being checkers in the parliament. Can we then decide how many checkers there should be? Surely, it is obvious we need to have many more doers than checkers.
About the 15k monthly salary that MPs receive, to be honest, both of us do not think that 15k is too much an amount. They are people who earns a lot in their career even before taking on politics. And I also do not think that MPs need to live (or rather, earn little $) like us. It is like, I love those wide straw hats my entire life but I have a small frame/head/face so naturally, I am unsuitable to wear one. You get what I mean. We wanted our MPs to be successful people in life as they are our role-models, people who are tested and proven to excel, really excel, in their career, profession, personal and family life. They are of certain standards before taking on the role of being the giants in Singapore.
I am very happy living in Singapore, a very proud Singaporean
Having all these said, I think the most important reason why PAP is getting our votes is because we are truly happy being Singaporeans and they play a vital role in this (till date and going on...). One of the reasons is having the freedom to choose. Simple things like, I get to take the train, bus or cab when I travel within the island. Not many first-world countries allows middle-income citizens to do that. When I need to travel to NUH (han was warded then) from Suntec, the different colored trains allows me to take multiple routes to reach my sweetheart in the shortest time. When I was in Boston for a 5 weeks summer immersion, the interns there told us that they text most of the time and only call when it comes to urgent matters. At 29, I also get to choose a 3, 4 or 5 room flat or an E.C (I will put on high heel on one leg and sports shoe on another to be a Superwoman. Please hor, don't argue hor, it is your own choice). We can choose to mix and match with size of the flat with location. With CPF issue, I was sharing that Han and I are savers-kind-of-people. We are conscious with spending and grateful with the CPF system (e.g. Healthcare and housing). I cannot imagine if the CPF system is being compromised with no subsidies for healthcare. If savers like us are very careful with the balance scale, what about people who do not have the habit of saving for rainy days + no more CPF? Lastly,
Take a look at our neighboring countries, what are some of your thoughts?
FB update: The silent majority – those who do not express views online – appear to be behind the swing towards PAP, says former NMP Siew Kum Hong. I agree because as what Han mentioned, PAP supporters don't need to go rallies, we already know what they will be doing and we have the conviction that they can accomplish.
To end off, perhaps han and I are the more-lucky ones amongst many. As the mister shared with me, sometimes, people are unhappy because they encounter certain situations first hand or from others that they knew. Well, that sounds more reassuring, rather than 'I don't know who to vote for, but I know who I am not voting for'. Suddenly I remembered a certain candidate's famous saying 'I do not have to answer to you, I only answer to my residents' (along this line). Seriously, it almost sounds like an immature teenager saying 'Whatever' in a certain tone to concerned others. Please hor, go listen to the song 'One people one nation one Singapore'.
Seems so not my style to finish in a bad vibe hor. To do better, let me share Ah Tan's sharing, I just want to vote for a party that makes me feel proud whenever I show my red passport during overseas trips.
Count your blessings, we are blessed, truly blessed.