Thursday, April 27, 2006

Singapore General Elections

What is an article about the Singapore General Elections doing in a nostalgia blog like Good Morning Yesterday? - you are probably asking.

Good question. The reason is, I have more difficulty remembering about the last time I voted than about my kampong days in Lorong Kinchir. You see, I live in the prestigious District 10 of Singapore where the residents are supposed to be all rich and successful. Consequently, no opposition had dared to venture into our neighbourhood for ages.

I do not know for sure, but I believe the last time there was a contest in my constituency, it was between the PAP’s Lim Boon Heng and the son of Francis Seow – my apologies, I can’t even recall the guy’s name. I remember he was quite a bald chap. Please don’t ask me what year that was. I heard that the gentleman has since emigrated to Australia or somewhere.

Not much has happened, politics-wise in my area since that memorable event. I think my area became part of Bukit Timah, and then subsequently Bt Timah-Holland GRC.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t know much about politics. But nevertheless, I cannot help wondering; why are the opposition so scared of Bt Timah? Could it be that, since politics in Singapore is all about bread-and-butter issues, and Bt Timah being perceived as a ‘rich man’s area’, the constituents will always vote for PAP?

Just for the fun of it, I would like to apply my friend, victor’s ‘contrarian’ way of looking at this issue.

People in Bt Timah are suppose to be rich and successful. We do not need to approach our MPs for help. Consequently, we hardly know our MPs. Likewise, our MPs also don’t need to know us. I have never, in all my twenty years in Bt Timah met an MP walking about to meet the people. In contrast, I have met Mr Tharman in the food court in Taman Jurong Point twice. As it is walkover every time, I also do not get to see their photos on banners during election time, unlike other parts of Singapore. So I can be excused for not knowing who my MPs are (Actually I know 2 of the names, Lim Swee Say and Mrs Yu-Foo ? ?)

Given this happy situation, it does not seem to matter who gets elected in Holland-Bt Timah. Even if we voted in a bunch of opposition MPs, it is not going to make much difference in our lives anyway, and we would probably not get to see them until the next election.

So I think the opposition should have tried their luck and come to Holland-Bt Timah. Heck, they don’t even need to promise us lifts on every floor. All they need is to assure us lots of fireworks in parliament, and who knows; some of the problem-free residents here may just decide to vote for them.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. Mr Lam, your so called political analysis sucks. You better stick to nostalgia.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Lam,
Ashleigh Seow?

That's an interesting take on the Holland-BT area. Maybe next time if you bump into Mr Low or Mr Chiam somewhere else in Singapore you could 'suggest' it to them!

I suppose the opposition is rather thin on resources and have to concentrate on certain areas only. Probably they are more used to working in the 'heartlands'. Just guessing.

btw, I think you have Dr Vivian Balakrishnan too.

Lam Chun See said...

Oh yes of course, the famous, Dr (Sporeans-are-matured-enough-to-gamble-wisely)Balakrishnan. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The ruling party's logic could be: since the heart-landers with their numerous bread & butter problems still vote for them, they can safely take the richer guys for granted. For the rich fellows the logic is: why rock the boat since they may have a chance of getting richer?

Victor said...

Hi, here's the contrarian speaking again. The probable reason why you never see your MP in your 'rich and successful' area is that it is not cost effective to visit that vicinity. Imagine, an MP can cover 100 households in a HDB block which occupies the same floor area (or less) as an average bungalow house. So why does he want to do the extra legwork?

It is also probably the same reason why some people in that vicinity gets only $200 as their Progress Package (whereas I got $800). The gahmen doesn't need their votes.

Chris Sim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Sim said...

Where have you been Mr Lam? So sheltered in the safety of your sanctuary in district 10?

Indeed, a Michael Palmer, one of the new faces in PAP said something to the effect that he grew up in a middle-class family, had been staying in a landed property since he was born and had no clues about the problems and bread and butter issues of the heartlanders. When he learned that not everyone is as privilege as he, he decided to join politics to "serve" the "people". You should take a leaf from Mr Palmer, Mr Lam. Alas, it's too late for you to act. Hopefully four years down the road, perhaps? LOL.

Lam Chun See said...

Yes like M Palmer I grew up in landed property - kampong landed property that is.

fr said...

Probably the rich and successful are more stringent in their choice; they want the candidates to be as 'rich and successful' and with tertiary education.

I think they are more concerned with issues concerning the business community and economics which they believe are more conducive with a PAP government.

Lam Chun See said...

I suspect many of you have missed the entire message of this post. In fact, Chris' comment served to confirm what I am trying to say.

Yes, I better stick to nostalgia.

Chris Sim said...

Chun See, don't get me wrong. I'm just trying to point out how sometimes those born "with a silver spoon in their mouths", like Mr Palmer, can be quite apathetic towards the harsh reality of life that concerns many of the heartlanders. As to why the opposition is shying away from district 10, I guess the fact is that there's nothing the opposition can fight for in that area. There's no cause to bring up. But I'm sure not everybody in district 10, or the rich for that matter, sees life through tinted glasses. Of course, I'm not suggesting that you are. Just my 2-cent worth.

me said...

So I think the opposition should have tried their luck and come to Holland-Bt Timah.

does it mean u live there uncle lam? =x

then again, I have no ideas about politics... so i dont really understand whats going on here...

Lam Chun See said...

Pls let me clarify. I did not write this post to analyse the reasons why the opposition does not want to contest in District 10. I merely wanted to make a statement.

It is wrong for politicians, whether they are from the ruling party or the opposition, to completely ignore a segment of the community they profess to serve, simply because they are supposedly well-to-do; especially when they very well know that many members of that community are in fact not well-to-do. Just as there are many rich people living in the HDB heartlands, there are also many ordinary, working class folks who live in Holland-Bt Timah.

So when these folks see, everyday on their TV sets, images of politicians going around smiling, shaking hands of residents, kissing babies, promising to do this and that, and asking for feedback etc. etc., what do you think will go through their minds?

Sivasothi said...

Hmm Chun See, I too felt this idea had merit; but the opposition probably knows better. I used to think that Serangoon Gardens was ripe for the picking. Then one day, a candidate appeared! Everyone was intrigued but no one met him. Still, he didn't lose his deposit. Next elections, Serangoon Gardens was part of a GRC.