Many analyses have already been made of the 69.9% decisive mandate; how it came to be and what it may mean till the next GE.
About the only unreality that I observe is how many MSM published pundits and, in particular, the Straits Times and Tommy Koh (representing the civic/civil service elite) would dissect the factors influencing the vote swing but downplay or totally exclude the effect of pork barrel actions. ST with its ‘8 reasons’ and Tommy Koh with his ’10 reflections’ failed to mention the SG50 bonus pay-out for 82k civil servants ($41mil), the Special Edu Officer (EO) bonus for 30k EOs ($18mil) and the 4%-9% salary increase for teachers (est. $10mil/yr recurring based on average $5000 x 30k EOs x 6.5%) .
82,000 civil servants and 30,000 teachers, assuming all are Singapore citizens, would make up nearly 4.5% of the electorate.
How credible is the MSM (and the complicit civic/civil service elites) when they omit such blatant, GE-timed pork barrel actions of the incumbent PAP government? Watch out for the next Reporter Sans Borders ranking…how far further will SG MSM go? And, sadly, sadly so, for those of us looking for leadership to instigate the Change we Must for SG, we can forget the civic/civil elites…they appear to have sold their souls for a seat at the PAP’s table.
A Decisive Mandate?
On the side of the victors, PAP leaders have been gushing about the clear mandate and strong support that voters appeared to have given to them. The only voice, audible one, that came with a hint of humility is Mr Tharman’s. How will it all pan out over the next 4-5 years before the next GE? Who knows?
On the Opposition side, an air of despondence was almost palpable. What a diff’rence a (GE) day made…from a GE2011 high, a whole lotta of confidence going into 11 Sep, only to be given a rude shock by fellow Singaporeans.
Well, to both on different sides of the political divide and to all Singaporeans out there, likewise on different sides of the divide – or that critical mass in the middle ground that voted for the Opposition (too few) or the PAP (too many) this GE2015, I’ve got news for you.
No need to be too delirious in victory nor despondent in loss. It is far too early to tell whither Singapore.
A Definite Maybe
Consider this story:
A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”
Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?”
Their household was richer by a fine horse, which his son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”
A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten men. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other.
Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.
The 2011 and 2015 results themselves are illustrative of how changes have no end nor can the mystery be fathomed. I disagree that Singaporeans are daft. “Kiasu”, definitely. Daft, perhaps not. If voters can swing the way they did from 2006 to 2011 and then from 2011 to 2015, it can only mean that the next GE is anything but certain to follow a trend of any kind.
Last Word (From PM Zhou En Lai)
When queried on the 1968 students’ riots in Paris (apparently, not the 1789 storming of the Bastille) in a discussion during Nixon’s 1972 China visit, PM Zhou replied, “it is too early to say”.
So, what of the 69.9% decisive mandate and its ramifications or results?
Too early to say.