Randoms thoughts on the Singapore General Election 2011

I wonder if the compulsory voting will work against the PAP []? My thought process: the PAP is analogues to the “Conservative Party” in most democracies — e.g. the Tories in the UK or the Republicans in the US. Conservative parties tend to do better with older voters. Singapore seems to be a society with a lot of younger people. In most places without compulsory voting older voters tend to be disproportional represented in voter turn out… Younger people don’t vote as regularly as older people. More seats are being contested by opposition parties in this general election than in any past election in Singapore. Ergo, will compulsory voting work against the PAP in this election.

I haven’t done any research other than Facebook, TV and water cooler conversations but it seems that the SDP [] and the NSP [] seem to be credible opposition. By credible I mean they offer an alternative view on things more then they sling mud at the PAP. The workers party — from what I have seen — just bitches about the PAP not offering any solutions in any meaningful way.

I must say I didn’t pay much attention to previous elections I’ve been in Singapore for they just kind of happened and nothing changed. This time it feels different; like people give a shit and many people are struggling to make a choice between the PAP and the opposition in their district — I suppose this will work in the PAP’s favor; better the devil you know when it comes down to it on polling day. It’s also interesting to observe a vibrant — and young — election process as an outsider. I can only imagine what it must be like to watch the US presidential election as someone with no direct influence, it must be the best reality show ever.

I will venture a bit into specific politics: I hope that the voters in Bishan-Toa Payoh vote DPM Wong out of office over the Mas Selamat thing []. As the politician in charge it was his job to fall on his sword when the most wanted man in Singapore escaped via a bathroom window. He didn’t and his petulance as the suggestion that he ‘take responsibility’ smacks of complacency, of being in power an unquestioned too long, of being right or at least of not being questioned for so long that he has forgotten what responsibility is. Considering how highly paid public servants are in Singapore you’d think they would at least stand up and say “the buck stops here.” In the Mas Selamat case that would mean Wong — the minister ultimately in charge of it — would resign.

Finally; taxi drivers get really uncomfortable when you talk about all this.