Of Apathy and Stepping Up

I’ve never liked the PAP. Since my secondary school days, even before I was politically aware, I’ve never liked the PAP. Maybe it was the education system, maybe because I was just a natural rebel or it could be my dad didn’t like the PAP, I’ve never seemed to understand why the PAP sucked. I just knew.

Then again, it could be because our Civics and Moral Education classes were all in mandarin (a subject I totally can’t grasp to save my life) which also probably meant I missed out on a lot of the National Defense indoctrination talks.

But I digress.

To me, the PAP has always been the great know it all party, the one that ruled with a mighty banhammer. I don’t deny that they haven’t done great by our country, but when the last five years seemed so wrong despite our high economic growth, then something is wrong. There was also the political apathy of my peers, who couldn’t care less about the PAP and probably thought I was crazy to dislike the PAP so much.

Having lived away from Singapore in Australia for two years, I got to witness their brand of democracy in action. Bread and butter issues were discussed, words were exchanged, votes were counted and hate mongering flourished, but in the end, the people made their decision. The economy didn’t tank, their world didn’t end. Same thing with Japan, where there was a “switch” (if you could call it that – basically some members of the old guard went to form a new party), the economy did well, people made their choices for a change in policy etc.

So PAP’s fearmongering of the world ending smacks of nothing but that, an attempt to use the same tactics that we’ve seen over and over again. Nothing new here, but people will still take the bait, fall for the same traps without realizing that change, or rather a robust opposition to keep them in check is needed. I’m not going to even bother talking about PAP’s attempt to turn this vision into a scary “gridlocked” government where nothing gets done, it’s been reported and commented on by better bloggers and writers.

I’ve been pondering on joining an opposition party for ages, but haven’t yet made the commitment because I just couldn’t find it in myself to make the effort. While I talked about it, I never actually bothered doing anything apart from blabbering about it on the social media circles. Maybe I haven’t yet found the right party with the right ideology to fall behind. Or perhaps the PAP way is the right way after all and I’m just not looking at it correctly (okay, I jest).

In 2006, while I was still studying overseas, the GE was called, and I was just too far away from Canberra to submit my overseas vote. My area was finally contested, having switched to Aljunied GRC from Marine Parade GRC (totally makes no sense to be in the GRC, but I blame a certain Mr Mander) under the Workers Party banner led by Ms Sylvia Lim (who happens to be my former lecturer back in Temasek Poly). I knew her to be a smart, sharp  and brilliant educator, and I was sure she would translate those qualities well as a politician.

She did not disappoint but she did not win either.

From over in Brisbane, I was following the election closely via the only way I could at that time, using the Alfresco Coffee Shop forum while listening to mrbrown’s podcasts. Twitter didn’t exist then, no did Facebook. Friendster did, but no one was using it as we used Facebook today.

When the election ended with PAP winning almost all the seats despite only taking 66% of the popular vote, I knew I had to do something. Join a party like the WP, or stand in the next election. Well, you know how that turned out. Personal life, a very interesting and cool job kept me from doing what I should have done, but my apathy is probably over, no thanks to a certain dirt slinging mud dwelling PAP minister, which was the final straw.

It was a wake up call, to see such stupid things happening again, the absurdness of having a foot stomping Tin Pei Ling get a free pass to be an MP when more capable folks like Vincent Wijeysingha, SDP, or Chen Show Mao, WP having to fight hard against PAP ministers who have continually screwed up without facing accountability.

I’ve taken my first step, signing up as a Polling Agent for the WP, sure it’s just a minor step, but I hope to be following up with the WP once the GE is over. In a country where most people don’t really give a crap about politics (or are fearful), there’s a need for anyone to just man up and do their part. Even if it means joining the PAP, at least you’re contributing (of course, if you’re just joining the PAP because you’re just a bootlicker like some of the residents in my area, then bah to you).

Don’t let our awesome country go to PAP’s version of hell/heaven, because we all know deep down that it isn’t working. Otherwise, don’t blame anyone when they get their million dollar bonuses while we can’t afford a home despite their statements to the contrary (and their awesome math skills).

tldr: had enough with the PAP’s tactics, time to man up and do my part.

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One Response to Of Apathy and Stepping Up

  1. saycheese says:

    Right on!
    Do your part for Singapore. Stand up to be counted.

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