Let’s talk about politics. Yes, the dust has settled. We see the headlines on the ST and various mainstream reports about how changes are blowing our way, and I believe that whichever party you support, we ought to be happy with changes that will be happening for the good of the general people. Personally, 9 days of election campaign had provoked a lot in me; emotionally and cognitive-wise, and mostly a drive/motivation I never knew I had in me as a citizen of Singapore.
I have friends who are adamant supports of the PAP, and various opposition parties, or opposition parties as a whole. What made me most comforted during this period is the fact that many people’s conversations were predominantly about issues for the well-being of Spore, and not about the normal topics like shopping/sales/stocks/discount coupons/gossips or other things which reflect more about personal self-interests rather than communal interests. I don’t know how long this interest in nation-building/maintenance is going to sustain, but I love it. Singaporeans are obviously not apathetic, most are because they know they have no channels/ways to yield any changes. Hence, what frustrated me the most during this period, were people/friends who did not bother to find out more and engage in critical thinking when they were given the golden responsibility (I won’t say opportunity) to vote. It also gave me immense sadness when I see people (supporting either the mainstream or opposition parties), not having any substantial to say in a conversation of who they support. Fallacies are common in heated conversations, but at the end of the day, objective and substantial contents are crucial to give relevance and credits to your opinions. And to have that, I believe, comes from reading not just from the mainstream media, but alternative ones for effective discussions. Blind faith for any party just doesn’t cut it for me. Narrow-mindedness doesn’t cut it for me too.
Interestingly, some feel that we should appreciate and be grateful to the PAP for all that they have done all these years and hence continue to trust in them. Honestly, I am, very much grateful, especially after touring many places and even contemplating living in other places for a while. However at the end of the day, I realised: this is Home, for whichever other places I go to, it’ll never be the same. It’s not a perfect place (no place is), hence what’s left for citizens to do is to make improvement and changes to make it a better Home. And it is exactly this that makes me feel that gratitude is not servitude (read this if you want deeper analysis). In a nutshell, I would say, if we were to use this as a premise to support the existing party forever, then why have elections? Consider this: Let’s scrap elections and let’s have an empire. Would anyone actually want that? The purpose of an election is to assess the policies and results attained by the policymakers over the past 5 years, and to ascertain if anything can be done better, and in cruel but common political scenarios, politicians are voted out, changes are made, as accountability. I don’t really want to think of true democracy ever coming to Spore, but… shouldn’t the election be taken seriously by its electorate, by the very basic attitude of keeping an open mind to find out more for the betterment of the country?
It’s also interesting for me to note that some friendships are tensed when 2 friends support different parties. Reminds me of Hollywood plots for eg. future son-in-law supports the Democrats while the father of bride supports the Republicans. A friend once lamented to me, he can’t understand why people are not sensitive about bringing forth their opinions about who they support onto people. He thinks it’s as ‘sensitive as religions’. Do you think so? I don’t. Religion issues are sensitive as history has shown, often resulted in racial, cross-country tensions and even sexist issues as well. I don’t think that political views will bring about such wide consequences (at least in the current context of Spore). Could he have felt so because he takes his belief personally (i.e. tied to the ego)? Or could it be that he has nothing substantial to back the party he supports and hence felt cornered? I don’t know. My instincts tell me that, since we only had 9 days to discuss, debate and toss topics around, if he hadn’t read much and got involved and yet faced people who talked politics during mealtimes/meetups, he could have felt helpless in supporting his belief.
Hence, I hope that throughout these 5 years, Singaporeans will be more involved in the Spore politics; 5 years later, in those 9 days, we’ll all be more matured and learned electorate with meaty political conversations. I really look forward.
p.s. some friends warned me against being too eager to share my political views online (or offline) thinking it might harm my image as an artiste. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their genuine concern, but I’d like to believe that artistes are entitled to have political views (It would be sad if one has no view, or if one is scared of expressing due to personal self-interests). Most importantly, I view myself more as a Singaporean than a singer-songwriter during the all important and short 1-in-5 years election period. To comfort them, I’d say, I stopped short of singing at rallies.