TL;DR – The best time to say Thank You to your MPs is BEFORE the Polling Day, not when you’ve lost the man.
Some people have said this to the People’s Action Party (PAP) during the nine days’ of campaigning for the General Election (GE2020), Sorry need not be the hardest word.
But I also have this to say to Singaporeans, Thank you also need not be the hardest word.
We can start practising to say thanks when it’s a job well done.
Over the years, the ruling party has done many good things and improved many of our lives, and it’s OK to show gratitude. There is no perfect government in the world, and also no perfect policies or solutions.
What we want is a government that understands the needs, challenges and aspirations of the people, and formulate policies that benefit the majority. And also, understand that these needs, challenges and aspiration can change over different life-stages and also over time, so always be prepared to review, tweak or even have a complete overhaul so that its people can continue to have better jobs and better lives.
I really like what SM Tharman said in his Straight Talk programme, that inclusive policies should allow the young to have hope, for everyone to advance in the course of their careers, and the elderly look forward to full lives, and lives with some security.
And how deeper intervention is required. It needs not just the government, but also the community as partners to help uplift everyone.
Tharman said that’s the aim of the ruling party and also the premise of their (social) policy-making for a decade, and he went on to explain the why and the how. Fantastic watch not just for GE2020, but more for understanding why we’re here, who we are, and deciding what kind of society we want to be.
If you haven’t watched it, do watch. It’s well worth 45 minutes of your time.
In my mind, the PAP has Singaporeans’ interests at the core of their policy-making and over the years, have done much in terms of intervention to help.
The KidStart programme is one example. It has already benefited 1,000 children, and looks set to help another 5,000 these three years.
This is a cut from the full Straight Talk show where Tharman talked about how education can help ensure social mobility. He also talked about KidStart and bridging the digital divide.
The 4G team has repeated its position about how they think the best way to reduce stratification is to continue to ensure social mobility. And that’s not about capping the top, but to do more and better in uplifting the disadvantaged. Many of their policies have also been proven to be effective.
What the PAP needs to do is perhaps work on their comms and engagement better.
Because the outcome of many of their policies have proven to work. But not enough people understand what these policies are and how they work, and not enough people know of the care and compassion underlying these policies, and definitely not enough of the electorate feels connected to the ruling party.
Which is likely one of the reasons that has caused them the dip in popular vote in GE2020, methinks.
The Workers’ Party has retained their seats for Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC and also won Sengkang GRC.
For the Ng Chee Meng-led PAP party to lose Sengkang GRC, I say it’s not losing on Ng Chee Meng or the team’s back.
I think it’s more a case of people pushing back against the incumbent, and also of people being more drawn to opposition for diversity. They want more and more different voices in Parliament, and with Dr Jamus Lim spotlighting the Workers’ Party team in Sengkang, everything just fell into place for the Sengkang residents.
But it’s really sad, after Sengkang has “fallen”, I’m reading quite a lot of comments and sharing from people saying how good Ng Chee Meng, Lam Pin Min and Amrin Amin from the PAP team are.
For instance, quite some Sengkangers have said LPM had been with them 14-15 years and how he has helped develop Sengkang from “just a patch of grass” to what it is today. And how many of them always saw him at ALL the events and activities and how year after year, they were collecting bursaries and stuff from him. He was always there.
Helloooooooo, the best time to share these things is BEFORE the Polling Day, not when you’ve lost the man?
I’ve also read of people sending the PAP Sengkang team encouraging email to say thanks personally for whatever these men had done for them in the past.
Sighs. Where were you people when they needed you the most?
Anyway, here are some examples of what some people have said of the men in white.
Overall, I’d say Singapore wins.
I see the GE2020’s results as us evolving our own democratic system. It’s a process of development for our politics. Our politics have to evolve and mature. Especially now that our people appear to be quite ready.
So we should embrace this and help our country and one another find that path.
In a way, it appears that the PAP is even more ready for diversity in Parliament than we are. After all, they were the ones who came up with the NCMP scheme. They were the ones who moved to increase the number of NCMP seats from nine to 12. They were the ones who gave NCMPs the same voting rights.
And in the wee hours of Friday morning, PM Lee spoke about calling Pritam Singh from the Workers’ Party and about the government recognising him as the Leader of Opposition and to provide resources. It’s clear that they’ve thought about this and are ready for this.
If you’re curious about what the Leader of Opposition is all about, here’s a very interesting post on this.
And I agree with what ex-NMP Calvin Cheng said in his first post after the elections, that the popular vote for the PAP will only trend down no matter what it does.
So if you’re a supporter, perhaps you should do more to help slow down the slide, by saying Thank You more often and more publicly.
But in the whole scheme of things, we have to remember that in practically every other democracy in the world will be elated with the outcome of winning 83-10 seats and 61% of the votes. Some might even describe this as a landslide victory. So yea, it’s a clear mandate from the people.
So while some soul-searching and rethinking are most definitely needed, the PAP and its supporters also need not cry themselves to sleep at night.
Anyway, the election is over.
PAP has a clear mandate from Singaporeans. We should respect everyone’s political preferences and voting rights. So now let us stand united, remember that we’re still in the middle of the crisis of a generation, and shift our focus to what is important: Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future.
For now, for us,
the best skies are probably white with some blue,
with hints of red peeking through.
And let us not forget, we’re Singapore, we’re Singaporeans.
(Featured image via)