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Updates are on the way, just that eta is uncertain - traffic jam and problems as listed in our last entry, "Buzz-out. Greetings from Cyber Purgatory". *points to first entry*

Thank you for your patience, and interest, and see you there,
29 June 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

Which way will it fall?

Well, I know I've definitely fallen, sick that is, and AGAIN too. Within 2 weeks, it's just too bad! But nevermind that, tomorrow is the big day, Singapore's polling day. For the first time in my life, I get to do my part and waste a piece of paper, and add to the amount that others have squandered on my behalf - you know, those placards, pamphlets, even personalised post cards. I am of two minds, frankly, not that the competition is really there for the incumbent MP, imo, but because of my views on the varied issues - and yes, I am thinking beyond the constrictions of the upgrading carrot/bugbear (depending on how you choose to look at it). I like how article 1 sums up how I feel. And I definitely appreciate the sentiments expressed in article 2, especially after Dawn spoke about the town council officer who requested that CWS remove cats in the polling station during the poll hours tomorrow! How will I vote? I have a pretty good idea, but there is still a wavering bit... 10 or so percent. But that's a wart for tomorrow's worry, i'm just going to try to catch up on sleep now. Over and out. Article1 This story was printed from TODAYonline nuances of a vote in a foregone conclusion Wednesday • May 3, 2006 Siew Kum Hong I HAVE always questioned just how meaningful my vote is. In 2001, I voted in Hong Kah GRC. This year, I will vote in Ang Mo Kio GRC. The result was not in doubt in 2001. The People's Action Party (PAP) team led by Mr Yeo Cheow Tong trounced a weak Singapore Democratic Party line-up with almost 80 per cent of the vote. This time, it is even clearer. Even the Workers' Party (WP) has acknowledged the foregone conclusion of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's victory. Meanwhile, the Opposition team is likely to poll enough to recover their election deposit, since history suggests that approximately 20 per cent of voters will vote against the PAP. These things will happen, regardless of how I vote. And so, my vote has always seemed a little meaningless, although that did not diminish and has not diminished the preciousness of the chance to vote. But then again, maybe it is not so clear-cut. Maybe the margin of victory could have significance beyond who wins Ang Mo Kio. After all, when the PAP lost four seats and scored "merely" 61 per cent in 1991, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong interpreted it as a significant rejection of his policies, sowing the seeds of the "votes-for-upgrading" strategy introduced in 1997. PM Lee has been impressive since taking office. Most would agree that there has been change, and we seem to be moving in the right direction. He has tried to engage the young and addressed issues of concern to them. This election has been the fairest to the Opposition in a very long time. The Government has started giving cash assistance to the poor. Medisave is available for chronic conditions. And the disappointment of seeing yet another election-related lawsuit is tempered by the fact that only PM Lee and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew are suing. On the other hand, we are still far from where I would like to see Singapore. More can be done to encourage people to open up and speak out, to offer their ideas and to participate in the process, in the spirit of the inclusive political culture PM Lee has often cited as his approach. There could also be a rethink of the policy of tying public funds, whether for HDB flats upgrading or CPIC (community improvement projects committee) projects, to votes. The current approach is potentially divisive, and I do not agree with it. So, how do I register my disagreement with certain policies? I am reluctant to do that by voting against the Prime Minister, if only because I am definitely impressed by what I have seen, and I want more, not less, of what he has been doing. But at the same time, I do not want to give a blanket endorsement of everything that the Government has done. This is, in a way, the ironic flipside of the WP's objective in contesting Ang Mo Kio, to test the popularity of PM Lee. I approve of him personally, but not of some of his policies. As the Prime Minister, he is responsible for every policy — but so many of them are historical legacies, and he has certainly changed some things, so who knows whether he will change the others? And therein lies the dilemma of a protest vote. It is a blunt instrument that cannot convey nuances. If I vote for the PAP, it does not mean that I approve of everything they do. Conversely, a vote against the PAP is not necessarily a rejection of everything they stand for. There is simply no way of registering a vote to say that PM Lee's changes are in the right direction, but do not go far enough. And the last thing I want is for him to poll below expectations, and then take that as a rejection of everything he has done. I am not the only one in my generation who is open to the idea of a protest vote. I know peers who are considering it, or would consider it if they were voting. And the very fact that we are considering a protest vote is a sign of just how disengaged, disillusioned and disenfranchised from and by the political process we are. While I have never felt particularly radical, maybe that is what the radical English-educated young are like. I just hope that we all carefully weigh our votes before casting them, because any vote, whether in protest or otherwise, should not be blindly cast. The writer, in his 30s, is a lawyer commenting in his personal capacity. He is voting in Ang Mo Kio GRC, but does not know how he will vote. Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Article2 This story was printed from TODAYonline Little things can change people's minds I Say: GE 2006 Thursday • May 4, 2006 Noisy campaigning Frances Ong Hock Lin Educator, 43, voter in a GRC It was a Sunday afternoon. We were putting our children to bed and could hear that our neighbour's newborn had finally stopped crying and probably fallen asleep. We also knew that another elderly neighbour would be settling down to his usual siesta. Imagine our annoyance when we heard a taped voice blaring, urging us to vote in a particular way at Saturday's polls. At first, we tolerated it as we thought that after the announcement was made in English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil and Hokkien, it would stop. But the tape was repeated. My husband decided to ask that the volume be lowered. My elderly neighbour cheered him for doing so. The neighbour with the baby gave a thumbs-up sign, too. It was an unfortunate incident. We live in a hotly contested constituency. I see my MP working hard, visiting nearly every corner of the constituency during the past five years. My MP has managed to establish very good rapport with us, having helped us with a municipal issue. Yet, I sense that despite all of my MP's good work, this small incident may have shaken support among residents who take it to mean — however unfairly — that the party is not considerate to residents. Small, last-minute actions can sway voters. Yes, voting must be based on a rational decision as it concerns our future. Yes, one might dismiss the incident as affecting just a small group. But choices are sometimes made based on irrational emotion. We have a few more days to the election and political parties need to be aware that what they do could have an effect beyond what they intend. No respect shown Gary Sim Teck Kher Writer, 31, voter in a GRC During one party's walkabout, I was surprised to hear a member of the grassroots team address my mother — who answered the door with a broom in hand — in Hokkien: "Towkay wu di boh?" (Is the boss home?) The most basic thing to do when you call on someone is to address them with courtesy. Did he think my mother was a maid, or just because she had dressed down that she was no one of consequence? For the record, she is a retired teacher and more than capable of speaking in English, Mandarin, Malay and Hokkien. I believe our Senior Minister once said that if you want to serve as an MP, you have to be humble. This does not seem to be the case for some grassroots people. Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved. - Go to Pawprints: TNRM - Go to SINGAPORE UGLY / Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. - Go to HDB bans cats - government body chronically misconceived - Go to Singapore's Love-Hate Relationship with Trap-Neuter-Release Management - Check out the purrsNswipes Adoption Guidebook - Meet our homeseekers - Go to Pawprints: TLC for cat minon requisite education - Go to SOS and see how you help some Singapore animals in need

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