Tag Archive | presidential election

GST: one more disappointment!

Today, I found a letter addressed to my mother in the letter box and my heart leapt up, as hope springs eternal.

The envelope carried the Singapore crest and the important words On Government Service, in capital letters. There was even a tag line near the bottom of the envelope which instructed”Be the best that you can be” — also, all in capital letters.

I suddenly felt very pleased. Must be the Finance Minister has relented over the old-old living in housing that’s got annual values of more than $20,000, never mind if they don’t own the roof over their heads and what little savings they have won’t earn enough to feed a parrot for a year!

I suddenly felt a renewed warmth towards our government.

Mum would be getting her GST offsets and Medisave top-up after all! :D!

Alas, just like the milk maid with her day dreams, my happy thoughts over mum receiving some extra pocket money came crashing down when I opened the important looking letter on her behalf.

Shucks, it was from the Elections Department, informing mum that she’s been struck off the Register of Electors because she didn’t vote the in Presidential Election! The letter suggested that she get herself restored, via the Internet, mail or fax.

I would normally have thought the ED’s letter quite humorous and would have gone 😆

But not this time, mainly because I still feel sore about how un-inclusively the GST and Medisave top-ups had been distributed in 2012 Budget, as I had stated here previously.

The snub dealt mum re the GST exclusion made me extra picky with everything government-related — at least for the time being. Thus I thought it ridiculous of the ED to say that mum’s name was deleted from the electors’ roll because she didn’t vote at in the Presidential Election.

Eh, wake up ED. Mum already missed the May General Election! Furthermore, she received an invite just be4 the Presidential Election to get her name re-instated to enable her to cast her vote for the new president. She ignored the invite. Or rather, her care-givers decided to give it a miss.

Because at 87, going on 88, she can’t tell what day of the week it is! While she can feed herself and wash her face and brush her teeth and use the toilet independently, she needs someone beside her to issue verbal reminders at every step of each activity.

So how could she have voted at the GE or the PE since no one would have been allowed to give her instructions or reminders on which candidate to vote for?

As for offering her to get her name reinstated via Internet, the Election Department clearly has no idea how old she is. But I guess it’s too much to expect those in charge over there to realise from her IC Number that she isn’t your iPad toting hottie 🙄


Having a political background matters!

Yup, you read right. Say what you like, but don’t you think the only candidate without any real political shadow hanging over him did badly in the recent presidential election precisely because he didn’t and doesn’t any real political affiliation?

I’m referring to Mr Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit because he didn’t get the 12.5% of the votes needed to retrieve his $48,000. Why, he didn’t even get 6.25%! He got under 5%, leading to jokes about “low 5”! And this despite the fact that he’s been visible for years since he quit NTUC Income — online and offline at Speakers Corner at Hong Lim Park.

What’s so different about him from the other three competitors?

IMHO, I think it’s political affiliation. Tan Kin Lian really had none, never mind the fact — which few people knew, really and truly — that he was a PAP assistant branch secretary at some time in his NTUC career.

By contrast, all the competition had overt political connections, never mind if everyone of them strenuously tried to distance himself from, if not entirely disown those connections.

Take Tan Jee Say. He was as recently as May a failed election candidate standing under the banners of the Singapore Democratic Party. He resigned from SDP, as he must, to contest the PE.

He and his running mates — who failed in their joint bid for the Holland-Buona Vista group representation constituency — were very much in evidence in his PE campaigning. The ever-delectable Nicole Seah was there as were other National Solidarity Party luminaries. OK, all in their personal capacity, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. But you get the picture. 😆

It was the same for Tan Cheng Bock. OK, he too said he was his own man. Independent. Above politics ad nauseam. But come lah, he was a PAP man for decades and successfully contested countless elections wearing the PAP badge.

Even all the evidence he proudly displayed to show his independence — speaking out against the Nominated MP scheme, getting free parking in HDB carparks on Sundays et al — were ironically achieved while he was a PAP MP, not because he was independent loner Tan Cheng Bock.

He spoke in parliament and was listened to because he was an important long-serving PAP backbencher who scored the highest percentage of votes in his final election — which incidentally he did not because he was just Tan Cheng Bock, independent but because he was a PAP candidate through and through, white on white.

Given the decades’ long association that he has had with the PAP, it would take decades, not months or a couple of years for the public to view him solely as indie Tan Cheng Bock without also seeing the PAP association in everything he does.

So, guess what? I think he was given a handsome outing because voters inherently associated him with the PAP and his success in garnering almost 35 per cent of the votes is due more to his PAP DNA than he was sweet Mr Independent.

Some observers say that Tan Cheng Bock attracted opposition support. I would like to suggest it’s not so much opposition support per se as voters who had voted against PAP in the general election, ands having taught the PAP “a lesson”, deciding they would rotate the support to a candidate with PAP cred.

As for Tony Tan, he got the solid PAP supporter vote all right. Although he too, in the mood of times, tried to move away from the PAP banyan, he was never vociferously anti or ungrateful about his PAP background. And he is to be respected for that.

And the lesson to be learnt from the recent pressie election? If you want to get anywhere in the next PE in 2017, you better have some political name recognition, overt or at arm’s length. Otherwise, be prepared to lose your deposit!

2 reasons why Mr George Yeo shouldn’t

… join the race to become Singapore’s next president.

First, like he said, he is not “temperamentally suited for such a job”, which carries one responsibility that I think no one should be asked to do — and that is to sign the execution order for those condemned* to die by our courts.

How would Mr Yeo, a self-confessed “free spirit”, react when families of death row prisoners send petition after petition asking for their loved ones to be spared?

Sure, the president has no power to gainsay a death sentence and must abide by the advice of the Cabinet.

But in his private moments, in his secret conscience, would he not be forced to recall the story of Pontius Pilate? Could he sleep well on the night be4 the execution or wake up feeling good on the morning when he gets up knowing that someone, somewhere in Singapore has been hanged on his orders?

The second reason why Mr Yeo shouldn’t attempt the presidential election is that he might well lose, whether in a two or three-horse race. How would he feel to lose two elections in a row, not having lost one till this year in his decades long political career? Could his self-confidence survive such bruising within the span of a few months?

If he really needs to have something to do apres Aljunied, he should look no further than the forever urbane Tommy Koh as a template. Professor Koh has reinvented himself many times over and seems to have the secret to being forever relevant whatever the year, the season or the reason.

* I’m no Alan Shadrake and I’m not against capital punishment as such for heinous crimes. Indeed, when i was robbed at gun-n-knife point several years ago — one of 18 victims in a hair dressing salon in Katong Shopping Centre that was hit by 3 armed robbers — my first thought was that all the bastards should be hanged! Alas, none of the culprits were ever caught! In calmer moments though, I feel terribly for the burden we impose on fellow citizens when we task them to carry out the country’s death penalty!