Encourage Punggol East voters to differentiate between parties, and not just think of PAP-vs-Opposition
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Written by Ng E-Jay
15 January 2013
So far, the self-proclaimed “son of Punggol”, who in reality spent the last few years doing grassroots work at Telok Blangah rather than at Punggol itself, has not differentiated himself from the regular mould of PAP wannabe politicians.
The newly minted PAP candidate, Dr Koh Poh Koon, who actually became a full-fledged PAP member only a month ago, has thus far only managed to throttle out the regular blend of touchy-feely campaign messages like “This is me, I am me“, or “Choose me because you can connect with me“, or “If residents feel that I am not the best person, please do not give me any sympathy votes“.
As far as Dr Koh Poh Koon is concerned, I don’t think anyone feels there is anything about him to sympathize with. He was parachuted in by the PAP at the last minute and enjoys the solid backing of Teo Chee Hean and Teo Ser Luck in his electoral campaign.
Dr Koh also said: “You must choose to vote for the person who can do the work for you. It’s a fallacy to believe that you can have the best of both worlds – choose a person to make a statement, but hope that the other person who is voted out is going to have all the resources, all the authority to get the work done for you.”
This has led many people to criticize Dr Koh for repeating the old PAP scare tactic of threatening to withdraw support for the constituency should their candidate not get voted into office.
And like most other PAP wannabe politicians, Dr Koh also leans heavily on his supposedly humble background of growing up in a farmhouse at Lorong Cheng Lim, and spending his early years playing in rubber plantations, pigsties and chicken coops.
But then, 95% of older voters would have very similar experiences whilst growing up in Singapore.
So, how to differentiate Dr Koh as a unique PAP man when we cannot even differentiate him from the large majority of Singaporeans? What can Dr Koh tell us about his political beliefs, what policies he thinks needs to be changed, and how he is going to make things better if he gets elected?
Differentiate between political parties
Similarly, we should also pose the same questions to all the opposition parties — how do we differentiate you from the other parties, what are your political beliefs and ideology, what policies do you think need to be changed and how should they be changed, and how are you going to make things better for Singaporeans should you get elected?
We need to ask each and every opposition party and candidate the same set of basic questions because we have to differentiate effectively between different parties and different candidates.
It is time to stop lumping all opposition parties and candidates into a single uniform whole, and then thinking just in terms of PAP-versus-Opposition. If we do so, we are denying ourselves the full range of choices available and failing to distinguish between the different policy options and ideological platforms each opposition party has to offer us.
Lumping all the opposition parties and candidates into a single whole also does each of them a disservice. The good attributes unique to each opposition party or candidate gets easily buried, whilst the state controlled media has a field day tarnishing the entire opposition camp should one party or one individual make an unfortunate mistake.
So we should stop thinking in such simplistic binary terms as PAP-versus-The Rest of the Gang. We should start to delve deeper and in more detail into each opposition party and candidate to see what they have to offer.
Only then can we make a more informed choice at the ballot box, and in the long run, mature politically as an electorate.