Three big cheers for the SDP!
Written by Ng E-Jay
16 January 2013
I am glad the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has withdrawn from the Punggol East by-election. I am very sure that it was by no means an easy decision. The party had been walking the ground everyday since it announced its intention to contest. All of its resources were ready and its manpower was fully galvanized.
The SDP chose to withdraw because it heeded the voices of the people. That is a sign of true humility. The SDP has portrayed itself as a party that is willing to listen to the people, able to change at a moment’s notice in response to what the people want.
There will always be other opportunities and other means to build up the SDP. What is one by-election in the grand scheme of things?
Last night, I was browsing through Democratically Speaking, Dr Chee’s latest book. All the court cases fought, all the protests made on behalf of our civil liberties, all the policy papers written, all the engagements made against the ruling PAP, struck a chord within me. The SDP has come a very, very long way. One by-election is just a little speed-bump in this long journey to a more democratic Singapore.
Indeed, electoral participation itself is simply a part of democratic participation, albeit an extremely important one. A political party should not merely contest in elections. It should develop ideas and build dreams for a better tomorrow.
If there is one good thing coming out of all this, it is that SDP has shown that it respects the voices of the people even as it tries to take the helm in providing the leadership that points to a better future.
What can be more comforting, what can be more reassuring, than to have a party tell you that your voice matters, that your opinions will not fall on deaf ears, that they will be acted upon if they are fair, just and reasonable?
Growing up in authoritarian Singapore and feeling that no one cares about you and your thoughts and feelings, that one statement by SDP touched me today.
Let us reaffirm our support for SDP, and for a more democratic Singapore.