A campaign period of 9 days is not enough
August 27, 2011, 12:00 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

Photo from New Asia Republic

Come 27 August, Singaporeans will be polling for the second time this year. Like the General Elections, only 9 days are allocated for campaign activities before the mandatory cooling off day on the 26 August for the Presidential Election.

In these 9 days, the candidates conduct rallies, walkabouts and other related activities but is it enough to cover the whole of Singapore? Personally, I do not think that 9 days are enough for Singaporeans to know enough about the candidates, especially those who were previously unknown to the general public. So how does one decide on who to vote? Check out the following:

1. “The one with the prettiest wife gets my vote.”

2. “Don’t know who they are, just vote Tony Tan la. He is the default choice anyway.”

3. “I will vote for the most handsome one.”

4. “Spoil vote la. I don’t want to participate in this wayang. President cannot do anything much anyway.”

It seems to me that many people are not taking this seriously and they do not know how to take this seriously. This is because the campaign is short, the education system we have do not impart enough political awareness in our lives and we do not have independent print and broadcast media to give us alternative opinions or reports that will balance out what the existing media is saying or reporting as a whole.

Seriously, how can we know who is the best person for the highest paid occupation in Singapore in just 9 days? In a way, I feel that this only benefits those who have been publicly known before as people are more comfortable with familiar faces. Such is the feedback I have been getting for the past 2 weeks although of course I do not know how the rest of the population thinks.

I also think that the media as a whole has not been very fair to some of the candidates from the way they publish unflattering photographs and in some events, none at all or zoom in on a particular candidate’s interview and leaving the rest out in such a way that labels him as controversial but such is expected anyway. The smear campaign has been more subtle this time, as compared to what went on during the GE, focussing more on petty little things like being asked to leave their previous companies and such… In contrast, I don’t see enough discussion going on in the media regarding what it seems to be double standards when it comes to National Service for Tony Tan’s son and other issues that have been discussing online (do correct me if I am wrong though). If those are not important issues, then why did the media devote themselves to a few days of investigating the issue between NTUC and Tan Kin Lian? Or is it because common sense tells us that talking about ‘privilege’ treatment for sons of elites will sway the male votes, hence no extended talk of that sort?

Oh well.

Anyway, being extremely busy with work and my studies for the past two weeks, I am very glad that friends working around the candidates have been filling me with email updates on what has been going on online and offline. Otherwise I might not be able to come to the final conclusion on who to vote for, or have my doubts cleared about some of the candidates.

I think all the candidates have credentials good enough to be the President of Singapore. In fact, I do think that they are on par with one another in that regard. However it takes someone with exceptional personality and passion to bring the country towards economic and moral progress to make a difference. It takes someone who has real connections with Singaporeans on the ground to know about the problems they are dealing with instead of one who floats atop the ivory tower for decades. It takes someone with determination to campaign on in spite of media labelling and unflattering media coverage… and it takes someone courageous enough to be able to stand up publicly for something one truly believes in.

Hopefully the candidate of my choice will become the next President of Singapore because I do think that of all the candidates, he has shown the most passion, determination and sincerity to be a President of the people.

Good luck Jee Say!


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