As Singapore is wrapped up in the middle of what is widely seen to be a “watershed election”, we begin to see many, many instances of fear-mongering.
Warnings of “freak elections” were constantly heard despite the fact that there is no such thing in real democratic countries.
Analogies of driving cars and car crashes, mentions of violent quarrels in Parliament with chairs being thrown, threats of not getting any upgrading in your neighbourhood estates and accusations of our precious reserves being “raided” has become a norm in these past two weeks.
Even Lui Tuck Yew has come forward with a thinly-veiled and highly inept analogy about nice shady trees and poisonous colourful mushrooms, possibly the closest he has come to being “artistic” in all his years as the Minister of Information, Communication and the Arts.
Minister mentor, Lee Kuan Yew (left) came forward to say that the voters of Aljunied GRC would “regret it” if they voted for the Workers’ Party.
Again, he pointed out that the Workers Party (WP) had “little track record” compared to the People’s Action Party (PAP).
He also said that the residents of Aljunied GRC would have 5 years to ‘repent’ voting for WP, because they would learn that the PAP would always take care of PAP constituencies first- so much for his previous statements about serving all Singaporeans.
As a young Singaporean, and a first-time voter, I have had enough of this.
If the Singaporeans of the 1960s had been so fearful and so concerned about ‘track record’, we would not be where we are today.
Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP would not be where they are today.
This city, Singapore as it is today, is a testament to what Singaporeans have achieved – and we did not achieve all this because we were afraid.
I wish the PAP would stop with their fear mongering. They aren’t doing themselves any favours.
It looks like the alternative parties have got them on the run, and they have nothing left but to fling threats and doomsday scenarios at the electorate.
When I was packing up my bags in New Zealand ready to move back home, I remember saying to my friend that I did not want to say or do anything against the government because I am too young to get in trouble and ‘burn bridges’.
I read about the skyrocketing housing prices, the new young families unable to have homes of their own.
There are people who lost their lifetime savings just because of one surgery.
There was very little I, along with fellow Singaporeans, could do to protest this – because the PAP government has also passed legislation that restricts our freedom of assembly, association and expression.
I am not saying that I am not scared any more. I am. When I join campaigns, when I openly support the opposition and when I write entries and articles criticizing the PAP, I still have worry and anxiety within me.
No matter what I do, there are still mental hurdles that I have to overcome.
But I will not be intimidated and fear-mongered into backing down from doing what I believe is right. Not anymore.
I have seen the effects of the PAP government’s policies. I have seen what happens when there are no alternative voices in Parliament to speak up, to raise debates and to force the government to reconsider and re-evaluate policies.
I have seen the people who are suffering the effects of these policies, who are unable to have their own home, or afford three meals a day to feed their families.
It is true; there is no guarantee that the alternative parties will really be able to deliver. They have no ‘track record’ that we can examine. By voting them in, we are taking a chance.
There is no ‘safe’ vote. There are no real guarantees. We cannot know for sure how the next 5 years will turn out.
We have already seen how things are under the PAP: how people are suffering, how help is not forthcoming, how the Ministers pay themselves with no accountability.
Can we say that things have been fantastic for all Singaporeans in the past 5 years? Can we say that it could not have been any better?
I cannot tolerate all this fear-mongering from the incumbent. I cannot tolerate all this bullying and gerrymandering. I cannot tolerate being just “noise” in my own country, bossed about by holier-than-thou Ministers who don’t understand the sort of lives and problems that normal Singaporeans face.