The people of Singapore have spoken, and the voters of Aljunied GRC have opted to repent for the next 5 years, a fitting end to the most exhilarating elections in memory, and sleepless nights catching up on election news and rally videos on the Net. Finally, life can return to normal in Singapore.
Or can it?
GE 2011 marks a watershed event in Singapore politics, that much is obvious. Besides the landmark feat of a GRC falling to the opposition for the first time, it marks the political awakening for many Singaporeans, especially the younger generation, due to social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, tools which did not exist in the mainstream in 2006.
Although I've been blogging for some time now, you can see that prior to this election season that I've neglected this space for quite some time. I have these elections to return the blogging streak in me that has disappeared for so long.
Also, I've had a Twitter account for some time, but only really began to use it in earnest to catch up on the latest election news and tweets. I even got a tweet back from @mrbrown! Turns out he's also one of the many Aljunied repenters.
When the election results were returned by "Returning Officer Extraordinaire" Yam Ah Mee, the tweets from the #sgelections tag were flashing non-stop way into the wee hours of the morning. It was really quite remarkable and comforting to see my fellow Singaporeans so interested in the outcome of their future, even for once. I hope this enthusiasm does not diminish in the coming five years to the next election. Then we would have really matured as a nation, and will no longer be labelled as docile, unquestioning sheep of the ruling party.
Cartoon from sei-ji rakugaki
Speaking of sheep, one designer bag toting, foot stomping example was voted into parliament while a Foreign Minister was voted out, both the result of the controversial beast that is the GRC. Actually, the opposition and Singaporeans in general have much to thank Tin Pei Ling, for she has exposed the fallacies and arrogance of the ruling party that no opposition candidate (save maybe Nicole Seah) ever could.
Getting elected into parliament has practically ensured that netizens will be scrutinizing her every move and word she utters for the next five years, ready to pounce any slip-up that undermines to her status as an MP (which is basically everything). The opposition could not have asked for a better aid for their cause, not even Nicole Seah.
Photo from Alvinology.com
As a former resident of Potong Pasir, I was disappointed at Chiam See Tong's failed gamble to win the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and even more so when I learned in the early hours of May 8 that Potong Pasir had fallen to the PAP by a margin of less than 100 votes.
A figurehead of opposition politics and David to the PAP Goliath for the past 27 years, Chiam See Tong is, and will always be a true hero of Singapore, fighting for the residents of PP to make Potong Pasir what he is today.
"I am not actually a brave man, but I love Singapore and I love Singaporeans", Chiam said in a recent rally. It is very sad that the less than half of the voters of Bishan-Toa Payoh and Potong Pasir reciprocated that love. I'm afraid it is the end of an era for the Chiams. Perhaps it is time for him to retire in ernest and let the next generation of Benjamin Pwee and company to take over the reins.
What is my biggest regret for these elections? Besides not being able to vote this time, my biggest regret is not being able to help in the opposition efforts for this election. I would volunteer my time as a counting agent or distribute flyers at a moment's notice if I could. It would have been an unforgettable experience. Maybe in five years time, that would really be an interesting election.