Opposition parties need to focus on swing voters

I think it is safe to say that there are probably very few people left in Singapore who have affection for the People’s Action Party (PAP). The mainstream media may refer, from time to time, to a “silent majority”. Indeed, there is one but the silence is less that of comfortable association with the PAP, but more one derived from fear of speaking out, or the fear of change.

The way I see it, there are just two push/pull factors buffeting voters this election: fear and frustration.

Bear in mind however that I use these two terms very broadly.

Fear is not just the fear of retribution from the PAP. For this essay, I include the fear of the unknown, the fear of “rocking the boat”. There is also the fear of losing out on upgrading.

Frustration is not just over bread and butter issues. There are plenty who belong to the better-off socio-economic strata, who are also frustrated, but over issues such as freedom of speech, minority rights or the uneven playing field for small businesses.

As you can see from the graphic above, voters can be divided into four groups:

(A): Those who are fearful, but not frustrated and generally happy with their lives in Singapore.

(B): Those who are fearful, but frustrated.

(C): Those who are not fearful, but they are quite happy as well.

(D): Those who are not fearful, but certainly frustrated.

The PAP can count on the votes of those in quadrant A. Being happy, but also fearful of the consequences of voting for the opposition, there is no reason to vote for the latter.

Opposition parties can count on the votes of D. They are frustrated, but they not fearful of the consequences. They will readily cast their vote for opposition parties unless the candidate(s) in their respective  constituencies look dubious — which I think is not too big a concern this election.

The tricky ones are those in quadrants B and C. You might call them the swing voters.

Those in C — the bottom left quadrant — are quite amenable to casting their votes against the PAP, because the fear quotient is not high. But their lives are good and their frustration level is low. The question then becomes, what is it about the Workers’ Party or the Singapore Democratic Party or whatever other party, that is so attractive, so worthy of their vote?  Opposition parties need to think seriously about this question and pitch themselves to them. One possibility I can think of is that of appealing to idealism. It could be the idealism of human rights, or the idealism of compassion for the poor and marginalised.

The problem with courting idealism is that it requires a completely different tone from a pitch to the frustrated. Idealism requires speaking in very positive tones, painting a better world and appealing to the goodness and selflessness in us.  Pitching to the frustrated on the other hand requires an angrier, perhaps more sarcastic tone, that takes as its starting point, the rape of the self. The conflict between the two types of messages can be a big problem.

Those in B — the top right quadrant — are also amenable to voting for the opposition because they too are frustrated by present policies. However, they are held back by fear. And the PAP knows that; that’s why you see them ramping it up:

Asked what the PAP would do if it lost the [Aljunied] ward, Mr Lee [Kuan Yew] said: “Well, it’s their choice. And I’d say they have five years to live and repent.”

— Sunday Times, 1 May 2011, ‘Aljunied is the only hot seat’

You also see in the headline a new tactic, but one that is also aimed at heightening fear. The PAP is trying to make the voters of Aljunied feel isolated. There is an attempt to paint a picture of no other constituency swinging to the opposition and Aljunied alone will bear the brunt of the PAP’s revenge.

All opposition parties need to deal with this. The threat issued by the PAP will be read subliminally by voters in all constituencies. This means that, to win Quadrant B voters over, opposition parties should not be talking about frustrations; they should be addressing the fear. But how many of them are really doing that?

Look at the videos that have emerged of rally speeches. Estimate how many minutes are spent banging on about frustrations (and only bread-and-butter ones, not even other frustrations), or going on about wanting to be “your voice”.

Then estimate how many minutes are spent trying to assuage fear, e.g. by dealing with PAP’s threats to withhold upgrading; anxiety over stepping into a different political world; barely suppressed panic about whether the economy and their jobs will suffer from any resulting destabilisation; and concern about vote secrecy.

At the (few) rallies I’ve been to so far, I’ve only seen the Workers’ Party try to do this. Sylvia Lim for example spoke at length about how she’s sure that the vote is secret on 29 April; Gerald Giam told his audience that the Workers’ Party does not oppose everything the PAP proposes and have in the past supported policies that the party feels will benefit the people, such as Workfare. But they are the exceptions, and as yet, nobody knows the answer to PAP’s threat of withholding upgrading.

In short, opposition parties need to be more calculative. The voters of quadrant D are in their pocket. There is no need to keep addressing people’s frustrations as the primary theme for messaging. In the limited time that they have, they need to speak more relevantly to the other two quadrants of voters. They need to talk about fear and about idealism. Time to put frustration to bed.

49 Responses to “Opposition parties need to focus on swing voters”


  1. 1 ThePasserby 1 May 2011 at 14:38

    On the quadrant C voters, the short impromptu speech by Nicole Seah give on Saturday night, of which I’m sure many would have seen, talked about Chiam See Tong. She said Mr Chiam persisted all these years because he loves Singapore, to loud cheers from the audience. I think such a theme can be expanded upon.

  2. 2 jun 1 May 2011 at 14:51

    I’m sympathetic to the causes of the opposition and would genuinely like to see some worthy candidates get into parliament.

    But, having heard a few rallies, it is a worrying sign when I see the repeated droning of the same issues and grievances. I’m afraid that not help to convince many who are still sitting on the fence.

    On the point of “fears”, it seems to me all candidates are using the fear factor to scare voters. “Vote opposition and you will repent!”, “You will become a second-class citizen in your own country!” etc. I’ve not heard from any candidates from any party talking about the kind of future (possibly building a happier nation) they envision. Contrast to Obama’s campaign of hope and change.

    • 3 yuenchungkwong 1 May 2011 at 18:13

      actually the equivalent of “hope and change” is there in the opposition stance: it is “check and balance”, i.e., you need opposition MPs so stop PAP being too powerful; like “hope and change”, “check and balance” sounds nice and is agreeable to almost everyone; providing details of how to perform this “check and balance”, like obama delivering on “hope and change”, is a lot more difficult, but so far voters have been lenient towards the opposition parties, and consider any party that manages to stay in parliament to be successful in providing “check and balance” without expecting much more

      however, if the opposition parties manage to entrench themselves in the Singapore political scene, and WP does show promise of being able to do this, then expectations will be raised in the not distance future

    • 4 Seo 2 May 2011 at 00:04

      @Jun, u might have miss the SDP rally this evening. They speak of exactly the kind of future and building a more caring community that you were hoping to see. Do catch them today next to commonwealth mrt, I think they are touching on the same topic. I must say, SDP rally is very impressive this time around.

      • 5 andyrooneyrocks 2 May 2011 at 01:14

        yup i was there and I must say I’ve never felt as Singaporean as I did during the rally. the SDP didn’t only talk about grievance, they also spoke about building hopes and dreams.

        stuff that are worthy of me casting the right vote come polling day.

      • 6 AL 2 May 2011 at 16:56

        At the SDP’s first rally, candidate Vincent spoke clearly on the need for a humane and inclusive society. He spoke also on how we must welcome immigrants and help them become loyal Singaporeans as well. As a foreign born Singaporean the SDP gets my support (and some of my Grow & Share money)!

    • 7 Anon 2 May 2011 at 23:29

      Do check out VW speeches (BT-H, SDP). I think the “soaring rhetoric” style of Obama has its purpose and can be introduce in the speeches by the alternative candidates. But this must be very finely calibrated for fear the majority of the voters may see this as “airy-fairy” and not grounded in the bread and butter issues that matters most to voters. But bec of the demographic shift in the electorate that is savvier and more educated, the soaring rhetoric style would appeal to the B quadrant voters.

      Alex, great piece of analysis.

  3. 8 muralee 1 May 2011 at 15:32

    Reading the Business Times yesterday, I think that there is one MAJOR piece of singapore society that the opposition parties have either not identified with, or not have had access to. These are the companies, particularly the medium and large enterprises. BT had an interesting graph to show how the stock market surged when the PAP won big in 2001, and how it posted flat or negative results every time the PAP percentage dipped.

    This, i feel, is very telling for many reasons. Firstly, the corporate sector simply does not identify with the policies proposed by the opposition parties. Secondly, as an extension, opposition parties do not get the same funding and support the PAP enjoys in the grassroots (which we can see is enjoyed by opposition parties in many democratic countries such as the US and India).

    The sooner the opposition realises this, and starts wooing the companies, the better for them, and for Singapore politics in general.

    • 9 yawningbread 1 May 2011 at 15:38

      That was 2001 when, in the wake of 9/11, there was widespread fear of instability globally. Was there a similar effect in 2006 when the PAP won 82 out of 84 seats?

      Also, stockmarket sentiment is quite a different thing from long-term investors’ calculations which was the point I addressed. Stockmarket punters tend to think short term and tend to follow herd mentality.

      • 10 muralee 1 May 2011 at 15:49

        I would like to clarify that, this correlation is not to the numbers of opposition seats won, but to the percentage of votes that the PAP gets…

        So, to your question, the answer is yes, the market plunged 9% in 2006, given PAP’s drop in votes to 66%.

      • 11 Gard 1 May 2011 at 21:20

        Yes, there is the commonplace saying that if the US Republican wins, the market cheer; if the US Democrats win, the market boo. Attempting to translate that to Singapore, with her small domestic market, is a stretch, however.

        STI HSI KOSPI
        8-May-06 2620 16901 1445
        5-Jun-06 2337 15628 1235
        change -11% -7.5% -14.5%

        Can PAP’s loss of popularity translate to stock market outcomes also in Hong Kong and Korea?

        If political power somehow influences stock market outcomes in the long term, then it is worthwhile to consider that HSI (Hong Kong) is 40% higher today than it was in 8-May-06, and STI is only 21% higher over the same period.

        This is not to say that Singapore should be run like Hong Kong. Each has her own character (and enrich the studies of economic growth). Own flaws as well. But Singapore faces tremendous challenges.

        For example, Singapore is not even on the top 25 cities by 2025 in the Mar 2011 McKinsey report “Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities”

        http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/urban_world/index.asp

        Hong Kong is on the list.

        If you think about how Singapore has been pulling immigrants to create critical mass, building infrastructure for eco-cities, silicon-cities, etc. this is a damning judgment on Singapore’s industrial planning.

        The fear is not that we change for the worse; but the fear to change, paralyzed and comforted by the monarchy’s vision of ‘general rise in real wages.’

        Anyone who tried to be an entrepreneur knows that it is hard-work, possibly a short-term decline in income and standard of living.

        The pain is real; the fear is real. Can the opposition parties work together with the monarchy to console, to encourage, to pull through? that is the ultimate question.

    • 12 chua 1 May 2011 at 21:39

      Patrict Daniel is still at Biz Times, right? They’ll keep running FUD pieces. The numbers and trends cited are bogus. Any respectable financial person knows that. Some people felt that the piece should be comprehensively rebutted, but erm, it’s not as if they’ll print it, so no point tying up bandwidth for ourselves.

  4. 13 Lin 1 May 2011 at 15:36

    Succinct analysis. I hope the oppositions are reading this. There are still a few more days to go and they need all the help they can get.

  5. 14 Bulldog PAP 1 May 2011 at 15:56

    Alex, this is a gem. If I were a politician, I would want you on my side.

    The fear is palpable: Winston Chong of WP in tears; Pei Ying scared to register with WP; Tan Jee Say had to persuade the family of psychiatrist dude (can’t remember his name) to come around; Wilfred had to persuade Benjamin Pwee to join opposition. If these people (& their families) took persuading, imagine how much more work is needed to persuade ordinary Singaporeans?

    The PAP knows this and that’s why the Bulldog is out wielding the big stick. The barrage of threats is almost comical. Do Singaporeans respond to property value nosediving and estates turning into Hougang & PPasir? Truth is for those of us living in HDB flats, the estates are already going downhill. Many estates are not as spick and span as before. MPs are never around enough to notice.

    Sylvia addressed civil servants but not enough. Many civil servants are well paid (enough to go for gourmet lessons in France) and are not the type to rock the boat. They form the bulk of the voters. The disgruntled ones will exact revenge but it is likely the majority will go with the government that butters their bread (& bonuses).

    The opposition can learn from Obama alright. Hope always trumps fear. The oppo. has got to tell great Singaporean stories to make us feel good about taking ownership of this great country. We did it before, didn’t we?

    • 15 Sephora 1 May 2011 at 22:38

      I once visited my frd’s flat at Tampines St 82 n it wasn’t well-kept. Rubbish, stray cats n a stale smell n it wasn’t jz at the rubbish chute area. So yeah, some of the estates r alr not doing good.

  6. 16 2nd time voter 1 May 2011 at 16:46

    Absolutely true what you say abt isolation tactics. I woke up this morning to the same headlines abt repenting and suddenly felt that while everyone gets to vote, sights are set only on aljunied to be the foolhardy ‘heroes’. Very unfair framing of the situation because almost eveyone gets a say this elections.

  7. 17 sgelectorate 1 May 2011 at 16:58

    Good pointed analysis. That’s why I think someone like Chenshowmao in WP gets it. He’s gone down that road, and I think he amongst his team is best person to address the A+B crowd on higher ground effectively. It will also help CSM avoid getting into any legal untanglement unncessarily. I think they need to exploit his strength more . Hopefully sooner!

    • 18 logical 2 May 2011 at 00:15

      Good point, Chen Show mao did ask Voters along the line:” do you feel Hopeful for the future”

      Good point indeed. Sound bit like what my priest would say, but still good enough to motivate those who want a change from better to betterest!

  8. 19 Danielle 1 May 2011 at 17:51

    What is the best way to respond to a bully who drives fear into the hearts of men and women? To allow them to see that bully leads to greater cowardice? The only way is to come together to show a unity of voters. Every vote is a respond to make the bully a smaller force. Giving in to the bully grows and empower him till a day when we are too feeble to even garner a response. This is the time. It’s now or never.

  9. 20 True Singaporean 1 May 2011 at 18:45

    Another group that should be considered is the new citizens. I am sure most of us are welcoming of the right types of new citizens. Their votes are also important. Lets think of ways to also include as many new citizens as we can in the cause of build a better Singapore together.

  10. 21 Pete 1 May 2011 at 20:35

    1. Your 2×2 model simply things.

    There are many Ignorant people who have NOT awaken from the dream that PAP has painted. While they may be suffering, they they it for granted.

    This segment is unrepresented in your model.

    2. I agree with your observation, that the opposition has to start to think sytategicall. To reach beyond the “converted”.

    3. Otherwise it will be “Full of sound and fury; signifying nothing”. I hope not.

  11. 22 john g 1 May 2011 at 23:56

    Your picture gives a impression that there is an even distribution of voters across all quadrants. Should probably replot the picture to reflect your thoughts on where most are.

    Not very accurate ? Just saying. Cheers.

    • 23 yawningbread 2 May 2011 at 02:30

      I’d be plucking numbers from thin air if I tried to give any breakdown. As it is, my illustration indicates considerable numbers in quadrant B. But I don’t think it is important to pin down numbers. The point of the article was to disabuse ourselves of the notion that voters are homogenous, and that beating the frustration drum is enough to win votes.

  12. 24 Cassie 1 May 2011 at 23:57

    interesting analysis, but a few assumptions lie behind it that should be addressed:
    1) frustrated people may not necessarily think that opposition is more credible than PAP – they may be totally disillusioned with politics and hence abstain from voting (this phenomenon is quite common in european democracies)
    2) people who are not frustrated may vote for the opposition anyway because they think a strong opposition would be good for singapore
    3) arguably, people who are not frustrated have nothing to fear cos they know they won’t be a ‘target’ – hence there are not likely to be many people in this category
    4) the analysis assumes no differentiation between opposition parties – however some people (e.g. Yaw Shin Leong) rank their voting preferences in the following manner:
    1st choice: Opp Party A
    2nd choice: PAP
    3rd choice: Opp Party B
    therefore even if they are frustrated, they would vote for the PAP over Opp Party B if presented with only these two options.

  13. 25 Clear 1 May 2011 at 23:59

    What’s really going to determine the out come of the Election goes beyond who is voting for whom, but rather;
    – How carefully the boundaries have been drawn up,
    – The GRC system effectiveness in diluting the votes for Opposition (i.e. 33.3% = 2 seats), and
    – the dilution of votes cast by people born in Singapore, by “New Citizens”

    • 26 Meiling 2 May 2011 at 01:32

      I think the dilution of our votes could be quite heavy. From Singstat, population count in 2010 was 5,076 000. Since most GRCs are being contested, you will be looking at a few hundred thousand more “new citizen” votes in favour of the PAP.

      Since it is not possible to reach out to these people, I think these votes are a goner.

      • 27 yawningbread 2 May 2011 at 02:23

        I am uncomfortable with the tack you’re taking. We are all descended from migrants, some more recent, some several generations back. New citizens too can desire a more vibrant democracy; there is no evidence at all (only supposition) that they are solidly pro-PAP. So, until there is more evidence, I am going to put a stop to this line of reasoning and its follow-on statements. As my Comments Guidelines state: Assertions of fact should be supported by evidence.

      • 28 True Singaporean 2 May 2011 at 08:02

        I do not think that new citizen are all so dumb and will vote only pap. They too would want to consider what kind of future they can have here. My concern is more that so far as i can hear up to now no one has address this group for their votes. Do we want to just give out the large block of votes. Every vote counts. What possible ways to approach this?

  14. 29 Eudaemon 2 May 2011 at 00:26

    I was at the SDP rally in Clementi on Sun night and I felt they addressed the fear issue quite consistently and well through the session (eg. vote secrecy, no apocalypse scenario). Maybe they read your post. In my view, upgrading and estate maintenance are over-rated, people should be able to see that by now. WP brought up Hougang as a good argument vs upgrading.

    Nevertheless, I still feel there is a need for speakers to affirm and remind people of their frustrations. This targets those in quadrant C, who may have ‘low frustrations’ simply because they are forgetful. It is unlikely that anyone is truly not adversely affected by any of the policies, they just may not draw the connection.

    However, the most important thing is – those in quadrant B and C are highly unlikely to attend rallies in the first place! How do you get your message across to these people, including those who are politically apathetic? I thought parties should distribute flyers or send runners to spread the word around rally sites. I saw many families at the nearby coffee-shops having their dinner. They could probably be interested to drop by the rally after their dinner, if they knew one was nearby.

    • 30 lohcheemeng 2 May 2011 at 01:51

      Eudaemon is right.

      There are many who are either still really apathetic cos they are not “affected” or they still live in fear BUT as Singaporeans who believe in the opposition cause, WE can do something about this.

      We can start talking to all our parents, friends, neighbours, relatives, classmates, colleagues, etc so that they understand the issues and the implication of this GE. If they are convinced, ask that they do the same too. And repeat this. We hv little time to the GE. We must act now.

      If we can tap on our social network. The multiplier effect cannot be underestimated. I will hate to see a repeat of the 2006 election result for Aljunied GRC or other wards being contested.

      Our little efforts can make a BIG difference. http://lohcheemeng.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/4/

  15. 31 Iman Harharah 2 May 2011 at 00:30

    Excellent article and analysis for opposotion to consider when addressing Singaporeans fears! I totally agree fear is one of the biggest factor that result in comfortable and pampered Singaporeans to not wanting to vote wisely.

    I would like to see an analysis of demographics of eligible voters. That will shed light in addressing the mindsets of the different demographics by age, gender, ethinicy and work.

  16. 32 Rabbit 2 May 2011 at 01:16

    The best way to tell B group is that the bully is now old and living on borrowed times. He is not above the law and thus posed no threat to the people. The people will be protected by the Singapore can-do spirit, the law, the national pledge and our oppositions unity. Singaporeans boleh and not PAP boleh!

    As a matter of fact, PAP already admitted they are the servant to the people. In this regard, the master has the right to choose who to be their servant. Nobody can accept a servant who constantly threaten their master. Thus it can only make sense to dismiss this kind of public servant and make some changes going forward. This is PEOPLE POWER the PAP must accept not vice versa.

    Hope opposition can argue along that line and allays voter’s fear.

    • 33 yawningbread 2 May 2011 at 02:26

      But fear, as I have explained in the article, is not only fear of the “bully”. It is also fear of change, fear of pecuniary risk, whether imagined or real.

  17. 34 witness 2 May 2011 at 08:54

    One way to assuage fear is the repoeated chanting of catchy slogans.

    To Obama’s
    YES WE CAN!
    YES WE CAN!
    YES WE CAN!

    We should respond
    IF NOT NOW, WHEN!
    IF NOT NOW, WHEN!
    IF NOT NOW, WHEN!

  18. 35 Collin 2 May 2011 at 09:23

    An interesting analysis, though i’m just wondering which categories would form the bulk of those attending the rallies & the online sphere.

  19. 36 whatsocool 2 May 2011 at 11:02

    What is the cooling period on 6 may for?

  20. 37 twasher 2 May 2011 at 11:26

    Low Thia Khiang spent a good few minutes explaining that votes are secret on Apr 30:

  21. 38 Omg 2 May 2011 at 11:26

    Oh my God!

    Just discovered the fear is so great that my sister was afraid to even let me talk to her over the phone about not casting a vote for the PAP. She relented, and seething with anger, I tried to talk to her about my stand and what I read on the Net. I told I really look down on her and consider her among the uneducated lot because of her irrational fear. “It’s not like you’ve millions in your bank or that you’re the principal or something. What’s there to be afraid of? Even if you’ve millions in your account, the more you must stand up against the establishment!”

    Now I understand why my friend was pissed off by his father, because his father told him must vote for the PAP – the serial number is there to track you, he said.

  22. 39 Vapex 2 May 2011 at 16:17

    This is an interesting analysis.
    Thinking aloud:
    i) how do the opposition address the new voters (between 21 – 35 years old). What are their needs? Issues? Are they fearful to vote for the Opposition? Hope the younger opposition candidates like Nicole Seah, Gerald Giam, Glenda Han, Michelle Lee, Angela Oon etc will give them the courage to vote for the Opposition
    ii) the older generation – the uncles and aunties. The fear in them is real. I was at a hawker centre in Bedok on Friday morning. A group of 5 elder men and women were talking about the GE. At one point they were talking about the serial number. One man was trying to allay the fear from one of the women, he said “Why are you frightening your self.” (He replied in Hokien)
    iii) the Opposition needs a catchy phrase (someone suggested this) like what President Obama had during his campaigning. The value as I see in having is to help allay the fear factor. Like chanting.
    iv) how do we get this analysis the opposition parties. Hope they read this. If they missed this it would be a waste. I came across this by chance. The discussion is very good and matured.

  23. 40 mtan 2 May 2011 at 16:43

    I agree that based on past trends, crowd size does not lead to votes for the opposition up to the 2006 GE. Why?

    Up to 2006 GE there were HDB upgrading programs which titled voters opinion towards the PAP. Who does not want upgrading to enhance property values. So such indiviudal prefernces over “national interest” saw votes going to PAP.

    In 2011 there are no HDB upgrading plans OR is there one which I many not nknow? So the impetus to vote PAP is not all that strong.

    I believe the fear factor against the presence of foreigners taking over jobs from Singaporeans in the wage range of $3-5K/month may prove decisive. Even if the PAP convince us that they are here on contract basis, SDP’s Tan Jee Says arguments that so long those industries/companies are allowed to thrive in Singapore, the practice of having contract workers will always be strong. This means Singaporeans will never hope to get those jobs so long companies continue to hire people on contract basis.

  24. 41 mtan 2 May 2011 at 16:52

    The other factor which traditional worked for the PAP may no longer be a strong factor in 2011. The segment of elderly folks – ppl from the 60s age group and above who prefer stability are impacted by rising medical cost. Medishield or Medisafe cannot be utilized for medicine or consultations unless they are hospitalised. So cash payment is required.

    From an inside contact within our hospitals, I found that many chose to hospitalise themselves to enjoy Medishield/Medisave benefits. The bed-load problem in hospitals has increased putting pressure on the medical staff – doctors especially. Even hiring foreign doctors from China, Myanmar and India is supposedly to ease the burden of our local octors. Is that possible? Nope because these medical degress whislt recogniszed by the Spore Medical Councilm it does not been that a licence to practise as a consultant is possible. This means foreign doctors with medical qualifications that would easily make them at least an associate consultant/registrar in Spore can only practise as a Medical Officer (MO status). This also explains why medical tests which cost a bomb are usually recommended by doctors when they see patients. There is a “safety first” mentality among doctors in hospitals. I knwo of one restructured hospital which has a turnover as much as Singtel or even SIA. You dont believe it?

  25. 42 syafiq06 2 May 2011 at 22:11

    Gerd:

    Singapore is not even on the top 25 cities by 2025 in the Mar 2011 McKinsey report “Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities”
    http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/urban_world/index.asp
    Hong Kong is on the list.

    Recent news: LSS suggested to name one institution after our former alcoholic president DN.

    Do you know DN’s son is very senior in Mckinsey?

    The rest is up to you to imagine.

  26. 44 rabble 2 May 2011 at 22:15

    The PAP has criticized the manifesto of SDP or WP to that of raiding the Singapore reserves. I would have expected the majority of Singaporeans to be happy that the amount of money being spent on them would be substantial. How much it would amount? Well definitely more that Grow and Share, Jobs Credit Scheme, Workfare etc. Since these schemes are approved by the incumbent and these policies have not “raided” the Singapore reserves.

    Compared the SDP’s rejuvenation plan of $60B and upgrading. SDP’s incentive wins hands down! Why with $60B are we worried that our estates will end up as slums, or we have to repent and live with our mistakes? Even if these were mistakes, we would still live pretty comfy lives for the next 5 years.

    82:5 in favor of the opposition, for the rejuvenation plan, or cheaper public housing! This might be the biggest Pork Barrel Politicking that will put us on the records!

  27. 45 wffchris 2 May 2011 at 23:39

    Just attended The SDP rally at Commonwealth. And interestingly the speakers were all addressing this issue of fear.
    I was really glad to hear this team again, who is contesting in my ward deal with this issue of Fear and bring up issues as well as aspirations.
    Pity is the turn-out or awareness may not reach the electorate that will be voting in this ward.
    Check-out the speech of Michelle and Dr Vincent gave tonight at Commonwealth and if you agree they make good points, please share with your friends.

  28. 46 Vapex 3 May 2011 at 10:08

    I attended the NSP rally last night at Mountbatten. The crowd covers almost the whole field. The MC has to keep asking the people to move further in so that the rest do not spilt over to the road.
    i) NSP also addressed this issue of fear. Their founder, Mr Tan Chee Kean addressed this in Mandarin. He specifically mentioned that he spoke in Mandarin so that the older generation voters like him will understand and have no fear in voting for the opposition. He related his experience and confirmed the secrecy of the voting ballot since he first stood for election in the first GE many years ago.
    ii) their two Malay candidates : Ms Nor Lella and Mr Syafarin both addressed this issue besides others in Malay. Their speeches can win the hearts and minds of the voters. They spoke with passion and their tone can galvanize the listeners. I understand some bahasa.
    The WP also addressed the fear issue in their rally on Saturday night. I was there too.

    Hope this fear issue is addressed adequately and extensively i.e reach the right group of voters.

  29. 47 Huey 3 May 2011 at 18:35

    Thanks for an insightful analysis as usual, Alex.

    I agree that fear and idealism both need to be addressed. But I don’t think the conflict between the two types of messages is necessarily irreconcilable.

    I see it as a matter of sequencing. It is right to address the issue of fear right now and already, we are seeing several parties doing that. By neutralizing fear, hopefully this section of the electorate would naturally be converted into the “D type” voters.

    Going into the last lap of this electoral race, the tone should gradually change to one of hope. Not just idealism about compassion for the poor and marginalized, but a reframing of the national narrative – a story that reminds us what our values are as a country, creating a vision of a community that is not anchored solely on self interest, but where concern for the welfare of others is the right thing to do. One that doesn’t condescend by making empty promises that things are going to be alright once the right people are in place, but rather a sincere call for each and every citizen to participate in this process of trying to figure things out together.

    Fear immobilizes people. But hope will propel people to action.

  30. 48 Peter 5 May 2011 at 10:40

    I love it when people who look at Singapore and conclude that More opposition = better for Singapore, especially since it’s a proven concept in every other country.

    Among the things having more opposition will ‘solve’ are : the cost of living, low wages, high GST, welfare.

    PAP is ‘lazy and not working hard for Singapore’ that’s why Singapore is not a nirvana like Australia, USA even if it’s been called Switzerland of the Asia.

    That’s why countries with more democratic opposition are doing so much better than Singapore. EG: Taiwan, Thailand , Indonesia, Philippines. Oh let’s examine Australia, higher GST, higher personal tax, higher salaries, higher cost of living, cost of property, much higher crime, welfare state/free medicare, and yet more people on Centrelink, more beggars, more ghettos, more soup kitchens – in fact 2 kids died yesterday because their tent they stayed in (because they could not afford rent) blew up. Yup – more opposition is the solution to everything.
    Just vote them in, everything will be solved.

    Cost of living will miraculously drop while people’s salary will go miraculously go up, and GST will be also be lowered and yet will be able to fund more welfare. And we get to watch WWE style entertainment in parliament. – for free!

    What’s there to lose? The proof is in every other country.
    Every country gets the government they deserve.

  31. 49 WPWIN@yahoo.com 16 May 2011 at 00:02

    we need to help yaw shin leong more, as this win if not for low thia khiang’s past 20 years of efforts in hougang i think yaw shin leong will lose hougang for sure, as his residents support is still not as good as low thia khiang who walked the ground more than yaw shin leong, yaw shin leong must quickly learn from low thia khiang to pick up more tips otherwise all will be lost!!!!!


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