General election 2015: Huge win for PAP signals stasis

They prevailed in the end

They prevailed in the end

Securing almost 70% of valid votes cast, the huge win by the People’s Action Party (PAP) must have left nearly all observers stunned. During the campaign itself, no one I know seemed to have even imagined, let alone predicted, such a result.

This outcome should be highly revealing of the Singapore electorate. It may be too early to say exactly what it reveals, but it certainly is an important data-point. I shall make some guesses in this essay.

My sense. especially when read against the 2011 results, is that this electorate remains

  • very comfortable with the notion of a paternalistic state;
  • unconcerned by the state resorting to repressive measures, even if it means loss of civil liberties;
  • uninterested in details of how problems should be tackled, instead trusting of broad assurances that they will be tackled;
  • unmoved by appeals for check and balance (do not see much value in it).

Before I go further, perhaps it is useful to table a comparison of the 2011 and 2015 results.

pic_201509_60

 

2011’s protest vote soothed

The 2011 results, including the by-election results following that general election, now have to be read as purely a protest vote. People were angry at a few things, and once the government took the sting out of these key issues with a number of policy tweaks, the electorate reverted to form. Arguments by some opposition parties made in this election (and in the 2011 election) that more needed to be done or that the model needed to be re-examined, cut no ice. People didn’t seem interested in the details or the nature of the solutions; they were basically saying when casting a protest vote: “I don’t care how you solve the problem, I have no time for details, enquiry, or understanding of the issues, just solve them.” This is a sign of a very short-termist — and if you wish to be uncharitable, intellectually lazy — electorate.

Another indicator of a short-termist electorate is that the arguments for the need to build sufficient checks and balances, with the long-term objective of having the safety-net of a opposition party strong enough to form alternative government 2 or 3 elections hence, had no impact. Even in the immediate term, they are comfortable with having an over-dominant government with a track record of paternalism.

Consider this: The PAP didn’t even bother to address the broad issues in much of their campaign. They stuck to local improvements combined with mud-slinging at the opposition. Yet, it was enough to satisfy voters and win a landslide. They knew they weren’t facing sophisticated voters.

Some other observations:

Despite attempts by some opposition parties to use the high rate of immigration and temporary work migration as a rallying cry, I can see no effect. This confirms what I have long felt (and said to several journalists recently). Xenophobia is not a defining characteristic of Singapore. Yes there are outbursts from time to time, especially on social media, just as we had racist outbursts against fellow citizens from time to time, but on the whole, Singaporeans are very comfortable with a cosmopolitan landscape full of foreigners with varying degrees of assimilation.

The CPF issue also fell flat. Despite the decibels, it doesn’t appear as if that many Singaporeans are upset about pushing back the retirement age and new limits on withdrawals of pension funds. As for the points made by some candidates regarding the need for transparent accounting of money in our sovereign wealth funds, where the CPF funds are invested, it seems too “cheem” (intellectual, complicated) for the voter. This lack of any urge to demand transparency again tells me that this electorate is quite happy trusting the government without demanding details about solutions.

Some may argue that this election result was heavily affected by the high rate of naturalisation in the last decade or so. The prevailing meme is that new citizens are solidly pro-PAP. This question is certainly worth investigating. To begin with, we really need a better idea how many were naturalised in the last 20 years, and what percentage they are now of the voting electorate. I’m not sure where we will get the data in sufficiently exhaustive detail, but I would strongly urge the opposition members of parliament to ask for an annual breakdown of the numbers (and age of naturalisation) as soon as possible.

What I find a little surprising is that the cost of living issue had no traction either. Every day, we hear people complain about costs; the steady rise in prices is hard to miss. With very little done to narrow the income divide (though there have been efforts to help the lowest-paid, e.g. cleaners) no broad, structural solution is in sight. Yet, this issue had very little traction in the campaign. I wonder whether people have become like lab rats, so inured to the pain, they no longer think it abnormal.

I’m almost sure some people somewhere will make the argument that with the collapse of the Chinese financial market and the unmistakeable signs of an economic slowdown rolling towards us (our second quarter 2015 GDP grew only 1.7% year-on-year, and shrank 4.6% quarter-on-quarter), this result could be compared with the 2001 general election result. In times of economic uncertainty, the argument goes, there is a flight to safety politically. I am not convinced. The effects of the slowdown hasn’t really hit us yet; and no party made much mention of this angle in the campaign.

What about the issue of financial management at the Aljunied Town Council? I stand by the prediction I made in previous posts: it had little effect. Sure, the Workers’ Party vote-share went down by 3.7% in Aljunied GRC, and down by 7.1% in Hougang; it went down 5.3% in Punggol East (compared to the Worker’s  Party’s 2013 victory in a by-election), but these declines are lower than the overall decline in opposition votes throughout Singapore — a decline of 9.8%. If indeed the issue played strongly on voters’ minds, then one would expect a greater detrimental effect on voters in constituencies where WP was the incumbent.

Looking long term

The bottom line is this: This election result, when read against the 2006 and 2011 results, is very revealing of the Singapore electorate: one that is very comfortable with trusting an over-dominant government to steer the way and find solutions to immediate problems. It demands solutions, but is uninquisitive as to the details of the solutions, the modelling used, the price (in side-effects) to be paid, or whether these solutions store up problems for the future. This electorate will protest when it feels pain, but is easily pacified with short-term fixes.

The core “anti-government” block remains at about 30 percent. It seems to have renewed itself generationally, and with that, the nature of the anti-ness may have evolved into one more concerned about checks and balances at an intellectual level, plus a large dose of social liberalism (versus the old “antis” who were visibly socially conservative) but the numbers don’t seem to have grown.

Looking at the long term, this result kind of confirms what I have long felt to be Singapore’s future: A lengthy period of stasis supported by a complacent electorate, increasingly relying on outmoded models of governance, gradually losing vitality. The failure to accommodate incremental change or build political safety nets will mean that when scandal and political crisis hits, as it surely will, the tumble will be very severe. I have long entertained the possibility that the tumble will be so severe, e.g. a prolonged period of economic malaise, that the only solution is to be rescued by a foreign country. This would naturally come with a concomitant loss of independence. This election result is totally congruent with my view of Singapore’s cloudy long-term prospects.

For easy future reference. I append here the detailed vote-counts by constituency:

 

pic_201509_61

77 Responses to “General election 2015: Huge win for PAP signals stasis”


  1. 1 yuenchungkwong 12 September 2015 at 13:45

    the PAP voters are complacent, but so were the opposition people; some, like PPP, believed that even a four-month old political party, with no grassroots coverage in the electorate its candidates campaigned in, could nevertheless offer useful check and balance to the government; even the very experienced workers party fielded a team of mostly new candidates, unknown to the voters they were appealing to, with no previous campaign experience; RP felt comfortable fielding a controversial candidate like Roy Ngern (and almost fielded Han Hui Hui, who was so annoyed about her last minute non-selection that she chose to be the 3rd candidate and split the opposition vote in Radin Mas, losing her deposit as result); NSP was flip-flopping about whether to stand in Macpherson only days before the election, losing its Secretary General in consequence

    • 2 Beng 12 September 2015 at 17:05

      assuming that the people who passed away more or less matches the ones who became legible to vote (since the govt says we have a dwindling young base and not enough dying … I mean a heavier top as expectancy grows longer). The increase in electors , 109k, corresponds to new citizens who only vote pap;
      if the opposition supporters remain opposition supporters but the complacent group of singaporeans who are confused by the truths and untruths decides to void their votes (including those newly released from the cave to exercise their rights) – 203k.
      if the opposition supporters stay unwavering at 40% of effective voting citizens,
      the opposition votes = (2,460,484 – 109,611 – 203,438)*0.4 /2,460,484= 34.9%… so yes, it would be significantly due to the sim-ann-denied dilution effect of new citizens.

      This is really voldermort trying to keep the inquisitive young wizards approaching close to the final weakness… the ultimate skeleton or ash in the empty coffer…

      • 3 Anonymous 12 September 2015 at 20:45

        In the last election, Tanjong Pagar was a walkover. Are you considering these numbers in the 109k?

      • 4 D 12 September 2015 at 22:23

        The population white paper had a lot of stats on demographics. Discounting immigration completely, SG population will continue to grow for many years, same for working age population. Neither stat matches voting age citizens but both are indicative.

        The white paper also says new citizens will be granted at a rate of 20 to 30k per year, depending on economic conditions. 30k were granted in the following year, after that I don’t know.

    • 5 Duckie 12 September 2015 at 20:54

      It wasn’t just about “candidates” but about “association”. I fear the Amos Yee issue hurt SDP but to what extent, I don’t know. Besides the LKY angle which pissed off many, there was also the issue of “mental disorder” which still doesn’t fare well in Singapore which is highly conservative and barely tolerates those who “behave well”.

  2. 6 C 12 September 2015 at 15:10

    The biggest myth of all that this election has debunked, is that voters are just waiting for quality opposition party candidates. So after fielding michigan trained sociology professor, NUS medicine professor, highly successful private entrepreneur and ex civil servant blah blah, NOTHING resonated at all. NOTHING. it simply proves that candidate quality has NEVER been an issue. Singaporeans really do not care at all who the candidates are. I like to bet that even if there is really a breakaway faction from the PAP to form a separate party, it still wouldn’t matter. its really stunningly clear.

    • 7 yuenchungkwong 12 September 2015 at 16:40

      you have a valid point, but most of the well qualified opposition candidates have no campaign experience and very little previous exposure, so whatever merits they possess do not readily get across to the voters; the question for the future is, clearly opposition candidates must, like the WP team in Aljunied after 2006, spend years working the field to prepare for the next election, but would the new 2015 candidates do it? whereas PAP candidates can be parachuted anywhere and get votes, riding on the brand name and party machinery, opposition parties, the newer one especially, cannot do the same

      • 8 C 12 September 2015 at 23:19

        actually the new WP candidates have ALL been working the grounds at least since 2011. Daniel Goh for eg, was already talked about as potential candidate even for 2013 by elections. so while i respectfully take your point, I do not think that is the case here.

        i genuinely think complete apathy is the thing. my friend’s parents who are hard core PAP supporters, actually told me in my face even a nobel prize laureate will get no hearing let alone votes from them. because, and i quote, “anybody opposition must be working against the system and cannot be trusted”. they are very reasonable and frankly kind folks otherwise.

        that’s what the ground sentiments really are.

      • 9 yuenchungkwong 13 September 2015 at 10:59

        I know Daniel Goh announced he was joining WP soon after 2011, but -ALL- the new candidates? If we take the example of He Ting Ru, she says she started as a groupie for Chen Show Mao, and got into WP politics subsequently; that is not the same as “working the grounds -at least- since 2011”. Since only a small number of the 2015 WP candidates stood in past elections, those working the grounds before 2011 mostly did not come back for this election, so I dont think the WP members are as persistent as you say.

    • 10 Anon 15wt 12 September 2015 at 17:12

      Do not agree. These credible candidates are not standing alone against the PAP in SMC but becomes diluted as a group in a GRC.

  3. 12 spy999 12 September 2015 at 16:17

    In my opinion, Singapore will have an extremely bright future, a shining star in the world stage. A place that will be a playground for the rich.

    Just without natively born and bred Singaporeans.

    They will be replaced by new citizens – rich, sophisticated. By then, Singapore can truly evolve into a full knowledge economy.

    With the current breed of Sinkies, who are from the peasant crop originated from Southern China (as LKY has observed), the government is convinced they are too meek to be moulded to be in tune with the modern knowledge economy.

    Thus, they have to be replaced with more sophisticated people. And true enough, the peasants, just like frogs in warm water, don’t even know they’re being cooked to their deaths.

    • 13 Anon 15wt 12 September 2015 at 17:15

      Problem is obviously the core 30% realize that but they are the minority. Question is how to convince at least the other 20% to form a majority?

      • 14 Anon RdDv 12 September 2015 at 22:13

        @spy999 is, unfortunately, correct. Singapore has to continue on her current path to survive as a nation, losing trees in consequence. The 30% will do well to assimilate or migrate.

    • 15 D 12 September 2015 at 22:29

      I hate to go there, but the people I see converting to SG citizen are not cream of any crop. Some from people from even more authoritarian countries, some from countries with more deeply rooted discrimination, race issues etc. Basically none from first world functional democracies like Japan, Korea etc

      • 16 Mary 13 September 2015 at 14:26

        Yes, but they are hungry and compliant. Many come from extremely authoritarian countries where they learnt to game the system, obtain political connections from the grassroots, and to back the ruling party at the same time. Hence they fit well into the PAP mould. The 30% should probably participate in or organize work-study groups, tap friends, family connections, to see if they can find greener pastures elsewhere, or get into the same game.

      • 17 spy999 13 September 2015 at 17:25

        They don’t have to be cream of any crop. What they posses is tenacity, creativity, and adaptability, the type of people needed for a full knowledge economy.

        Just look at how these folks break rules. They’re so used to it back in their homeland. You need to break rules to have breakthroughs. Sinkies just follow rules.

        New immigrants come to Singapore with one goal – to succeed and to live. They will spare no effort in getting there.

        Adaptability – sinkies have none. We are just a city state with no hinterland, so we don’t know how to live with nature. We don’t move from county to the city.

        None of these are to be blamed on the people. It’s just the way things are.

  4. 18 Qiao Zhi 12 September 2015 at 17:10

    I agree much with your comments.

    My take on the AHPETC is that it has affected the wards where the WP wasn’t the incumbent MPs more because of remoteness. The AHPETC impact on voters were the WP were the incumbent MPs was attenuated by the actually years of face to face interaction between the WP MPs and the voters of Aljunied, Hougang and Ponggol East. The additional factor for Ponggol East is the PR skills of PAP’s Charles Chong.

    My two cents’ worth.

    • 19 Saycheese 13 September 2015 at 15:26

      Agreed. TC management issues were used to frighten voters in PAP constituencies. I have heard comments from young voters that they will move out if opposition win in their constituencies, before they messed up so badly as to cause the property values to drop.

  5. 20 byelectionstrategy 12 September 2015 at 17:12

    I would add that the fear of a freak election result, and the desire for PAP to form the government, was pervasive. In this light, should opposition revert to the by-election strategy?

    And I would say the core opposition supporters constitutes 20% instead of 30% which you have mentioned, since this is the worst score by an opposition party?

  6. 21 The Pariah 12 September 2015 at 17:27

    Alex – Thru Parl Written Qs, NCMP Lina Chiam got from DPM Teo Chee Hean the number of New Mints per year from 2000 onwards. On average it was about 20,000 per year. In announcing GE2015, Elections Dept revealed 110,720 new voters (comparing final electoral roll cuts in Feb 2011 and Jan 2015). These are not the 21-year-old Singaporeans who came into voting age because dismal 1990-1994 Total Fertility Rate meant these young Singaporeans would have merely replaced the deceased of same period. The ratcheting up of New Mints to nearly 28,000/year in past 4 years likely resulted from post-GE 2015 policy changes for HDB BTOs and Primary 1 school admission where were adverse to PRs.

    SG50 feel-good factor probably resonated more with New Mints given their superficial knowledge of Singapore’s history (there were rumours that New Mints obtained NDP tickets predominantly). From 2000-2015, 330k New Mints likely constitute a whopping 13% of 2,460,484 total electorate.

    Add to that, the Pioneer Gen voters are typically of “crumb culture” (grateful for crumbs thrown out to them) and emotionally tugged by LKY’s demise.

    Hence, GE2015 gerrymandering was most effective. That would explain the bizarre GRC/SMC shapes with lots of kinks, tentacles and holes.

  7. 22 Meilan 12 September 2015 at 17:35

    Alex, the shocking results today are best explained by Alexis de Tocqueville’s concept of “soft despotism“. I quote him in full here.
    ”Thus, After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

    • 25 Illo Yonex Illo 13 September 2015 at 00:01

      Hi Meilan, would like to check.

      Based on your quote on Alexis de Tocqueville’s concept of soft despotism, was there any mention by him or others how it could be overcome? Collapse from within is the only way for soft despotism to wither away?

      I’m very curious in this concept.

      • 26 Mary 13 September 2015 at 15:26

        Tocqueville wrote that “habits of the heart” were one reason early Americans avoided soft despotism. I quote:

        “He will inform you what his rights are and by what means he exercises them; he will be able to point out the customs which obtain in the political world. You will find that he is well acquainted with the rules of the administration, and that he is familiar with the mechanism of the laws. The citizen of the United States does not acquire his practical science and his positive notions from books; the instruction he has acquired may have prepared him for receiving those ideas, but it did not furnish them. The American learns to know the laws by participating in the act of legislation; and he takes a lesson in the forms of government from governing. The great work of society is ever going on before his eyes and, as it were, under his hands.”

  8. 27 OppSupporter 12 September 2015 at 17:40

    The cynic in me is asking do we still require a general election every 4 to 5 years? Might as well save the money and disburse it in some form of subsidies to the needy instead. Do not flame me for saying this but if you have an inert electorate, why bother with a general election?
    The dominant party has a disdainful regard of the electorate and the opposition parties & are seen as pests they have to swap away.
    I sense self-centeredness of the average Singaporean for not thinking through very carefully the consequences of entrusting everything to PAP. The thinking may be as long as we do not rock the boat, the goodies will keep coming on. Dream on to perceived contentment!

  9. 28 Sam 12 September 2015 at 17:54

    “The failure to accommodate incremental change or build political safety nets will mean that when scandal and political crisis hits, as it surely will, the tumble will be very severe.” — I see this risk too. It has low probability of occurring in the near future. However should this risk materializes, it will be the death of Singapore. So my advice to anyone who is prepared to listen and who are young, is to prepare your own escape route while the sun is still out. As for myself, the near future is what is relevant to me as I am a senior citizen.

    • 29 Illo Yonex Illo 12 September 2015 at 23:59

      Hi, I subscribe entirely to your views of the escape route thing, but is it possible for you to elaborate further on how this could be achieved?

      After this election, I’ve given up on Singapore entirely and now only care about my immediate family.

      Does escape route in this case means working harder, saving more, earning more and eventually migrating to a foreign land just before crisis hits?

    • 30 Abby 13 September 2015 at 02:04

      Dear Sam, I have been feeling very despondent over the results but I think that rather than conclude that electorate cannot be persuaded we shd probe into the factors affecting their decision. If you do not mind, as a senior citizen, what are your main reasons for voting for the WP?

  10. 31 NJ 12 September 2015 at 17:58

    If you take a peek at the latest census in 2010, you could check how many of the resident population (citizens and PRs) are born in Singapore. That would be a good enough indicator of around 400-500K naturalised citizens.

    Do note that the bulk of them are Malaysian Chinese, not PRCs, or Indian nationals

  11. 32 NoBlueSky 12 September 2015 at 18:18

    Having been to a few WP rallies and seeing the huge crowds, it had looked as if the WP would not just be able to increase their vote share in the areas they held, they would also likely win one more GRC and a couple more SMCs.

    Unfortunately, that was not to be and the result is a huge disappointment.

    As one contributor has pointed, the quality of candidates clearly did not seem to matter. If there were to clone the Aljunied team and put them in East Coast, it would still be a loss.

    I suspect it’s not just SG50 and the LKY factors, but more so what’s happening around us.

    The Low Yat riot, the explosions in Bangkok, the plunge of the ringgit to a 17-year low against the Sing dollar, the political uncertainty in Malaysia, the haze and further away but still fresh in people’s minds the Greek debt and its weak economy and government…all these have contributed to shaping the voters’ minds that you need a strong government with a strong leadership to take Singapore into the next 50 years.

    So those issues that would otherwise have appealed to voters became insignificant, particularly if they went against even their own logic.

    For example, COE. There are many who can understand why COEs are needed. If cars are cheap here such that even someone earning $1,200 can afford to own one, nobody is going to be able to drive one on the road in a 720-square kilomtre island.

    Another is CPF. Many don’t see the need to withdraw at 55, and prefer to enjoy the certainty of a 6% interest compared to fixed deposits and other riskier investments, such as stocks.

    It’s a huge setback indeed for politics in Singapore. The expectation that the younger voters, who have access to alternative sources of information on social media, would be more sympathetic towards the opposition did not bear out. My fear thus is that support for opposition may be further eroded in the years to come.

  12. 33 Duckie 12 September 2015 at 18:43

    I’m not sure how much of the following is true but the way the opposition behaved may have sent the message “we’re just as bad as the incumbent, so why should you vote for us?” They were co-operating with each other to ensure there’re no losses but in people’s eyes, it would’ve been “to ensure there’s no competition”, just like the PAP does.

    Overall, this election’s battle was like conquering an empire with a massive sub-par army instead of attacking the weak points with much smaller forces.

    • 34 andrewtungsk 12 September 2015 at 21:38

      The WP after attending the first meeting decided that it was a waste of time to meet further with the others. Such arrogance is reminiscent of our Aristocratic Rulers. Probably 10 percent of voters agree with my observation.

    • 35 Sean 12 September 2015 at 22:50

      Don’t make any excuses and put the blame on the opposition. You have legitimate rights to hold certain ministers and MPs responsible for letting Mas Selamat escape, Lehman brothers bond losses in the past etc and you have not done so and always there are excuses you put forward like candidates not good enough( Chiam See Tong.) It’s the character of the nation. It’s not so obvious in the past. This time, it’s revealed stark naked. Face the fact and don’t demand other people to sacrifice for you or even carry the burden for you. Too many have gone down the path, JBJ, Lim Hock Siew etc and what do they get in return for the sacrifice?

      • 36 Duckie 13 September 2015 at 23:33

        Don’t make assumptions on who I voted for.

        Is not the point of this article to critically explore the issues why the opposition lost?

        I’m just mentioning what some of my colleagues were commenting about.

  13. 37 Raymond 12 September 2015 at 19:07

    You got it wrong again. Protestation against over-crowding and dilution of Singaporean core at workplace is not xenophobia. Please don’t conflate the two. Your interest in helping foreign workers has already clouded your own judgement. We are not against foreigners per se but against policy of indiscriminate importation of cheap labour to displace our jobs. Singapore as a nation, should be looking after interest of its citizens first. We can compete. But not on this uneven ground where we need to raise our families here facing higher cost of living compared to foreign workers raising their families in a low cost country.

  14. 38 石乐坡 12 September 2015 at 19:38

    I am actually a bit optimistic. If you just focus on WP and SDP, they both garnered more than 30 percent on average, so there are still good souls out there who buy the ideas from these two despite all the ploys by incumbent to secure the votes.

    I think given the local upgrading carrots and various incentives such as PG, GST vouchers etc, most voters are swayed by short-term gains. It is unsure how will these promises be honoured given the murky economy, so we are looking at potential disappointments for such voters as either the promises will be delayed/scrapped or taxes would need to be introduced.

  15. 39 henry 12 September 2015 at 19:47

    Singapore is not a country like others.

    It is a metropolitan city with people willing to tolerate strict rules and a management that dictates degrees of liberties.

    These people can come and stay if they wish but must follow the rules.
    The people vote akin to a shareholder meeting… and this time the management has overwhelming support.

    It seems to be attractive for many people who sees an unwelcoming West with broken systems. Here, everything works… sometimes not well, but it works.
    You can live, work and bring up a family here with less concerns than in gun slinging USA… racist too.

    The poor?.. the exploited?..LGBT? well, as they say:

    “on a case-by-case basis…”

    Another day comes.

  16. 40 Hard Truths 12 September 2015 at 20:04

    Though expressed in a more eloquent language, you are saying the same thing Kenneth Jeyaretnam said. Singaporean voters are stupid. Singaporean voters are naive. Singaporean voters can be manipulated. Singapore is North Korea. This kind of mindset when sitting down to analyze the reasons after a major swing against opposition, will just result in PAP scoring 80% next elections.

    Be honest, be brutal and look at oneself.

    > Singaporeans despise left leaning liberals who supported a young boy spewing vulgar language.

    > Singaporeans has realized alternate sites does not represent the voice of Singaporeans, they represent the voice of certain political parties.

    > Singaporeans know if you spend more that you earn, you go broke.

    > Singaporeans understand nothing is free, someone has to pay always.

    > Singaporeans no more trust party hopping candidates as they represent only one thing, themselves.

    > Singapore hate so called civil society activists that heckle children.

    > As an immigrant society Singaporeans despise xenophobes. Singaporeans want their money to be accounted.

    Also time to drop 30% of the anti-government block harping. Opposition got as low as 20% in many constituencies showing that this is also a fallacy.

    It is time to have a critical look at oneself or simply disappear into oblivion.

  17. 41 DontPretendToBeSmartLah 12 September 2015 at 20:30

    Oh please! Don’t insult the intelligence of the electorate. They have given the opposition a chance in 2011 but they screwed up in the 4 years following that.

    WP has proven themselves worthless in parliament and could not manage a town council. Silvia Lim was economical with the truth as described by a judge while Pritam did not want to give straight answers in Parliament. Whether any wrong was committed was besides the point. With such evasive behaviour, can you blame the electorate for suspecting something is wrong and vote otherwise?

    If CSJ has candidates with good credentials, I don’t see any of this “good” being put into good use in his proposed policies. A first year economics student will tell you his policies will lead any economy down the slppery slope to Greece very quickly.

    KJ was a graduate of a prestigious university but was he joking when he placed Roy and Ravi in his team? And $300 for everyone below 16 and above 55 or 56? Pocket money? That is the solution to Singapore’s problems? A joke right?

    There is no need to analyse with all the highbrow theories. The simple reason is this – The electorate is not stupid. You fool them once. You can’t fool them again.

    • 42 D 12 September 2015 at 22:42

      Houses are too expensive, so PAP throw some cash grants around, suddenly everyone happy that houses are cheaper.

      CPF too little, auntie has to collect cardboard to survive. RP want to throw money and make life easier. Everyone boo and hiss and say we going to Greece.

      In neither case is real analysis done. Is the money going to help? Does it really solve the root problem? Long term sustainable? People just clap PAP and boo opposition. It is a real problem.

    • 43 Ghost 12 September 2015 at 23:47

      Please elaborate how Singapore would turn into Greece with CSJ’s policies. I don’t think SDP’s policies were to increase social spendings to Greek levels. Also, we are not in a unique eurozone like Greece. Maybe I am not as smart as a first year econs student I guess.

      The point is, there are some sound policies that could be discussed in parliament and I am sure there are some of us who would like to hear a healthy debate on it. Don’t just push them away because some PAP fellow say it will not work. Cut Alex some slack as he is just feeling disappointed and resigned by the result.

  18. 44 TAP 12 September 2015 at 20:55

    I suspect one important factor is how effective each political party convey their messages to the electorate. 9 days of campaigning is not enough to discuss and explain policy stands of each political party. The ruling party has the big advantage of supportive mass media, especially to connect with a significant percentage of population who do not seek to read political messages online, either due to inability (older generation not used to IT) or lack of time and energy (busy working people who have more pressing issues to handle). Therefore from this perspective, fewer anti-PAP votes in 2015 can be interpreted as soothed anti-government sentiment, but not rejection of opposition political policies or style. Consequently, the opposition political parties should make use of alternative news channel to convey and publicise their messages, also not only during the election period.

    I have also been wishing for the growth of a sensible group of civil Singaporeans focusing on people’s well-being and not leaning on any political party. I have the impression that people spent too much time on personal attacks and empty rhetorics based on party leanings. Why don’t we hold the politicians accountable for what they have said, the policies they have supported and the actions they have done? I think many people do not realise they have the power to make politicians explain themselves especially during the election period. The non-partisan group of civil Singaporeans could then take the lead to force the politicians from both sides to explain their actions and then compile a ‘report card’ for reference before the next election.

    • 45 Abby 13 September 2015 at 02:13

      Dear TAP, I like your idea. In a nation with little space for public debate, I think it wld be an excellent way to raise awareness amongst the public. What structure do u think this independent group shd adopt? An independent newspaper, an NGO? Perhaps those like us shd try and form such a group that uses hard facts on which ppl can base their decisions and form impressions. Thanks

      • 46 James 13 September 2015 at 11:31

        Yes I would very much love a place to discuss such topics freely! Personally I voted for the PAP (I stay in Jurong GRC) because I feel that DPM Tharman has done a good job all these years. Given that I have not give much indepth analysis as many of the commentors or readers here, I seek a place where I can actually learn more. However, the place I am in now, will just say I am ruining the country and not loving the country just cause I vote the PAP. Sometimes, its really hard to have a proper discussion when emotions are so high strung.

  19. 47 andrewtungsk 12 September 2015 at 21:41

    A good analysis with a clear and probable prediction: “Looking at the long term, this result kind of confirms what I have long felt to be Singapore’s future: A lengthy period of stasis supported by a complacent electorate, increasingly relying on outmoded models of governance, gradually losing vitality. The failure to accommodate incremental change or build political safety nets will mean that when scandal and political crisis hits, as it surely will, the tumble will be very severe. I have long entertained the possibility that the tumble will be so severe, e.g. a prolonged period of economic malaise, that the only solution is to be rescued by a foreign country. This would naturally come with a concomitant loss of independence. This election result is totally congruent with my view of Singapore’s cloudy long-term prospects.”

  20. 48 Vote opps dun bother when majority screws them 12 September 2015 at 21:58

    very astute observations.

    my opinion mostly reflects yours. sgreans generally want to have the right to bitch when shit hits the fan and refuse to take the final leap when it boils down to it.

    This GE, i am utterly disgusted to the point of losing faith in sgreans.they are an undeserving lot. SGP is wasted with people inhabiting this land.

    I say do not bother,higher civic consciousness does not exist in people who are born of lower stock and its best to leave them to their devices,for better or worse.people in sgp are just concern with the lower level of maslow hierachy and will never be able to reach the highest of self -transcendence.Dr chee’s work and dedication i fear is wasted on them as well as he was appealing to something that does not exist in the majority of sgreans.

    I find what George Carlin said about voting to be true and i quote “If you vote and you elect dishonest and incompetent people and they get into office and they screw everything up, well you are responsible for what they have done, you caused the problem, you voted them in, You have no right to complain” unquote

    and i leave you with kenneth’s version: Sgreans voted for the govt they deserve,i do not want to hear any more complaints.

  21. 49 patriot 12 September 2015 at 22:02

    I would simply put the Success of the PAP in the 2015 General Election was due to the Failures of the Alternative Parties.

    There are simply too many Alternative Parties un the Tiny Dot and worse, they are fragmented amongst and within themselves.

    Voters do not have confidence and faith in them.

    patriot

  22. 50 T 12 September 2015 at 22:21

    You know, Alex, you are probably one of the reasons why people vote for the Government. Let me explain. Basically your argument and many others in the opposition camps goes like this: ‘Those that vote the PAP are intellectually lazy, stupid, dumb, sheep-like, brain washed, ‘only care about money’ etc etc’. Ironically, it is these characterizations of PAP-voters that are intellectually-lazy. Maybe is is a bitter pill to swallow, that you and the liberal-types are in the minority but I think the quicker you get used to it, the better. And the more you and the Opposition camp continues to lull yourselves into thinking that PAP-voters are intellectually lazy and so on, the more you will be blind to the major reasons why the swing came so hard.

  23. 51 Duckie 12 September 2015 at 22:34

    One last point I’d like to add: A lot of people probably banked on the “Nicole Seah effect” carrying over. But with her not around anymore, a lot of the younger ones(okay, they’re older now) who were attracted to opposition, went back to supporting the PAP.

  24. 52 Just a commoner 12 September 2015 at 23:06

    Voters have simply chosen the type of government they want.

    Civil liberties? The vast majority knows what they are and they are satisfied with status quo. You must respect that.

    And Singaporeans are a pragmatic lot. The vast majority prefers to work at making their (material) lives better than to argue incessantly about ideologies and “rights”. I think this is refreshing and quite unthinkable to those who put civil liberties above all else and who held that a mature democracy is the be-all and end-all of societal progress. But you must respect that.

    They buy into the ruling party’s ethos of doing whatever necessary to ensure the competitiveness and long term prosperity of the country. The ruling party is not beholden to any ideologies. I think LKY said something to the effect of we do whatever works to keep the country going. His son said something similar after the election. This is what the vast majority believe in and want. You got to respect that.

    People see what the ruling party has done over the years and decided that it works. So why rock it? We can do worse. They look at their neighbours, Taiwan, the western democracies and rejected those models. You got to respect that.

    Oppositions? Well they’ve not convinced.

    So they’ve never had a chance. When i’m in a boat cast about choppy waters, i’m not going to shove the sometime gruff but skillful coxswain, who had battled the sea for ten hours, aside and let the articulate stranger take over and well…see how it goes. It doesn’t hurt that i happen to like the look of the weathered crews standing behind the man himself.

    I can go on. There is really no need to intellectualize.

  25. 53 kuchintakitty 12 September 2015 at 23:09

    I think it’s very sad that Alex is so convinced that voters who voted in a way that he does not like must be short sighted and wrong. I wonder what would happen if he were to be the prime minister and put in place policies that the voters don’t like. Would he use this same excuse to ram these policies through? That the voters don’t know what is good for them? Funny how much that sounds like what he always accuses the PAP of doing. It makes you wonder whether what he in fact wants is not more freedom but more freedom to ensure that people do what HE wants.

  26. 54 kuchintakitty 12 September 2015 at 23:11

    One wonders, given how much contempt he clearly feels for his fellow citizens, whether it might not be better for him to find a different set of fellow citizens, ones whose high minded values and beliefs are more aligned with his.

  27. 55 Pearly 13 September 2015 at 00:30

    My pro PAP educated friends tell me that I am seeing the cup half empty – I am ignorant and that democracy doesn’t wk in many countries either. I cannot see how successful Singapore is. This is the most successful country in the world!

  28. 56 an0n 13 September 2015 at 00:49

    No better teacher than,
    A good dose of reality.
    Repent! Repent!
    For all eternity.

  29. 57 Rabbit 13 September 2015 at 02:41

    Looking at the table, almost all contested area that suffered boundary change and contested by smaller and new parties, such as SDA, RP, PPP, SFP and a deteriorated NSP, have given PAP a resounding win exceeding 70%. Gerrymandering have worked well for PAP against these small and new parties, and also the electorate are not ready for them to managed their Town if they have not read enough of how PAP tried to obstruct WP from running a GRC smoothly. Thus, I highly doubt, all these little parties will be able to make into parliament even in the subsequent elections, unless they grew to the size of WP with even more stronger candidates to match.

    SPP, is also another small party that tried very hard to tap on Chiam See Tong’s image. Voters can see it. Unfortunately Mr Chiam is too frail to be convincing and Mrs Chiam has told reporters that she plan to retire after one more term if she won. Voters probably won’t want to rely on MP whose presence is only “temporarily”. Not forgetting youngster prefers new malls, new convenient facilities and new residents who bought the condo nearby that make up for the PAP vote count. My friends told me that there was massive HIP already carried out in nearly the entire Bishan East zone just before the election. That could explain a huge plunge in SPP votes too?

    SDP’s election result is pretty consistent to GE2011, but not in area with boundary changes. WP has lost about 5% margin compared to GE2011, and these are GRCs that have boundary change too.

    Having the election dept under PMO is certainly an advantage to the PM because they may have known certain information hidden from the people, resulted in their necessity to make boundary change in every election.

    Other possibilities resulted in PAP huge margin:-

    1. Those who just turned 21yo or first time young voters may not have experienced full hardship in life or still living on their pro-PAP parents, will follow whom their parents vote.

    2. Long life expectancy of old folks, many are non-internet savvy, who are still largely around and die-hard msm readers, form bulk of PAP supporters. My dad is one of them and it took me a lot of work to convince my mom to vote against the ruling party. The SG50, PGP and LKY effect will probably influence this group of voters.

    3. If 20000 new citizens came on board annually (between 2011 to 2015), it will add another 100,000 to pro-PAP camp in GE2015. The number is not small by adding into another batch of new citizens’ cohort who might have voted PAP in GE2011.

    4. Opposition’s own doing – SDA/RP lost their deposits during By-election. NSP has internal messy politics. Goh Meng Seng quitted WP, than quitted NSP but returned as PPP. Tan Jee Say quitted SDP to participate in PE and returned to form SFP, their short-term historical instability didn’t bore well under their newly created banner in GE2015. SPP splitted immediately after GE2011,and than join force to contest in Bishan GRC. Image and Stability are key elements to win voters’ support. Splitting and forming void a sense of unity within opposition camp. We are facing a highly demanding, risk adverse swing voters who prefer comfort, stability, security by putting their votes for whom they thought they trusted. Like you said, they are short-minded, short temper voters who wanted everything other than being short-changed.

    5. Carrot and sticks, fear of BTO flat being devalued, slew of rebate, HDB grants, baby Grants, park promises and constant extract of PM ND rally on TV in the election period. All these are quite taming to the emotion of those voters (anti or pro-govt) who will directly benefit from the “bribe” given.

    If we look at all the above factors, put together, the result might seem quite understandable. However, voters who have chosen PAP may not want a PAP affiliated president to check on the govt. The next PE event, might be a different sentiment altogether.

  30. 58 l'ingenieur 13 September 2015 at 04:28

    The PAP and the electorate live in a comfortable symbiosis. The former brings to the table utter dominance. The latter, utter mediocrity. Neither can survive outside of Singapore, hence there will be no room for non-PAP intellectuals.

  31. 59 Stanley Ong 13 September 2015 at 04:38

    “I’m not sure where we will get the new citizen data in sufficiently exhaustive detail, but I would strongly urge the opposition members of parliament to ask for an annual breakdown of the numbers (and age of naturalisation) as soon as possible.”

    This really shows the poor research and information that went into this opinion piece. The data is available if you just did a simple Google search:
    http://www.nptd.gov.sg/portals/0/news/population-in-brief-2014.pdf (Page 13 – Number of SCs and PRs Granted Stable in Last 4 Years)

    There are news articles too if you wanted just the summary of data: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/goal-15000-25000-new-citizens-a-year

    Going by a conservative figure of 20,000 new citizens added every year between 2011 – 2015, we get 80,000 in the last 4 years. Let’s assume 100,000 for the sake of simplification. Let’s assume that 100% of them are of voting age by ignoring the fact that there could be families with under-voting age children amongst them. Let’s assume that ALL of them voted for PAP by ignoring the fact that some of them such as Han Hui Hui (who become a new citizen 2 years ago) and Chen Show Mao (who become a new citizen a couple of decades ago) could have different political inclinations. Let’s assume that ALL 100,000 voted for PAP. Let’s assume that none of them abstained from voting and none of their votes were rejected.

    100,000 / 2,462,926 = 4%.

    You could argue that this is a pretty big number but in reality you know the figure is guaranteed to be lower than 4%.

  32. 60 Richard Lee 13 September 2015 at 05:06

    PAP just ignored the big issues and campaigned on fear and …

    “Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes” – PM Lee, may06

    I make no apology for repeating PM Lee’s slogan ad nauseam. I don’t see evidence of any other approach this GE

    As the Min. of Truth (aka ST etc) only showed the public this view, all the Opposition arguments and policies were simply hidden away.

    Only the Online Community got to see Opposition.

  33. 61 Silent Majority 13 September 2015 at 10:09

    These are my sentiments as I read your piece. I hope to share it from another perspective, so we can see things from a more holistic view point.

    “uninterested in details of how problems should be tackled, instead trusting of broad assurances that they will be tackle.”

    This GE2015 has prompted many voters like myself to understand more on the mechanism of “minimum wage”, “universal health care system”, “cpf” etc. As our generation gets more and more educated, we are not easily persuaded by simple formula for complex situations. To be honest, when we look at how opposition parties put forth their recommendations, they are either too idealistic (utopian society, which does not exist) or other sustainable. We are interested to improve or value added to solve problems/issues, not to regress or create more problems with unfeasible short-term policies. Problems will forever be present in governance, it requires constant monitoring so that we tweak it along the way to ensure its fairness and benefit the majority of Singaporeans.

    “unmoved by appeals for check and balance (do not see much value in it).”

    The opposition needs to convince us that they are of a certain functioning capability and have the capacity to conduct proper checks and balances, before we can give them the mandate. I used to be pro-opposition in 2011 and I was happy to see alternative new colour in the Parliament, but they really did not meet the expectation of what they promised. They are populist, reflecting changing ground sentiment on the need for foreign workers and they did flip their viewpoints along the way. If they were to implement policies, a nation cannot jam-break, as and when they want. Nonetheless, I do agree that WP did give constructive comments on tackling the transport issue in SG and we need to see more of these value adding perspectives from alternative parties. End of the day, they also have to show their worth and fulfil voter’s expectations. Clearly, from the results of GE2015, it indicates that voters also assess the credibility and quality of opposition. It is simplistic to assume that voters are naive and want checks-and-balance for the sake of it. Hence, for opposition to move forward, they need to reassess what is lacking and come to terms that the voters want something more – quality checks and balances.

    End of the day, the incumbent did learn from GE2011 and deliver what they Promise. As for opposition parties, complacency has set it and they neglect the fact that voters also scrutinise them closely, with high standards too. And we are looking beyond the numbers of opposition seats, it is the quality of opposition that we want to see. If they can convince us that, they will be able to up the game and the voters will be discerning enough to give them the support they truly deserve

    • 62 Perry 15 September 2015 at 12:41

      Well said, it’s the lousy oppositions in Singapore that we have that I wouldn’t even consider voting at all or never!

  34. 63 Angeline 13 September 2015 at 10:33

    Uniquely Singapore. We complain day in day out, and when presented with a probable solution, albeit not tested, we decide to just bear with the pain, maybe it will go away in a few years time (rinse and repeat).

  35. 64 Yunoff Angtamyu 13 September 2015 at 12:04

    I question the assumptions here. All the issues raised by the opposition are legitimate, and not true that they didn’t gain traction among the voters. The problem is that the people did not find the opposition credible enough to do a good job. I question the assumption that voters are not sophisticated. It is the other way around: they are sophisticated enough to accept the issues as legitimate but wise enough to know that people in the opposition cannot be trusted to provide better alternatives.

    • 65 Perry 15 September 2015 at 12:42

      Those stunned by the result just don’t get it, think the silent majority is stupid? What has and what can these oppositions do or have done in the past 50 years?

  36. 66 Fnhh 13 September 2015 at 13:44

    Hi Alex, or article seems to blame the majority of the electorate for voting PAP but have you considered issues with the opposition parties? WP in particular, adopts a PAP lite strategy and has not offered any substantial solution to any of the sigificant problems of concern. If I want a continuation of PAP policy with small tweaks I wouldn’t be bothered voting for WP.

  37. 67 Gerard 13 September 2015 at 17:07

    1st WORLD country..all said, many of its electorates (70%) haven’t gone beyond beyond their 1st Level of Self Preservation and our trade mark…Loss Aversion Syndrome (kiasu n kiasi, so this two Singlish terms, not really that unique)…so the talk about being a more compassionate society, more gracious society….its “everybody for himself” and a seismic tumble have not even occur YET.

  38. 68 dolphin81 13 September 2015 at 21:40

    For the core PAP voters, I can understand why they want to vote PAP.

    The various factors for PAP big victory such as SG50, LKY, PGP & the so-called shift to the left wing policies do help to maintain the PAP core but not necessarily the peripheral voters.

    The disgusting part is the swing vote. Most, if not all of the swing voters fully understand their problems caused by PAP policies have not been solved. They also know that a big PAP victory means the PAP is likely to go back to its bad old ways.

    The crucial factor is ironically what the swing voters have been calling for: no more walkovers, contest all seats. They expect the PAP vote to drop by a bit more (maybe from 60.1% to 58%) with perhaps 10-20 opp MPs.

    From the MSM, we can see the PAP is bracing for this. During the campaign it simply loves to talk about community warmth & neighbourliness, thus avoiding the real policy questions. LHL-KBW talks about no seats are safe but does not make it a big issue in case it backfires against PAP.

    The weakness is the mental dependency on PAP. A simple analysis of publicly available figures means PAP losing 2/3 majority is not very likely & losing a simple majority is virtually impossible.

    However, the huge turnout in oppo rallies (not just WP only) caused the swing votes to freak out. Suddenly, an uncomfortably large oppo presence or even the PAP losing its majority looks real.

    After cooling off day, the swing voters switched to PAP, thinking it will ensure PAP vote stays at 58%-60% & not too many oppo MPs. When the ballot boxed were opened, the swing voters probably had the shock of their lives. They had given the PAP way too much.

    The swing voters know the issues raised by oppo are the real questions. They also know that similar to the PAP, oppo have no thorough solutions.

    The unpleasant truth is that the swing voters need to understand there are no ideal MPs. Sometimes, one has to vote in not-so-good oppos to check on declining quality PAP.

    GE2015 will mark the end of a 30 year effort since 1984 to establish some kind of decent parliamentary opposition. Most of the oppo, regardless of their quality, will understand that no matter how good they are, the swing voters will go back to PAP without warning.

    It is this irrationality among swing voters that means the oppo is as good as finished. The sad part is that the core oppo voters will have to suffer the consequences.

  39. 69 Adelylt 13 September 2015 at 22:57

    Thanks for the analysis, Alex.

    I have said this elsewhere and I am saying it again: These elections have truly demonstrated how it is fundamentally a clash of values between myself and the majority of Singaporeans.

    There is simply no space here for a person who holds dear values such as civil liberties, real government accountability, freedom of speech and press, a healthy civil society and the like. All of these are deemed merely “unimportant” and “non-priorities” to the people around me.

    I have tried giving Singapore a chance since returning from the States 10 years ago, and I won’t be trying anymore. There is such a fundamental divergence in our values systems, that it’s probably better to call it quits.

    Forget SG100; henceforth, I will simply look forward to the day when I can proudly declare that I am no longer a Singaporean.

    Meanwhile, I thank you for your writings which have kept me sane over the last ten years, in this cesspool of a country.

  40. 70 Yuu 14 September 2015 at 08:06

    There is a difference between wanting change and wanting improvements. From watching many of those rallies, I can see that most opposition parties do not have a solid plan that people can say, ‘hey, why isnt PAP trying that?’ or one that does not rely on Singapore’s reserves. I think the issue here is the lack of good opposition, rather than lack of support for the opposition.

  41. 72 Aaron Khoo 14 September 2015 at 09:15

    How can a hammer ever escape the swift strike of a lightning? Unless the Hammer (WP) examine its motives of themselves and for the people (one can never escape one’s conscience) and unless there rises a man of the same calibre of Lee Kuan Yew (whose public and private life is full of integrity and who lived 24/7 for Singapore) it is not possible to have a workable alternative to the Lightning. Picking a political symbol is one thing or even if the WP decides to change the hammer to an eagle lets say to project vision for the people: all said the lightning learnt from 2011 that striking the people the wrong way led the people to take up the hammer, so let us also thank the hammer for their representation for that hour, after all they are one of us, SINGAPOREANS

  42. 73 Saycheese 14 September 2015 at 11:44

    Aaron, If you care to do a little research and not just rely on our controlled mass media and his writings, you will not say that of LKY, although he is undeniably a very good leader for Singapore during his time.

    There can be no meaningful debate with someone drinking only PAP’s Kool Aid.

  43. 74 Duh 14 September 2015 at 17:36

    Not sure whether you can claim that the electorate is non-inquisitive but I would agree that the majority of it tends to rely on hearsay and the PAP controlled mass media. Singaporeans also tend to be afraid of change (kiasi). Social media’s impact on swaying the electorate appears limited.

    Another thing is that you are assuming stable Singapore demographic – I remember LHL clarifying in Parliament that approx. 1000 Singaporeans migrate out of Singapore every month. Assuming that a large portion of these people eventually relinquish their Singaporean citizenship and are being replaced by new citizens, the impact of the assumed pro-PAP new citizens could be stronger than one might infer. For example, Stanley Ong’s estimated 100k (pro PAP) new citizens (an upper limit) coupled with a 12k annual (anti PAP) Singapore emigrant. The pro-PAP swing could be bigger than expected.

    PS. I also recall a survey that found more than 50% of its respondents would want to emigrate out of Singapore if possible. As far as a I can recall, I remember the emigration trends as being upwards to the extent that the PAP is organising Singapore Days in places like London to ‘woo’ them back to Singapore.

  44. 75 W 17 September 2015 at 00:51

    Alex can call the Singaporean electorate stupid. He is not a politician and is free to give his honest view.

    Kenneth Jeyaretnam, on the other hand, is truly stupid. If you tell your potential voters things like “you got the government you deserve”, well, then he got the vote share he deserved.

  45. 76 Oppsuprlsr 19 September 2015 at 20:16

    A lengthy period of stasis supported by a complacent electorate, increasingly relying on outmoded models of governance, gradually losing vitality. The failure to accommodate incremental change or build political safety nets will mean that when scandal and political crisis hits, as it surely will, the tumble will be very severe. I have long entertained the possibility that the tumble will be so severe, e.g. a prolonged period of economic malaise, that the only solution is to be rescued by a foreign country. <- 1 word, Greece. Even a relative liberal democracy like Greece suffer the same problem. In fact its even worse for them because the EU govt is unable to make decisive policies to end due to the threat of elections(check quote from EU chief). Ur assessment that SG needs to take the liberal route argument holds no water

    • 77 yawningbread 20 September 2015 at 10:40

      Actually, there are plenty of examples of liberal democracies turning around by themselves. For all her (later) faults, Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives turned Britain around after 2 decades of malaise. They came to power winning a free and fair election. In South Korea, after the deep 1997 financial crisis that left the economy reeling, South Korea pulled itself up without losing any democratic virtues. India voted strongly for Narendra Modi after a decade of inept Congress rule. Though it’s still too early to say how Modi’s administration will be viewed by history, it is enough to show that democracy does not equal an irresistible slide to populist bankruptcy. That’s another of the simplistic binaries that PAP wants all Singaporeans to believe.


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