Thursday, May 5, 2011

Making My Vote Count!

Never before in my 26 years as an adult, have I felt such a heightened sense of anticipation and expectation with just two days to go before I go to the polls. Come 7 May, I will have my first real opportunity of choosing who will be my voice in Parliament.
Along with me will be 2.3 million voters who make up the constituents of the 82 contested seats. Each of us will be exercising our rights to determine the future of our country, our home, our family for the next five years.
Our votes, my vote is therefore precious.
This election is truly about us – a cause the opposition has championed quite convincingly judging by the response and reactions of the crowds at their rallies.
In past elections, the choice for most of us would have been very simple and obvious. However, as the ruling party has not really faced a real fight nor have we had to exercise our rights at the ballot box in the past, that’s an untested assumption.
We now sit on the cusp of an historical moment in our political history, of being able to elect a new government, with the possibility of putting in place a multi-party government of the people, for the people.
By all accounts, the era of the dominant one-party government seems to be close to an end given the evolution of the opposition political parties into credible vehicles to carry the voices of the people.
Judging by the slate of candidates who have come forward to serve the people on an opposition ticket, I cannot help but feel that the political landscape has come of age.
Most notable are the credentials that these candidates bring with them – scholars, academics, professionals, just to name a few. Articulate, eloquent, effusive, informed, measured, nuanced, passionate are some of the adjectives that come to mind when I think about the opposition candidates – even the political newbies among them.
Despite early hiccups in carving out where they would contest, they got organized, made bold moves, and took the fight to the incumbents. They zeroed in on the issues, demonstrated their connectedness with the ground, and stayed their course despite the many attempts of the ruling party to derail their cause.
Never before have I seen the ruling party forced to retreat into a defensive stance as they found themselves flooded by the opposition with questions that demanded answers. Answers that had to be cobbled quickly, effectively forcing the party into a reactive stance. Confidence has given way to a sense of resignation that the opposition had been underestimated.
From a focus on leadership renewal, the campaign shifted to dangling upgrading carrots and casting doubts on the opposition candidates and their plans. But when it became apparent that the opposition was making a lot of headway in the contested GRCs despite the attacks, the focus shifted to defending their key candidates and then lately shifting to an attempt at connecting with voters by way of apologizing for mistakes made over the last five years.
Is this apology a timely move on the part of the ruling party or has it come too late?
With just a couple of day to the end of the election campaign, I cannot help but feel that it has come too little, too late. Voters have long memories and coupled with the astute moves of the opposition to play on our collective memories, the apology would probably hold little sway with voters.
Taking everything into consideration, this General Election will truly be a watershed election, with the possibility of surpassing even earlier past opposition gains in 1981 (Anson), 1984 (Anson and Potong Pasir) and 1991 (Bukit Gombak, Nee Soon Central, Potong Pasir and Hougang).
With friends contesting on both sides of the political divide, I kept an open mind but having weighed in everything that I have heard, seen and read, I know with certainty who will get my vote come 7 May.
Majulah Singapura!

No comments: