Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Don't Wave The Flag In August

Don't wave the flag in August if you are not interested in the General Elections. Period.

Today is the Nomination Day in which all political candidates toss their hats into the ring for the upcoming General Election. The elections this time round is a milestone in many ways. It is the first time in 20 over years in which the the incumbent is challenged on all fronts with a credible opposition. By extension, it is also the first time in decades for the younger generation to wield their birth right to vote. By all accounts, this election should be exciting and a proud moment when we as a nation are able to go to the polls; an opportunity that does not extend to many nations around the world.

Yet, it is utterly disappointing that there are people that show a sense of indifference or disillusionment. A few comments that I have heard or read go like this: "I'm going to support PAP anyway, why can't it just be a walkover so that I don't have to go down to vote?", "Is it compulsory to vote?", "Huh? What does this have to do with me?", "I don't like either parties, can I not vote?" 

For those who are wondering if voting is compulsory, it is compulsory to vote. While countries like the USA or UK have made voting optional, it is not feasible here and I am thankful that it is mandatory. With the amount of indifference here, there is a possibility that only half the population that is eligible to vote would turn up at the polls. If that is the case, it would not be much a political mandate which is affirmed by the people would it? Won't this result in a failure of democratic processes?

As for those who are indifferent or disillusioned, I could understand why you may feel that way as what various parties have done prior to this is to engage in theatrics as they focus on the candidates' character and impressions rather than important issues. However, Electing a party or a single candidate to represent you is a chance to have your voice heard in the parliament. It is your right and duty to ensure you are well represented and to hold them to task by casting your votes for or against them in the next election. It is your birth right to vote regardless of whether you are voting the incumbent back to power or not. 

As for those who missed the chance to vote by the skin of the teeth, myself included, it is important that you take interest in this election as the opposition has turned out in full force. This will be an opportune moment to take a look at what plans that the PAP has vis-a-vis that of the opposition's which will lead to a more informed decision that we will take four years later. This will give all candidates a fair chance to convince a new generation of voters. 

To sum up, don't wave the flag in August if you are not interested in the General Elections for the partying will not happen should the parties that decides the future of the country are found wanting.

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