"A new chapter has opened in Singapore's history..." as the people, rightly or wrongly, have truly spoken. The close statistics in the polls have shown that the incumbent has taken a much smaller slice of the political pie even in those constituencies which were once considered their strongholds. Many of us will definitely be still reeling (either in euphoria or disappointment) from the results as we all wonder: what now?
To answer this question, we can look to an intellectual luminary that has witnessed the birth of the world's greatest democracy, Thomas Jefferson.
"But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle." - Inaugural address, March 4, 1801
This beautiful phrase really sums up the symbolism behind electing MPs. The people have placed their trust in the elected MPs to look after their needs and voice out their opinions in parliament. Therefore, regardless of which party they come from, they are all working for the good of their constituents.
In this light, the MPs and their supporters must note that:
"The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people." - Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, 1801.
Personally, I am slightly disappointed with some of the results but at the end of the day, we as a people must celebrate the strength of democracy; the ability to make a once powerful incumbent sit up and pay attention. That is why I truly believe so strongly in exercising our birth right. It is with such results that call for a strong celebration come August as it is a mark of a mature society that we can decide for ourselves as well as the ability to field a resonant alternative voice in the parliament.
Yet, a bigger task and responsibility lie ahead of us, we as a people who have awarded the responsibility and trust to these MPs must hold them to task and ensure that they have delievered on their promises to the best of their ability. Their actions in the next 5 years that should inform us of our decisions in the next General Elections when we look back then for:
"History, in general, only informs us what bad government is." Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807.
Till 2016 then and all Singaporeans say: Majulah Singapura! (Onward Singapore!)