GE: There will not be change. Part 2
Here’s part 2, a breakdown on why will change still be a distant idea.
Many people believe that the results of GE ultimately depend on the strength and disposition of the competing parties. How outspoken the candidates are and what are their credentials, giving most citizens fleeting hope year after year. That isn’t false, at the same time it’s far from being entirely true. In determining electoral results, every factor fades in comparison when compared to understanding the demographics of the country.
It’s been 5 years since angry citizens had their last taste of voting, and no doubt that this coming GE, the flames are churning more aggressive than ever. The loyal middle class that once entrusted their hope on the incumbent may no longer do the same this year. Like 5 years ago, heavy sentiments drags the air as the date of GE draws nearer but apart from the disappointment that we already know, are things much different?
Things are, but it’s not exactly advantageous to the change we yearn to see.
Majority of new citizens love the incumbent, that’s truism. To be given privileges equal, if not better than citizens that worked hard for decades to fuel our nation’s economy. Not to mention that beyond the checkpoints of woodland, the governance of Singapore is always painted to be clean, efficient and of first world’s standard. You don’t expect them to have tainted impression of the incumbent just months after living here.
It’s no secret that foreign workers come by the bulk these days and within months of residence, there’s no hesitation on government’s part on making them citizens. The population of Singaporeans increased approximately by 300k ever since the last GE, considering that Singapore suffers from a low fertility rate, it would be fair to assess at least 40% of these figures account for the new citizens. That is a total of 120k secured fresh voters for the PAP. The other 180k wouldn’t be able to dilute the influence of votes since they are still infants.
The politically apathetic
Engineered deliberately or not, Singaporean’s are not a bunch nurtured to take natural interest in politics. Unless the GE is just around the corner, political news are normally keep far beyond the reach of a regular citizens. Even if there are any, expect to find nothing beyond PR stunts or damage control press statements in our local newspaper. For any political news that goes deeper, you will have to source for them yourselves. And that doesn’t usually happen unless you are a bored white collar in your mid twenties with very little success in your social life.
And by apathetic, I do not mean that these people do not take the slightest interest in political matters naturally making their vote a wildcard. You see, the propaganda madness of history/social studies during the primary and secondary school lives of a student is enough to make any typical monger hold the incumbent in a holy regard thus making their default vote a cross beside the thunder of god.
These are your diligent civil servants that prays for promotion year after year, if not an increment. For them to be what they are, civil servants, they must first function on fear and paranoia before they can commit their life trapped in that puny cubicle of theirs sending vindictive emails. Think about it, for anybody to decide on a job that provides not much aspiration but an iron rice bowl, security must be their foremost priority in life.
As mentioned, they live in fear while begging for petty promotions. And as much as they may feel oppressed in life, wanting for a breakthrough, even the slightest spark of fear will make them abide accordingly and vote for their masters.
The Kiasu citizens
These are the middle age that lived the prime of their lives through the 1970s and 1980s with modest education. With credentials of either an O/A level or Diploma, and in very rare cases a degree. The Kiasu citizens are very much like our civil servants in terms of being self centered, but for a different cause and reason. If the civil servant operates solely on fear of their own well being, then the Kiasu citizens operates solely on Kiasu-ness of Kiasu-ness. Yes, they just don’t want to lose out by they themselves don’t know what they can lose out on either.
These are the people that know they are oppressed and would travel across the nation to watch opposition rallies. But when the ballot’s box is in front of them, here’s what they are thinking, “Aiya, why should I be the one doing the dirty work when other GRC’s can vote opposition into parliament. Just imagine the new sheltered walk ways and new coats of paint I will be missing out on if opposition gets voted into my district! Cannot, I cannot be so lugi!”
Simply put it, they just don’t see the big picture.
The keyboard warriors(that can’t vote)
These days, the online community is constantly dripping with harsh sentiments towards the incumbent. Take a stroll in any of local forums and witness the hundreds of hateful threads posted on a hourly basis, alternatively, the comments section of every opposition rally or even your Facebook home page, you must have some friends all flared and gung-ho about the upcoming GE. People are all fuming and they can’t wait to vote the incumbent out, right?
Not really. Most of the drama that you see online aren’t spurred by one of your fellow voters. At least not this GE. These are your bored students slugging through their tertiary education, in other words, polytechnic life. No doubt that they do have authentic passion after all that brain washing by lurking all day in online forums. But passion alone isn’t enough without power, they can’t vote.
Like internet porn covers, what you see isn’t exactly what you will get.
Interesting fact to add on, the WP is actually fully aware of this as they have been trying for ages and ages to lower the age requirement for voting but like everything else, the suggestion is to no avail of course.
The extreme rich and extreme poor
In part 1, I mentioned something about Singapore having an absurdly high Gini Ratio Index(GRI) considering the size of our population. And now I want to talk about something related to that, the M shape society.
The GRI isn’t an exactly useful or accurate tool when it comes to measuring wealth inequality as what it simply does is to standardize a mean on a Lorenza curve and rotate the income distribution around it. This method is only useful in telling us if wealth inequality exist in country X but it doesn’t tell it how does it occur, meaning we don’t get a specific distribution of it’s inequality.
But it said that when the Gini Ratio Index stretches above 50, the country falls into a trap of entering an M shape society, a polarized society only with the extreme rich and extreme poor. That the middle class doesn’t necessarily exist at all, and all those that’s perceived to be is actually at polar ends with the upper class. This may be a shocking phenomenon but just think about it. Think about the number of private estate projects that get sold out within days after it’s launch. Think about the number of HDBs that are not home stayed but rented out. Think about the number of continental cars that cost half the price of the HDB you are struggling to pay off. Is it all that shocking after all?
Hard truth is, the rich loves the incumbent. You see the number of filthy rich queuing to live with us despite the ridiculous immigration fees? It’s a playing field specially crafted for them and they know it. Would you vote up the people that are going to make you richer?(And to add on a little bit about the rich. Ever thought why did PAP tie up Holland and Bukit Timah together despite them being segmented areas? It’s where all the landed properties are, where the rich stays. They wouldn’t have nothing to fear even to have Vivian Balakrishan up against SDP strongest candidate for this year.)
Harder truth is, I did not group both the extreme rich and poor just to explain my theory on the M shape society. Fact is, the extreme poor is no different from the extreme rich when it comes to their party of choice. These are your frail and old living on a pension of $230 monthly picking up cardboards and metal tins by the roadside to get by. These are the old timers completely held by the neck like a puppet still feeling grateful for their pension fees and the country that LKY has built for us.
Point is, the middle class that’s frequently thought to be the largest pool or voters may not be so anymore.
Is this GE the watershed GE as many depicted it to be? Think again.