Elections are coming, so here is a political opinion that nobody asked for! I noticed that there are 5 main types of people/parties who pit themselves against the PAP. They are the:
- Uhh, Credible-ish
- Unhinged Angst
- Ultimately Incompetent
- Unadulterated Joke
- Unilateral Activist
1. Uhh, Credible-ish
No surprise, I would place The Workers’ Party here. This is despite their FMSS issues. I’m sure there are people who believe they are set up, or unfairly treated against, but my take of the matter is that they did screw up. Perhaps not deliberately, but mess up they did. Regardless, they still prove to be the most competent and credible opposition to the PAP at the moment, and I believe they’d survive their legal troubles.
New party on the block, Progress Singapore Party will probably place here thanks to once long-time PAP MP Mr Tan Cheng Bock, though I don’t view him very favourably. I just think he’s more interested in leaving a personal legacy than anything, and contesting the GE is just his way of getting back at the government for his foiled plans for presidency. Nonetheless, as long as he is around, the party won’t be too much of an Unhinged Angst or Unadulterated Joke.
Now, more surprising would be the fact that I think Singapore Democratic Party can be categorised here. They used to be Unhinged Angst, and to some fall under the Unadulterated Joke segment, but it’s quite evident they have tried to clean up their act over the years, and can continue to attract the likes of Dr Paul Tambyah to further become a credible PAP opponent.
My take: I wouldn’t worry too much about Uhh, Credible-ish parties winning seats, or even taking over as the government. My belief is that should a UC party take over Singapore or form a coalition government, anti-PAP people would rejoice for a while until they realise that nothing much would change from the current status quo as long as pragmatic people are in charge of the country, and pragmatism is what makes the Uhh, Credible-ish types credible and electable to the electorate. Think of the pigs and humans in Animal Farm, but in a more optimistic and positive light.
2. Unhinged Angst
The Unhinged Angst is the sort of person who acts as if the PAP has personally killed their loved ones and everything he/she holds dear, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this. You can see the Unhinged Angst everywhere on social media, commenting on things that aren’t even vaguely related to politics.
Hand foot mouth disease? VOTE PAP OUT!
Climate change? VOTE PAP OUT!
Some school has a new campus? VOTE PAP OUT!
I wish I were kidding, but even when our ministers don’t catch COVID-19, it’s an issue for the Unhinged Angst:
I cannot say that I don’t understand the Unhinged Angst, for I was once such a person. Sigh. I used to be very against the PAP government, and I can only say that such angst arises because you feel that there is no chance of “the truth” coming to light given how the PAP dominates each election. But enough about my embarrassing past.
My take: Ultimately, the Unhinged Angst does very little to effect change in Singapore. If anything, their rants are highly disturbing to swing voters who may want to vote for the opposition but simply cannot relate to such vitriol (because PAP didn’t… murder their families).
The Unhinged Angst works hard winning votes for the PAP even better than PR-clumsy PAP politicians can, but I don’t think they can help themselves. Ranting in an echo chamber is probably very satisfying when you have so much angst in your system.
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3. Ultimately Incompetent
The Ultimately Incompetent includes parties like National Solidarity Party, and – I’m sorry – Singapore People’s Party. I know, I know, Mr Chiam See Tong is a venerable opposition figure, but his party is simply irrelevant now. Mr Chiam’s succession plan at its best involved a younger protege whom he fell out with (again?!), and at its lowest point included his aged wife.
The SPP story, when viewed in light of WP’s electoral success, is a cautionary tale for succession planning. Mr Chiam deserves all respect due to him, but his party, sadly, does not seem like it would survive him.
My take: the Ultimately Incompetent parties represent the only anti-PAP type except for the Uhh, Credible-ish, that don’t win votes for the PAP by pushing swing voters away, but also fail to do enough to affect the status quo in the opposition’s favour.
4. Unadulterated Joke
The Reform Party.
My take: Do I need to say more?
5. Unilateral Activist
Now, this is the one I struggled with naming the most. There is Roy Ngnerng with his fuzzy CPF Maths, The Online Citizen aka The Opposition’s Straits Times, and then there’s the “yay Mahathir” group comprising Kirsten Han, Jolovan Wham, and PJ Thum… Basically, the “Usual Suspects” (ah damn it this would have made a good name too) of Singapore dissidents.
My take: At the risk of generalising, I think they are, to different levels, well-intentioned, but it seems to me that they single-mindedly want democracy for the sake of democracy, never mind the outcomes, nor the fact that most Singaporeans want the current system that we have.
I personally like the “benevolent absolutism with elections every 5 years” model that exists rather uniquely in Singapore, but hey everyone has their preferences! I’m not saying they have the wrong ideals, though I cannot help but feel that they are barking up the wrong tree, and many of the Singaporeans on the tree are rather bemused by the barking and getting increasingly concerned. Stop trying to sell ice to Eskimos if you aren’t that great a salesperson!
Roy seems happy in Taiwan, so I believe everyone and their ideals do have a place in the world. The UA can do everyone a favour and start finding theirs just like how 70% of Singaporeans already have.