The Presidential election quandary: Voices, choices, and Singapore’s fractured democracy

by Gilbert Goh

Many voters appreciated the fact that Tan Kin Lian stepped up to give the opposition camp an alternative voice during the forthcoming Presidential Election (PE).

If not, it’s a pure contest between two pro-establishment figures, leaving out a proper choice for those who wanted a person from the other side.

Democracy means you have several choices to choose from, and the one who captures the most votes wins the election.

Nevertheless, what if the alternative choice is not someone you would like to be President?

TKL has the most gruelling entry into the fiery fray after a series of posts painted him black with his past social media fiasco on pretty ladies.

Our politics here have also turned very polarised, just like in the US when we have the Republican and Democrat camps and nobody now calls themselves purely an American; it’s just either Democrat or Republican!

In Singapore, we divide ourselves into the white and non-white camps and conversations on politics can turn very ugly when it comes to the PE!

I had an unpleasant argument yesterday with someone on my WhatsApp who suddenly replied out of the line, as most messages haven’t been replied to for well over a year or two.

He insisted that I should vote for TKL as he is the only voice for change, regardless of his background.

I told him that I hadn’t decided yet, and he launched into a series of vitriol which I won’t want to go into in detail.

Singaporeans are probably so fed up now that they would vote for anybody on the opposing side to send a signal that they are unhappy with the status quo regardless of their background and scandals.

Many pro-opposition voters I know are sitting on the fence and still very much undecided on who to vote for, and I reckon that those who want to void their vote in retaliation could figure by the hundreds of thousands.

The PE is a joke by any vague democratic standard, and nobody wants to vote for a state-sanctioned candidate, however eligible he is.

It’s tantamount to a communist country that put up its own choice of leader for a vote internally.

Singapore should constitutionally remove the PE for good least we fall further back into the democratic-status hierarchy, leaving us to be framed as a dictatorial regime.

This was first published on Gilbert Goh’s Instagram page and reproduced with permission

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