Gratefulness has nothing to do with it

This is a letter from a TOC reader.

G Hui/

I would just like to add on to Elaine Ong’s article: “False Identities and disloyalties”. Like her, I have heard many comments levelled against voters who have voted against against the PAP. Comments such as “How can you be so ungrateful?” were indeed rempant. But why would it be ungrateful to vote for an opposition party? The term ungrateful implies that Singaporeans owe the PAP a debt that has not been repaid. This is a misrepresentation of how democracy should work.

By and large, the PAP has done a good job. The streets are clean and safe and public services are generally efficient and fast. However, let’s not forget that it is the job of the government to do a good job. More importantly, they were and are well paid to do a good job! The rewards of past excellence are two-fold:

1. re election at the next elections if voters believe that they can continue to do a good job; and
2. the salaries that they get while in the job, not to mention the cushy post politics employment as consultants and directors in MNCs.

The debt is therefore already paid and the account settled. Why then, do we still owe it to the PAP to vote for them if we, as the citizens of Singapore do not feel that they can continue to represent us adequately?

Democracy dictates that the party who gets the most seats through a fair voting system forms the government,. It is forward looking. Bringing gratefulness into the equation negates the system of democracy and places too much focus on the past.

Indeed, gratefulness should have nothing to do with how one votes. If a particular party has a good track record, voters should vote for them because they feel that that party can continue to do a good job and not because we are beholden to them for their past good deeds.