By David M
As sure as there’s no legal requirement to make known the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC), there’s no law too that says one must return a lost wallet. It’s all about political integrity or doing the right thing.
Critics may debate the various merits and yardsticks for fairness or circumnavigate in circles what constitutes fair play, but there’s just one unambiguous answer. The incumbent party, People’s Action Party as the game master makes the rules.
Now that the EBRC report is out, it’s immaterial if the tactics border on pork barrel politics such as favouring those who give more support; smack of gerrymandering when ward boundaries are tweaked with no apparent reasons; or appear to confuse voters when SMCs and GRCs are subsumed and then reincarnated. No political incumbent on earth will cut its rivals any slack.
The hard truth is an egalitarian playing field in politics is a myth.
Fortunately, only the voters have the divine right, once every five years, to play god. But do we have the risk appetite to change the rules of the game, put in play a different political landscape and endanger all that we have patiently built?
In the past PAP leaders have repeatedly talked about ‘Singaporean first’ policies, transparency and respect for the elected leaders’ natural aristocracy so that Singaporeans can be strong and free and stand tall anywhere in the world. Think about it: have we been properly served that we feel such unbridled pride?
The serious contest of ideas has already started even before Nomination Day. Some ideas may obfuscate us as we turned 50 and face our first mid-life crisis. But most voters I think are smart enough to discern what is fair, conscionable, and good for Singapore. They are also astute to recognise the virtuous and natural aristocrats…true leaders who while not 100% altruistic are selfless, think less of their own comfort zone but more about uplifting the common men.
I may not agree with Mr Chiam See Tong, but there is much we can learn from him. He had great odds stacked against him, suffered many setbacks but never once despaired. His indefatigable spirit nudged him to face the heat of battle, and look askance at defeat. Each time he stumbled, he picked himself up where he fell, and this retired 6-term Potong Pasir MP earned the respect of Singaporeans, and the grudging admiration of his rivals.
To the game changers (yes, voters too) at the polls — may the best men (and women) win.