Shame on You

By Gangasudhan

The results of GE2015 have cowed the opposition and more than a quarter of the nation into silence. In one of the strongest mandates ever given to the PAP to rule Singapore, the popular vote from the 2.4 million voters has been a strong 70% popularity rating to continue on the path that it is on. But while this could be democracy in action and we all have to respect it whether we like it or not, the real shock is in the mismatch between the overwhelming support at the polls and what was heard and seen online as well as what was felt on the ground during the grassroots work by the opposition parties.

What appeared to be a close fight for the hearts and minds of the voters has turned out to be a whitewash (pardon the pun). Whatever the cause of this amazing/devastating result though, the fact remains that many keyboard warriors acted contradictory to what they expressed online and in person at every other place other than the polling booth. And this act of contradiction is a true act of betrayal of those who took the stand to try and act as the people’s voice in parliament or to empower their future.

Shame on you if it was all in ‘good fun’

Politics may be a ‘spectator sport’ for some who think it is all fun and games to see what antics the aspiring opposition politicians get up to. Do they come up with weird logos and ridiculous manifestos? Do they speak funny or have coloured backgrounds? But to apply that same kind of callous attitude towards serious opposition parties which put a lot of thought and effort to crafting their alternative ideas is just wrong. That’s like laughing at a disabled person who is trying to climb a flight of stairs on his own – you should either help or STFU, and certainly not be gawking or waiting to see when (not if) he will fall. It may have all been incredibly entertaining for you, but the fall injures and you know it. Shame on you.

Shame on if you were just grumbling

We are a nation of complainers and we grumble about every little thing – being the insolent little child that we are (hence, the need for a nanny state, perhaps). But to egg on people who take your complaints seriously and try to act on it is just plain irresponsible in every sense of the word. If that was you, then you should have made it very clear that you just needed a space to vent out your frustrations. By not doing so, you let someone who really took you seriously get hurt. Shame on you.

Shame on you if you just wanted to scare PAP

In the early part of this millennium, the PAP government was really getting out of hand with its arrogance. Many of us felt it and were worried, frustrated or angered by this turn of events. We all wanted to let our rulers know that this was unacceptable and we would not stand by and allow it. Thus some men and women took a stand against this arrogance and offered to be the damper that kept the PAP away from the arrogant attitude. But to just want the threat of opposition but not really intending to support opposition representation is a really infantile way to make your feelings known. Because in the process, real men and women who were prepared to be there in parliament to make sure the government was never high-handed to the people got hurt. Shame on you.

Shame on you if you voted against your conscience

There is the real possibility that people just got cold feet at the polling booth and voted for the PAP candidate or team because they were too worried about their personal future (as in day-to-day living and not the future of Singapore). While extolling every thought and feeling that aligns with the various causes championed by the opposition candidates, these people would have still voted the PAP out of selfish fear – to put it simply, they want a different Singapore but don’t want to suffer for it in any way.

So they talk the talk and walk the walk, and attend the rallies with all the gusto in the world. They declare their opposition to the government freely and argue with the PAP loyalists with hatred. They will ‘be opposition’ in their minds all the way through the voting process – even as they place the cross against the PAP team or candidate at the polling booth. They will also be the ones who will claim to be shocked by this massive win and tell you that they have no idea how this could have happened. They may also be genuinely reeling with shock alongside you.

The irony will be lost on these people that they ARE the reason. They will not link their selfish vote against their conscience with the ultimate outcome of a landslide win for ‘the other side’. These are the people who don’t get the saying, “stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”. They might even be avid readers of The Online Citizen but who wouldn’t have bothered to donate a single cent to support the men and women here (this doesn’t include me, by the way) who spend long days and nights bringing the truth and knowledge to you.

Voting against your conscience is not called exercising the only real right you have as a citizen of a democratic country. If you are simply going to vote for the incumbent anyway even though you absolutely abhor him, why do we even need elections? It’s an incredible waste of state resources, party resources and the time and effort of real men and women who quit their jobs to fight this fight on behalf of you. The entire effort of the opposition challenge hinges on the fact that people are precisely not going to vote so immaturely and only a fool would think he or she has exercised this right by doing this to a fellow Singaporean.

In the end, these are the worst type of voters, and if you were one, shame, shame on you.

The real shame

But whatever the reason, justified or otherwise, it is shameful that men and women who dared to stand at the frontline to champion a cause they felt the people of Singapore needed championing, were let down in the most spectacular manner of betrayal that one can imagine. For that, all Singaporeans need to sincerely apologize to them and ensure these men and women do not suffer adverse consequences as a result of their courageous efforts.

It is our responsibility as fellow Singaporeans now to look for these failed politicians, make sure they give up the idea of fighting the cause(s) they champion and ensure they find alternative avenues to contribute instead. For those of us who can facilitate their employment, we need to offer our hand and a job to these people so that they are not also financially ruined.

We have already betrayed them, let us not also abandon them.