Yee Jenn Jong: “How does one prepare and print flyers when boundaries are not known and constituencies can disappear?”

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing speaks at the Temasek Polytechnic graduation ceremony (Source: The Straits Times).

by Yee Jenn Jong

To borrow a recently used phrase from a Minister, I would say that that is a convergence, some might say an unfortunate convergence, or coincidence that when the Electoral Boundary Review Committee (EBRC) is done with their work, the General Election will be swiftly called.

In the past it has even been as short as 1-2 days after the publication of the EBRC report. That leaves anyone interested to contest with just 2-3 weeks to prepare, including printing tens of thousands of flyers, hundreds or even thousands of posters and getting yourself known to tens of thousands or even over 100,000 constituents in a constituency.

How does one prepare and print flyers when boundaries are not known and constituencies can disappear? How do you find contractors and put them on standby to help with the logistics when you do not know the date suitably in advance? How does one find running mates for the constituencies when constituencies are not known?

It will be a coincidence that the EBRC will take a longer time this time but will finish just after Budget 2020. And surely a convergence that Budget 2020 will have lots of goodies in it.

It is also a coincidence that some of the most fiercely and closely contested constituencies in the preceding GE will disappear or become badly dissected.

It is a coincidence that Joo Chiat SMC was taken away in 2015 when the chief considerations are population changes and housing developments. What demographics and major housing changes were there in Joo Chiat from 2011 to 2015? It was also goodbye to Eunos GRC, Cheng San GRC, Braddell SMC and several others after a closely fought prior GE.

It is also an unfortunate convergence that the 2017 Presidential Election should be based on race, after a fiercely contested PE2011 which saw the preferred candidate winning by just a razor thin 0.59% of the popular votes. It is surely by chance that the barriers were raised such that the Malay candidates who had rags-to-riches success were not able to qualify to contest because the assets that qualify-able candidates have to manage was suddenly raised up very high. And it must be a coincidence that most Singaporeans were surprised to find that the late Mr Wee Kim Wee was considered to be the first elected president when we remember from history that it should have been the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong.

Surely the mathematicians must find our coincidences a unique and interesting issue to study and find a computational model to explain.

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