Representative Democracy In Singapore

Two or three weeks ago, I explored Potong Pasir for the hell of it, with some of the very few people I know here who would do things like go exploring Potong Pasir for the hell of it. It was a fabulous day, and I’ve been meaning to do a writeup with photos for ages. (Coming soonish.)

When the usual “So, what have you been up to lately?” question gets asked in conversations, I’ve been telling other people about Potong Pasir Day. This is how the conversation goes in the vast majority of cases:

Me: Well, a couple of friends and me went exploring Potong Pasir one Sunday afternoon and had a fantastic time.
X, looking absolutely perplexed: Oh…okay…why?
Me: We wanted to see what an opposition constituency was like.
X, still looking confused: Oh…you mean Potong Pasir is an opposition constituency?

[There are only 2 constituencies in the whole of Singapore which are not in the hands of the ruling party. Potong Pasir has been an opposition constituency with opposition politician Mr Chiam See Tong as its MP for at least the past 15 years, if not longer. Chiam See Tong is Singapore’s most prominent, respected and successful opposition politician. All these facts are given ample press coverage at election time.]

Now, let’s continue with the conversation. With about a quarter of the people I have talked to, the second half of the conversation goes like this: (Please note that the people I talk to all have university degrees)

Me: Er, yes. Chiam See Tong is its MP.
X: Oh…you mean Chiam See Tong is an opposition MP?
Me: (speechless)

9 comments

  1. most of the time it’s “you mean the opposition actually succeeds at something??”

    for most pple, knowledge about the opposition stops at Chee Soon Juan, you see. and then starts laughing rabidly.

  2. There are lots of intelligent people that don’t care about politics and lots of idiots that do.

    Does Chiam See Tong ever saying anything remotely memorable? Politicians are already incredibly dull to me when they’re only discuss issues pre-prepared by their writing team, or you’ve heard 50 times already. If the government was writing the script I think I’d find Pop Idol more engrossing (did you know people with degrees watch that?).

  3. edit: Would you believe I’m currently in trouble at work for lacking attention to detail? What’s that about?

    Does Chiam See Tong ever say anything remotely memorable? Politicians are already incredibly dull when discussing issues pre-prepared by their writing team, or you’ve heard 50 times already. If the government were writing the script I think I’d find Pop Idol more engrossing (did you know people with degrees watch that?).

  4. i live there!

    the only thing you might find weirdly disconcerting are the large posters of sitoh yih pin plastered throughout. heh.

  5. James: There is only one politician here who can do without teams of people writing politically correct speeches for him.

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