It is lunch time and a day after the long weekend of the Singapore General Election 2011. This morning it was raining “cats & dogs” and “cows” as well. As usual, I left the house after checking the weather. Even with the heavy dark rain clouds and the strong wind, I decided to ride to work! Mind you, I have been riding to work for more than 4 years now and had never been caught in the rain going to work. Well, never until today!... so what went wrong?
Sigh, what went wrong was me being stubborn! My success in not getting rained on over the last 4+ years gave me a false sense of comfort. I did not even rain-proofed my haversack today. As I pedaled towards Tampines (at a really fast pace), I was able to outrun the rain 3 times. You may ask how can someone out run the rain – you can if you pedal really fast! The rain and wind caught me 3 times but I rode fast enough to get out of its path coming in from the sea. I must say that the cycling track with lots of flying leaves was quite a beautiful sight – one that I had never seen before with all these years staying at the East Coast. I got all the way to Xilin Avenue and was caught in the heavy downpour right across the Singapore Expo. With some meetings and phone calls due first thing in the morning, I decided to cycle through the rain and covered the last few kilometers in the rain. Of course, most things got wet but I had enough plastic bags in my haversack to keep my notebook and other critical items dry. Surely, there were life lessons to learn today – listen to the weather station because they are the closest to the latest weather changes, review what had just happen and learn from it so that I will not make similar mistakes in the future, stay humble and not be distracted by past success as the past is no indication of the future…
All of a sudden, I see many similarities between what I had experienced this morning and the latest elections.
GE 2011 is over and we have Members of Parliament that everyone loves and Members of Parliament that everyone loves to hate. The results were surprising to many but were clearly predicted by others. I did my own guessing and had predicted PAP returning to power but my guess on the % was somewhat off as my guess was closer to 55%. In reality, PAP returned with a great score of over 60% and capturing 93% of the available seats in the Parliament. Congratulations!!! However, the results showed that 40% of the voting people chose the alternate parties to PAP based on less than one month of campaigning. That is significant in a call for alternative voice in the Parliament!
For the rest of the alternative parties, Workers’ Party also scored big time! – increasing from 1 Member of Parliament for the last 5 years to 6 in 2011. Other parties did not win a single seat but they have managed to keep their election deposits (except for SDA’s Desmond Lim who went into a 3-way fight). Clearly, Singapore saw a more credible bunch of alternative party candidates in 2011 and I suspect this improvement in candidate quality will be expected in the next election in 2016.
My last 4+ years of riding without getting drenched in the mornings is liked the PAP’s last 5 years in power – many great successes in keeping Singapore as a first world country which many other countries envy. My poor decision in ignoring the weather forecast is liked the PAP’s lack of attention to the many responses of discomfort by Singaporeans on sensitive policies and key issues such as rising cost of living and other bread-&-butter problems. My 3X out-running of the rain is similar to previous elections where the polling results were not up to the PAP’s expectation but the party survived to rule for another 5-year period. My decision to ride through the rain to get to the office is liked the PAP’s determination to stay in power and willingness to look at internally to enhance its engagement model as a commitment to its people.
Personally, I am a little to sad to lose my Foreign Minister but it is how the election mechanism works. The same system that brought in new Members of Parliament whom many disliked, had took out my Foreign Minister. Some would argue this system is spoilt but I would say that it is working really well and it is “working as design”.
Anyhow, I hope that alternate political parties in Singapore will work with the ruling party to make Singapore a better place for all its citizens – whether it is through giving an alternate voice in the Parliament or through other channels on an on-going manner and not just a couple of days or weeks before the next General Elections in Singapore. 2016?
So, back to cycling… I will certainly be more engaged and look at the weather forecast before I cycle out of the house and in fact, I will rain-proof my haversack whether I think it will rain or not. Getting drenched coming to work is no fun! :-)