27 March 2008

Lessons From The Elections - Part 4 of 5

...continuing from Part 3 of 5.

So. What can Singapore learn from all these?
3. Ta1wan

A bit of history first.

Ta1wan's separation to be a "renegade state" occurred in 1949 when the KuoM1ngTang (KMT) retreated from the mainland to the island of Ta1wan after being defeated by the communist in the civil war. Since then, the island has been under Martial Law which was eventually lifted in 1987 and the Dem0crat1c Pr0gress1ve Party (DPP) was formed a year later. The democratic presidential election was held in 1996 where incumbent president, Lee Teng Hui, won to retain his presidency.

In short. The KMT ruled Ta1wan for over 50 years.

The next election was a tragic comedy where there was internal bickering within the KMT resulting in the more popular James Soong being expelled from the KMT and subsequently stood for presidency as an independent candidate against Lien Chan and of course Chen Shui Bian from the DPP.

As a result of splitting the votes, Lien gathered 23.1% of the votes and Soong got 36.8%. Had they combined forces to run as President-Vice President, their total of 59.9% would have easily defeated Chen Shui Bien's 39.3%, thus keeping power within the KMT camp for yet another 4 years.

Alas, it was not to be as Chen won by default as Lien and Soong to cancel out each other.
A tragic comedy indeed.
Next was the 2004 election where Chen was to stand for a second term. Lien and Soong, having learnt their lesson from the previous defeat, had decided to reconcile and run together under the KMT ticket. It looked destined for KMT to retake the presidency as Chen did a lousy job in his 4 years as president and corruption allegations were slowly floating to the surface. Then came the infamous mystery gunshot incident which cause quite a number of neutral votes to swing in DPP's favour as a result of sympathy.

I was already in Spitland during that election and quite a number of my Ta1wanese friends did not go back to vote as they thought KMT was a confirmed winner and as such their votes would not have helped.

They thought wrong as Chen retained his presidency by a mere 0.22% (22,994 votes out of a total of 12+ million).

This year, almost all my Ta1wanese friends flew back to vote for KMT, so as to prevent a repeat of the last election's folly. It was a very quiet and lonely weekend for the rest of us in Spitland. Flights back to Ta1wan was full as early as a week before the elections. Some even contemplated flying to a 3rd country to try to get a connection to fly into Ta1wan. There were news reports that 13 people on the police wanted list came back, only to be arrested at the airport, simply because they wanted to vote.

Anyway, KMT returned to power by a landslide of 2+ million votes more than DPP.

So. What can we learn from here?
Two things actually.
  1. Unity Within The Camp

    I believe the reason why Singapore's opposition is so weak is that they are very disunited. The various parties although on the front, stand together in the face of the common enemy, are second guessing each other in the back.

    A few years ago when Mr Ch1am See T0ng was still leader of the Singapore Dem0crat1c Party, the SDP was actually quite a strong party to which, some may even say that they were doing better than the incumbent opposition W0rker's Party. Unfortunately, they had a couple of back stabbings (and front) within their own ranks ala Julius Caesar (Speak! Hands for me! *L1ng How D0ong first, then the other Conspirators and Chee So0n Juan stab Ch1am See T0ng*), and Chiam saw himself booted out of his own party that he founded.

    Granted that he restarted his political career with a newly formed Singapore Pe0ple's Party, his strength was greatly reduced.

    Now, the PAP is not without problems as there were rumours within the coffeeshop talk that the party was showing signs of splitting into 2 factions. One against and one for a certain prominent person in the party. However, this has never seen the light of day as long as MM Lee is alive to see to it that the lid remained sealed. Nevertheless, the simmering lies within. Truth or hearsay?
  2. Voting The Village Idiot

    There were a lot of similarities between the PAP and the KMT. Both have been in power since day 1 (except for the KMT blip between 2000 and 2008). I supposed once a ruling party has been in power for way too long, arrogance and aloofness would quietly seep in within the ranks resulting a detachment drift away from the people who had supported them.

    Thus it was not surprising for Chen to win 39.3% on his first try in 2000. It was a shock win even for those who voted for Chen as nobody would have dreamed that the KMT would be split apart just before nomination day.

    As a result, the people of Ta1wan who wanted a change as a result of getting tired with the KMT's stagnation got what they wanted. Well, I can't say for sure if they have gotten a change for the better. As far as I can see, the economy went to shits during these 8 years where people were struggling to keep up with the costs of living.

    I am skeptical about politicians being clean and corrupt-free. It is all relative as in if one is very corrupt or if one is mildly corrupt. Then again, there may be the odd one or two who is truly clean but there is no absolute in absolutely everything. I suppose when the country is doing well and you skim the cream a little bit, people tend to close one eye and look the other way cause no harm was done to anyone's livelihood in the process. Who knows? It may even be approved. (Give Bill his blowjob, dammit!!) However, this would become unforgivable if people are going hungry and the politicians are still putting their hands into the people's pocket to steal the last penny.

    So the moral of the story is that one, regardless of how unhappy one is with the incumbent, should not vote for the opposition out of spite. Vote for the alternative candidate only if you think that he/she is better for the job.

    Message for the opposition. If you want to win the ticket, you better field a credible candidate for as unhappy as we are with the current ruling party, don't even think for a second that we will vote for a lesser candidate. Imagine if we have Dr Chee "Glucose Cheating Hunger Strike" Soon Juan as our next prime minister. Oh the horror! S1yvia Lim or Ch1am See T0ng? Yes and yes. Dr Chee S0on Juan or L1m How Do0ng? Over my dead body!
Stay tuned for Part 5 of 5 - United States of America.
Image Credit:
- Voxeros

1. uglyken left...
Thursday, 27 March 2008 3:10 pm ::
wah...never know that u could be so politic de leh
2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 27 March 2008 4:37 pm ::
uglyken: I do dabble in it from time to time whenever I have something to say. Just do a keyword search of "election" on my blog search engine (right column) and you should get some of my political archives.
3. kn2bc2b left...
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 8:49 am
MIW will rule forever if the majority have the same mentality like yours. Good luck and GOD bless SG.
4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 11 February 2010 9:39 am :: 
'kn2bc2b: Welcome to the blog. I have not political affliation. I go for competence and so far the present gahmen is not doing a fantastic job albeit still not a fail grade. I welcome the candidate who can do better, even if it is another MIW.

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