Category Archives: politics

On the Elected Presidency

I have been trying to wrap my head around the whole race thing of the elected presidency. I’ve watched and read most of the information out there and I still feel unconvinced.

So the race bit of the new EP system is as follows; if for 5 terms we have not had Race X type president, only Race X candidates will be eligible for the 6th term. Obviously, Race X is understood to be a racial minority given the unlikelihood of not having a single Chinese president for 5 terms.

The main argument for this is that:

  1. To begin with, it is symbolically important that we have minority representatives from time to time so that racial minorities can feel as though they may aspire to the highest office in the state.
  2.  However, race is still a factor in deciding our connectedness to a person. IPS surveys show this; whether this person is my president or my son-in-law. If we expect electoral battles to be as close as the last presidential election, race becomes a decisive factor among two otherwise equal competitors.
  3. Some may feel that imposing a Race X president in any given term is effectively affirmative action. However, Race X candidates must meet the same eligibility criteria. Hence, meritocracy is not undermined as all eligible candidates will be qualified for the job.

My counter-response would be that:

  1. It devalues the highest office in the state.  Of course its important that we have minority presidents now and then. If I consider myself as a political minority being a woman, I would absolutely beam at the opportunity to have a female president, but not at the expense of compromising the democratic standards of the electoral process. Do you think its going to mean a lot to me that I have a female president, if that position was not fairly won?
  2. There are better ways to get a minority president. They’re harder, but they’re worth the long term effort if we want to be the progressive society we claim to be. Yes race is a factor and is most likely to disadvantage racial minorities in an election. That is bad, but that is life. If the problem is that Singaporeans are racist or that not enough minorities are eminent enough to be eligible, imposing a president from a racial minority is a short sighted and patronising solution. Honestly, if I don’t see a candidate from the minority pool in the next two terms, I expect Singapore to look in the reflecting pool and work on long term ways to combat racism and raise the status of racial minorities in Singapore.
  3. It may not undermine meritocracy but it undermines democracy. Yes Race X candidate may have the same qualifying standards as other candidates set by the Electoral Commission, but that says nothing about the qualifying standards of average citizens. The average joe is going to vote based on how much they like you and whether they feel connected to you, which are very different standards from having run a company with $500million shareholder equity, but are probably more important. 99% of your time as president will be spent on smiling, shaking hands and making women (or men) swoon and 1% deciding whether the government can take money out of the reserves. We may not be undermining meritocracy but we’re certainly undermining democracy; giving the people a president they have freely chosen and love. A Race X president entering via the 6th term system will always be doubted on whether he/she could have been popularly elected in a fair and competitive election. This token of a president can never presume to possess the same degree of legitimacy as other presidents before him/her.

I think the implications may go further:

Because Race X is in all likelihood a racial minority, a Race X  entering in the 6th term may be seen as less legitimate not by virtue of the system, but their race. This system unfairly robs the minority president from full legitimacy as an elected president.

Also, the majority Chinese may start to feel that 5 terms is an acceptable length of time for all Chinese presidents since the 6th term is reserved for a president who is a racial minority. Imagine the 5th election where the previous 4 were won by Chinese candidates, what incentive would the majority, already comfortably privileged, have, to choose a minority president, if they know the next one will be won by one already? They’ll probably think, “Better vote Chinese, next round no more liao.” Eventually, the pattern of 5 Chinese terms and 1 minority term may become normalised, when it really really should not.

 

 

So, no go on the race bit of the new EP system. The financial argument seems rather sound, though its hard for me to say that given that it makes the guy I liked now ineligible to run. But I’m trying to be unbiased so I have to concede on this point.

Then again, the fact that TKL is now a more eligible candidate than TCB is just beyond me. This brings me back to counter-argument number 3. The financial experience is important but it means less to the average joe than his character. TKL is so thoroughly silly, he will inspire no love or loyalty from Singaporeans. The criteria that we have set for the EP just so that he/she may make a better call together with the CPA, on a one-time decision regarding the reserves, wildly narrows down our pool of candidates. That is the reality we have to contend with when we accept the EP qualifying criteria, we lose some TCBs and are left with TKLs.

Similarly, the new system that guarantees at least one minority president in your lifetime causes all the aforementioned problems, and that is the reality of a token system; one where the prized position loses value and legitimacy as a whole.

I know the government is going to accept the commissions’ recommandations, table the legislation and amend the constitution anyway. But I just wanted to write this so that I won’t forget like I always do once I’m used to something.


happy fogger

i swear tan kin lian used to be a happy fogger.

“my dream was to become the president, so i can be the voice of the people, but then my election cannot make it ehh”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shANR5U_dpY


tan tan tan tan

i really shouldnt be blogging cos my genetics and molecular biology exam’s tmrw. but i am so bored out of my skull from studying

so im here to pak (erm, chicken sound) bout sg presidential election 2011!

i dun quite like the current presidential election.

to begin with, why aren’t there any women! or any other races.

not only are they all chinese men, they’re the most common kind of chinese man. TANs.

i’m too young to vote but if i were to vote, here’s how i would break it down:

(and im glad im not voting cos as you can see, i’m pretty uninformed)

TONY TAN:

he kinda looks like the merlion. his hair esp.

TAN JEE SAY:

“checks and balances.” X a gazilliontrillionbillion

its kinda odd with him cos he talks about the internal security act, transparency in the government which are briefly democratic-ish. but he’s not using that angle to get votes. if he had a pro-democracy campaign, he might be more successful. if not he just sounds like he’s picking a few thingys to pak about. (erm, chicken sound, make noise)

TAN KIN LIAN:

his campaign seems largely based on promoting the spirit of high-fiving. he should’ve hired barney to manage his campaign.

and then there’s

TAN CHENG BOCK:

he seems a bit grouchy, but okay la. nothing much to make fun of. quite a serious guy.

i hope when i get to vote the next time, the selection will be more appetising.

not appetising, like good looking, but at least, got some variety. some distinguishable tastes. the 4 of them look like a blur of grey to me.

 

i shoudn’t have laughed but i did:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkJGXUcvRWQ

 


MM Lee and SM Goh leaving the cabinet

“MM Lee’s email came hours after he and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong issued a surprise 168-word statement on Saturday evening announcing that both senior politicians were leaving the Cabinet.

In a joint-email statement to the media, the two leaders and former Prime Minister said they have considered the “new political situation” and it’s time for a new generation to take the country forward.”

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/mm-lee–sm-goh-to-quit-cabinet.html
How I feel about MM Lee and SM Goh leaving the parliament:

MM Lee’s already 87 and it pains me to see him work so hard. All I want for him is to go home relac and sip liang cha. But im just worried about what will happen without his wisdom. I admire him so much and find him absolutely invaluable to singapore but i guess at the same time, i really just want him to go home and sip liang cha.

And as for SM Goh, its strange that just 2 months back i was at his dialogue session listening to him jovially talking breifly bout the elections, what PAP’s plans for Singapore were. and i was thinking wow this guy’s really tall and oddly tanned for a chinese dude. and suddenly now he’s resigning from the cabinet. maybe he feels a little discouraged at his recent shallow win  of 56.5%at marine parade GRC. its not his fault, its that jumpy little girl he had the misfortune of having on his team.


nicole seah party

omg damn funny. taken from mrbrown.com

apparently she has peranakan roots too.

Little_nonya_nicoleseah

i think nicole seah’s funny. she smiles like a old woman. very cute.

acutally im kinda proud of myself. never have i ever been so concerned about singapore politics till this current elections. so exciting hehe. i don’t know if i’ll get to vote in 5 years but i hope i do. or i might be contesting. HA. that’ll be funny.


PAP’s got no swagger

if i had one complaint about the PAP.

it would be this awkward stiff mid-air wave that all MPs use on posters and banners.

i think we’re more than familiar with recollections of huge ass baners in the neighbourhoods showing a few smiling MPs standing apart side by side, looking straight and smart and white ,with their left hand well gotto give them props for thinking outside of the box, sometimes right hand instead, up in the air, just above their heads. and then in the background, singaporeans of different races, esp children, smiling blankly. and then some text across the image like “Many People, One Community”.

if their manifesto’s cover had lee hsien loong doing this instead,

MIKE JONES ASSAULT AT OZONE AWARDS

i would be way more impressed.

just imagine it,

it would be awesome right? right?

don’t sue me please.


wikileaks: Kim Jong Il Got Owned

I think this is so funny, I kept smiling while reading the article.

who knew our MMLee was so awesome at swanning ppl.

MM Lee's comments about N. Korea was on a confidential diplomatic cable that was leaked by Wikileaks. (File photo)

 MMLee: “what. why look at me like that, it’s true”

MM Lee’s comments were on a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks (File photo)

Agence France-Presse

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew called North Koreans “psychopathic” and leader Kim Jong-Il a “flabby old chap” who craved public worship, a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks said.

In the document detailing a conversation between Lee and US deputy secretary of state James B. Steinberg in May last year,  Singapore’s  elder statesman said he would be surprised if the North Koreans agreed to give up their nuclear weapons.

“They are psychopathic types, with a ‘flabby old chap’ for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation,” said the document, classified as secret.

http://sg.yfittopostblog.com/2010/12/01/wikileaks-fallout-mm-lee-called-n-koreans-psychopathic/