Elections: Of course the PAP!

It is an exciting period in Singapore. On May 6th, we go to the polls to choose our next Government. I, like many other Singaporeans, do not have to vote. Because the all powerful People’s Action Party (PAP) is being returned unopposed in my district. This is not uncommon. In almost every election, less than half the electorate actually vote. Funny, huh?

I asked the waiter at lunch today, “Who are you going to vote for?”
“Of course the People’s Action Party!” he said, with some gusto. Another sycophantic fan, I thought.
“I have voted for the PAP every single time, sir!”
“Very simple. I am worried that if I vote for anybody else, the Government will check my serial number and blacklist me.”


I wonder…..how many people actually choose out of fear?


‘Malaysia: Death of a Democracy’, John Slimming

I’m only just getting into this book about the May 1969 racial riots, apparently it’s banned in Malaysia…written, in 1969, by this Englishman …anyways, there are lots of fascinating little passages, here’s one:

In 1950, during the Korean war, the demand for natural rubber caused a boom on the world markets; rubber prices soared. They rose to more than two dollars a pound; the highest figure that year was M$2.38. The attitudes of the three racial groups to this considerable increase were very different and highlight the differences in racial temperament.

The Chinese rubber tappers went out every day in family strength and they tapped every tree as often as they could; they collected every drop of latex they found and many of them quickly made a small fortune. They banked their money or they bought gold which they hid in their houses.

The Indians behaved in the same way, tapping as much and as frequently as possible but few of them made any attempt to save their earnings. With unexpected wealth they bought new clothes, saris for their wives, expensive brands of cigarettes; they bought refrigerators for houses where there was no electricity and then used them as cupboards; some of them bought second-hand cars to drive to the rubber fields.

In contrast to all this activity and business, the Malay villager calculated that if, when the price of rubber was one dollar a pound, he had to work twenty days in the month to make a living, then, when the price rose to two dollars it was necessary for him to work only ten days for the same money. So, while the Chinese and the Indians tapped more and worked harder, the Malays worked less and passed their time in a more leisurely manner. The Malay has an infinite capacity for enjoying the simple pleasures of his kampong life. The rubber boom was nineteen years ago. Now he is being forced to become more conscious of his country’s economy but there is still no indication that he is becoming more industrious.

The Chinese are far more numerous than the Indians and their control of industry and commerce is greater; for this reason the Malays fear the Chinese more. The Chinese have economic power which the Malays resent.

When you shoot

In the Straits Times on April 23rd:

“It was a moment of intense concentration, then excitement when the bullet hit.”
– Staff Sergeant Soh Wee Kiat, who tested the Singapore Army’s new high-powered sniper rifle

Would he feel the same excitement if the bullet killed a person, instead of a soda can?