Sunday, 27 January 2013

Spoken with votes

I was too tired to wait out the result of the by-election and went to bed as the 10-pm news started rolling.

The first question I asked William when I opened my eyes was "Who win huh? Did WP win?"

He gave a mumbled 'erm'.

The win is half-expected by many, given the resentment many felt after the 2011 General Election. The 'mandated' victory by the ruling party had not changed Singaporeans' lives for the better. In fact, right after the GE, the cost of living soars to new heights like never before. The housing prices have not come down despite a series of cooling measures, the COEs hit new high month after month, PSLE turned out to be as difficult as ever despite the Education Minister's words that it would not be. Even in things like groceries, William noted that the milk powder that he always buys has increased in its price from $50 to more than $80 in a span of few years.

The baby bonuses that the government suddenly sprang up and 'surprised' many happened to coincide with the days leading up to the by-election. When I voiced my thoughts about why there was a need to back-date the benefit to August 2012, William surmised that a quick statistical research might have shown that there was a significant number of babies given birth in the by-election area from then.

I am half-surprised that Punggol East is taken by the Workers' Party at the same time. I think it speaks volume about how the young couples and families in the area are not easily bought over by monetary rewards even when they are thrown in their face. I would think most young families would appreciate these bonuses and cast their votes in the direction which could potentially continue to benefit them.

On the other hand, the ruling party have probably forgotten that there are some people who have realised that child-raising is not temporary, and cannot rely on temporary measures. I know of people who have cast their votes in the other direction in consideration of their children - when they do not have children yet.

The guy in question told me,"If I vote for the ruling party, and the prices of housing continue to go up, then how are my children going to afford a flat in future? As it is, we are already having problems buying these million-dollar flats. I must make a change."

When I indicated elements of surprise that he was so upfront about his 'defiance', he said,"I am not afraid to let others know, because if everybody is hush-hush about it, nobody will know that I have voted for the opposition and won't dare to vote for them."

While it is of little concern to me who the ward would go to, I must say I am impressed that the Punggol-East residents' action reflects how they feel. There are so many people out there who feel disgruntled against a party, yet continue to vote for them because they 'have no choice'. These are mostly young couples with young families to feed. To me, they are truly a new generation of voters who are voting for the future of their children and not for the carrots dangled right before their eyes. These are the people who have bought flats at high prices, but are not threatened by the warning of impending falling prices of their flats should they vote otherwise.

They voted for a change. They voted for the future. They voted for their children.

Truly impressed.

No comments: