Why the Opposition is Not Ready for Governance
General Elections 2015
As Singapore’s 2015 General Election comes to a close, I watched with much amusement as the majority of the opposition and their supporters started lashing out against the very people they were supposed to be fighting for.
I guess on some level, I can empathize. “You said you wanted change, but you voted against us?” they must be thinking. Actions speaks louder than words. Faithless. Betrayal. And, with much bitterness in their hearts, they scream “NO MORE COMPLAINTS! YOU VOTED FOR THIS!”
Not sure about you, but I expected the PAP majority outcome.
What I’m surprised by is the level of bitterness the Opposition has displayed in the wake of this defeat, ironically, much like the mollycoddled PAP cry babies in the past.
The Lesser Idiot
If you’ve read some of my other posts before, you’d know that I’m extremely critical of the PAP and its self righteous arrogance. I guess it’s now time for me to level similar criticisms on the Opposition’s naivety. Their response after the overwhelming victory of the PAP only reinforces their childishness and the main problem with them: The Opposition is terrible overall.
I’ve maintained throughout this election period that GE2015 is not a vote for a better future, but a vote for the lesser idiot. The PAP isn’t ideal, but the opposition isn’t exactly the better alternative.
Unrealistic proposals. Overtly over idealistic rhetoric. Unclear agendas. Etc. And now, after their loss, we can add the lack of maturity to that list. This is not even including outside factors, like the legacy of LKY being blatantly taken advantage of, ‘fear votes’ by opposition supporters, (unlikely) large numbers of votes from new citizens who only know the PAP, and that a lot of the infrastructure improvements have been timed to coincide with this election.
What I expected was that they’d attempt to hunker down and start working towards the next election. After all, isn’t the opposition the humble underdog, and that the molding of the future of Singapore a constant process? What.. did they honestly expect to win this election with an overwhelming majority in the face of all the factors, external and internal, working against them?
If they did, then all I can say is that there’s clearly something wrong with with the ‘ears’ they’ve used to listen to ‘the ground’ with. This is also not mentioning the fact that it’s extremely obvious they’ve only listened to the noisy ones, and forgot that ‘the ground’ also consists of those who are ‘silent’.
Isn’t it worrying that those who claim to be close to the ground doesn’t seem to have the slightest idea what this ‘ground’ actually thinks?
Maybe they were blinded by the enthusiasm on opposition rallies. But is that a clear representation of what the majority thinks? The PAP rallies were pretty much in comparison.. did anybody ask why was it that way? Was it a lack of support… or was it pointless to attend those rallies since people were going to vote the PAP anyway?
It’s the same for the fervent opposition supporters as well. While admittedly unscientific, a response I got when talking to one of them is extremely telling of their ignorance of the problem:
“I don’t really get what you are getting at. Seriously. Did people vote for PAP because the opposition did not field good candidates or they did not have good ideas of moving forward? Were they so dodgy as compared to 2011 elections that 10% more people decided to vote for PAP instead of them?”
“Well, among other things.” I replied. “You mean you guys haven’t considered those as possibilities?”
Also, it’s kinda obvious now that you guys can’t even deal with this setback. Then what happens if you face a similar setback when you’re voted in? How the hell is your current response supposed to instill confidence into your voters?
The behaviour is not only unproductive, it serves to reinforce the stereotype that the opposition and its supporters are overly emotional.
I can probably summarize the this whole debacle with a business example:
- Idealistic inventor creates invention to solve a perceived problem.
- Many supporters in the form of verbal and financial support from family and friends.
- Market research confirms product validity.
- Launches product in direct competition with existing monopoly incumbent.
- Product fails miserably.
Now there is where the story diverges, because a couple of thing happen, including:
One – The inventor and team goes back to the drawing board with this result in mind, scrutinizes everything, including market research methodologies, to understand problem. Seeks new feedback to determine problem and solution. Or..
Two – Inventor gets disillusioned and blames the market for poor sales performance.
Guess which behaviour is the opposition is engaged in right now? And I’m probably going to get hell for this additional statement: Such a stereotypical Singaporean response to failure eh?
What was that about the Singaporean stereotype that we respond poorly to setbacks? One might even argue that the whole general election was a test for that stereotype… and one that yielded a sad, but unsurprising, result.
If you have the time, I’d urge you to peruse a ‘Ask Me Anything’ thread on reddit. This one was by a ‘CEO of an indie game development company facing bankruptcy after having their game featured by both Google and Apple.’
Survived panic attacks! Poured heart and soul into product! Lacks experience and credibility but was *featured* by Apple AND Google! What could go wrong?
Read on and you’ll realize that it’s sometimes the silliest, simplest thing that can make or break something, and that ‘hard work’ and ‘passion’ alone isn’t enough.
Also, realise that that’s how a 20 something kid is responding to impending doom of his passion. Clearly, maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age, if this kid and the moron who honestly thought that he could get people to not vote for the PAP because an incoming baby is anything to go by.
What the Opposition needs to do now:
- Stop blaming others. “Don’t complain, you deserved it!” – What? It’s their fault you’re so bad that, among other possibilities, many felt forced to vote for the lesser evil?
- Stop whining like groomed PAP scholars and start laying the groundwork for the next election
- Honest Introspection. You owe it to yourselves and the people whom you wish to represent.
- Start NOW. Part time, if you have to. Don’t wait until you’re caught off guard last minute, like what happened in GE2015.
- Figure out why many people voted this way. This is what you claim to be your strength yes? Ears to the ground? So why did the fear voters vote this way? Why were the many fence sitters suddenly voting for the PAP? Why are there more spoilt voters this time round? How can you reach out to the new citizens that are here, now? Are there opposition supporters who voted for the PAP? Why? How did they lose their faith in you? What can you do to win back their faith? How can you allay the fear of fear voters? Are the PAP voters really the ‘immature’ voters, or is it the other way round? Why do the PAP voters think so? Are your ‘ears’ reliable? Or have they only been letting you hear what you want to hear? etc etc.
Am I saying that the above is the magic pill for an opposition win the the future? Hell no. This is probably a terribly written post with terribly thought of examples and filled with terrible solutions.
But even the most cynical of you would probably agree with me when I say what I’m proposing is probably more useful than what most of the opposition is engaged in right now.
A quote I used previously calling the PAP to get over themselves seems to be valid in this case as well:
“When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself.” -Gilbert Arland
Can’t help those who feel it’s the bull’s-eye’s fault. For the rest of you – Come on. You’re better than this. Come back strong. Come back for yourselves. Come back for same reasons you started this in the first place. Come back for the people and the country you love and hold dearly.
Unless, of course, your bruised ego is a good enough reason for you to quit.
Or is it?