When the smoke all began, my thoughts were, ” What a great time to call for an election for the incumbent party. The economy is booming. The ruling party will win by a huge margin.”
I said to my Dear, with a lump in my throat, that I will definitely vote for the ruling People’s Action Party.
In my twenties, I never had a chance to vote. As the ruling party is so strong, nobody came out to oppose them, so it was always walkover.
My first chance to vote was in 2006, at the ripe old age of 33. That was early, compared to alot of older Singaporeans who only get to vote this time, older than I am.
Voting for PAP is a no brainer. Singapore as a whole, has done well. There are a few reasons why I would do so.
1.) Well maintained neighbourhood.
Being a homemaker allows me time around the neighbourhood, taking the children to various playgrounds. So I can observe. Dirty walls get painted over quickly, spoilt railings or excercise equipments get repaired quickly. You can tell someone’s working tirelessly behind upkeeping the beautiful neighbourhood.
It’s like Mom cooking and cleaning for you everyday. You’d probably take it for granted on a daily basis. But comes Mother’s Day, you know it’s time to tell your mom you love her. That’s how I feel the Election is like. A day to take stock of what the ruling party has done for us and be grateful.
2.) A caring & hardworking Member of Parliament
Mr Khaw Boon Wan, is often seen around here attending neighbourhood activities. Not just around election time. For the whole of the last term, about 4 years, he is a constant face among us. Unlike the previous Tony Tan, whose face I had NEVER seen throughout his whole term here. That guy had wanted out by then, and he wasn’t interested. The contrast of their presnce is stark. wu zo gang and boh zo gang – people can tell.
3.)Care for the old and poor.
The present is not the only reason why I would vote for the PAP. We were once poor, living in a rented two room flat in Queenstown. The time which we needed to care for my grandmother when she had ALzheilmer’s disease was one of the hardest in my life. The government
a.) gave us a monthly subsidy of $150 for 5 years to alleviate the costs.
b.) Ah Por’s hospital bills were often less than $1k. In that 10 years, she was hospitalised for no less than 10 times.
c.) Families with elderly to care for pay lower maid levy.
d.) I enjoyed substantial grandparent tax relief for having Ah Por under my care.
It was still difficult times no matter. But we have to understand sometimes just because life is tough doesn’t mean it’s the government’s fault. There are hardships in life which we have to bear ourselves, without blaming or depending on someone else.
So from my own experience, I firmly believe the government’s promise about keeping health costs low for the elderly, as we were beneficiaries back then.
4.) Affordable housing
We bought our present flat for 125k. It’s now worth 400k. Mainly due to the boom. It’s not the fault of the government that the price of flats have gone way up. The new flats built by the state now sell for about 250k for a 4 room like ours. Doubles our flat.
I have worried about whether my son will be able to afford it. But the government has promised they will keep providing affordable housing to the young couples. I believe they will.
Sure the quantum is high. But Singaporeans aren’t a poor lot ok. And for the young ones, their earning potential is powerful in this land of opportunities. When I was twenty-something, I also felt poor and thought how in the hell I am able to grow rich enough to retire eventually. But if you work hard in Singapore, by the time you are 35, you should be able to amass some kind of savings. If you hadn’t, that’s because you have been living irresponsibly, dun blame other people.
5.) Other facets
Childcare, maternity leave, flats. In every stage of my life, I can remember having benefitted from some kind of policy in this land. We’ve been SO well taken care of. While everyone complains about the inflation and high living costs. Our single income family (hubby professional notwithstanding) is still able to live a comfortable life – taking public transport, cooking home meals, attending low cost school.
So – what to make of all these?
You don’t bite the hands that feed you. I was educated here. Enjoyed the fruits of my subsidised tertiary education and the low flat cost 10 years ago. I am 38 years old now, have a stable and good life with a husband and 2 kids, I have no complaints about life.
However, it became obvious to me lately, that I am not the only person living in Singapore. Other people also inhabit this island and they have other ideas about it! I was surprised to find that there are so much grievances amongst the Singaporeans against the ruling party.
That against the main backdrop of economic growth of more than 10% last year.
Singapore had been boom town charlie for the past two years. At the shopping centre one evening, we were amused to note that there were queues forming outside of restaurants but the food court(cheaper) was empty.
And yesterday, after sending Baobao to school and on my way to the market, I was a surprised to see many cars parked outside his kindergarten. Those belong to parents sending their kids off to school. People, my son goes to the PAP kindergarten! The low fees school attended mainly by the lower income group..
In our times, cars parked outside schools is a phenomenon you see at rich school. The rest of us the poors all take bus 11 – our legs, to school. So cars parked outside our cheapest kindergartens – let me tell you, that says alot about the state of our economy at this time.
Against this backdrop, people still have so much to complain about. While the reason why I would vote for PAP is purely personal, I do appeal to other Sinaporeans to consider well and remember to be grateful for what we have. When we vent our daily frustrations at this time, do not forget to give thanks to the people who helped us to where we are today.
In my next post, I will tell the reasons why I think opposition should win more seats this election.