April 07, 2006

Who is Losing Touch?

Some political parties appear to have lost touch with the ground, despite all their claims of campaigning for citizen's rights and interests.

In case you are wondering, I am not referring to the People's Action Party, which has long been the subject of such allegations from the Opposition camp. Whether the PAP has indeed lost touch with the ground is a matter of discussion on another day.

I am referring to certain Opposition parties that has been looking everywhere for answers except in their own backyard. I am saying certain parties, not all. At least one or two appears to be trying to understand voters' needs and wants.

For those certain parties that have been trying to raise issue with so-called "political oppression" and "social injustice", a reality check is appropriate.

The reality is that voters by and large do not subscribe to those views that these politicians held. Nobody is saying that the existing political landscape is perfect. But that does not mean that there is widespread dissatisfaction either, to justify the exaggerated propaganda from these politicians.

If there is indeed widespread dissatisfaction, why is there not a long queue of qualified candidates waiting to join the Opposition and stand up against the so-called "political oppression" and "social injustice"? Why is it that the Opposition has not come close to capturing electoral success except in a few instances?

The convenient excuse, and one that has often being offered readily, is that the voters are either "intimidated or bribed" into submission. The Opposition and their advocates have often painted a grim picture of an oppressed group of voters who are afraid of speaking up and taking actions. They attribute the PAP's electoral success to the so-called fear that is prevalent on the ground.
The real reason is often overlooked. And that relates to the choices that the Opposition is offering to voters. Other than a few ideas that is at least credible on paper, such as having a dissenting voice in Parliament, there isn't much of a choice at all. Exactly how does the Opposition value-add in the political process?

Yes, voters are intimidated, they do fear, but not in the way that some Opposition politicians have mentioned. Their fear and intimidation arises not from the consequences of not voting for the PAP. Their fear and intimidation arises from the consequences of voting for the Opposition. To be more precise, they shudder at the prospect of what some of these Opposition politicians are offering them.

Please do not pour insults on voters' intelligence and character just because they do not agree with your perspectives. Voters know what they want. The question is can you deliver?

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