Musing #10 – The Improbable Nation Votes for Her SG100.

On the 11th of September 2015, the improbable nation of Singapore will take her first step into the next 50 years of her history.

In an increasingly complex world with a multiplicity of views, the conditions for success are now different and much more difficult, but the fundamentals remains fundamental. It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the same fundamentals that have kept us strong, special and shining, but we don’t give up, we never did and we never will.

How do we vote? Do we vote based on what the candidates promise, or what they deliver? Do we vote based on what the candidates can do for the town, or do we vote based on what candidates can do for the nation? Some candidates are great, charismatic speakers, the ability to inspire roaring crowds. But what else do they offer? Some are not so great speakers, but are great doers. And of course, there are those who are both — amazing people.

So what kind of a candidate will you vote for? Or do you vote on partisan lines.

But maybe I should ask this: What kind of a voter are you? Are you a competent voter who votes for what is best for the country, for the future Singaporeans, for the non voters (the children, the foreign investors, foreign workers…), or do you vote based on what carrots the parties dangle to satisfy your selfish, narrow interests?

The truth is, democracy is an ideal. Democracy empowers the people to choose the best government, that THEY THINK, can best protect and further their (the country, hopefully) interests. Just as how communism (as espoused by the Communist Manifesto) failed because it is too idealistic for the human condition. Liberal democracy (see US, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, and of course many many other countries) is increasingly seen to be failing. The voting pressures faced by political parties encourages populist policies, big-spending during elections which further encourages corruption. Voters demand greater government spending, and lower taxes. Democracy empowers people with equal powers. One person, one vote, to choose the fate of their country. Democracy is feasible on the assumption that people make good, rational choices.

Political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, many scholars and critics are starting to realise the flaws of democracy.

Democracy is an imperfect form of government, one built on assumptions that are (increasingly) false. But what has history shown us? History has shown that all political structures fail, the reason? I think, the reason is humanity.

While it is imperfect, it is perhaps, the best form of government currently, only if we are able to increase the rationality of voters, to see things in the larger picture, to place nation before self, to consider the impact that voting has on non voters (our children), and to vote from an objective, non-partisan point of view.

May we succeed, may we rise above ourselves, may Singapore continue to remain special, a shining beacon in the world.

Majulah Singapura.

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