Monday, September 25, 2017

Commentary on Cherian George's "Monumental Miscalculation" opinion piece.

Mothership published Cherian George's opinion piece on The Singapore presidential (s)election: A monumental miscalculation.

In it, George asserts,  
Shutting out potential candidates from the Chinese majority and engaging in crude tokenism tainted Halimah’s entry into the Istana. Worse, it unleashed a social media flurry of racist remarks in the guise of political comment, injuring the very harmony that the government claimed it was trying to promote. I can think of few political events that reveal so starkly the tendencies that prevent Singapore from maturing as a polity: the government’s distrust of the people, its insistence on getting its way, and its lack of finesse in dealing with contentious issues.
I agree that that was an unintended effect of this reserved election. One might even suggest that if unintended, it was not unanticipated. But that would be explained by the "lack of finesse" that is the hallmark of the PAP.

Then George makes an incredible assertion.
I do believe that if Halimah’s backers had focussed on talking her up instead of keeping Tan Cheng Bock out, she would have beaten him—and by a more convincing margin than Tony Tan managed in 2011. For a start, she would have the loyal, genuine backing of the labour movement, which she served from 1978. She would have had a good chance of winning over many of those Singaporeans who’d wanted a more relatable candidate than the patrician Tony Tan. Furthermore, many Singaporeans would have been thrilled by the chance to elect Singapore’s first female head of state. In the course of a campaign, younger voters would have discovered the Halimah who Her World chose as its Woman of the Year 2003. In a hypothetical contest between the two, Tan Cheng Bock would have had to tread carefully, lest he say anything that might come across as disrespectful to the female gender.  
I do not know what he is smoking (or drinking), but I want some.

No comments: