Saturday, 30 August 2008
The chinese version of this article was first published in 'Hammer' issue 0802.
'Hammer' is a newsletter published by the Workers' Party on a quarterly basis. Members of the party will be at different market selling it on every Sunday morning.
It has been two years since I joined the Workers’ Party in June 2006. I was helping out as a Polling & Counting agent in the last GE in Aljunied GRC. It was an opportunity I do not want to miss. I was 28 back then, therefore I thought to myself… “Not now, when?”
I never wonder how my friends or colleagues would react towards my involvement with the party. To me, it was something very normal and right to do. I remembered after my first Hammer Sales outreach, I was reading a copy of it on the bus and coincidentally I met my former colleague. He was curious over what I was reading, so I showed it to him. Oh God! You should have seen his expression. The ‘I cannot believe it’ look was written all over his face.
What shocked me even more was when he said this to me in mandarin, ‘I would very much like to read it as this is the first time I had came across the Hammer newsletter. But can we not do it on the bus? A lot of people will be looking at us.’
I was bewildered! Are we not allowed to read on the bus regardless of whatever the reading material is? This friend whom I met is in his mid 50s, a retiree. Well, I gave him the benefit of doubt that he is probably less savvy thus making a big hoo-ha out of it. I did not really give him an answer, I just bid goodbye and alighted at the next stop which fortunately happened to be my destination.
On another occasion, I was on my way to our party walk-about; I met my neighbor at the lift lobby. We started to chat a bit and she found out that I was with the party. She was singing praises of how well Workers’ Party had performed in the last election and she would like to take a look at the Hammer newsletter too.
Next she was whispering to me to lend her the newsletter, she instructed me to put it into an envelope then pass it to her. There were only two of us in the lift and YES, she was whispering. This was another auntie therefore again I told myself she is not savvy, don’t blame her and stay cool.
The last straw came during a get-together dinner with my friends. Most of them are working in the government sector and staying in Aljunied GRC. We were on the topic of elections and the Workers’ Party. They were doubtful about the secrecy of their votes, worried that their bosses or the ruling party (PAP) will know who they voted for. This is a group of people from ages 28 – 33. I was dumbfounded. The first two encounters were people whom may not know what was going on. But this group of young working adults, they were questioning on the secrecy of their votes! One of them even said, “If I had known earlier that it’s a secret I would have voted for WP.”
What has Singapore education taught our people? What kind of mindset are we having? What type of messages had been send to them? Why are they thinking in this way? What triggered them to think this way? Why is this type of fear instilled into them? Should MOE (Ministry of Education) consider inputting ‘Voting Rights’ into our education system?
Voting is a secret and it is really a secret, no doubt about it that was my answer to them. Fortunately, I was present at the Tuas Incinerator to witness the burning of the votes and therefore I can vouch to that.
Just think, if your bosses or the government knew who you voted for, what are they going to do about it? Give you a raise plus promotion because you voted for them? Or black-mark you and you will always be the last person they will consider should there be any pay rise if you did not vote for them? If the latter were to happen, what does this tells us of our government? Can we still trust them? Can we still move ahead together? Are we a city of possibilities then?
Secondly, is it that easy to know who one voted for? Our voters have got no trust over the government on this aspect? Is this the correct impression one should have of our government? Is there no trust?
Spend some time thinking about the answers to the above questions before you make your sacred vote the next time.
Posted by Lilian is ... at 12:02