As Indonesians, we are used to these kinds of political debates (indeed, we would prefer less rhetorics and more substance, please!). But it is not the case for Singapore, where Confucian social harmony rules above all. Thus it is refreshing to see this very rare political forum last Saturday. A few quick points:
1. Singapore is obsessed with racial harmony. The oppositions profile: a Malay, an Indian, and a Chinese — with a lady.
2. WP, which was represented by its assistant webmaster (how cool is that?), proved its credential as the best opposition party, and Vincent Wijeysingha from SDP also performed well. It is also heartening to know that he works for Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2). No conflict between “Singaporeans first” policy and upholding justice for the migrant workers, indeed. Dare we hope that they will win a GRC in the upcoming election?
(The GRC system needs to change, by the way. It sucks. I understand the basis behind it but still it is unfair and tilts favorably toward the incumbent party.)
3. On the other hand, representatives from SDA and SPP performed badly. They could not even argue properly. Lina Chiam is the wife of Chiam See Tong (perennial MP of Potong Pasir SMC), by the way. And she will contest for the SMC this coming election. Hopefully her performance does not cause the fall of Chiam dynasty in Potong Pasir.
(That’s why the program is unedited and uncut.)
4. The ruling party’s experience showed up. From an Indonesian perspective, at least you need to acknowledge that the ruling party does not take their power for granted, which is unlike our experience with our governments, past and present. Even SBY fell from grace in his second term on the office. You might disagree with their policies (say, the system advantages the rich), but heck the PAP worked.
5. On the other hand, of course decades of no experience in governing will affect the political maturity of the opposition parties (indeed, they themselves admit that they are not ready to rule if given the chance to do so). It’s like the circle of death, you see. So I guess this is the case where you hope that the opposition parties will get more seats in the parliament for the sake of getting more experience in public policy, which eventually will contribute and facilitate to the evolution of Singapore politics to a two-party or multiple-party system.