My consciousness about politics in Singapore sparked young. I was staying in the ward of Anson when it was under the “hammer party” and I recalled my mum pointing the picture (and thereafter the lightning bolt picture) to me when I was young.
I also remembered, circa 1991 (and thereafter) my Dad making me sit in front of the TV on voting night. My job was to write down the percentages/total number of votes each candidate received next to their printed faces on the center-fold of the chinese newspapers when the results were announced. Even though voting is secret (“投票是強致的，投票是密密的”, the TV announcer repeats), my parents always told me who they voted for. Over the years, they voted for those that could provide a better future for my sister and I.
2 elections had since been held after I turned 21, in 2001 (22 years old) and in 2006 (27 years old) but there were walkovers in my constituency then. Hence I got really excited on Wednesday night when the electoral boundaries report was released, even more so after finding out that I will now be voting in a single seat ward in the upcoming elections. It will be the first time I’m eligible to vote since I turned 21. [Of course, I’m expecting someone to contest in a single seat ward, yes?]
Looking back, I wondered if I had the chance to vote then, who would I have voted for? And if my vote would have changed over the years? I’m not sure.
But we can only look forward.
Maybe I’m an idealist, but the process of voting (and being able to vote) is important to me. The ability to choose my leader makes me more engaged as a citizen, even if I know that my vote is but a drop in the ocean. [1 out of 31,011 votes to be exact.]
Still, I promise to be a responsible voter. Just as my parents thought hard about who could bring about a brighter future for us then, I will be thinking about who can bring the same to my children (if/when I have any) and how my parents can bask in its glow and share the fruits of the country’s success in their twilight years.
I promise to be engaged, to listen to what you have to say, to give all a fair hearing, whether you are the incumbent or the challenger.
I promise to be discerning in my choice of leaders. That I will choose someone who not only does what’s right, but also has his/her heart in the right place.
I have only one request. Let me hear and see clearly your passion and your motivation to serve this country and its citizens.
So convince me. It’s not that difficult.
I’m sure I’ll be enjoying the ride as much as you do.