Week 15/11: Truth from Noise

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.

I wrote the above lines in a blogpost “The Voter’s Pledge” a few weeks back. Since then, I have been closely following the news on the elections released by both mainstream and alternative sources. Every article, every tweet, every status update is intended to sway the voter’s decision one way or the other.

Admittedly, I am also part of the group out there that’s contributing to the noise (check out my twitter account for my take on the developments. Perhaps my only saving grace is that I attempt to make fun of everyone, not just the incumbent, but also the opposition). And let’s not forget my parody “Vote for Me” blogpost.

It’s easy to get sucked into the noise and by extension taking on another’s opinion as your own. What’s the truth? How do you differentiate it from noise?

I can’t find the source now, but I recalled reading an article during Obama’s election bid for Presidency (2008). There was a group of people who went around interviewing people about who they will vote for. The interview goes something like this:

Interviewer: So, who are supporting?

Person: Obama.

Interviewer: I see. Now why don’t you tell me the one thing that you admire about McCain? Or is there an aspect or policy that you agree with McCain?

The reverse holds true. If person says he is McCain’s supporter, the interviewer will ask him what he likes about Obama.

I thought this interview was interesting in that it challenged pre-supposed views that one party/person is better than the other. It also forces the voter to step away from any pre-conceived biasness he may have to consider the views of another. And isn’t this what elections are supposed to be all about? As a voter, as a minimum effort, you have to give a fair hearing to both sides before making a decision.

So in line with my voter’s pledge, I am expanding my reading sources about the SG elections beyond the Straits Times, the online citizen and Twitter to include the:

  • Parliament Reports (Hansard) – It’s an online search engine accessible to everyone where you can find out the issues your current MP has raised in Parliament. There’s no better way of reviewing an incumbent’s track record than referring to the questions he has raised in Parliament. What has he/she stood for? Do you agree with his/her views?
  • Manifestos of all the Parties Contesting – They are easily found on each Party’s website. Find an issue close to your heart. What is the stance of the party on the issue? Do you agree/disagree? If so, is this a deal-breaker for you to vote for/against the party?
  • Watch the videos uploaded online and watch how the candidates respond to interviews and impromptu questions in their own words. Or you can follow them via “liking” their Facebook pages to catch their status updates. RazorTV and 154media on Youtube has quite a good collection of videos. Most of the Parties /candidates do also upload the videos on their websites and/or post their status updates on Facebook pages as well.

At the very least, when these candidates come knocking on your doors/interrupting your breakfast at the market to shake your hands, you’ll have something to say.

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