Can You Hear The People Sing?

The Presidential Election is finally over. And because I have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning, below are some quick numbers. (Source: CNA).

Dr Tony Tan: 744,397 votes (35.19%) *Win*
Dr Tan Cheng Bok: 737,128 votes (34.85%)
Mr Tan Jee Say: 529,732 votes (25.04%)
Mr Tan Kin Lian: 103,931 votes (4.91%) *- Win*
Overseas Votes not counted: 5504

======================================================================
Registered Voters: 2.27 Million
Registered Voters Voted: 2.15 million (94.65%)
Rejected Votes: 37826 votes (1.6%)
Registered Voters not Voted: ard 120,000 (5.35%)
Difference in votes between Top 2 Candidates: 7269 (0.34%)

Given the small difference in votes between the top two candidates, it’s not surprising to find the Online forums abuzz with activities from the supporters of the four candidates. There were conspiracy theories about the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) intentionally granting an unprecedented four candidates the right to run for the Election, thus diluting the number of votes certain candidates might have gotten. Some supporters went as far as to attack another candidate’s supporters for not rallying behind their candidate, and handing over victory to Dr Tony Tan.

First off, voting is not about that. It is about opening a discourse among the various candidates and rallying behind the person that you believe in the most. You vote FOR someone, not AGAINST another.

I know it sounds cheesy, but our young nation is standing at the dawn of a political awakening. We are beginning to see that we citizens matter. We can make informed decisions and we won’t be talked down to anymore. We will not be told what is “Best for Us” and prefer to take the available information and decide for ourselves. So why be so petty and shoot another supporter’s candidate down just because their views do not coincide with yours?

Secondly, look at the numbers! If you did not vote, thinking that you won’t make a difference. Think again. About 5.35% of registered voteres did not vote. The difference between the top two candidates was 0.34%. Think of what a difference it would make if just 10% of those that did not vote, voted. If this is not proof of the axiom that Every Vote Counts, I don’t know what is. George Jean Nathan famously said, “Bad Officials are elected by Good Citizens who do not vote”. This is the first time I am voting, and I felt good about it. This is democracy at work and I know that I made a difference (or could have made a difference).

I think it was a good Election. It opened up many important discussions, most prominently – “What exactly is the role of the President?” (I think it is very telling that this question was asked after having an “Elected President” for the past 12 years) (Again, this might or might not be a juvenile dig at the incumbent) (And no, motherhood statements such as “ceremonial” and “custodial” roles just cannot cut it anymore)

And having such a close battle between the top two candidates probably mean that the Elected President would have to work harder, given that his every move would be closely scrutinized by his opponents and non supporters alike.

A few months back, we were wondering whether a government which less than 60% of Singaporeans voted for would have the mandate of the people. Now, it would be interesting to see if Dr Tony Tan could rally 65% of the people to his cause.

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