And so, four years on, it is general elections time once again. This year, I am in a more sombre mood, definitely not as feisty as the last elections. Here's a quick look at my reaction to PAP's 93% parliament seat win in 2011. And then there was 2006 even. I am appreciative of what the incumbent ruling party has done and improved on since the mountain of complaints back in 2011. Yet, with the Worker's Party's (WP's) win of a GRC in 2011, you cannot discount them from making further inroads this time around. Unlike most other opposition parties, they seem to provide the most credible option for a 2-party political maturation. It is definitely the most ideal, as compared to a scenario where the PAP screw things up and an unruly, divided opposition wins without being remotely ready.
All said, end of the day alot of things don't change. Electoral Boundaries change, defending or appreciating current policies means being labelled a PAP lapdog, speaking bad about PAP policies means I'm an opposition keyboard warrior, and Chee Soon Juan still being around.
Here's the current state of play, where GE15 is shaping up to become the first elections in independent Singapore where all constituencies will be contested.
From what I've seen and read on the national media and on social media (there is a far more unbiased view that way),I have a few general thoughts even before the official date of GE15 is announced (the huge rumour is 11-12th September):
1. Chee Soon Juan is making a comeback.
2. Roy Ngerng is joining Kenneth Jayaratnam and the Reform Party.
3. All opposition parties (bar the WP) look extremely fractious.
Horse-trading, internal politics, bad-mouthing of each other, very poor articulation of policies and visions. For all the things going for it back in 2011, they somehow went wayward in the last four years. All these add up to my view that all 'oppies' (bar the WP) will come in empty handed in GE15.
4. Worker's Party is shaping up rather credibly, in spite of the bad press.
There will be good reason for PAP to be worried this time around. In spite of all the bad press and mud-slinging from both sides in the last few years since WP took over Aljunied GRC, the WP has managed to win hearts and minds. It will not be a surprise to see them roll out another slate of high-calibre candidates this time around.
5. PAP is indeed making amends for 2011
Say what you will regardless of which side you're on. The PAP has woken up and really listened. Maybe not as much as people would like, but they are making changes to policies, regulations, planning, and processes. They are more attuned to the ground now than in 2011.
6. But is that enough?
That will be the big question in 2015. You can see that PAP supporters are worried from the rise of so many pro-PAP sites on social media. Has the ruling party done enough? Will there be surprises? A black swan even?
7. Can't wait to attend some election rallies
I think this time around I'd like to attend both PAP and opposition rallies. Will the crowd be as crazy, boisterous and strong as the last time out?
In my opinion, the biggest likelihood for an outcome in GE15 is that WP will retain Hougang, Sengkang East, and very possibly Aljunied, plus win at East Coast. Everything else if not won by PAP would be quite a surprise. Such a result would definitely towards turning WP into a formidable force, especially with 2 GRCs in hand.
As a voter, what really concerns me is what the winning party can do for me and my family. From the micro - who takes care of my constituency and keeps it running properly, to the macro - who can maintain growth for Singapore and take to forward for the next 5 years? So as GE15 draws nearer and nearer, there will be alot more noise on the ground.
It is rather ironic that 2015 is the year Lee Kuan Yew left us. It is also the year we celebrate our 50th anniversary as a sovereign nation. 50 years to the year when the Barisan Socialis walked out and the People's Action Party stormed into power, the Worker's Party may be set for its greatest gains. The Barisan Socialis actually was merged into the Worker's Party in 1988.
Let the hunger games begin!!!