In a few hours, Singapore will be going to the polls.
The electoral battles are fiercely fought this time, surpassing the ferocity of the last General Election. Held in 2011, the previous General Election was described by many as a watershed election. It was news: pre-election, it had the highest proportion of contested seats since independence (82 out of 87 seats); post-election, it was the first time a Group Representation Constituency was won by an opposition party. People were expecting change, big change, yet one year on, as local author and political commentator Catherine Lim puts it,
“…political observers, reading the signs being sent out by the government, must be wondering about when—or if—the changes that had then seemed an inevitable consequence of the election, would actually take place.” (emphasis mine)
Compared to the current political climate and imminent financial crisis, 2011 seems to be just scrapping the surface of real change. Already, the PAP, in particular Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, is calling the 2015 General Election a “watershed election“. (Again?)
I’m inclined to agree, except that 2015 may just be like 2011—simply scrapping the surface of something bigger that will happen, just slightly deeper.
This General Election can be considered a watershed in Singapore’s history for a few reasons as clearly marked out by this article in The Financial Times. Mainly I feel, it’s because this is the first election where founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew is not around. And yes, it’s also the first time since independence that all the seats are contested, allowing the whole nation to go to the polls.
Well, whether it lives up to the title of being a watershed election to be studied in history books remains to be seen. Meanwhile, these memes created by local graphic designers provide a good laugh while giving a succinct round-up of what has been going on.