Saturday, May 07, 2011

Butterfly Votes

There are things that define us as Singaporeans; National service, multiple uses of tissue papers, chilli crabs, strange un-explained obsession with Hello Kitty, singing the anthem without knowing the meaning and that pink IC.

And then there’s that one privilege that has eluded so many of us because we stayed at the wrong places, or maybe because there was only one voice in the government and that whimper became a silence. It was the right to vote.

This was the vote that would supposedly shape our nation, and I’m not talking about finally having a Chinese Singapore Idol or for your favourite local artiste, but about social issues, better financial support and giving new people a chance to earn a lot of money.

It’s the only thing that every one talks about these days and it just reminds me that age is catching up with me, or perhaps I’m just hanging around the wrong people. I’d be honest with you, politics bores me, right until the election rallies come along and I get an information download of the current affairs in real-time drama – but mostly hilarious.

When it comes to politics, I am as adequate as Gandhi would be at Haute couture. I know the opposition is hot on the PAPs heels, I know that there are issues on rising cost of living and I know there are calls for transparency. All these are as appealing to me as a tub of lard.

We want better housing, better schools, lower rental, but have we also forgotten about life’s other daunting problems like the rising cost of alcohol and lack of Trance clubs?

I voted today. Finally. After years of wondering if moving out was the only way I was going to get a chance to drop a piece of paper in the ballot box.

I always imagined it would be empowering, or emancipating to some extent. Or when my vote was cast, that there would be a effervescence of contentment or maybe a kicking doubt wondering if I made the wrong choice.

But no, there was none of it. If anything, it was the nagging blister on my feet and the sweltering afternoon heat that was punishing me for not voting in the morning. It was intoxicating for the best part of my 2 minute walk over to the polling station, in some part believing that my vote was making a difference, of having a voice – finally -, but as soon as my vote was dropped, I realized that the only good thing that came out of it all, was the off in-lieu entitlement for today.

Do I know who’s going to win? I’m pretty sure I do.

We are going to win. Singaporeans are going to win, because despite what the results might be I think I hear that whimper that had gone into silence again. It made a sound and it was heard. And there will be a reply…

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