Monday, 4 April 2011

Election Watch Part X - Tin Pei Ling - I Started A Joke .....SM Goh Joined In.

The Tin Pei Ling Saga reminds me of the lyrics of a beautiful song by Bee Gees - "I Started A Joke ...., which started the whole world crying, but I didn't see that the joke was on me, oh no."

I decided to write this piece after a "cooling-off" period. Without going into details on what I might perceive as her personal weaknesses as an Election candidate on a PAP ticket, I wish to point out that Ministers are avoiding the wider context of the new media discussions which adds to the "anger" or "noise" of netizens.

Ministers are all coming out in full support of probably PAP's youngest and weakest candidate for this GE. 

Ministers defended her because of so called "gutter" comments. I am not sure if she is indeed "a tall tree" as described by Mr Khaw to a Chinese press and chosen by PAP to attract and test "strong winds". Putting my own reservations aside, I note all the Ministers had chosen to ignore the bigger flaw which is our GRC system.

If she is put in an SMC for a fair fight to let the Electorate decide, it would be fair. Mr Khaw believes Singaporeans are mature enough to tell the difference between truth and lies. However, the Electorate may not be given this chance to decide whether or not to vote her in. Instead she might be given an express ticket on the GRC joyride to be that "rare flower that will bloom in the winter of adversity" to quote Minister Lui Tuck Yew.  She is not taking this joyride at RWS Universal Studio with her mum to overcome her greatest regret, this joyride is most likely taken at the expense of a deprived "mature enough" Electorate. Has the PAP started a joke and not realised the joke is on the PAP? Why not let her take the NMP route?

With the introduction of Ms Tin, we are beginning to see through her in a new PAP candidate a retro mix of the shadows of younger Singaporeans my earlier postings had highlighted in this blog - (i) Election Watch Part I - A Response To Yu-Kym’s “DO YOU HATE SINGAPORE?” (ii) Election Watch Part V - In Search of the Young Voters. In each of them we could a tinge of materialism in their own life while they boldly stood up on a pro-PAP stand? If this is what evolution of politics in Singapore is all about, we should also look at their critics to the contrary.

To appreciate the whole controversial issue of Ms Tin Pei Ling as a political candidate in the evolution of Singapore politics from several different perspectives, you may want to sequentially visit some of these links highlighted below :-

(b) “Tin Pei Ling v Chen Show Mao - and a very scary thought”; 29 Mar 2011 – Blog / onesingaporean

(c) "Ms Tin dumped her ex-boyfriend to marry PM's Principal Private Secretary?"; 29 Mar 2011 – Blog / The Temasek Review

(d) “This is not what I want S'pore politics to be like”; 29 Mar 2011 – Blog / Siew Kum Hong

(e) “A handbag and a pack of wolves”; 30 Mar 2011 – Blogs / onesingaporean

(f) “Will Tin Pei Ling backfire”? 30 Mar 2011 – Blogs / The Online Citizen GE 201

(g) “Field Tin Pei Ling in an SMC and let voters decide”; 31 Mar 2011 – Blogs /

(h) “Ng Eng Hen : PAP not looking for yes-men... [or yes-women]”; 31 Mar 2011 - Blog / Diary of A Singaporean Mind

(j) “Tin Pei Ling and the Real Reason Why Singaporeans Are Annoyed”; 1 Apr 2011 - Blog / Mr Wang Says So

(k) "Social Media Smucks" - 4 Apr 2011 - Blog / Singapore Notes

The above are just some of the postings I searched using the SGEP portal. There are a lot more in the Internet which are unnecesary for us to determine the framework for discussion. Should evolution of politics revolve round the entry a rookie PAP young woman candidate or should it force a re-think on the effectiveness of our GRC system? Has the PAP chosen the wrong political platform for Ms Tin to enter politics? Perhaps she should have opted for the Nominated MP route into Parliament and not to contest in a General Election?

"Gutter" politics could and should always be dismissed but should a strong response from the new media be silenced when the discussions hit a threshold to look at the wider context and at a higher order for more positive development? - Certainly not, if we want politics to evolve in the positive direction. But Minister Lui Tuck Yew advised Ms Tin to "shut out the noise", focus on the task at hand and prove herself.

The Chinese says, "A seed's sprouting shoot may burst through the melting snow in Spring while the shepherd may still freeze to his death", so to Mr Lui; that "rare flower that bloom in the Winter of adversity" may not even make it through till Spring.

If some of the above should be viewed as a setback of our Singapore education system under the PAP which leads to a more politically apathetic and culturally weaker generation, it was ironical that our Education Minister had to come to the belated defence of Ms Tin during the fourth introduction of PAP new candidates.

Has PAP started a political joke, only to discover the joke was on themselves?  It is still not too late now to let Ms Tin be a Nominated MP under the NMP scheme crafted by the PAP. Or will the PAP dare to let Ms Tin fight a lone electoral battle in a SMC as suggested by a blogger? That she has nothing specific against the PAP policies thus far would suggest that she will accept any of such better existing arrangements. If not, she is certainly banking on a free GRC ride.

And isn’t it sad to say the reality of politics here in Singapore is uniquely as the above seems to be as before but now with a more sophisticated and activist Electorate and new media? This should force a re-think on our GRC system which was crafted to ensure minority race representation. And now that MM Lee has "stand corrected" that the Malay community are already well integrated into our Singapore society, is there still a need to ensure minority representation via the GRC system without a free open electoral battle, while permitting it to be abused for admitting a weak candidate who is not of the minority race through a free ticket for the ruling party?

On a lighter note, I must compare PAP's selection process with the current buzz of the dating show If You Are The One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao)  on Jiangsu Satellite Television. In this reality dating show, no matter how qualified and outstanding a male candidate could be with a well established career, he could still be rejected  under a jury of 24 single women. If he succeeded Part 1 of the trial he would be given a final chance whom to select from the match of 3 single female participants including the one he picked on first impression. It is a true test of psychology but each male and female participants is given the chance to accept or reject up till the final stage. Even after the show, they are have the chance to accept or reject each other in reality. Hence, it is seen to be a fair dating game and the reality show catches the audience attention and gained popularity all over China.

We are now on a stricter topic on the politics of Singapore. While Minister Lui had asked Ms Tin to "shut out the noise", SM Goh has now joined this political joke. He said "Give young the chance". Some critics in the MSM also said, "Give Tin a chance to prove herself". These arguments had all taken the wrong focal point.

If you say "Give the young like Ms Tin a chance", I would ask "Is the PAP also giving a fair chance to the young from the Opposition too?", not to mention say a fair chance for "Ms Tin vs Any experienced Opposition leaders or candidates" under our GRC system. In giving Ms Tin a chance, the PAP must not deprive the Opposition of a fair chance too. Similarly the PAP must not deprive the Electorate of their choice whether to accept or reject Ms Tin as an MP, as she could be given the advantage of a free ride under the PAP's GRC ticket. Unfortunately, the our GRC system does so.

Does it spell the death of the GRC system and a highly managed MSM?

Minister Khaw had said that the Electorate is "mature enough". Are you then wise enough to see through this flaw of our GRC system? If the PAP system of selection for candidature and our GRC system cannot even match the "fairness" of a reality TV dating show in China, what evolving democratic process are we talking about in Singapore? This illustrates the risks the PAP and Singapore is facing within a "closed" system without alternative voices.

We should not be fighting a battle for the PAP or the Opposition, but an intelligent Electorate must see through this mess to ensure acceptable GE results which are fair to them and not dictated to them as a model answer or DS solution.


  1. "Give the young like Ms Tin a chance"???

    If Singapore does indeed follow the principle of meritocracy to a T, then only the best should be matched and chosen for a position, regardless of his/her family background, race, gender and age. Period.

    If a person does not have the necessary experience, skills and respect that comes only with age, then he/she should take the time to accumulate experience and learn. There are no shortcuts.

    Certainly Parliament is not the place for one to learn and in the process deprive a more worthy candidate to be the people's representative.

    If Singapore is indeed a functioning democracy, then Ting Pei Ling has the right to compete fairly with all and sundry for the electorate's mandate to be their representative. Too bad, that it is probably the case that plans are for her to go into Parliament via the backdoor of the GRC, where she is shielded from the scrutiny and the vote of the people. In this case, I reject the girl outright simply because I disagree with the principles on which the current system is based and abused by the PAP and I wish to register my dissent.

  2. I like your blog.
    You make a lot of sense.
    IMO, the pap has become complacent, arrogant and arrogated upon itself the right to fiddle with our parliamentary at its wims and fancies. This will spell a route to open revolt in the future when the party gets more and more repressive by crafting laws Willy nilly to its own advantage and to perpetuate its own rule at the expense of the country anf the people.

  3. With all due respect, all the noise that are going on around this single young woman has distracted everyone to miss something that is more important. As a PAP that is ever so crafty & visionary, this antics is just one of the ploys for current PM to test the water for his future heir succession. Supposed TPL went in to win on the GRC ticket, it would have proved 3 things ;-

    1) Voters can & ready to accept young MP (on pretext of youth outreach)
    2) Voters can accept uncontested MP on GRC ticket (on coattail)
    3) Voters can & ok to accept MP despite of any claimed nepotistic agenda.

    If the above happens, and if TPL can truly enter the House of Parliament on the above scenario, it is not hard for one to imagine in time to come, the Lee dynasty will continue into the 3rd generation of Singaporeans history. TPL is nothing but just a chess piece. The paving of the way is happening as we speak.

  4. I don't know if you have read this