I created this blog before the 2006 elections because I saw the need for change in the country. In 2006, various problems started to show up and worsen in Singapore. I posted my observations and thinking on what was going on in this country. The most serious problem I thought had to be addressed was the widening income gap, We had people so old and poor they had to collect cardboard boxes and did the trash for aluminium cans for a living at the same time we were creating the most millionaires per capita in the world. I was quite surprised after the 2006 elections, the PAP govt just went on in the same direction - increasing the foreign influx, raising the GST, opening casinos, raising bus fares etc. The rising cost of living eventually started to hurt the middle class in the form of higher cost of housing, cars and medical care. The PAP govt embraced free market capitalism with GDP growth as its primary goal. We as citizens were supposed to accept the consequences of its policies because they think higher GDP always result in overall good for the citizens. However, wealth created has been not been distributed to the majority of Singaporeans and concentrated in the top few % of the populace.
Other govts in developed countries have always intervened to bring about greater equality with social safety nets, universal healthcare, minimum wage etc. The PAP's political solution to falling support for its policies has been to erect barriers of entry to its opponents. In the past they jailed, sued and bankrupted their opponents. They tweaked the system with GRCs and linking vote to upgrading. They control the mass media to influence the publc. When you put all this together, you get a govt that retain its dominant power without having to address the most pressing problems faced by the citizens. Many people who don't like the PAP policies vote for them because of upgrading. These barriers to keep the opposition out of parliament also causes frustration among the people to rise.
The opposition has put up a strong spirited fight this time. The % of votes is expected to swing in their favor even as the PAP dangle billions of upgrading carrots to entice voters. However, with the GRC system in place we do not know if the rise in support will translate to (non-NCMP) seats in parliament. I worry for Singapore and Singaporeans if it does not. The PAP has selected "next generation" leaders who look like they will simply preserve the status quo and without a strong opposition voice in parliament and willingness of voters to overcome the barriers of upgrading and GRCs, the PAP will not be motivated to make the necessary changes that will bring about a better quality of life for Singaporeans.
We will only know on 8 May 2011 if change will come to Singapore. We can only hope for the best. See you then.