Friday, September 11, 2015

Reflections of the 2015 General Elections

Sila undi dengan bijak... Please vote wisely.
I first voted during the 2011 General Elections. Back then, I didn't know what the hell was happening, and it was all a blur to me. Yes there were rallies, newspaper and internet articles and other media. It never really went beyond the sight of campaign posters plastered all over the lampposts and walls of my constituency.

At that time, I was staying in Bedok North. The electoral area was known as East Coast GRC. The candidates running for elections are from the incumbent PAP and Workers Party of Singapore. As it was just a ritual for those above 21 to vote, I diligently did my part and quickly moved on.

The ruling party won. But I didn't really bother or take note. I began to see the policies of the ruling party being rolled out. And it slowly began to take effect, impacting the world and the people that mean dear and near around me.

In 2012, when I was at the lowest point in my life. It was something I wanted so badly but had tried and exhausted every resource and ways to achieve it. It was suggested by a friend that I go and see the Member of Parliament of my constituency to get it resolved, only to have to face an insincere encounter with her and being suggested to do otherwise.

The thing that bothers me is that, how can my MP even suggest an alternative, lower my expectations and tell me to choose a baseless suggestion when its the fact that I even bothered to came to her needing and asking for her help in the first place?

With the responsibilities of adulthood weighing down on me, the quality of life didn't seem to get better. I have seen members of my own family struggling to meet ends meet, and it impacted me seeing the people around me suffer. And I didn't want to be in the same position as them.

As this post is made public, I shall not elaborate further on personal and family matter here and keep vague on the issues.

At work, I was discriminated. Despite working in a Singaporean company, I was appalled to see the many migrant workers in my location. and me being a minority among the many migrant workers. But they saw me as a threat, thinking that I'm about to take away their ricebowl as they thought being Singaporean, I have an upperhand. Because of this I was treated like an outcast, bullied by migrant workers who wanted to seem to be the ones taking charge when we were already of the same level. After much patience, I had some exchanges with them before being transferred out into a location free of migrant workers. I was much happier.

2015, it was SG50. Life goes on for me and it was a very great year so far and I'm thankful for the opportunities given to me so far. Rumors of an upcoming General Election are starting to be at a talking point among friends. Then the prime minister declared that the Parliament had been dissolved and the GE would be held in a matter of weeks.

I went to several opposition rallies, several discussions with friends, took note of the current conditions faced by the average person, in particular the people around me on how the policies have affected them. And they are struggling to meet ends meet. My cousins, holds two jobs and works long hours to support his family, another cousin, recovering from bad debts from the bank and divorced from his wife is forced to stayed with his sister, stressing her family out as her house is already overcrowded with her two children, her husband and their elderly mother. And especially my uncles and aunties, at times recalling the happier days and moments at the kampong, in which my family was forced to move out  and demolished due to redevelopment. Today the kampong is now occupied by a private hospital. I cannot bare to see them struggle with living day to day with their heads barely out of the water anymore.

I think about what I am going to face in the future, these burdens, responsibilities. I remembered being on Facebook, arguing on the comments section with an immigrant who had obtained his citizenship prior. He said that Singaporeans are an unappreciative bunch, we are xenophobic and should settle for less and be thankful with what I already have. Well I say no, because would you yourself want less for your family and children?? How do you feel and couldn't answer when you look at your children when they say why does that person have this but we can't? Why do I have to work long hours and be apart from my family every single day, only to return home to see my kids fast asleep? Worrying that if someone falls sick and you barely have the expenses to cover for it? I look at my family and then reflect it at myself...

This could be me one day...

But unfortunately, my family for some reason, still supports the ruling party. I for one can understand, my other cousin who works in the civil service, cause she bloody knows nuts about what is happening to those less fortunate than her, and she fears that she may lose out on her job prospect if she votes otherwise. And especially those in the older generation, they say that without them, Singapore isn't what is it today. I tell them, this is the past, the current generation of leaders are different from before. They scolded me, saying that I shouldn't be taking like this about the government. They even go so far as to tell me  to vote for the ruling party, saying that if I don't, I am not able to achieve my lifelong dream that I have been chasing. I felt furious and helpless.

Today, it took me awhile. I took a deep breath and crossed an "x" on the ballot paper and put it inside the ballot box. The vote that I have cast is a personal one for me, one that I hope for better things and change to come for a better future.

- Majulah Singapura

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