Ten things you can do for yourself after the disastrous general election result:-
1. Volunteer for a opposition party
A friend of mine told me she is finally willing to volunteer for a opposition party – after putting it off for many years. She is good in administration and is keen to use her skills for the betterment of a political party.
The recent disastrous election result has galvanised her to do something for the country and I am glad she has finally took action.
The same story I am sure is repeated throughout all other opposition parties as many pro-opposition Singaporeans came to the realisation that unless they themselves step out of the comfort zone, life will never be the same again.
Apathetic non-politically inclined Singaporeans is a huge problem here as many voters simply don’t care about politics till personally it affects them.
Years of indoctrination from the government doesn’t help as the state feeds the population with all kinds of adverse consequences and even our university is devioid of any simple form of campus activisim.
Most western world campus is a bedrock of naive activism whereby undergrad students have their first taste of anti-establishment favour but our local universities just focus on boring study and passive inertia.
This non-political involvement passes down to our adulthood and we only attend election rallies once every five years to keep abreast.
We also over-depend on the mass media for political news which is all government controlled and skewed towards the ruling party.
2. Be politically inclined
To know the hard truth from the government-controlled mainstream media, one needs to read far wider than the Straits Times and Chinese paper Sin Min. Go to socio-political blogs such as The Online Citizen, Temasek Review Emeritius and States Times Review to know the opposition view.
Try to read in between the lines and assess for yourself what is the truth behind the story. If for example, you have seen many unemployed professionals within your circle of friends but the newspaper states otherwise, its good to dig deeper into the subject to know what is actually happening on the ground.
I must add however the Chinese newspapers carry more truth than our English-language Straits Times which is heavily censured.
Our press ratings have plunged now to 153 and each year it has slipped a few knots.
The government won’t care about the press rankings as it has manipulated the mainstream media to its advantage.
During this year’s general election campaign, the press and TV were used to the government’s advantage and it has contributed immensely to the huge success at the final polls.
When more than half of the middle ground voters only read and watch the mainstream media for news update on the election, it is not surprising that the ruling party uses it to full effect.
We all know how brain washing and propaganda work and the opposition parties and NGOs need to lobby hard against a government-controlled mainstream media – especially during a election campaign.
3. Start a NGO to contribute to nation’s success
If you have certain niche skillsets such as starting a NGO to contribute to alternative politics, do consider having one as most NGOs here are geared towards the ruling party due to the funding issue.
Chances are 90% of mid to large sized NGOs are funded by the government and there is this unwritten law which states that one should not bite the hand that feeds it.
There are not many local NGOs here which has a alternative platform and starting one is one sure way to help the alternative to have more variety in the charity or helping arena.
The PAP has stashed away $1 billion funds into People’s association and its reach through the RC and CCC is enormous.
Even the volunteers from the Pioneer Generation package is funded through PA and is one main reason why the government did so well in GE 2015.
To its credit, PAP has prepared the ground well for this election and it’s soldiers have done a good job softening the ground after the disastrous GE 2011.
The opposition parties need to have concrete plans to move into the ground for GE 2020 and not simply depend on door-to-door ground work to reach out to hearts and minds of the voters.
When someone visited the middle ground and explained thoroughly the benefits of the Pioneer Generation package to them personally, their votes are sealed through the hard work of the volunteers.
So if you have these niche skillsets to start a NGO, do it so the alternative voices can benefit from your contribution.
The ground-up efforts are certainly lacking in many of our opposition parties and this chronic lack needs to be addressed so that PAP does not have the only advantage here.
The lack of ground work targetting at the middle ground is sorely missed in GE 2015.
4. Volunteer as IB
PAP has many IBs and spies lurking in the shadow.
I heard that most opposition parties have their own fair share and one is also labelled as a mole party.
I don’t know if the opposition parties are ready to form their own team of IBs to counter the machinery of the ruling party.
Some IBs even operate as volunteers for the opposition so they can get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the party.
We also knew some press people tracking the campaign proper often blocking the progress of any walkabout by trying to interview the candidates at length – sometimes up to an hour.
They did this on a daily basis and only report matters which embarrassed the opposition. We have experienced that twice already in our RP’s campaign.
The opposition may need to put up a covert team to penetrate into the government’s campaign giant PA and try to know about it in-depth in order to exploit it’s weaknesses.
It needs to operate more like a guerilla team than trying to do everything above board with too much transparency for the incumbent to counter.
5. Start a alternative blog
Since TOC started a alternative socio-political blog almost 8 years ago, many other widely-followed blogs have followed such as Temasek Review Emiterius, States Times Review, KNN, ASS, Middle Ground and Mothership.
Many other personalised blogs also cropped up and the more popular ones such as Yawning Bread, anyhowhamtam, under the oak tree and The Heart Truths are widely followed by thousands of readers online.
Many of them wrote about socio and political stuff.
If you can write well and want to contribute your ideas on such matters, you can either start your own blog or contribute articles to the more established sites and share your views.
A country can only progress if we have more alternative views and not restrict ourselves to only one or two dominant ones.
It may take a while for one’s blog to establish itself and if you are consistent and disciplined, I am sure that you can do well online.
This blog was started almost 6 years ago targetting at the unemployed and under employed and if you can find your own niche, that will be a good start.
Write something that you are comfortable and familiar with for a start before you progress to something more controversial or unsure.
Be sure that you keep away from defamatory stuff though so you don’t get into trouble. The last thing you want is for a lawsuit to be thrown at you for doing something beneficial for the country.
6. Offer yourself as a potential candidate early
If you feel that you can be a potential candidate for the opposition party, offer yourself early and prove yourself.
WP chooses their candidates early and only take them in when they volunteer.
They will then assess their suitability on the job.
Most parties also prefer to put up their CEC members as the election candidates and rightfully so as they have contributed their time and effort to the party.
Too many of us offer ourselves to be candidates too late into the campaign and many voters complaint rightfully that they don’t know much about the candidates.
So if you think you have the right calibre to be a candidate for GE 2020, speaks to the party chief and volunteer yourself for their walkabout or ground work as soon as possible.
Be prepared that you need to sacrifice your time and effort, there is no other short-cut way.
7. Attend forums and events
Many parties have already prepare for GE 2020 and some forums have already taken place right after GE 2015.
Do sign up for events to learn more about alternative politics – even though you have voted for the ruling party.
Nothing beats a person who goes round picking up new stuff and politics is something that is both interesting and alive.
Many Singaporeans only shift their attention to the alternative when they suffer under the incumbent and by then it may be too late.
Make an informed choice and try to move round all the parties to get a feel of each party’s manifesto and what they stand for.
8. Start a new party
Two parties started months prior to GE 2015 and many voters lamented that too many parties stood for election – a total of nine.
Are we having too many parties?
There is talk of a merger between some parties and this should be good news but are there room for other niche alternative parties?
In Australia, the green movement started their own party and managed to gain seats in Parliament.
We have many parties fighting on too similar platform – political reform.
Is there room for a political party fighting solely on labour reform, environment and sexual orientation rights?
We won’t know until someone tries to start one and stand for election.
However, Singapore is simply too conservative on the political arena and not many people want to risk it all as many opposition politicians have problem finding a job after going against the ruling party standing on a opposition party ticket.
9. Write to the forum page of major newspapers
I started my political journey by writing in to the forum pages of most English newspapers many years ago.
Amazingly, more than three hundred letters were published over a span of 5-6 years on our mainstream media and many people recognised my name when they heard of me.
If you want more people to know of your views, do take time to write to the press but be warned that you are competing with hundreds of writers and it may take awhile for the publishers to take notice of you.
I wrote an average of 5 letters a week to the forum page of Straits times and my hit rate is 1 out of 7 ie I wrote an average of 7 letters before they published one or two after edit.
10. Donate to opposition party
It takes guts to donate to the opposition parties as many people fear they will be found out.
Many give angpao to the parties so they won’t be traced. Others buy books or merchandise but try to give abit more as a donation.
Political parties also need money to operate and except for the ruling party, many alternatives fail to match the operations of the incumbent.
Many party chiefs of small parties need to fork out from their own pocket and some candidates spent thousands of dollars to fund their own campaign trail.
If you have some money to spare, in your own way, try to donate to the opposition cause by doing your part.
Every dollar counts and be brave – so far no one was every persecuted for donating money to the opposition.
The opposition party only needs to provide your name to the election department if you donate $10,000 and above.
Written by: Gilbert GohNumber of View: 1315