Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ground Feedbaks & Politics

The following is my reply to a forummer from Sammyboy Forum about the ground feedbacks and my thoughts in this lonely path of opposition politics:

Originally Posted by scroobal View Post
If possible without giving the game away and within your party guidelines, is it possible to pen a few lines in a new thread on feedback and comments received during your walkabouts on Sundays as well as from your visits to coffeeshops. Also what your thoughts are seeing people,places as well as their condition. Also your thoughts on this journey.

It will good for readers to share that journey and to find out what the common man on the ground feels. As you know, this is country that does not have a newspaper and we are trying to know more.

It is ok. Feedback and comments received are vital for the government.

The most common complain is still the influx of foreign workers. Even those aunties who work in coffeeshops, normally indifferent to politics, are voicing their discontentment against this influx of foreign workers who are competing against their jobs, suppressing their wages. Many jobless people are also blaming the foreign workers for displacing them. The ANGER from the ground is REAL.

The Malay ground is shifting. Never before have I met YOUNG MALAY PROFESSIONALS willing to approach us to talk about the problems their community faced in the past. But this time round, they took their own initiative to do that, although in a more private way. FT policy and Housing woes are two main issues that are affecting their community adversely. Young Malay couples are finding it difficult to buy any HDB flats and the frustration is turning into anger.

I have never felt so close to the Malay community as they are more forthcoming, willing to listen and support us after we reason it out how Mah BT's HDB policy is going to affect the younger and future generations. They would even willing to offer information about how some of their relatives who need to have a few families living in one single flat. And they are pretty aware about some of their fellow Malays have become homeless campers as well. (Yeah, I know after PAP read this one, they will go into knee jerk action to talk and provide goodies to the Malay community. It will be the leverage effect....)

Although there are a great amount of anger on the ground, generally speaking Singaporeans are still rational in choosing who they will support. Contrary to PAP's worries about "protest votes", I feel that Singaporeans are more matured, rational and choosy when it comes to voting. The fact that we need to do a bit of sales talk and explanation on why Mah BT and HDB policy have to go before they are convinced in supporting us (as in buying our papers as a show of support) is a sign of discretion and rational assessment process. Especially so for our fellow Malay brothers and sisters. It has never been easy to sell our papers to them or getting their endorsement in the past. But this time round, they are willing to give us a chance.

There are of course some skeptics as well as the die hard PAP supporters. The skeptics will ask sharp and analytical questions. It would be a challenge to win them over with a strong foundation of policy and economic knowledge but not impossible at all. Even if they are not totally convinced, but if you show the ability to engage meaningfully on the issues raised, they will still support you in the end. This is a time consuming process. As for the die hard PAP supporters, surprisingly they lack depth in their reasoning. Purely shortsighted views as well as the rhetoric of past success of PAP. Normally I will leave them alone.

I feel that if there is going to be a break through, the main thrust will come from a big swing in the Malay community support. Especially from the young and educated Malay couples and professionals. They are more independent in their assessment of things and views. The middle ground is also shifting subtly. The two key issues are still FT policy and HDB policy.

Interesting enough, even the elderly ones are showing discontent when they are not affected by FT and HDB policies directly. This has to do with rising healthcare cost and some other factors.

Generally speaking, there is a certain percentage of people who will choose to support only certain opposition parties. They will make sure we are from the category of opposition parties before they show their support.

When I go around, I actually feel a bit sad about the whole thing. While the present situation on the ground is naturally an "advantage" for opposition parties, but I think there are too much anger and negativity among the usually silent majority. A nation totally neglected of the people's welfare. A people who are basically pushed to the corners by the ruling party's inconsiderate policies. It is even more important for us, as opposition members, to use our leverage to extract a better deal from PAP government for our people.

A candidate who only thinks about how to win the elections may not win at all in the end. This is because the head and mind are totally misplaced and misunderstood the fundamental basis of power. One could only win if and only if his head and mind are put on how to extract a better deal for the people from this ultra-capitalist ruling party. Many conservative opposition members always like to "keep the cards close to their hearts" so that PAP will not know about what issues they will raise to try to win votes. To me, this can no longer work for the new generation of voters. They want to see how opposition members work for them.... not literally in writing letters and doing charity work for the needy and poor. But in terms of how they could articulate and putting the spurs deeper into the ruling party's hides to make them work harder.

Of course, revealing the "cards" early would mean PAP will have time to react or even find ways to counter argue against us. So be it. If they reacted as in the ways of Mah BT's HDB to right the wrongs of their policies, we would have fulfilled our role as an effective opposition...i.e. providing the effective checks and balances to the ruling party. If by doing so, will not make us win enough votes to get into parliament, so be it. We have done our part and play our role. In time to come, we will just fade away politically.

Of course, if our supporters are motivated enough to help us spread our message through their virtual as well as real life networks, it may just help us better. If not, then it is our failure of leadership to motivate them to become our more proactive supporters as in campaigners. Although we are working against a PAP controlled environment, especially the main stream media, there are ways to win this war if our supporters are motivated campaigners. (BTW, the Chinese Zaobao has just refused to publish our rebuttal to some unreasonable slant against us, accusing us to be "opportunists")

This is the way I am going to conduct politics from now on. Totally different from the traditional conservative ways. When the time is up, I will just follow my higher calling some day.

Goh Meng Seng
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cy said...

refreshing style for a change. good to see singapore produce such good politicians.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mr.Goh,

You are what I call a true blue Singaporean.We need a government that truly cares for us and not treat us like some economic pawn.
I hope the opposition will not transform Tampines into a 3 cornered fight which will most definitely be to the advantage of the pap.
I will certainly vote for your party man for I care for our fellow Singaporeans as well.


Anonymous said...

control freaks more like it... using the state media to brainwash readers into believing that absurd policies such as the sudden influx of foreigners and sky rocketing housing prices actually benefit singaporeans. the next main role - to broadcast unrealistic dreams - where is the much awaited "swiss standard of living"? :) pap actually expects people to be grateful for these "goodies"!