Saturday, August 22, 2015

Do We want Political Elitism?

Do We want Political Elitism?

Are voters supporting Political Elitism? Most of the time, opposition supporters detest the PAP's Elitism and opined that these ruling elites are out of touch of the ground for far too long.

However, when it comes to opposition candidacy, supporters and Singaporeans at large have went back to their nurtured "elitist" mind of looking at opposition candidates' paper qualifications and superficial outlook.

I notice that some people are harassing SDA and its leader, Desmond Lim, even go to the extend of "heckling" him at his company's FB page, to "pressure" him not to contest at Punggol Pasir Ris GRC. These people opined that he is "no good" or lack "caliber" etc. They prefer some other party without even asking what candidates they will field in replacement.

These people laugh at Desmon Lim's spoken English but I can say that most Singaporeans do not speak perfect English as well.

I have known Desmond Lim for quite sometime now. He is definitely not some "elites" whom you will find in PAP. He is just a typical Singaporean. But he is definitely unassuming and his people's skills are definitely above average.

As a matter of fact, Desmond Lim and I had a quarrel back in GE2011 out of some misunderstanding. However he was the one who took the initiative to extend his olive branch when we met at a mutual friend's wedding dinner.

Many people expect opposition candidates to be like super elite scholars like Chen Show Mao before they would swing their votes towards opposition parties. As I say, although Singaporeans dislike those ruling elites very much but somehow, this subconsciousness of wanting "elites" to be their political leaders is very deep rooted.

But I can safely say that "elites" are not necessary desirable. We need elites with the HEART to serve. Chen Show Mao is one of the few we could find.

Having said that, does it mean that any "lesser mortal" is undeserving to be opposition candidates and MPs? Of course not.

Just for example, Desmond Lim has his strength which many so call "elites" do not have.

First of all, People skills. The ability to connect with the people on the ground is very important. Many "elites" whom I have met and seen, lack such basic skills.

Secondly, his experience in running the Potong Town Council. Many elites may be highly qualified lawyers, doctors, scholars etc but they may not know how to run a Town Council efficiently and effectively.

Another important skill Desmond has is his Mandarin capability. He may have some deficiency in his spoken English due to some reasons, but so far, I would say that he is one of the few opposition politicians who can speak fluent Mandarin. Many people thought that this skill is less important but the truth is this, there are many New Citizens who come from China. They feel better connected to politicians who can speak fluent Mandarin. In order to swing these New Citizens' votes, opposition parties will need an extremely strong Mandarin anchor.

Thus my message to opposition supporters, especially those who look down on some other politicians for the reason that they aren't the "elites" they are yearning for, each opposition candidate has made enormous sacrifices to walk to the front line to fight the battle. They don't deserve to be ridiculed in such a rude and hurting way. They are just trying to serve the nation in their own little ways.

We are not looking for elites to contest as opposition candidates. We are looking for people who would put their hearts and souls in serving the people. One thing for sure, everyone should recognize the resolve and determination of people like Desmond Lim. Most people would have broken down in spirit or just given up for good but at the very least, he perseveres.

Let us be more grateful and appreciative of what others have sacrificed to offer Singaporeans the chance to vote and change Singapore for the better.

For the matter of fact, we don't really just need political elitism or "Ministerial caliber". We also need people from different background to represent the voices of people.

As it stands now, we are going into full gear of electoral preparations and I urge those people who are going around to harass SDA and Desmon Lim to stop doing so.

Goh Meng Seng

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