Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Premonition of Opposition Disintegration?

Even Heaven looks kindly upon the opposition and paves the way for it to progress to its present pre-eminence and hopefully up to and including the general election. The ground is definitely favourable in favour of it and it has all the electoral support from the new media, especially the netizens who have continually called on voters, especially young voters, not to vote for PAP. Of course, any support from the government-controlled mainstream media is out of the question.

In fact, it has all the characteristics of the victors in the Red Cliff battle in the Chinese historical saga, the Three Kingdom. On the eve of the battle, the fabulous prescient Military Adviser Zhu Ge Liang made his famous prediction: All things made ready but only lacks the East Wind (万事具备,只欠东风. As he patiently waited, the East Wind arrived and sent his armada into victory in Red Cliff. The Chinese history is quoted as an analogy to show that the opposition is having all things made ready but only lacks the East Wind in the form of unity to secure victory like the Red Cliff victors.

The talks between Reform Party (RP) led by Mr. Kenneth Jeyaretnam and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) led by Mr. Chiam See Tong to form an alliance to contest the general election started on a promising note. It had all the makings of a remarkable beginning of a significant process leading to the indispensible unity of the opposition in facing the PAP in the general election. The talks were going so well that it came as something of a shock to hear the news that the proposed RP-SDA alliance had come to grief over the SDA's declination of acceptance of the 11 conditions of the RP after having earlier agreed to them. Kenneth Jeyaretnam was right to feel mystified and SDA Chiam See Tong did not improve matters by remaining tight-lipped.

Mr. Chiam See Tong seems to hold the key to this whole opposition unity conundrum.
A veteran politician like him should have no illusion about the paramount need of opposition unity in securing victory over the PAP in the general election. This should transcend all personal or party interests in the overall interests of opposition unity. The RP-SDA alliance fiasco will be viewed with exultation by the PAP leaders as it would mean that without unity the opposition will be less of a threat to their dominiance in the general election notwithstanding any favourable ground condition and new media support to the opposition. Of course, if the opposition parties were to contest against one another in a single ward or GRC, this will virtually amount to a walk-over for the PAP.

The general election is likely to be still some time away and the oppoosition, especially Mr. Chiam See Tong, should transcend their parochial interests to forge a solid unity and not let down their electoral supporters. If the opposition parties fritter away the present golden opportunity, they may not find a similar opportunity for a long time to come.


Recruit Ong said...

Chiam is history. If he refuses to share power, than by all means bypass him.

Gary said...

Is Chiam a plant?

Tan Ah Kow said...

Your Red Cliff analogy is somewhat off that mark in this instance. In your historical analogy, you have a situation where people are prepared to fight. In the case of the Singapore Election, the issue is whether the electorate are really prepared to support the opposition. My view is that for all the noise in alternative media and all the PAP cock-ups, the majority of the electorate are still unprepared to break from the status quo.

You see unity or no unity -- in the sense of an alliance as proposed by RP and SDA -- of the opposition, the electorate will still have a chance to vote in sufficient number of oppositions. I am quite certain, come the next election, the opposition will most likely avoid a three-corner fight, so electorate should still be able to vote in opposition regardless of political hue. There is therefore no excuse for the electorate -- i.e. those who have a chance -- to say that they can't vote in a opposition because of lack of unity.

There is also no excuse on the electorate part to hide behind the so-call "lack of credibility" argument as an excuse not to vote for the opposition. The cock-ups, lack of performance of the existing PAP bunch and money grabbing attitude already put paid their "credibility" vis-a-vis their opponents. If the electorate still don't see that then frankly unity of the opposition ain't going to chance thing.

Hey, if the oppositions are so bad than the question has to be this: why aren't the electorate getting off their butts to force the issue?

In other countries, people disillusion with the existing political parties, form pressure group to knock heads together. More importantly why not join opposition parties vote out the existing leaders and elect more "credible" ones. Or use financial incentives making conditional financial contribution. After all Obama victory was as much attributable to grass roots support as it is to institutional support. Is that really happening here?

Answer is probably no. The Singapore electorate it seemed is more prepared to sit on their backside complain and expects others to sacrifice than make a stand. In which case, whose fault if the outcome is not expected, when the East Wind (i.e. the Electorate) don't play ball!

rkc said...

Yes, Mr Chiam seems to be the cause of the failed alliance; but do we know what are the 11 conditions and whether RP insisted on ALL of them and made it impossible to compromise?

Tan Ah Kow is right about the heavy backsides of the electorate, but the East Wind will blow when "PAP cockups" outweigh PAP advantages - at least in the eyes of ENOUGH of the electorate. There are many of us already disillusioned, but not ENOIUGH!

Koh said...

When all is said & done, nothing will happen if the electorate don't exercise their inherent right of the power of change. Don't be fooled by the argument that "this is Singapore, nothing will change much, everything is OK". The electorate must know "they can make the change if a change is necessary & vital, they have good judgement, they are No.1" Otherwise, let say should a calamity happen to S'pore in the future, then they can't blame others but only themselves!!!!!!!!!