When I first read the lead story in TODAY this morning, I thought to myself, “Oh no here they go again.”
True enough, the “proposal” (read: decision) by PM Lee to allocate a day before Polling Day as a “cooling-off period” had all the characteristics of a typical PAP election engineering hit job: Conjure up a problem that doesn’t exist, come up with some pleasant sounding proposal to “solve it”, play on the fears of Singaporeans, and then fix the Opposition while making it sound like it is fair and square because “the same rules apply to everyone”.
PM Lee said that, in addition to Polling Day, the day before will also be a campaign-free day — no campaigning except of course “news reporting” by the state-controlled media duopoly.
We all know what “news reporting” our mainstream media is capable of during the election period. They “factually” blanket the headlines with the ruling party’s smear campaigns against designated opposition candidates, quoting the esteemed caretaker ministers verbatim as if they were proclaiming oracles from heaven. But when 100,000 people show up at an opposition election rally, they leave it to newspapers across the Causeway to publish the photo and file the report.
PM Lee wants voters to “reflect rationally on issues and arguments” before voting. How nice to know I will have one extra day to clear my mind of the nonsense that opposition candidates were sprouting the previous nine days, and for one full day reflect on the rational and objective rebuttals by the government (but not the PAP, *wink, wink*) disguised as news the day before Polling Day.
Of course, PM Lee has the safety and security of Singaporeans at heart. He recalled occasions of “pushing and shoving at election rallies”, explaining why we must have a longer cooling-off period AFTER those rallies. It makes perfect sense: Tomorrow is cooling-off day, so I won’t shove you today.
When I get on the train in the evenings after work, I often encounter a lot of pushing and shoving. Maybe we should designate every other day as cooling-off days. That way commuters will reason that tomorrow is “cool”, so no need to push today.
I feel honoured that PM thought it necessary to make special mention of bloggers, especially those who have the habit of “putting things up” in their own name. How nice to know that I will be relieved of the responsibility of blogging about issues affecting our lives before Polling Day!
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Why does this government have so much time on their hands to solve non-existent problems? When was the last time we had anything close to a riot on Polling Day? Not that I know of in the last 50 years. But perhaps our far-sighted government is preparing for a “freak event”.
You see, we can’t build “huge canals” to prevent our cars from turning into submarines during heavy downpours, but we must change the Constitution to make our already-quiet elections even quieter.