As we get closer to August 27, it has been evidently clear to me that this presidential election will be a re-run of the general elections held in May in how the citizens of Singapore will vote.
The President Tan that will emerge early morning of August 28 will NOT be a Tony. Why in spite of all the “endorsements” from various trade unions and associations? Because none of them are endorsing him with the approval of their constituent membership. It is the leaders of those entities that are doing it – at the behest of the NTUC Secretary General, a PAP minister himself.
While I am surprised that the newspaper group who Tony presided over as their chairman has yet to endorse him, it might just be done before polling day. Even that won’t help him to win.
Let’s look at some of the statistics of voting patterns. GE2011 showed 40% voting for a non-PAP candidate. One GRC was wrested from the PAP. So, going into this PE, Tony can be assured of NOT GETTING that 40%. By all reckoning, there probably is a 25%-30% dyed-in-wool PAP supporters who could possibly split votes between Tony and Cheng Bock.
I would assume that those who are in Ayer Rajah constituency (now part of the West Coast GRC) who had consistently returned Cheng Bock to office would be voting for him.
From all accounts, Tony’s stint in the Sembawang GRC as an MP was not a happy one in that he would delegate his Meet-The-People sessions to his GRC-mates which means that Tony does not have the support there.
Then add the White Horse factor of Tony’s son, Patrick. Tony has not come clean (nor has his son) about how Patrick was able to get an extended disruption from NS and dubious postings to the Defense Medical and Environment Research Institute and National Cancer Center, especially during the time Tony was defense minister. Do you think that if Tony gets the presidency, Patrick would be able to show his face and not be asked about how he was able to dodge NS? Tony is not going to his son any favours by continuing to brush aside the allegations.
So, that leaves Jee Say, Cheng Bock and Kin Lian.
About Kin Lian: I think he is a smart and possibly likeable person. Yes, he did spend some years as a PAP cadre member, but I think that is all in the past and of no consequence. Kin Lian has proven his business acumen at NTUC Income. I know that there are many people in the insurance industry that have nothing but cuss words for him, but looking at someone who grew a business – even if a cooperative – it is no small task. I think his ideas of forming his own council of advisers is very laudable. I think there is a real need to institute an ombudsman system in our political landscape and perhaps his council of advisers could be an arm of it, or may be not.
Jee Say is an enigma. He has good ideas and is forthright in stating it. He does, sometimes, come across as a bit boorish and unpolished. Perhaps the fire from the GE2011 is still burning in him. I particularly like his stand against capital punishment. That to me is reason enough to vote for him. He clearly is capable of being a good president.
Cheng Bock. Of the two Drs, Cheng Bock is probably the more likeable and down-to-earth bloke. He has a mind of his own proven over the years by being a PAP MP and poking the government every now and then. I am disappointed that he, as a medical doctor, is in favour of capital punishment but perhaps he can be persuaded. Watch these videos.
If I were to arrange the four Tans on a political scale with PAP on the left and Anti-PAP on the right as the two extremes, it would be Tony, Cheng Bock, Kin Lian and Jee Say.
The People of Singapore want a change. The status quo of the last 46 years has been great to bring the country to where it is today, but not what is needed for the future. Tony’s tagline “Confidence for the future” fails on that count. It is more of the same and nothing else.
So here is how I think the votes will spread:
Cheng Bock 30%
Kin Lian 23%
Jee Say 29%
So, it will be a neck to neck between Cheng Bock and Jee Say. The PAP-led government will have their hands full some early morning August 28.
I had an interesting chat with a friend today. He is well connected with the establishment and what amazes me is how much he “believes in the establishment’s bullshit”. I recall a good boss of mine from years ago telling me that he would be very worried if his sales folks and engineers start believing everything marketing spins – “believing your own bullshit”. The PAP still does not understand the reality of the ground, three months after the GE. They still think that it is BAU and believing their own bullshit.
The ground has moved and moved away from the PAP. Anyone who is as closely associated with the PAP as is Tony stands to lose. It used to be a time when anything the PAP anoints wins. That is no longer the case. Someone told me that the PAP is now the “Pariah Action Party”.
So who am I voting for on Saturday? I told my Mom to vote Cheng Bock and to tell her friends to do the same. I am still sitting on the fence between Cheng Bock and Jee Say. I want a president I can be proud of both from a office as well as the person. I respect the office of the Prime Minister but I don’t like the person holding that post. I want to have a president that I can like. If I were to use likability as the only factor, Cheng Bock will be it.