Going to the Polls
Not only has the UK been voting this past week, Singapore has also with its General Election held on Saturday 7 May, the first one in five years. Only Singaporeans could vote so obviously we were not able to but it has been interesting to observe the build up to this. I'm certainly not going to attempt here to comment on the politics as I do not feel I'm qualified to do so and my blog is not really the appropriate forum for that but I did not think I could totally ignore this event either.
The People's Action Party (PAP) was formed in 1954 when Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan, Lee Kwan Yew and others joined forces with the aim of bringing full independence to Singapore. There is lots of information from various sources that can be read about this period of Singapore's history and if you are interested I recommend you take a look in your own time. I don't feel it appropriate to attempt to do that here, other than to say that in 1959 the PAP under Lee Kwan Yew won the election and have remained the ruling party since then.
The build up to the election was similar to the UK, it included the usual rallies with the PAP and opposing candidates taking part, there was lots of getting out and about meeting the electorate, campaign posters up and manifesto flyer's distributed. This election was the first one where PAP have actually experienced serious competition from the opposition but the outcome resulted in them winning 81 of 87 of the elected seats in the Parliament of Singapore and receiving 60.4% of the total votes cast.
The main differences I noticed between the campaigning done in the UK compared to here was that no campaigning was allowed on the proceeding day before the election. Rather than attempts to convince those last few undecided this was deemed as a time for reflection before voting. It is compulsory to vote if you are eligible to do so and fines are issued to those who do not. Once the election date was confirmed an additional public holiday was given in recognition of this (I'm not sure if this is normal procedure I assume so however), though for most this just means an extra day in lieu attached to their usual holiday entitlement. Doubtless there may well have been other differences that I missed but it definitely made for an interesting few weeks of observation.