According to official spiel, this general election is supposed to decide on the team which will set the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years. Yet only 9 days – the minimum period under current election laws – is set aside for the electorate to vet the new players. This looks more like speed dating on steroids.

While the alternate voices – a better term than the derisive opposition label – struggle for a seat in parliament to represent our wishes for a better future, the incumbents have a string of hangers on lined up to ride coat-tails into office. A quick survey of the day jobs they are jettisoning in favour of entering politics suggests that monetary reward has to be a prime motivator:

former Syariah Court deputy registrar Rahayu Mahzam, 35
deputy director at a polytechnic, Darryl David, 44
assistant general manager at some child care outfit, Joan Pereira, 47
foreign exchange research head at a Malaysia bank, Saktiandi Supaat, 41
corporate lawyer – please, not another overcharging Alvin Yeo – Amrin Amin, 36
an animal activist, Louis Ng, 37

Even a former Assistant Commissioner of Police can expect a hefty hike in take home pay. As for the executive director of a homegrown investment, trading and management consulting firm, the game changer has to be “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.

Goh Chok Tong begs to differ, he is saying the electorate are the ones being seduced. In his equivalent of the horrible person’s call for repentence, he admonishes:

“And if the (Marine Parade) people are not careful, they will be seduced… they will pay a price.”

Goh has a curious choice in turn of phrase, accusing the alternate parties of “looking for plunder”. Another $3 billion has just been announced to seduce the senior citizen’s vote, on top of the Pioneer Generation Package goodies. Coming in at a time when industrial output has shrunk for 6 months in a row – with potential to drag the economy into technical recession – one has to ask where the money is coming from. Ask nicely, not the way Chee Soon Juan once did:

“Mr Goh! Mr Goh! Come here Mr Goh! I want to talk with you, come here! Where is our money Mr Goh? You can run, but you cannot hide.”

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