“Your vote is secret!” the shout bellows out of the speakers at the rallies that I have attended this GE2015.
“Do you want your children to grow up in a country where they are too afraid to vote for the opposition?”
Each time a speaker brings that up at a rally, I find myself looking at the crowd around me.
“Is Singapore still as draconian as before?” I asked myself. Does the government still govern us with that notorious iron fist? Do Singaporeans like you and I, or we peasants still think that the government would “fix us” if we do not vote them?
Increasingly, I find that Singaporeans are divorced from the fear-mongering days of yore. Are we still worried that the government would fix us? At rallies, my friends and I, even other rally attendees take photographs and share the photos over Instagram with more than enough relevant and irrelevant hashtags to mark our attendance.
At the rallies that I have attended, the mood is boisterous, almost unrestrained. We shouted and we cheered when a speaker (those who speak well) demanded our response. We do not shy away when fellow rally-goers point their big fancy cameras in our direction. At Dr Chee’s first address, Singaporeans approached him for a handshake and an autograph without restrain. I got a handshake. It was captured by the mainstream media. (I have not lost my job yet. Then again, ask me after #GE2015 to double confirm.)
Hell, at the nomination centers, did not supporters of the opposition openly boo members of the ruling party?
Did the fear of the government die with the demise of our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew? I would like to think so. Personally, I feel that the fear dissipate gradually over the years.
Is the little red dot growing up? I certainly hope so. It’s been 50 years. We Singaporeans now are a different breed. We are educated. We can smell propaganda from miles away. We do not fear unquestioningly like our parents, or our parents’ parents or our parent’s parents’ parent.
Maybe I am wrong. Singapore did not grow up. She was just incapacitated by the forces of technology and globalization.
Regardless, it is true that Singapore has taken her own sweet time to lighten up. Oh boy, I could only wish she would lighten up as quickly as inflation did but hey, beggars cannot be choosers. All things, in moderation.
The doggone days of fear are over. Like that Lipton advertisement, “good things grow”.
Not a scaredy-cat