So I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but for posterity’s sake, let the record show that with just 35% of votes Dr Tony Tan (aka Glasses) defeated Dr Tan Cheng Bock by the slimmest of margins – just .34%, or a mere 7,200 votes or so – in last Saturday’s presidential election.
We were out at a bar with friends and as we rode back in the taxi at around 1am the results were still deemed too close to call, though the driver of course had lots of opinions to share. He was so absorbed in what he was saying, in fact, that he drove right by our building and had to circle all the way around Marina Bay Sands to get back to it (lots of fun one-way streets in our neck of the woods).
Yet again, Mr Brown’s Twitter feed provided both comic relief and interesting analysis. One of the best stories I’ve seen is this one he shared from the Economist, which gives great background on the history of the presidency and the current political climate in Singapore:
The result is sobering for the PAP. As the country’s biggest newspaper, the pro-government Straits Times, put it in reporting the result: ‘the voting patterns show a society more politically divided than ever before.’
They reflect a widespread sense that the government, blinded by Singapore’s astonishing economic progress, has lost touch with the grievances of ordinary citizens. This sense is in part about particular issues, such as the cost of housing or immigration, which some blame for depressing local wages. But it is as much a question of style—a resentment at what is seen as the government’s paternalistic belief that it knows best.
So there you have it. These are very interesting times indeed, and it will certainly be exciting (and perhaps slightly scary) seeing how the government responds to such an unprecedented mandate for change in the months to come. And hey it could be worse; at least Tony Tan isn’t a Dominionist…as far as we know.