At the lobby of the Urban Redevelopment Authority centre, there's a really detailed model of our Lilliputian city. Every inch has been planned for. There's even a Parks and Water Bodies and Identity Plan. See and believe.
Since J and I live in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, where the PAP team is helmed by the Deputy Prime Minister himself, it is unlikely that any opposition party is going to do the foolish in contesting for this ward. So for the 3rd elections in a row since turning 21, I will no doubt be one of those Singaporeans this coming elections without a chance to participate in democracy's sacred act - the vote.
Just across the street from where we live, residents of Potong Pasir will surely exercise this right on my behalf.
For the past few years, the PAP candidate for Potong Pasir has been hosting dinners on public holidays and familiarising himself with the residents. This Chinese New Year, he offered Sharks Fin soup for $1 a bowl to the residents and, according to J (who cannot remember if he had read about this in Today or the ST), shared the idea of turning the canal running through Bishan-Potong Pasir to the Kallang River into a water sports zone!
Ah, residents of Potong Pasir, the fate of my concrete river lies in your hands! Your vote is certainly secret. But please, let the schools of tony silvery fishes continue to brave the currents of this algae-lined canal! And in the evenings, let them brave the hungry diners, those small white egrets which have come from god-knows-where.
What baby lessons about democracy in practice I learnt, I learnt them in the hospital over the past week.
With 6 siblings (and also 6 sisters/brother-in-law), any decision about caring for J’s mom requires a meeting in the hospital visitors’ lounge and a vote to be taken.
This democratic process cuts both ways. It is surely an act of some responsibility – for you are saying that you are giving your trust, well, your all to support a decision. But it can also be a disavowal of responsibility – for you can also be saying that you are therefore entrusting someone else who will act and discharge whatever responsibility on your behalf…and if he/she somehow fails, it was not your action that caused the failure in the first place.
Whether a more participatory democracy is more superior to a representative democracy, or what exactly is the difference, I don’t fully understand. The only thing I’ve learnt is that what matters in the end are people who will act with the wisdom that love and humility affords, and then stand to take responsibility for their actions – be it the raising of an arm, a nod of the head, the running of