crisis

What I Learned from Singapore's General Elections 2015 (Part Three)

Having had a little more time to gather thoughts, information, and opinions, I thought I'd look at another part of the GE puzzle.

One of the driving forces of human behaviour is fear. If you have ever felt angry and worried when you misplaced your phone, you have just experienced behaviour driven by fear - your fear that you have lost your phone.

Some analysts believe that voters were driven to the PAP's side by their fears. For example, their fear of:

1) A freak election result where the opposition parties win many more seats in parliament than they had in GE2011.

On the ground, the opposition parties are generally seen as unproven, untested, and therefore likely to be less competent. There is fear that their sudden increase in government may cause an imbalance, resulting in instability, at least for a short time.

This fear of instability is compounded by the opposition parties themselves suggesting that they don't want to take over the government, preferring to take a "quality control" position. This suggestion indicates to the voters that the opposition parties, noble as their intentions may be, are neither prepared nor confident enough of their leadership of the nation. It is probably safe to say that a seeming lack of confidence is often a deal-breaker in the election of a leader.

Also,  if parliament spends more time debating issues than it needs to, actions cannot be taken. 

Lack of action will be seen as weakness by the global community - a view that will likely lower investor confidence and lead to a depletion of funds for Singapore's still-strong economy. This will begin a downward spiral that may lead many to financial ruin, the likes of which we may not be able to recover.

Singapore's government must remain strong and action-centred, because these are the traits that investors look for.

2) The looming global crises

Looking away from the local scene, there are numerous indications of currency problems, falling economies, and increasing debts. 

As I am not an economist or a financial expert, I am in no position to analyse these things. What I do know is that there is widespread fear of a coming economic collapse, and, in times of uncertainty, voters will naturally gravitate towards the ruling party, which has a track record of leading the people out of past financial crises with below-average damage to the local economy.

Changes in the political landscapes in China, USA, and the Middle East are also getting people jumpy. Again, when things go down, people stick to what they are familiar with.

3) Too much change

People don't like change, especially not drastic ones. Although the opposition parties have clear supporters, many Singaporeans are wary of what they see as populist agendas and cheap publicity. They may worry that, should these ideas be brought to parliament, there may be too much emphasis on them, and other issues may be relegated to the background.

We are creatures of habit and we are often very unwilling to leave our comfort zones. 

As long as the ruling party maintains its pool of talent, and uses it wisely, it will take a confident, competent, powerful opposition party just to overcome the inertia of voting against them.

I believe that this will be the last post I will make on the General Elections 2015, unless something else strikes me.

SJI