Electorate evolves as the world does

PAP and Workers' Party supporters waiting for the announcement of candidates on Nomination Day at Bendemeer Primary School.
PAP and Workers' Party supporters waiting for the announcement of candidates on Nomination Day at Bendemeer Primary School.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

As we count down to Polling Day on Friday, and amid the seas of white, blue, red and other political party colours, it is no wonder some voters find it hard to decide which party to support ("Cool heads rule as election campaign heats up"; Sunday).

In another instance, the metaphor of a unicorn was used by assistant political editor Rachel Chang to paint a picture of "political magic" ("What matters this GE: A unicorn's identity crisis"; Sunday).

If "anti" votes can win seats only for a period of time, while "for" votes can win seats for a generation, as Ms Chang has suggested, then the question we need to ask should be: What kind of Parliament do we want to see for Singapore, this generation and perhaps the next?

Should Parliament be one where self-checking is assumed to be the most effective mechanism?

Or should it be one that represents the diverse views of its people?

We have been told several times, and we know very well, that the world poses many challenges to a tiny nation like ours.

It is undeniable that Singapore has come a long way from a Third World country to attain today's status.

By not resting on its laurels, our country saw progress over the past 50 years, a relatively short history for a small nation.

It is precisely for this reason that our country must evolve with the times for the next 50 years and more.

A mature electorate is one that accepts diverse views, one that should steer away from talk framed as "anti" versus "for".

When diversity is embraced, alternative views can then be heard, and better ideas for people can then be put forth and sought after.

As the world evolves, so should the electorate, in the face of these external challenges.

Only then can Singaporeans forge ahead with great confidence, to achieve progress and prosperity for Singapore.

Tham Chuey Peng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Electorate evolves as the world does'. Print Edition | Subscribe