US election is a subdued affair for American community in Singapore

Voter Suzanne Murphy submits her ballot at the US Embassy in Singapore. PHOTO: UNITED STATES EMBASSY SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The upcoming US election on Nov 3 will be a subdued affair for the American community in Singapore as Covid-19 is keeping the expat voters here away from gatherings.

Gone this year, due to safe distancing measures, will be the post-election parties that were traditionally held in hotels and bars after the polls results are known, as the atmosphere is set to be quieter this this time, US citizens living here told The Straits Times.

The American Club, where American expatriates used to gather in previous US elections to watch the unfolding highlights and outcome, will also be quieter this year, although a club spokesman said on Friday (Oct 23) that it will be organising activities for members.

For example, it will roll out a breakfast bundle prepared by its chefs on Tuesday (Oct 27) for club members who are following the countdown to the election in the US as it enters the final lap.

The takeaway bundles, which can be picked up at the club in Orchard Road or delivered to members' doorsteps, will replace the breakfast or buffet that was usually laid out for members who gathered at the club for the screening party, the spokesman added.

Health and wellness coach Jamie Alison Kloor-Shin said that she will have a few friends over to her new place in Boon Keng, where she moved in only two weeks ago, keeping the number of the visitors to no more than five, in line with the safe distancing limit.

Said Mrs Kloor-Shin, 40, a registered voter in New Jersey: "It's an exciting election to watch." She let on that she had not expected incumbent president Donald Trump to win the last election in 2016, and is keen to see how this one will turn out.

Health and wellness coach Jamie Alison Kloor-Shin (left) and Ms Myra Kaitlyn Andrews who works in a tuition centre in Singapore. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JAMIE ALISON KLOOR-SHIN, MYRA KAITLYN ANDREWS

Mrs Kloor-Shin, who has lived in Singapore for five years with her husband, an innovation director, and their 32-month-old son, said she has voted for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by absentee ballot because she finds his stance on wealth distribution and women's rights closer to hers, although she still has reservations about his abortion stand.

Mrs Tina Datta, 52, chairman of Republicans Overseas Singapore, said she and other US citizens here have been able to go about their lives normally here because of the safe distancing measures that are in place. She said she is grateful for this.

Mrs Datta, who has lived here for about a decade, will be busy attending discussion panels on election day. "Usually, there will be a big party organised by the embassy at the Intercontinental Hotel after the results," she said.

First-time voter Nicholas Low, 18, a musician who moved to Singapore three months ago, said he is voting for Mr Biden, even as he is not particularly drawn to either candidate. He has not made plans to watch the election on Nov 3.

He criticised the first presidential debate held last month, noting that the two candidates kept "interrupting each other, making the debates no different than kids fighting on the playground".

First-time voter Nicholas Low, 18, moved to Singapore three months ago. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NICHOLAS LOW

Mr Low said that he favoured Mr Biden more than Mr Donald Trump because "he just has more political experience, is more mature, and isn't so childish with his decisions".

At least one US citizen here is voting for independent candidate Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

Ms Myra Kaitlyn Andrews, 26, who works in a tuition centre here, said she could not decide between Mr Trump and Mr Biden, but still wanted to exercise her voting right.

Ms Andrews, who has been here for 14 months, said: "I'm more concerned with having less taxation. I gave up my state ties to South Carolina so as to not worry about state taxes, but I'm still American and may possibly owe the federal government later on if I make over US$100,000 (S$136,000).

"Americans get double taxed if they make over this threshold... I just applied for my (permanent residency in Singapore) and will possibly give up my citizenship because of the double taxation and I have no desire to go back. Life in Singapore is much more conducive to my lifestyle and views."

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