Apr 30, 2010

“OK lah - they may be smarter than us, but we are not idiots”.

Someone today summed up to me this week’s Parliamentary debates as such!

Those who followed the debates will know that landmark changes to our political and electoral processes have been passed by Parliament, which Workers’ Party opposed (full speeches at www.wp.sg). The Non-Constituency Member of Parliament scheme is expanded through (yet another) Constitutional amendment, and a 24 hour `cooling off day’ before Polling Day is introduced for Singaporeans to reflect on their vote (in case, according to the Law Minister, the people are muddled by Workers’ Party arguments!)

The psyche of voters as they head up to the polls is a fascinating topic.

Just witness the furore surrounding UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s gaffe a few days ago. He had made a scheduled `heartland’ stop at Rochdale, in northern England, to chat with `ordinary people’. After responding briefly to a lady’s concerns about the high presence of Eastern Europeans in the UK, the Prime Minister entered his car and called her a `bigot’ with his microphone still on. He has since had to make a public apology, and visited her to personally apologise.

The British public’s reactions to this incident reflect the pluralism of voter logic. Many feel that the Labour Party’s electoral prospects have been dealt a serious blow. Some voters say they now have doubts about the British PM’s sincerity, since he could say one thing to you and another thing behind your back. On the other hand, others are more forgiving, recognising that everyone has their unguarded moments and private thoughts. Some have even changed their minds to decide to vote FOR Mr Brown, because they agree that the lady is a bigot!

Whatever the thinking, everyone has the right to his own logic for casting his vote, whether it is based on policy, personality or even protest. Nobody has the right to tell you otherwise!

Finally, a wing chun update. Last week, I completed learning the rudiments of the siu lim tao (小念头) basic form of wing chun….a moment of immense pride! In about 24 hours, I will be in a cinema with friends watching `Ip Man 2’ (叶问2) which will continue the narration of the life of Bruce Lee’s kungfu master from the time he arrives in Hong Kong. In case this all seems quite childish for a 45 year old, my 57 year old cousin in Malaysia has already kept aside a huge poster of the `Ip Man 2’ movie for me. According to him, who has watched it already, it’s a great movie….and I don’t think the next 24 hours will assist me to anticipate the movie any more rationally!