Thursday, April 20, 2006

GE starts next week

Vote responsiblyFinally, the most anticipated event in Singapore this year will be held next week and the week following. Nomination day for the GE is next Thursday, 27 April and polling day is 9 days later, on 6 May 2006. This must be one of the shortest GE in Singapore's short history, but then various parties, including the PAP have been canvassing the ground for more than two months now.

While the PAP has introduced its full slate of candidates, the Opposition parties have yet to show their full hands. This may be because they want to avoid having their nominees investigated and their reputation sullied if something, lets say, uncomplimentary about them is uncovered. The other possibility is that they haven't found enough people to fill the GRC teams. Whatever it is, I am sure that all parties are ready to put up a good show to win the votes.

For many, this may be the first time they have the chance to vote, so it will be an interesting fortnight ahead. Just cancel your plans and be prepared to attend some of the rallies. For those who cannot, Channel News Asia has dedicated a website to cover this election. This will be ideal for Netizens on the go, although I am reminded that local mass media tend to take a pro Government stance (the same as a pro PAP stance?) in the way they report the news. I have previously highlighted instances of this in this blog. So blogs, which tend to have a greater diversity of views, may in fact act as a counterweight to the established media. That said, I wouldn't put too much store on what any and every blog were to say. We need always to corroborate the facts and balance the perspectives. Local established media is good in the former but suspect in the latter. Blogs are atrocious in the former but more colourful in the latter. This is probably the first time ever that the established media and the Singapore blogosphere will compete with one another for the ears of the electorate.

As the established media swing into high gear, I am sure that local blogs will also ramp up their output to spout their take on the events in the next fortnight. Just watch your language. It is just an election, people, not a war. You don't need to defame anyone and don't get too personal.

After all that is said and done, don't forget to vote. Voting is compulsory! Voting is secret (in spite of recent slips of the tongue). And vote responsibly. We don't want to do an Italian, do we?

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