Today is polling day to elect Singapore's next President. By tomorrow, Sunday morning, Singapore will know who its next President is. There is a certain air of excitement - at least that is what I sense in some of my colleagues yesterday as they looked forward to today, never mind that the consequence of the results is, well, inconsequential - nation-wise. We are, after all, electing a figurehead. Though there has been much talk of the President's powers in guarding the reserves and policing senior appointments to government, I would think that the first is an exceptional situation and the second a formality. In a sense, it is no more than buying insurance for that rainy day. I am sure some would lambast me for belittling this whole process and event. My stand is that there should never have been a need for an elected Presidency in the first place. Parliament should just convene and nominate one that is acceptable to the majority in Parliament, and therefore the people. But in Singapore, because the composition of Parliament is not truly representative of the people, we end up with another national election within the space of 4 months, and unlike in years past, 4 candidates are contesting. Some of the candidates assume that they will do what Parliament has failed, or will fail to do - to check on the government and be more active in the formulation of national policies and laws. Since it is illegal not to vote, I'll be heading to the booths this morning to silently voice my choice of a President, however inconsequential.
At his point in time, it appears that Mr Tony Tan and Mr Tan Cheng Bock are front runners. TT hinted that he might lose during his Boat Quay rally speech - "I might not win...but at least I tried..." He must admit that his sons' NS records have done tremendous damage to his bid. Mr Tan Kin Lian almost self destructed yesterday when he hinted that Mr Tan Jee Say was not an honorable man. And I heard in the office yesterday many voices against voting for Mr Tan Jee Say. 'He is a loose canon', 'cannot be trusted', 'too confrontational', 'aiyeerrr', were some of the reasons cited for dropping him from consideration. Perhaps only the opposition politicians and their die-hard followers will cast their vote in his direction. Overall, it appears that only TCB has come through relatively unscathed in the 9 days of campaigning - from being quaint and dowdy to become a credible, warm and sensible man with a Presidential bearing.
So the word on the streets is that the real contest is between TT and TCB - ironically 2 former PAP men. They would likely share 70% of the votes, with the rest split between TKL and TJS.
May the best man win. I hope that all of them will take back their not insignificant $48,000 deposit.
In any case, however voters vote, Singapore MUST win.