Sunday, August 09, 2015

50 years observed

There is something about the number 50. Maybe it is a nice round number that a 49 cannot match though the Chinese mark it as perfection (7x7=49).  In many cultures, 7 signifies perfection, does it not? Yet half a century appears more significant. Maybe it is a half-way mark to a century - and a century is a long time. Even with longer lifespans, only a select few can ever hope to live beyond. Perhaps that is why we celebrate 50 years with a vengeance because those of us who have lived the first 50 years will never see the next 50th year celebration, which our children will. What will it be called? A centenary jubilee? There isn't a word invented to mark the century mark in the same fashion. The longest is the Ruby jubilee, signifying and celebrating an occasion's 80th year of existence. But as has always been the case, Singapore will name a stone worthy of the occasion 50 years hence. It has so far defied conventional wisdom about small island nations, and prospered beyond all expectations. Nobody who has lived in Singapore over the last half century and seen the developments can deny that. Which brings us to the next hottest issue in town - will the sitting government, which has ruled for the last 50 years, continue to do so if it calls a General Election in this Golden Jubilee year?

All signs point to a GE this year, what with the publication of the electoral boundaries, all of which has been redrawn in favour of the ruling PAP government. The government has already broken the bank account to make sure everybody gets a super-duper good time these few days. It can boast of a newly minted world heritage site that is the Singapore Botanic Gardens. As the PM has said, Singapore is a home owning country, and almost 950,000 of these home-owners, or heartlanders, will get $400 or more by the end of the year. There is certainly a feel-good factor in the air which any government will be foolish to ignore.

The biggest opposition party has already stated that they are not for regime change, and probably will not wish for it, not right now. So, overall, the PAP can expect a renewal of the mandate to govern. It'll add to the feel-good atmosphere of Singaporeans exercising their right to vote. It will validate whatever celebrations that has gone before this Golden Jubilee Year.

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