Sunday, 13 September 2015

GE2015: A Humbling Mandate

People's Action Party's Lee Hsien Loong celebrates on polling day. (Photo: Shushan Lam)

Among the winning PAP candidates, clear common themes arose in their victory speeches and interviews: Gratitude to voters, the humbling mandate, and the work to be done.

For example, Cabinet Minister Grace Fu - one of the first winners to be announced on Friday night - said that while she was happy to see her share of the vote in Yuhua SMC improve from 66.9 per cent in 2011 to 73.54 per cent, she was “very humbled” by the mandate and would work hard to prove herself worthy of voters’ trust.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his victory speech for Ang Mo Kio GRC, told voters: “We are very grateful and happy but at the same time humbled by the result, by the trust you have put on us, by the responsibility we have taken on to serve you.”

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GE2015: Taking victory in Humility

The swing in favour of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the latest General Election may never happen again, and the PAP must realise there remains fundamental issues they cannot ignore, if they wish to consolidate their position and gain greater trust from the people, said former Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh.

In a lengthy Facebook post today (Sept 17), Mr Singh, who did not stand for election this year after 18 years in politics, dissected the strengths and weaknesses of the PAP, and the reasons contributing to the PAP’s 69.9 per cent landslide victory. Mr Singh noted that while the PAP has a good vision for Singapore, voters today are unwilling to blindly trust the party. “The worry among some Singaporeans is that with a stronger-than-expected mandate, the PAP may feel there is no need to change itself. But the general feeling among insiders and observers is that the PAP needs to continue to change to become more inclusive, listen more to people, (and) add more political judgement in policy making.”

He also urged party leaders to take victory “in humility”. “The Government’s past ‘We know best’ attitude will not work among Singaporeans in the future. Elitism is also something the PAP Government should be concerned about especially since the party continues to choose the elites to become key appointment holders.”

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Strong mandate must be used wisely

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), gave a closed-door speech to newly-elected PAP MPs on Monday in the Parliament building. He spoke on the significance of the party's landslide victory in last Friday's General Election, and urged his team to make wise use of the support won. This is an excerpt of his speech.
  • The General Election results were better than we had dared to hope; indeed better than anyone expected. People's Action Party (PAP) MPs on the ground and government ministries and agencies put in much hard work over the last four years, and longer.
  • But election outcomes are never fully predictable, and we must never take anything for granted.
  • Politics always requires a stout heart, wherever the contest may be. But the stoutest-hearted were our candidates who stood in the opposition wards and did very well - Charles Chong in Punggol East, Lee Hong Chuang in Hougang, as well as the Aljunied team, guided by Lim Boon Heng.
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PAP winners humbled by landslide victory

In any sporting contest, to be ‘humbled’ usually refers to an unexpected result when a crowd favourite suffers defeat at the hands of a less worthy opponent, such as Man U were humbled 1-2 by Swansea City. In 1984, one would celebrate with champagne upon seeing the ‘mighty PAP humbled’ post-election. If you use it in the first person, however, it expresses something rather different, a feeling of surprise and gratitude mixed with mild self-deprecation. Like ‘I’m not a man with many friends, therefore I’m humbled to see all of you here at my wedding’, or ‘I’m a terrible writer, so I’m humbled to see people clicking on this blog’.

So the PAP, sensing that they may be in for a tough fight, decided to thank their supporters with some syncopatic grovelling when they were rewarded with a rock-solid victory margin. Being ‘satisfied’ , ‘happy’ or ‘relieved’ (or as Lim Swee Say would say, ‘heng ah’) isn’t enough. You need to give the masses the illusion of authority, that you, the MP, are the ‘chosen’ one, that you’re proud to assume the role as a servant of the people, a steward, a ‘JAGA’, as PM Lee described. That you’re so honoured by the overwhelming mandate that you could drop on your knees and kiss our feet for this opportunity to serve. Like we’re 18th century plantation owners buying you out of a life of tunnel digging or dragging boulders up a hill.

For a while at least, we, the PAP voters, are made to feel like the masters of our fate. The people have spoken, and whether you call it a mandate, upswing, or some severe ‘groupthink’ on the part of the electorate, we always bring out a crouching, simpering tiger during the victory parade, but come SG51, let us brace ourselves for the searing heat when that familiar fire-spewing dragon emerges out of its subservient shell. I suspect most Singaporeans already know this, that the U-turns, the misguided policies, the preservation of a conservative status quo, can be seen a mile away, but they decided that they would rather live with a painful, but apparently successful formula, than put their faith in the Opposition. Which makes us, well, political masochists who love complaining, who attend Opposition rallies and raise their candidates to the pedestal of heavy metal gods, but when it comes to the crunch, go for the only option that will enable us to continue complaining, to live in fear of getting arrested for defamation, to huddle with more sweaty bodies on the train, to save up for more goddamn Walls ice cream promotions. As long as someone is putting up a sheltered walkway, a lift upgrade, a new hawker centre, or giving away the occasional public holiday for no good reason.

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Why Oscar Winners Say They’re 'Humbled'

Receiving an award makes you feel proud, but a new study suggests some winners may suppress their natural joy so they seem like good sports.

Winning an award is about the least humbling thing in the world, and yet when people receive an Oscar or some other illustrious honor, they often say they feel “humbled.” Really, what winners feel is immense pride—and immense fear of being seen as prideful—and so they cover for it by saying they feel the exact opposite, humility. No one wants to come across as cocky. Are winners right to fear backlash for expressing a natural emotion at their most exultant moment? New research finds that they are.

Consider the two cases of John Wayne’s and James Cameron’s Oscar acceptance speeches. Accepting the award for Best Actor in 1970, Wayne appears to be delivering a eulogy. “Tonight I don’t feel very clever, or very witty,” he somberly intones. “I feel very grateful, very humble.” In 1998, when Cameron won Best Director, he high-fived the people around him, and ended his speech by throwing his arms in the air and hollering “I’m the king of the world! Wooooo!”

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Beyond GE 2015: A Second Chance for Reform

This weekend, four years on, it may be time to bequeath the wet blanket to a jubilant People’s Action Party and its fans. This is not to deny the scale and clarity of Friday’s result.

The only things that rang hollow about the victory were PAP candidates’ programmed intonations that they felt “humbled” by it: in their mind’s eye, each was probably performing an exultant goalscorer’s medley of chest-thumps, knee-slides, badge-kisses and heaven-pointing.

And who can blame them.

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A Humble Thank You

Secretary General Lee Hsien Loong in his Thank You speech - his team has just won majority votes (>78%) in Ang Mo Kio GRC.
"We are very happy, at the same time we are very humbled..."
Ms Tin Pei Ling thanked the voters of MacPherson for giving her the opportunity to serve the constituency again.
"I am humbled by your strong support and grateful for the opportunity to return to MacPherson as its MP-elect."
Minister S Iswaran@West Coast thanked the residents in West Coast GRC for giving their strong support to the PAP team comprising of Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Ms Foo Mee Har, Mr Patrick Tay and himself.
"We are grateful for your support and deeply humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in us. We will continue to work closely with you to understand your needs and concerns, and meet them to the best of our ability."
SMS Amy Khor thanked all the residents of Hong Kah North for their support in this short video. 
"Dear Hong Kah North residents, Thank you very much for your support this ‪#‎GE2015‬. I’m truly humbled by the response."
Minister Lawrence Wong: "Thank you Marsiling -Yew Tee GRC residents for giving my team and I your mandate.
"We are very grateful and deeply humbled by your vote. We pledge to do our utmost to serve you. We will work with you, and for you to build a better home in Marsiling-Yew Tee." 
Ms Foo Mee Har thanked the residents of Ayer Rajah for their strong support.
"I am humbled by the trust and confidence you showed, and this will certainly spur me to serve you even better."
K Shanmugam Sc in an interview with TODAY on the positive sample count numbers so far.
“The greater the support, the more humble you have to be… and rededicate yourself to serving the people.”
Mr Amrin Amin thanked the people of Sembawang GRC and friends.
"A new morning has come. To serve with humility and all my heart, that's my promise. Walk with me. I am deeply humbled by the strong mandate. Thank you."
A Vote for Change
– The Middle Ground: There goes the protest vote
– Inconvenient Questions: Big ‘roar’ for the PAP
– Banalysis: The Morning After
– Yawning Bread: General election 2015: Huge win for PAP signals stasis
– Musings from Singapore: GE2015 postmortem: the beauty of democracy
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: MUST READ: JG explains the results
– Revelation is Real 2.0: Singapore’s GE: PAP’s Masterclass
– L.A.M.: On the National Swing
– Everything Also Complain: PAP winners humbled by landslide victory
– Blinkymummy: 2/3 Clear Mandate, but still lost 1 Minister
– Of Kids and Education: Confessions of a middle-ground voter
– Singapore Life & Times: PAP GE2015 Tsunami
– Musings From the Lion City: Status Quo
– My Singapore News: PAP routs the opposition
– The Grand Moofti Speaks: Singapore GE2015: ten key takeaways
– Likedatosocanmeh: Maintaining PAP’s status quo will doom Singapore
– Singapore Notes: We Wuz Robbed
– Air-Conditioned Nation: Scenarios
– New Nation: Freak election result sees PAP win 69.86% of votes this GE2015
– Alvinology: GE2015: All sample counts announced. What’s next?
– TOC: GE 2015 – media coverage more “balanced”, say ex-insiders
– Speaking My Mind: Polling Day: Eve of Merdeka? Answer, No.
– Faerie Tales: General Election 2015
– PetuniaLee™: Vote Wisely
– Dimsumdolly: To the polls…not
– Underlige Aftenlufte: I remember May when September comes
– S M Ong: What’s with people posting pictures of their polling card?
– Reflections of a disciple: A group of (good) men
– Life is in the small things: GE2015: Don’t Spoil Your Vote. Choose.
– DKSG: Facebook glitch causes posting on Dr Vivian Balakrishnan’s page
– Spore General Elections 2016: Singapore General Election 2015: Politics is dirty
– Jentrified Citizen: Individuals can discuss Elections online on Cooling Off Day
– Value Investhink: Cooling Off Day Post
– Spore Public Law: Towards True Political Pluralism: Whither the NCMP scheme?
– Just my Observation: Parliament needs 1/3 opposition presence for maximum growth.
– IPS Commons: Social media’s role in Dr Chee’s comeback
– Yours Irreverently: Final Thoughts on a Final Vote (?)
– In My Words…: GE 2015- Chee Soon Juan
– A Singaporean In Australia: The Biggest Loser in GE2015
– Singapore 2B: Dark Horses, Black Swans
– Musings from Singapore: GE2015: Final thoughts (1 of 4)
– Vulcan Post: The Singapore General Elections Scares Me
– Budget Babe: “GE2011 Believed Blindly in Picturesque Image Opposition Painted”
– Social Commentator Sg: GE2015: ultimate guide for swing voters & first time voters
– Seksi Matashutyrmouf : Democracy in Singapore (and elsewhere)
– Yoursfaithfullysg: 10 times PAP nailed it in GE2015
– Akikonomu: Modelling the 2015 Singapore general elections III: The PAP campaign
– Big Fat Purse: General Election 2015 – Why Rational People Vote Irrationally
– Inve$tment Moat$: The bigger devil of Minimum Wage is really Substitution of Labor
– Arra’s World: GE2015 Snippets: CSJ, Tharman, LHL, WP
– Anyhow Hantam: Voters in Aljunied – B STRONG, Voters Elsewhere – B BRAVE
– Senang Diri: Action needed, not just words
– Rise of The Strawberry Nation: FairPrice CEO – Seah Kian Peng
– [FB] Kall Silva: GE2015: Separate the Politics from Policies

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GE2015: Taking victory in Humility
GE2015: Going Forward
GE2015: Foreign Media
GE2015: 2011 Vs 2015
GE2015: A Humbling Mandate
GE2015: Poll Results
GE2015: Pollling Day
GE2015: Cooling-Off Day
GE 2015: Rallies Round-up & Trolls
GE2015: Hungry Ghost & Optimus Prime
GE2015: One Stone Kill Two Birds, Heng Ah!
GE2015: Nomads, Roosters & "Bits Of Meat"
GE2015: Snapshots
GE2015: Mouse In The House
GE2015: In Parliament, Numbers Count
GE2015: The Game Is On
GE2015: Who's Where
GE2015: Nomination Day