I was thinking to write down a note comparing the different candidates, and also to find a reason for my final choice of who I am going to vote for.
Tony Tan - Being a PAP stalwart for years, it is obvious to everyone (except the truly thick) that this is the PAP man. Why else would so many unions fall in line to endorse him. For most parts none of the unions have more than a few thousand members. These are unions which are impotent to begin with. I guess the only good reason to endorse Tony Tan is to bolster their leaders in the eyes of the PAP leadership. (yea, sycophant is the word that comes to mind).
But this is not the reason not to vote for Tony Tan. The following are the reasons why you should consider not voting for him.
a) There is an incredible being dredged up by the anti-PAP brigade online. I am not sure how much of that is true, but some of those non-disputed facts are indeed startling.
- 12-years deferment,
- a Research Medical Scientist vocation which no one has heard of, and probably no one else has this vocation otherwise the person would have surfaced by now,
- the rationale given to explain this was that soil disease was plaguing the SAF. If this is such a problem, why would the SAF trust it to an A level about to study his undergraduate studies. Are there no other medical doctors or bacteria experts in Singapore, or even overseas? This is such a lousy reason, i wonder why they bother to offer this as a reason.
so why is Tony not answering these questions and giving more details. Short of a full explanation for the above, one would hazard that there is nothing better to give to explain the lingering questions. Putting out a joint statement saying that they have complied with regulations and procedures is not helping, because it does not address why the circumstances are so special and why this procedure is so rarely applied for other NSman.
b) during a Q&A session shown online, Tony Tan interrupted Tan Jee Say to warn him about the need to back up his statements. This is an impromptu burst of emotion and belies what irks Tony Tan so much that he has to step up of line to stop Tan Jee Say from replying the interviewer’s question. This topic clearly riles Tony Tan and he is unusually defensive on the issue of the ISA and the Marxist conspiracy. This topic suggests that because he was in the cabinet before, he can never be truly independent.
On a side note, his comparison of Norway race-hate crimes to terrorists, to Marxists and to the need for ISA is troubling. It reminded me of the WMD reason cited by US lawmakers for invading Iraq. But where is the WMD? Even up to today, Mas Selamat is not charged in a court of law, despite the fact that those who harboured him have been charged and sentenced. But I digress. The fact that he is pulling this reason for ISA means that this man is still toeing the party line and is clutching at straws to support a untenable position on the Marxist arrests.
c) the reasons that Tony Tan has cited for his throwing in the gauntlet and joining in the race is that dark economic clouds are looming and Singaporeans are up for a rough time ahead. This one although an apparently plausible sound bites, is a hollow reason. If there are dark economic clouds ahead, why would the deputy chairman and executive director of the government investment arm, GIC stop doing what he knows best to manage this huge investment portfolio to perform a largely ceremonial role.
Tan Jee Say
- Tan Jee Say suffers from the fact that he is so closely affiliated with the opposition and SDP, having just contested in the General Election just a few months ago. He draws his support from the core group of 40% of Singapore voters who have voted for the opposition. Because of this he brings the vibes from this group, which generally has lots of complaints about the PAP government. I am not saying that this is bad, but this is not appropriate for the position of the Elected President. The President, in my view, should be above the usual political fracas of the day.
- The biggest strength of Tan Jee Say is that he brings a lot of interesting and new ideas for governing Singapore and in managing the economy. But this is a strength for a parliamentarian. He is still an activist at heart, and he seems ready to egged the country to his vision. This trait is good for a MP, again not a President.
- Because Tan Jee Say is the youngest candidate, he has a lot of the energy and verve of someone younger. This is good and he is energetic. However, because of the way he speaks, especially when speaking off-the-cuff, he comes across as combative and aggressive. And dare I say it, not very presidential.
Tan Kin Lian
- What impresses me most about Tan Kin Lian is his willingness to step forward when the minibonds saga hit. He rallied the people who have lost money. He helped the folks who put in money when they were clearly incapable of understanding the exotic financial products. He spoke when no one did. He took action when all the parliamentarians folded their arms. And for this, I respect this man.
- But he is not the choice of president I will choose.
- I will not cast my vote for him because he has demonstrated reluctance in confirming his candidacy. Before he finally announced his candidacy, he was fishing for support from the general public although he has already garnered Goh Meng Seng’s strong support. Even up to nomination day, we are still given the impression that he may pull out or the support from his family is less than 100% on his candicacy.
- I also object to the fact that he has put up mobile phone apps which purport to help ‘predict’ 4D results. I am not personally against gambling, but I do not see how this frivolous project can be fitting of a future president.
- He also has the presence, bearing, mannerism and speech which is least presidential of all the candidates. He does not come across as a person with natural charisma. To be fair to Tan Kin Lian, this is also not apparent in the incumbent (but that is another story for another day)
Which brings me to why I will cast my vote for Tan Cheng Bock:
- Dr Tan Cheng Bock is a MP for many years. Although he is from the PAP cut of the cloth, he is often cited as the most rebellious or most vocal critic of the government within the parliament. He has crossed swords with Richard Hu and also has been chatised by the cabinet for his views. But this only shows that he is a man with his own mind and will speak up. If there is a parallel PAP MP like Tan Cheng Bock, the person would be Lily Neo. Tan Cheng Bock speaks up for the common man.
- Dr Tan Cheng Bock has been supported by a lot of people from his constituency. The fact he has left parliament for some time now, and was never part of the cabinet, and yet he is able to garner so much ground support, means that this man must have touched a lot of hearts and people when he was MP.
- There are a lot of stories of how he refused to charge for seeing patients who are poor when he was a Ah Ma Keng doctor. And how he choose to work in the poorer and rural parts of Singapore. This seems to be a trait which has surfaced for a long time.
- Of particular interest to me was when he went public as to why he resigned from the board of directors of the Ng Teng Fong hospital. He made it clear (and in my mind rightly so), that we cannot have a society where we name a public hospital after a philanthropist just because some one throws some money in the way of the government to have his father’s name as part of the hospital’s name. Especially when NTF has himself not been associated with hospitals or healthcare in general in Singapore.
- He has championed for a Singaporean first mentality. And I think this is important, because he shows that he has figured out the frustration of most Singaporeans. The frustration that we as a nation are too caught up with KPIs and GDP growth, and yet focuses so little on the weakest members of society or on the implications of income gap widening.
This doctor, I think, has his mind and more importantly his heart in the right place. And for that, I will cast my vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock.
Saw a good post by Tan Wee Liat, thought I would repost it for more readership as i fully agree and support his points.