Today is our Presidential Election Day. There are a total of 4 candidates contesting: Tan Jee Say, Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Kin Lian and Tony Tan - the battle of the Tans. Everyone of them had affiliations with the ruling party (as in being an official party member) except for Tan Jee Say who was from the opposition. I said 'had' and 'was' because candidates are not supposed to be existing official members of any political party to qualify for the PE.
On the morning of 23rd August while I was having coffee at work, I received a SMS message on behalf of Dr Tan Cheng Bock (snapshot of it on the left with the sender's return number at the bottom of the message censored out in case creeps who like to make prank calls on a political level happen to be reading this).
And I mentioned 'on behalf of Dr Tan Cheng Bock' because I don't think he would message me personally since I'm a nobody and nobody knows me, duh. He must have paid some marketing company to send the message. According to Facebook, lots of folks received the same message too.
Some people have expressed their disdain for such campaigning SMS messages and regard them as spam. For me, I'm ok with it since I know I will only receive this message just once, at least till the next Presidential election years down the road should the doc not get elected this time round and contest again. It's no biggie to me and I happen to like the doc for his calm and collected demeanor, as well as the fact that he had the guts to speak up against certain policies which he felt didn't benefit the nation during his stint with the ruling party.
For Mr Tan Jee Say, some folks think he's confrontational. Maybe he is, but he sure doesn't seem to put his tail between his legs and mince his words when he speaks up against issues he feels are unjust or not right. I think he's being passionate about the issues he believes in but that rubbed some people the wrong way, I guess. Still, I like his guts, though some feel that he needs to reign it in with more self-control.
As for gentle Mr Tan Kin Lian, I honestly think he has the heart for the people. He seems to be a really nice guy but some folks wonder if he would be swept off deck by the mean, fast & furious political scene of the cabinet. Still, his desire to be the voice of the people is an admirable one. Afterall, the Prezzie should have a heart for the people's welfare above everything else.
Hang on a second, the entire government body ought to have a heart for the people above everything else, not just the Prezzie.
As for Dr Tony Tan, he is heavily endorsed with the support of clans and associations. On the flip side of the coin, he's been drawing quite a bit of flak by Netizens in pages like The Online Citizen's Facebook page. Just read the comments sections of the postings regarding the PE there and you will see what I mean. Some of it are just plain nasty.
The reason for that is mainly because lots of people feel that he is a Yes Man to the ruling party, besides other reasons like the National Service issue regarding his son. It's quite a messy issue. But then again, the other candidates have been receiving some flak too, albeit on much fewer and gentler extents. Nobody can please everybody.
Right, so all of us have to vote for our new Prezzie today at one of the 162 polling stations assigned to each individual estate. We have until 20:00pm to cast our votes. Just like I did during polling day in May, there is no way in heck I'll go to the polling station in the morning and endure a crowd. I woke up in the afternoon and taking my time, I made my way to the polling station at 17:40pm.
Oh, and just as a little side-note, I love the weather today; it's really cooling with an overcast gloomy sky - my kind of sky. I just don't like the drizzle that remains after the rain earlier. Would have been perfect without it. Can't have everything sometimes but having most of everything can still be good enough for me.
As expected, there are only a handful of people here at the polling station during this time in the late afternoon. I don't have to queue behind anyone. Good. Ushered and guided by friendly polling agents who greeted me courteously, I made my vote, cast it into the ballot box and got out of the polling station to the block opposite.
Standing here under the block opposite the polling station I just came out from, I whipped out my phone and took a distant shot of the polling station since I'm not allowed to do so within its premise. Since I'm gonna blog about this, I need a picture (click it to bloat it):
The polling station assigned for my estate is the exact same one as the one for the General Election during May. I ain't complaining, it's just a stone's throw away from my block and I haven't thrown stones for as long as I can remember.
It's already past midnight and I'm still glued to the TV while keeping myself updated about the vote counts on Facebook where counting agents relay their observations online.
Apparently, Mr Tan Kin Lian has garnered the lowest votes so far to the point that his situation seems really bleak. There are so many confirmed and unconfirmed updates going on online that one moment, the feeling of hope and elation can take over and the next, dismay and disappointment. Then within the blink of an eye, the process can repeat itself again with the next opposite emotion. It's a very excitingly nervous roller-coaster ride.
A couple of hours later, one thing becomes certain: Mr Tan Jee Say and Mr Tan Kin Lian have been out-voted out of the fight leaving Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Dr Tony Tan neck-&-neck in the ring. Between the both of them, their garnered vote difference is not more than 2%, justifying a recount which is what's happening now, causing further inevitable delay and the media on TV has to continue entertaining us further, sometimes recycling repeated news which given the circumstances, cannot be helped. I pity the counting agents who have to start their work all over again.
According to Channel News Asia which I'm viewing to keep track of the election, Dr Tan Cheng Bock was leading by 2% before the recount. So when they started to report that Mr Tony Tan is now leading by over 7,000 votes so far now that the recount has started, I'm finding this sudden turn of the tide rather peculiar mathematically. But my mathematics sucks, what do I know? And I've probably missed some things here & there while I was distracted by shiny things or while I was making some coffee in the kitchen.
The Moment of Truth...
It is now past 4am in the morning (man, what a long drawn-out fight) and the result has been finalized and is being announced.. The winner is Dr Tony Tan. He won over Dr Tan Cheng Bock with a 0.34% margin, which means that overall, he won 35.19% of votes on the national level. You can read about it here.
So this is it. Dr Tony Tan is now our new President starting 1st September. However, despite all the endorsements and despite all the support from the clans and associations, his win was a very narrow one and 35.19% overall is not a very encompassing figure on a national level when it comes to being an elected President. To put it really bluntly but honestly, 64.81% of the People did not wish for him to be our President. Ouch.
But a fact is a fact is a fact: Dr Tony Tan is our newly elected seventh President and everyone of us has to accept that whether we like it or not. If you don't, you have to deal with it.
This was only the second time in our nation's 46-years history since Independence we voted for an unappointed elected President after the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong. Looks like Our new Prezzie has to work really hard to win over the hearts & minds of 64.81% of the People.
64.81% is a gargantuan figure. So it's gonna be a gargantuan challenge. We'll see how things will turn out with Dr Tony Tan at the Presidential helm.
Buckle up and hang on tight for the ride.
|A picture speaks percentages|
( photo courtesy of Yahoo! )
- De Lion Speaks