18 May 2011

The TPL phenomenon

When I was 6, there was once when I had to choose between staying over at my aunt's place or going to Sentosa the next day with my cousin. I still remember that day very clearly. I was babysat by my aunt, very close to her and her family, and did not want to go back to my parents' home that Friday. My mother gave me a choice: stay over, or forfeit the Sentosa trip. She warned me, sternly and a few times, that I could only choose one.

The desire for immediate gratification being urgent and immediate the way they tend to be, I told her I wanted to stay over. I thought that I would be able to convince her the next day to let me go to Sentosa if I begged hard enough.

The next day, I begged, begged and begged. She did not relent. I cried my eyes out. She did not relent. I think I even skipped lunch in profuse tears after I saw my cousin leave the house. She did not relent. The family thought it was rather harsh of my mother, but still my mother dug her heels in.

That day, I learnt that when you choose, you have to live with your choice.

I therefore have some bones to pick with the whole TPL phenomenon. The rules of the elections were very clear - when you vote, you vote in a party of four. It is all or nothing, and there is absolutely no ambiguity about that. You cannot say that you only want one of the four, because it is not the rules of the game. If one were so unhappy with the GRC rules, one should have been more active in lobbying for the change instead of leaving it to others . If one were still that unhappy, then one would simply have to vote against that entire team and/or go on a crusade to convince residents in Marine Parade. There is no two ways about it, and that is the way life is.

For this reason, I did not sign any petition calling for the resignation of TPL (or for the re-election of CST for that matter). I cannot say at all that I have been impressed by TPL, but the people of Marine Parade have chosen for themselves, and consequently for Singapore. To give another analogy, if you knew your boyfriend has a pesky mother, then it is a case of caveat emptor before you marry him. I think it would be unreasonable to ask him to disown his mother after you are married.

In response to my objections, some people have countered that even if TPL has been democratically elected, she should still step down in light of the public displeasure against her. Should she? To be fair, the only two things she has done wrong is to have posted those kawaii photos and silly suggestions about holding down hawker prices down . She has not committed any grave offences, whether civil or criminal. There is doubt in her ability to deliver (in which case you should have taken that into account when you voted), but I am not aware of any tenable reason for her to resign.

What seems to have happened is that a mob has gathered against her. Unfortunately, mobs are not driven by logic but by the adrenaline of the moment. She has, not out of her conscious choosing, become a celebrity like Paris Hilton. Not a celebrity politician, but a celebrity whose existence is to entertain a bored public. It is a difficult starting point to be in, but I hope for our future in the next five years that she overcomes it. At the very least, the TPL phenomenon will clearly remind us that when we choose, we have to live with our choices. Or to put it in more blunt terms: citizens in a democracy deserve the government they have.

10 May 2011

03 May 2011




Love nests

Camera-phone series #30.

02 May 2011

Norwegian Wood

This movie was the third and final chance I gave Murakami. (I read two of his books before.) Honestly, it was twice too many chances. Murakami is like a guy you really want to like –he is nice, polite, well-to-do, kind to his parents... You know, all the wrong reasons. You give both of you many chances, and there are moments when you think: maybe we are getting there... But then, you never do. He is too bleak and name drops too much.

There was one thing I did manage to like in the movie. It was the idea of walking as catharsis. After one of the main character dies, his girlfriend and his best friend met every Sunday to walk together, silently, aimlessly and for hours on end in Tokyo.
I came across this cluster of trees on »last week’s walk in the Chilterns, and it reminded me of Norwegian Wood.

Camera-phone series #29.  Macro mode accidentally left on.

Bluebell forests of Ivinghoe

When you finally come across a forest of them after a good 6 miles, stretched out as far as you can see, ‘magical’ is the word that comes to mind. You half expect Peter Pan to fly out and say hello.

Camera-phone series #28.