This week’s essay, our first political piece of the year, addresses last year’s romantic affairs involving politicians: Cheng Li Hui and Tan Chuan-Jin of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP); and Leon Perera and Nicole Seah of the opposition Workers’ Party (WP). But first, let’s take a step back to appreciate the significance of the global political landscape in 2024.
This year, over 60 countries, in which over 4bn people live, will be holding elections. Will the Taiwanese choose a China-friendly candidate tomorrow? Will the Indians give Modi an even bigger mandate in May? Will Trump win again in November?
And will Lawrence Wong regain lost ground for the PAP? Yes, given that our own general election is due by next year, there’s a high chance that Singaporeans will also have to cast our votes in what Time calls “The Ultimate Election Year”. There’s much for us to think through before we do.
PAP fans cheer the apparent political stability offered by a dominant one-party state, all the more appealing given the turbulence elsewhere in the world. Detractors point to the spate of scandals that have tarnished the party, and, perhaps more worryingly, the fundamental socio-economic problems that have emerged in Singapore, notably in the housing market. This line of thinking suggests that it’s time for a political shake-up.
How should you vote? To help you decide, Jom is stepping up our political coverage this year. Among other things we have planned:
- Daily updates during the campaign period;
- Traditional political essays, for instance analysing candidates, manifestos and climate policies;
- Novel political essays, for instance comparing politicians’ rhetorical styles;
- Profiles of politicians (psst: we’ve secured two of the biggest oppo candidates); and
- A podcast about a political leader (we’re hoping it’s done before the election is called!)
Given the limitations of Singapore’s mainstream media channels, we believe that Jom will both offer you fresh perspectives on familiar issues, and shine a light on areas that others won’t touch.
All this is why we want to offer you a special promotion over the next 72 hours:
Please subscribe at the level that is right for you.
A Jom subscription will help you better understand Singapore’s political scene and make a more informed choice at the polling booth. Many of us still wonder, for instance, whether Perera and Seah really had to resign from the WP last July because of their affair.
In “Peeking behind the curtain: shades of political legitimacy in Singapore”, Brian Charles and Pradeep Krishnan, two Singaporean academics, explore the philosophical underpinnings of political legitimacy in Singapore, as well as the PAP’s persistent ability to influence the course of events. They compare the two affairs, and argue that the hasty resignations of the WP politicians meant that Singapore was deprived of a golden opportunity to broaden society’s political imagination.
“Scholars often use the term ‘hegemony’ to describe the degree of success the PAP has had in shaping the political sensibilities of Singaporeans. The WP’s decision to let go of two of their members is an interesting decision—but one that is telling, ultimately, of these very sensibilities, and how entrenched they are.”
Away from the juicy rumours about leaked videos, former drivers, and salacious overseas junkets, Brian and Pradeep’s analysis will give you a deeper appreciation for the contours of Singaporean politics.
This is the first of Jom’s series of political pieces in this seminal election year. Subscribe now, with the discounted links above, to enjoy it all.
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