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5/12/2006

era of coercion is over

The Straits Times published 3 articles today on the post mortem of the GE. All written by post 65ers. And they share a same line of thought which is best summed up by Koh Buck Song, 'The era of coercion and manipulation is over. The art of persuasion is the new order,...' I am not sure about manipulation, but coercion is surely to give way with the younger group. The views of these young journalists, and the views they extracted from the younger voters, all found that unfair tactics, threats, bullying, highhandedness etc were a put off. The older generation may have to live with such election tactics, and the older politicians may still think that there is nothing wrong with them. In the new future, when the young is going to form a new majority, when the old who have been used to being threatened and bullied are gone, the consequences of following the same formula could be disastrous. The results in Hougang and Potong Pasir, and even Aljunied, have made it clear that political parties that continue to indulge in such practices will have to pay a price. They could have paid the price today if not of the strong personalities around. Some can still get away with murder. Some could say all kinds of things and be laughed away as a joke. But younger politicians who have no track record to brandish and think they could do or say the same things as old warhorses with a string of medals, would only court disasters to themselves. The result of the straw polls conducted by the journalists is very revealing. 60% of the young supported the PAP. 20% supported the PAP out of default as the opposition candidates were of low quality. And 35% did not support the PAP. Now, if in the next election the opposition could put up strong and credible candidates, the 20% who voted by default could go the other way to join the 35%. That will give the opposition a comfortable 55% of the votes. And not to forget the older generation would contribute lesser to the strong base of PAP. The future is interesting to watch.

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