The wife of Uber driver and almost-election candidate Shirwin Eu, who tried running for the recent Bukit Batok by-election but couldn't, has come out to defend her husband.
In a Facebook post (which we are not linking to nor are we naming her as she is not a public figure), Mrs Eu wrote about why her husband did not do anything wrong by trying to contest and shared the frustrations she faces as a regular Singaporean family:
So, I decided to write this to address all those out there who asked me this, " why didn't you stop your husband from participating in the election? He is a laughing stock!"
Honestly, I am upset with him because he did not get any assentors and we obviously do not have the deposit money of 13.5k after spending on renovation. I know because he did not meet the requirements, he will not even get the chance to campaign. So why bother?? And this is the 2nd time he attempted!
Deep in me, I secretly applauded him because he decided to go ahead even knowing the odds. Because it is about time people step up and voice their unhappiness, concerns and struggles in Singapore. If we are a true democratic society, everyone should be given equal opportunities. An election should be like a job interview, you present yourself and let the interviewer decide to employ you or not. Do we have to place a deposit and get 10 supporters behind us when we go for job interviews? An interview as it is, does not guarantee a job but we present our best during the interview and hope for the best. Although many times, in an interview we get nervous and say the wrong things, but at least we try!
My point is, with the red tapes that the gov has set up, it only allows people with the money, who know 10 people from the community and willing to show their faces to move forward. And it doesn't stop there, you need money to campaign and set up the stage, and if end of the day you do not get minimal votes, deposit is forfeited. This reminds me of my english primary school teacher who punished those in class who failed to do spelling corrections by calling out our names, made us queue up and hit our palms with a cane one by one. I had shoulder length hair then and she would pull my hair sometimes.
In the election, instead of getting a taste of the cane, candidates get a taste of losing their hard earned money for failing to deliver results. Is this fair? Elections is not just about who won and who lost, but what perspectives we gained from fellow countrymen in the process, that could help in the betterment of Singapore. But right now, resources are wasted and not shared because it is a petty competition on who gets the crown. Even beauty contests, contestants share the same stage and resources are shared. PAP doesn't allow sharing of the stage, you have to fork out the money to do up a stage, what a waste of resources!! This is not healthy competition, what are they afraid of?
Don't get me wrong, I am not promoting Shirwin Eu because he is my husband. I am just really puzzled as these rules do not make any sense or value add to the nation.
Well, there are many out there shouting, "don't have the money, don't contest lah!"
Since when our character and integrity is defined by our wealth in this country? Singapore has become so cold and money consumed that, only with money, we can speak and only with money, we can help.
Anyway, the dust has settled, he is disqualified and life goes on.
At this junction, I am a laughing stock to myself because I do not know how we could afford the COE at the end of the year for our 10 year old Nissan March. I am laughing because I had trouble explaining to my USA friend that we paid for the car in full but doesn't own it, just renting for 10 years. We have to pay for a debt we did not owe in the first place or we will lose the car. As you all know, Shirwin is a uber driver, we need it for work.
I know we are not the only ones affected, this is a continuous problem for those in the service/transport industry that requires a vehicle to make a living, every 10 years this is a headache. Imagine slogging for 10 years and finally see some savings and then it all goes to COE again. And this cycle repeats itself to the day we die, whether you decided to renew COE or buy a new car.
Singaporeans are always forever in debt for housing and car whether we like it or not. Yah, we should just take the public transport but I really am not keen on getting stuck at the MRT with my family on a precious weekend because the MRT broke down again. My family deserves to enjoy stress-free quality time in our good old 10 year old Nissan, which unfortunately we may not get to keep.
Top photo by Lim Weixiang