We know how it is. You’re out with your friends at a coffeeshop (or a cafe, depending on how millennial you are) chatting about life, when suddenly the conversation dives into… politics.
Before you know it, you’ve come up with a million and one ways of how the government can do things better. In fact, you’re convinced you can do things better.
If you’re like most Singaporeans though, by the end of the conversation, you’ll have heaved a sigh of resignation and convinced yourself that talk is cheap. You finish your kopi, say bye to your friends, and head home.
Only to repeat the entire process a month later.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are effective ways to reach the government.
And not so effective ones. Like these.
1. Tracking down a minister of your choice and attending every single event they’ll be at, just to get a chance to talk to them
Like a creeper, via GIPHY
This one’s for people who are passionate about just one aspect of government (and have stalker-ish tendencies).
You may believe that it’s best to go to the top. And that it’s a great idea to visit every single event that will be graced by the minister in charge of the department you want to see change in. You may believe that it’s best to try to talk to them at every single event.
You may be wrong. Eventually, he or she will recognise you, and get more than a little freaked out. Or his or her security officer will freak out first. Not a great way to get your point across.
Extreme level: 5/5
Level of effectiveness: 1/5
Only do this if: You want to risk getting into trouble with the law for being a stalker.
2. Protesting anywhere other than Hong Lim Park
Attending a protest at the Speakers’ Corner may be an effective way to get your voice heard.
But standing by yourself in the middle of the CBD with a placard and a loudhailer? Not quite.
No one’s going to take you seriously for it -- in fact, most passers-by will just point and laugh at you. Oh, and you will probably get a tap on the shoulder by our policemen for being a nuisance to the public.
Not worth it. Not worth it at all.
Extreme level: 7,284/5
Level of effectiveness: -7,284/5
Only do this if: It’s your lifelong dream to get arrested.
3. Calling every single government hotline you know to have a ‘chat’
This method is for old-school people who like talking on the phone.
Or for people who feel they have a lot of things to say to the government on a wide range of topics, and that the best way to handle it is to call every single department to deliver direct feedback to change the policies.
But you’ll end up getting this reaction each time someone picks up your call and hears your voice.
Do you really want to be that guy? via GIPHY
Extreme level: 4/5
Level of effectiveness: 4/5 (but minus 3 points for the amount of time you spend listening to hold music. Not time effective at all)
Only do this is: You have no life. And a strange obsession with hold music.
4. Attending Meet-The-People Sessions and complaining incessantly
Here’s one for the Complain Kings and Queens. Meet-The-People Sessions (MPS) are not for you to talk the ears off your MPs.
Bad advice x 100, via GIPHY
Let’s do the math.
MPS usually begin between 7.30pm to 8pm. You complain for an hour or two to the Member of Parliament. The rest wait for their turn and will start at 9pm.
But there are people there with legitimate and urgent concerns. They range from seeking financial assistance and getting immigration advice to settling neighbourly disputes.
If you’re thinking of heading down to complain non-stop about the (alluring) smell of your neighbour’s home-cooked curry seeping into your precious common corridor, your child not getting into the primary school of your choice, or receiving a parking fine you totally deserve, don’t.
Your MP may be nice and accommodate you, but can you really live with yourself after?
Extreme level: 2/5
Level of effectiveness: 4/5 (but not a 4 you’ll be proud of)
Only do this if: You’re perfectly fine at being branded as an annoying Complain King.
There are some platforms that your feedback cannot reach. For everything else, there’s REACH.
Want to ensure that your feedback is seriously considered and handled by the appropriate government departments?
There’s REACH, the Government Feedback Unit that organises listening points and dialogues, and has an online discussion forum where you can share your feedback.
In fact, REACH really wants your feedback. Just check out their enthusiastic exclamation mark on their homepage.
They’ll appreciate it. The government will appreciate it. The nation will appreciate it. We will appreciate it.
This sponsored post is brought to you by REACH. It funds us so we don’t have to resort to extreme measures to be heard.