S’porean’s rant on Twitter about Halimah Yacob’s presidency shows what we should take away from this
Will this chapter ever end?
30 Minutes of Bleating
20 September 2017, 1200-1230
University Town, National University of Singapore
On Sept 13, as you know, Halimah Yacob was officially declared the President-elect of Singapore, and today she will be sworn in at the Istana.
Some Singaporeans are still digesting this — especially because it all happened so fast — while others are, clearly, still in denial.
But one Singaporean intends to give the rest of us a wake-up call. A tweet featuring screen captures of a Facebook post expressing her views on the whole Presidential Elections 2017 has gone viral:
— Nurdiyana Tan YanYan (@NurdiyanaYanYan) September 13, 2017
“1) Dont pretend like yall didn’t see it coming when she’s been with our gov body for many many years.
Let’s remember the fact that she has put in effort, she was the voice of people. If she’s found to be qualified, that’s probably because she is and deserves to be.”
Halimah Yacob has been in public service for over 16 years — she has been a Member of Parliament since 2001, and a Speaker of Parliament since 2013.
She’s the only hopeful who had a political background, too — not that that is technically necessary, but it helps.
Who’s to blame?
“2) It wasn’t like she asked to be the only one who qualified. Or that no one else that could qualify, was running for this. So don’t blame the player, blame the game.”
As we know, Salleh Marican and Farid Khan did announce their intentions to contest the presidential election.
Heck, they even submitted a community declaration to the Community Committee and were found to be “Malay enough” to run for the reserved election.
But the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) disqualified them because their companies’ shareholder equity did not meet the minimum requirement of S$500 million.
So whose fault is it, really, she asks.
Glass half full or glass half empty?
“3) yall make this sound like a catastrophic situation. Maybe look at what’s going on around the world and count your blessings that we don’t have a certain TRUMPing going on.”
Yes, President Donald Trump is a business tycoon with no prior political experience, and arguably, he’s messing up a lot of things over in the U.S..
But then again, Americans had the privilege to elect their Head of Government and Head of State, while Singaporeans were basically given a president, in the blink of an eye.
In a matter of relativity, being denied the opportunity to vote for our president is an upsetting situation for a nation that has always called itself a democratic city-state.
But at the same time, we’re not facing a political situation anywhere close to the one America finds itself in today.
Remember this for the next GE
“4) Every 4 years or so, we all b**** about the same unhappiness over and over again. Yet every General Election, the majority of said people, don’t man up and make a change, leading to where we are now. So don’t come and moan now about this. What yall should be doing is remembering everything, for the next GE.”
Remember what Kenneth Jeyaretnam from the Reform Party said during the 2015 General Election?
“Singaporeans should stop whining and complaining online when they’re not prepared to do anything to exercise their democratic rights.”
So if the walkover made you feel like you have been stripped of your rights, remember that this happened, all the way till the next General Election, and hopefully, your vote can make a change.
She kept true to her word. Now what?
“5) Halimah Yacob said that she wants to stay put in her HDB flat if elected, back when she first started running for Presidency – yall said she damn wayang/lame/liar to earn votes (and because will never do it, and end up moving into the Istana.
Now that she’s said she WILL be staying in her flat, yall whine about how she’s a pain, sibei wayang, and causing disruptions/tax payers money blablabla.
There’s just no pleasing some people, is there?
She’s doing what she said she was going to do. She’s living up to her promise. She’s being humble.”
Halimah mentioned before that she hoped to stay in her HDB flat located in Yishun if elected as President, and now that she really is keeping true to her word, what else can Singaporeans complain about?
Maybe the lack of parking spaces?
In a country where complaining is our favourite pastime, nothing can ever satisfy anyone.
President important meh?
“6) DOES ANYONE EVEN KNOW WHAT THE PRESIDENT DOES????? I mean all i remember of our past presidents was them arriving during the National Day Parade and waving……”
Unlike other countries like the U.S. and the Philippines where a president is the Head of State and Head of Government, Singapore’s president is only the Head of State.
What this means is that a president’s role is, in a big way, ceremonial.
Halimah will be gracing national events like the National Day Parade and President’s Star Charity, on top of guarding the national reserves.
She doesn’t have a say in changes to legislation.
In that case, since the role of a president isn’t as major as one would think, should her presidency really be made into a big deal?
Be proud a bit can?
“7) Why can’t we take a moment to come together as a nation and actually applaud the fact that she is OUR FIRST FEMALE & MALAY (half-malay also still malay leh) PRESIDENT?”
We’ve seen a lot of negativity towards President-elect Halimah’s walkover.
Just look at sample of the reactions on our Facebook Live streaming on Nomination Day:
But there was a glint of hope: there *are* people, outside Singapore too, who were happy about the fact that we now have our very first Malay-Muslim female president:
So will Singaporeans ever come to terms with the fact that Halimah Yacob will be our next President?
We can only wait and see… until the next GE, perhaps.
Top photo adapted from photo by Ilene Fong