4.11.01

The paper is 99.9% completed. I can't think of a zinger of a conclusion at the moment, so I'll come back to it after a roleplay break and lunch. As it turns out, I procrastinated a lot of yesterday as well. I spent several diligent hours on it when I got home from the abortive book-buying venture, then decided to give myself a Survivor break after all, then went back to work only to realize that (duh) it was Election Day and I should have the TV on to hear what the results are. As it turns out, there weren't any results till a little after 10 pm, and then they trickled in for the next two hours --- and this is when barely one-third of the seats were contested. I'm not sure how the Election Office would handle things if the majority of the seats were up for grabs. I expect we'd have all-night counting then --- we'd also be a real democracy then. The fact that I almost forgot about watching the election results should tell you what kind of [Ed: adjective removed] democracy we have here in Singapore.

So the opposition took home only the two seats they had before the election --- sigh --- and Chiam See Tong's winning margin has narrowed further. There's nothing like an economic recession to send voters to vote with their wallets (or lack thereof) and nothing else. I'm not saying money and jobs aren't important; I just wish people would have the guts to give the opposition a shot, especially when the ruling party is already returned to power.

Oh, and don't tell me media coverage isn't biased here. ChannelNewsAsia sent real cameras to the PAP (ruling party) gatherings and crappy videophones to the opposition ones. How is the opposition guy supposed to look credible --- even when he won --- when you have one of those interrupted feeds that make it look and sound like he's being interviewed halfway across the world instead of right here in our little red dot of an island? The good thing about the media coverage is that it was amusing to see who the truly telegenic and self-possessed PAP MPs are. I learned last night that Matthias Yao had totally tin-canned answers --- more processed than usual, even for a ruling party candidate --- and that Mah Bow Tan's Chinese is as faltering as mine. I also found it really funny that the PAP supporters would thrust their fists exuberantly into the air whenever it was announced that they had won another seat. I mean, really --- like they had to fight real hard against an overwhelming majority or something.

I must ask Miffy later about what things were really like on the ground at Bishan Stadium, where Chiam See Tong and his supporters were gathered. The ChannelNewsAsia reporter had difficulty getting an interview with him --- I'm not sure why --- and I'd much rather hear from a friend that I trust than a snark-worthy media any day.

So the first General Election of the new millennium has come and gone. Meanwhile, I'm twenty-seven years old and I have yet to vote.

I just got interrupted in my political meditation by two of those door-to-door Christian evangelicals. The more I'm on the receiving end of things --- and I did the door-to-door thing a couple of times in my wild and impetuous youth --- the more I wonder how anyone can think it's a feasible method of attracting people to the church. For one thing, subterfuge is a real no-no. If a proselytizer begins by saying she wants to talk about the impact of recent events, such as the September 11 attacks and the local economic downturn, and gather relevant 'feedback' (an oft-misused and at any rate overly used word in the Singapore context), but only admits after I ask where she's from that the pair of them are doing "Christian voluntary work", I'm not going to be too responsive to their beatific smiles. I admire the euphemism "Christian voluntary work", but I can also see right through it. And another thing: I think a lot about the September 11 attacks and the local economic downturn, and I really don't think she had several hours to spare on debating where God fits into all of it. (I confess I would also like a few hours myself to prepare for such a debate.)

Besides, it's Sunday morning. Shouldn't they be in church?

Terz and I have kidded around about putting up a funny sign over our door to repel such intrusions, but we haven't been able to think of one that's snarky enough. On the other hand, I suppose we could be hauled up for inciting religious disharmony in our neighborhood if we went for something as provocative as "We Like Goats --- Do You?" Maybe we'll just resort to what my cousins and I used to play: having passwords to get in the door. ("Sagittarius" à la The West Wing is pretty cool.) Then when it's someone unwelcome, we'd begin interrogatorily with, "What's the password?" and when they fumble, we'd have perfect justification to shut the door in their faces. The only people who'd receive special dispensation are neighborhood folks selling fun-fair tickets (never alienate your neighbors), survey collectors who report to the government (like this guy whose questions I once spent fifteen minutes answering because I really had opinions about family-friendly work practices, or the lack thereof, in government employment practices) and Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts are okay in my book so long as they're polite, because my brother was a Scout and had to go door-to-door during Job Week for many years of his life.

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