Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why can't Hillary and Obama just form a GRC?

A little of an old news, but a fairly interesting read by a Singaporean journalist:

Business Times - 15 Feb 2008
Why can't Hillary and Obama just form a GRC?

By Jamie Ee

TO many Singaporeans, the ongoing US presidential elections may well seem to be a mindboggling process. After all, elections have always been a pretty straightforward thing for us - one public holiday, one vote and done deal. The only primary we know is the kind of school our voting is done in. There's no need to figure out what a caucus is, how come super delegates are better than delegates, or ponder the notion that Barack Obama is better liked than Hillary Clinton because he looks better in pantsuits.

Also, from a Singaporean point of view, it's hard to understand why an African-American man, a woman and Anglo-Saxon male even need to campaign against each other by appealing to different demographics. Why, in our country, they would have teamed up and formed the perfect GRC.

Then again, we're probably a simpler people. We don't like complicated politics. We have more practical things to think about - like deciding whether to go for the refundable or non-refundable CPF Life Scheme. Not to mention figuring out how many people we like enough to want to sacrifice a higher monthly payout just so that they can get all the unused money and interest when we kick the bucket.

Besides, there are other things to wonder about, like who will be the next starlet to appear in Edison Chen's photo gallery. Or exactly what happened to cause the wife of Venture Corp chairman Wong Ngit Liong to allegedly slap the SIA stewardess who was trying to serve her husband. Imagine if Michelle Obama had been on Hillary's 'Hil Force One' campaign plane and heard the former first lady dissing Obama by saying 'thank you for choosing the crew with the most experience' - maybe she would have slapped Hillary and said 'How dare you talk (about) my husband!'

Yes, Singaporeans have a lot to learn about American politics, and why much of it can't be translated into the local context. Like, why can't we devote entire planes just to go campaigning? Never mind that maybe the plane can only fly from Changi to Seletar Airport. It'd be a heck of a lot more cool than campaigning from a lorry with just a bullhorn. Even if you're allowed to use the bullhorn later to frighten unsuspecting people walking past.

And maybe the next time we have elections here, we could have really fancy balls to raise money. And have top local chefs prepare sumptuous buffets, with people dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns listening to political speeches. It would be a darn sight better than fried beehoon at community centres or getting bitten by mosquitoes in a rain-soaked open field with only cold curry puffs as snack options.

I suppose it probably wouldn't do to have politicians' spouses talking about their other halves being smelly in the morning or forgetting to keep the butter, like Michelle Obama did, to her husband's detriment. But maybe some little nuggets like a secret fondness for laksa breakfasts or secret fears that wearing white makes them look fat?

OK, fine. So elections American-style aren't likely to make their way here anytime soon. We'll just have to get our ya-yas from watching Hillary and company battle it out over the next few months. Then again, there's also the Malaysian elections coming up. Now that's another one that we can't figure out, but it'll still be fun to watch nonetheless.