On Sep 11, I will be making my first political vote as a Singapore citizen.
But I only have one vote. In the end, it’s not enough to win over Aljunied for George Yeo, or Potong Pasir for Lina Chiam. Far from it. So how do I matter in the greater scheme of things?
My vote is never just about me. On a contextual level, it depends on my place of residence, the quality of candidates and the effectiveness of campaign strategies. On an abstract level, it is a culmination of all the forces inadvertently shaping me from birth. Think parentage, family income, schooling journey, social circle, popular media. These, among others, operate in tandem to define my sociopolitical world view.
Yet come Polling Day, the decision is mine. Mine and mine alone. (A privilege for a country with so short a history.) I can choose to be uninformed and cast a random vote. I can choose to be passionate and vote on my ideology. Or I can choose to be open-minded and run through the various competing considerations before making a decision. Whichever it is, the agency is with me.
While voting, on a collective level, is a matter of great political significance…
Voting, on an individual level, is mainly a matter of personal significance.
We may choose to influence other voters through sharing our perspectives, with family and friends or on blogs like this. Yet how much influence can we exert? It is limited by the audience we attract and the proportion who’s open-minded. Perhaps more critically, it is limited by our competition: the various other perspectives on the market.
This is why the self-importance of those like Steph Micayle are so wide off the mark.
Despite academics, I might blog more across this election period. Yet if I do, I know I’m doing this primarily for myself. This is my first election as a voter, and despite certain inclinations, I’m choosing to keep my eyes open till the ballot box closes. Nonetheless, I will feel pride for every Singaporean voter who finds my thoughts enriching. Whether or not it shapes their voting decision.
That’s what I blog for.