Singapore Election 2020 Party Manifestos: Which party will serve creatives and communicators the best?

Also, a special message to Sengkang GRC voters

As Singapore’s General Election 2020 comes to the final leg before polling day, here are some final thoughts about the political contest.

GE2020 can be summed up as a fight between the pro-establishment (PAP) versus the anti-establishment (opposition). In listening to opposition voices, what I hear are typically complains about PAP’s style — its perceived arrogance, lack of empathy, and heavy-handedness [i.e. (i) condemning WP’s Raeesah, (ii) vociferous denial/attacks on Dr Chee’s 10 million population accusation and (iii) targeting WP’s Pritam for alleged sympathy of Alfian]. In listening to pro-establishment folks, what I hear are that opposition folks like to whine and complain (or watch the world burn, as I interpret it).

I have always maintained that 我看人, 不看party (translation: I judge the candidate, not the party). But, I may need to backtrack on that. Beyond looking at the candidates and learning what they stand for and how sincere they are, perhaps what is more critical is actually what the party stands for.

For myself, I care about enlivening Singapore’s creative sector. Thus, what the parties say about media, arts and freedom of expression is important to me. Below you will find a listing of each of the parties’ proposals via their manifestos, I hope this will give everyone a sensing about who really cares about Singaporean professionals in the communication, media, and arts sectors:

I did not come across other parties with ideas related to communication, media, and arts sectors. Hence, they are not included in the above table.

A proposal for Sengkang GRC voters

For Sengkang GRC voters, I would like to nudge you to take a very good look at the WP’s candidates: Dr Jamus Lim, He Ting Ru, Louis Chua, and Raeesah Khan. These guys look like a decent set of candidates who can help the ruling party identify blind spots and see things from a different perspective.

Yes, Minister Ng Chee Meng and company are really nice guys — I have heard a lot of good things about Minister Ng from friends and ex-colleagues, who worked directly with him. But, I don’t think they would challenge the ruling party on unpopular policies. Sengkang voters have a good opportunity to introduce some new, seemingly competent alternative voices.

As for East Coast residents, on the other hand, I am concerned about voting out DPM Heng because of the possible shock it might bring to our neighbours and investors, of having a man so central to the government and past years’ budgets getting booted.

For myself, none of the opposition parties in the table are contesting in my constituency. I do not have the luxury of choice, neither do I want to vote opposition for the sake of it (with reference to Joel Goh’s viral article about voting opposition as a strategy). I think Singapore needs a strong government. We only need to look outside of our shores for the reason/s. Our neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, will surely take advantage of Singapore if our government is weak: trade, water, territory, joint projects etc etc.

Resource guide

For the undecided, here are more resources to chew on before you go to polls:

New Naratif journalist, Kirsten Han, compiled this spreadsheet which lists the parties’ proposals across different categories.

If you want to deep dive, here is a Google folder with all the party manifestos and a summary.

No time? Then watch this interview with the heads of parties:

For new voters, here are some links to 101 guides:

  1. Singapore General Election 2020: A quick and dirty guide to the first real social media election
  2. New Naratif Explains: The Singapore General Elections
  3. ST’s “Understanding Singapore’s general election | Back to Basics”:

Ending notes

Photo by Modern Affliction on Unsplash

I buy into our Prime Minister’s argument that we should not undermine our government, particularly since we are a small country. There are many hawks among our ASEAN neighbours who would like to see Singapore weakened. That said, our government can be more compassionate and should take communicators, storytellers, and smaller media players more seriously. Hence, if there is any strategy to consider, it is probably letting in a few more voices from a party that cares about creatives.

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