Friday 7 November 2008

US elections: Is Singapore a Republican or Democratic state?

I was on the way out the other day when I saw an Elephant and a Donkey fighting in the void deck of my block.

Because I didn't want to get involved, I pretended not to see them and tried to walk quickly past the ruckus.

But Elephant noticed me and shouted, "Hey, you there!"

Oh, fish.

The two quadrupeds galloped up to me and blocked my way.

Elephant said, "Excuse me, can you help us settle an argument?"

Donkey said: "Yeah, I'm the US Democratic Donkey and this is the US Republican Elephant. Can you tell us whether Singapore is a Democratic or Republican state?"

"Uh," I havered, "I think we're officially called the Republic of Singapore."

Elephant turned to Donkey, almost accidentally knocking my head off with its trunk, and scoffed: "I told you!"

Donkey brayed in protest: "Everyone knows Singapore is a nanny state! Everything is heavily regulated. That means they believe in Big Government. That's Democratic. "

Elephant: "But the Government also supports Big Business and the free market. Singaporeans love money. That's Republican."

Donkey: "But they hate guns."

Elephant: "But not the death penalty."

Donkey: "They have legalised abortion."

Elephant: "But not same-sex marriage."

Donkey: "They believe in diversity and multi-culturalism."

Elephant: "But not welfarism."

Donkey: "If Singaporeans were voting in the US election, they would vote for Barack Obama."

Elephant swung its trunk towards me - this time I ducked: "Is that true?"

"Well," I stammered, "according to a recent Gallup Poll, 21 per cent of Singaporeans preferred Obama while only 11 per cent preferred John McCain."

"I told you!" said Donkey to Elephant.

"However," I continued, "an overwhelming 68 per cent majority also didn't know or refused to say who they preferred.

"That means we're neither Republican nor Democratic, but Singaporean.

"And being Singaporean, most of us don't have an opinion one way or the other."

Elephant turned to Donkey: "Why do we even bother with these people?"

Donkey shrugged and they went to look for some place to eat where the food wasn't too spicy.

I hope no one blames me for the animal dung in the void deck.

- Published in The New Paper, 7 November 2008