Sunday 21 August 2011

I’m qualified to choose curtains, not presidents

I’ve been waiting for the longest time for someone to use that word.

Last Sunday, presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian finally broke the ice with a blog post entitled “Watershed Presidential Election”.

Yes! “Watershed”!

Oh, how I’ve missed you since the end of the watershed General Elections in May.

Actually, Mr Tan’s post was referring to a Facebook post by someone else about “why this Presidential Election is the real watershed”.

Unfortunately, “watershed” hasn’t quite caught on this time round, even though with four candidates, compared to just one in the previous presidential election, this election certainly counts as a watershed.

Instead, the word that seems to be getting some traction is “historic”.

My Paper used it in a recent headline and presidential candidate Tan Jee Say in his Nomination Day speech.

But isn’t every election inherently “historic”?

And I’m not confusing it with the word “historical”.

Which reminds me of an old joke. This guy said to another guy: “Whenever my wife and I have a fight, she gets historical.”

The other guy said: “Don’t you mean hysterical?”

“No,” the first guy said, “I mean historical because she keeps bringing up the past.”

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yah, I think “watershed” is a better word because it suggests that a particular election is even more “historic” than other “historic” elections.

But I guess you can’t have two “watershed” elections in one year. Each has to have its own branding.

I’m rooting for “landmark” for the Presidential Election.

Since this is the most trenchant analysis of the election I can offer, is it any wonder that when people ask me who I’m going to vote for, my answer is whoever my wife tells me to?

This has been true for every election since 1993.

We resolved to vote as a bloc of two to avoid cancelling out each other’s votes. Otherwise, we might as well just stay home and do the laundry.

I let her decide which party or candidate to vote for and in exchange, she lets me select the curtains for our home.

I believe I got the better end of the deal.

My wife is also more qualified to pick the president because two Fridays ago, she happened to meet two of the presidential wannabes separately at the Red Dot Museum on Maxwell Road where she was selling her handmade bags.

She was surprised by the limp handshake she got from one candidate but was impressed by the “powerful” handshake of the other, although she complained, “He’s so short!”

Maybe next time, the Goverment could add a height requirement in the Constitution. That would be hysterical.

It would also be a historic watershed.

No, wait, I mean landmark.

Despite all the efforts the Government has made to clarify the role of the President, the debate festers.

Checks and balances? Multiracialism? ISA? Moving out of the Istana? High five!

Meh. All the candidates really need to get right during their walkabouts is their handshake.

At least to impress my wife.

I mean they can’t do anything about their shortness, can they?

Did I mention I loooooove our curtains?

- Published in The New Paper, 21 August 2011

UPDATE: The candidate with the "limp" handshake won the election.