"You old people are afraid of the (Singapore) government," the hostess who had invited me to her HDB maisonette to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa on Saturday Sep 3, 2011 had asked me who I voted for as the 7th President of Singapore and I had said "Dr Tony Tan". She is around 40 years old and anybody past the age of 50 will be old. I am 61 actually.
The Prime Minister had given his support for Dr Tony Tan in one of his speeches and so he was deemed to be the government-backed horse. Many unions had voiced their support for him too.
Dr Tony Tan had been the Deputy Prime Minister and had held various high posts in politics, the government and in banking. "I voted for him as he was the best of the 4 candidates. He had the track record of international networking and financial experience," I said to my hostess who is a very vocal woman. I did not ask who she voted for at the beginning. She asked her best friend, a Chinese lady in her 40s. She said: "Dr Tan Cheng Bock." This was a satisfactory answer to the hostess.
"Why are you against Dr Tony Tan as President?" I asked.
"He is from a monied generation and from the elitist part of society. What does he know about the poor people's suffering? His mother was not a washer woman and so how would he know about the disadvantaged in society?"
I had no comment as I don't know Dr Tony Tan nor had I met him. For that matter, I had not met the Prime Minister personally too but I believe he was the best person to govern Singapore.
As the vocal minority of the younger generation grows bigger and bigger, the internet fans the flames of the opposition voices louder and louder. Change for the sake of change. More demands. More competition.
The same changes in politics applies to veterinary practice. Yesterday, Sunday, a senior vet of over 70 years asked me whether it is more competitive nowadays as I get presented a moon cake.
"Well, there are at least 43 veterinary practices now and soon it will be 50. Competition is inevitable. Much depends on the vet's ability to build up his reputation. His competence and track record will matter to the younger generation that is more sophisticated. If you don't want to spay big breeds and refer to the (brand-name) practice, you will just lose the confidence of your clients. This means less clientele as less referrals will be made."
Old vets will have to retire as the new generation prefers the younger vets. This is what is happening in politics too and that is why younger office holders are introduced.
As for my hostess, she voted for Mr Tan Jee Say who was from a poor family. He got around 25% of the votes while Dr Tony Tan got just around a thousand votes more than Dr Tan Cheng Bock and became the President of Singapore. The two doctors each got around 35% of the votes. So, there seems to be a political tsunami of Singaporeans wanting a change. When the old generation passes away, there will be a new political party in power. Unless the incumbent party politicians or the practising vet knows how to keep in touch with the common people or clients, many of the supporters will be lost to the opposition or competitors in 2016.