Thursday, May 21, 2009

So you thought you can represent the majority of Singaporeans? Think again!

When I heard that a group of self-declared representative of the conservative majority of Singaporeans, who believe that our children should be educated in accordance with the mainstream values of our society, had started a petition to command AWARE for Public Apology and Disclosure, a little voice in my head grunted "Not again! Conservative majority of Singaporeans? Who are these people to claim that they are the majority of Singaporeans?"

With the intention of making them aware (oops, the pun!) that not all Singaporeans are conservative, and they are definitely not representing the majority of Singaporeans (at least they could not represent anyone that I've known all my life so far), I started another petition. A petition against their petition. A petition to wake them up from their delusion and shout into their ears "Hey! You're not the majority! And you sure don't represent Singapore!"

I have no idea when was their petition started, but I read about it on on May 19, which was when my petition started. Considering that about 60 signatures had already been collected when my petition started from zero, I was taken by a pleasant surprise that at this present moment, my satire has gathered more signatures than them. All in 2 days' time.

"So what's your point?", some may ask.

Besides the fun and laughter? Okay, seriously, there are three.

Firstly, and the essential point, for all to see that these group of people do not truly represents Singaporeans. At least not the majority. In a nutshell, we could say there are three groups of Singaporeans:
  • "I've got more important things to worry about" - People who are struggling everyday to make ends meet, especially in an economic crisis as now. They could belong to the lower income group, or have been recently retrenched. To them, the money they bring back home is their top priority. Obviously.

  • "It doesn't really bother me and I don't care" - People who are apathetic to issues that do not affect their lives. To this group of people, the government could implement any policy as long as they are not required to make any changes in their lives. They could belong to the mid income group. To them, making more money is top priority and as long as they don't have to pay more taxes, they don't care about anything else. They might grumble a bit now and then, offline and online, or voice their alternate views on policies, but that's only for leisure.

  • "I'm too intelligent to have my thoughts suppressed and I want to change the world, or at least my country!" - People who typically have all the time and money in their hands. They are highly educated and so believe that their worldviews have to be the world's views. Yes, I believe that those who started that petition against AWARE belongs to this group of people.

So... at best, they could only represent a third of Singaporeans. Definitely not the majority, if my maths does not fail me.

Secondly, to prove that this particular platform for online petitioning is unreliable. Aside from duplicated entries (which could be detected and removed manually), the signatures are authenticated solely by email addresses. This means that if I've got three email addresses (perhaps office, personal and another just for fun?), I could sign three times. If somebody is real determined on amassing as many signatures as possible (say, 7200?) to prove that a petition is legitimately advocated, he/she could just get his/her friends and relatives to register multiple email addresses for the purpose of signing the petition. Time consuming? Yes. Difficult? Definitely no. Just send some emails to tell others to email. So should MOE take their petitions seriously then?

Thirdly and lastly, I'm nauseated of the term "conservative majority of Singaporeans" and would like to see how many people out there are as sick and tired as me.

No matter, I'm thrilled to have received more than a hundred signatures within two days. Even if their petition should amass more signatures than mine by May 31 (which is their petition's deadline), at this point in time, I've already proven my three points. And no, I'm not going to really send this petition to the Ministry of Home Affairs, though they are indeed planning to harrass the Ministry of Education.

Lastly, I would like to thank all who have signed and supported the petition. Thanks for joining in the fun!




  2. Sorry dude, don't think that is an appropriate petition to send to the Ministry of Home Affairs.