Ladies and gentlemen, Nomination Day has come and gone, and GE2015 is on like donkey kong. Pew pew, laser beams! The only thing that gets me more excited than the official start of campaigning is … manifestos. What, policy suggestions don’t get you excited? They should. Wait, is this why I’m still single and not contributing to the TFR rate? (Oops.)
Anyway, as we inch closer to Polling Day on 11 September, I’ll be taking a look at party and constituency manifestos. We will find out who is promising what, whether it makes sense, and who has the best campaign slogan of GE2015. First up: the PAP’s GE2015 manifesto.
People’s Action Party
Campaign Slogan: With You, For You, For Singapore
Slogan score: 3/5
Full marks for the use of simple words, but no points otherwise. This is not a campaign slogan, this is the bridge of a National Day song yet unwritten. The problem with this slogan is that it doesn’t offer an idea that the reader can buy into. It doesn’t excite or engage any emotion in the reader because it is effectively a one-way message with no resonance. It could work in general (if shortened), but it doesn’t really gel with the runoff from their previous branding.
- open, holistic education system that encourages social mobility
- expand childcare support
- strengthen ITE and polytechnic learning through internships and applied learning
I find the first point about a holistic education system that encourages social mobility most interesting. I would really like more details, however sparse they might be.
- more support, job assistance for PMETs
When SkillsFuture was first announced in Budget 2015, I felt it was a good step forward, but perhaps more thought has to be given to how PMETs will be encouraged to tap on their SkillsFuture credits. In the education system that most of us grew up with, learning is not couched or perceived as something enjoyable and valuable in itself, but simply a means to an end (of a very long road), i.e. a good job and reasonably decent socioeconomic status. I’m not saying I agree with that philosophy, but it is unfortunately an inbuilt barrier to widespread lifelong learning.
- provide social safety nets for those without means or support
- work to increase our birth rate
Hey guys! You know what will really help our National Romance Aptitude, and a highly related KPI, our Total Fertility Rate? Housing for singles under 35 that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Some of us prefer to, er, socialize without our parents around, you know? Just saying.
- increase hospital beds as well as intermediate and long-term care facilities
- provide universal coverage through MediShield Life
- make healthcare more affordable
I know it’s optimistic to the point of foolishness to expect excessive detail on how healthcare will be made affordable, but this is so vague that really, it might as well not be in the campaign manifesto. Hospital bed increases and better intermediate to long-term facilities are of course, welcome news.
- build more MRT lines, double the rail network
- expand Changi Airport and PSA port
Doubling the rail network will go a long way towards easing the tension and sheer horror of facing the hordes of people during your daily commute — but only if the supply of trains and overall maintenance is ramped up at an appropriate level.
- vibrant space with excellent physical environment, infrastructure and connectivity, green and sustainable
- more housing choices and amenities, pedestrian and cyclist-friendly precincts, abundant greenery and common spaces
- new developments including: greater Southern Waterfront, Rail Corridor, second CBD at Jurong Lake District, Paya Lebar Airbase
Pedestrian and cyclist-friendly spaces are great, but I think the second CBD is much more interesting. Diverting a large chunk of traffic — motor and human — from the CBD proper could help with peak-hour commute congestion, but it looks like the impact of this planned second CBD is going to go a lot further than that. If the high-speed rail terminal connecting to Kuala Lumpur will be part of the area, then we’re looking at a possible regional business centre, with green corridors and waterways.
Overview: PAP Manifesto 2015
I was a little frustrated at the vagueness of the policy directions and initiatives in the manifesto, but that could just be me. The thing is, if you mention something exciting that is a really good (and long overdue) idea, like holistic education that is going to help those lower down the socioeconomic ladder get a leg up — yes, pun intended — then I want to know the details of this campaign promise.