Lambasted by My Baby Cousin

May 31, 2011 0 Comments

"Xiang Yeow Ge Ge, which part of science do you like the most?" Before I could reply, the energetic child rambled on, "I like Biology the most. I like the human body and I like reproduction."

The precocious nine-years-old cousin bounced. He knew stuff that I didn't have an inkling of at that age. How many cells in the human body, the chemical formula of water, the spelling of photosynthesis. Some weird class of extinct animals, the cycle after fusion of sperm and egg etc

"So, what do you like?" The little imp was challenging me.

"Hmm, I like to wonder about the nature of Science. Why is there Science, what makes Science tick, what is a Science anyway?"

"But that's so stupid. And boring. I think Biology is more interesting."

After a long while, as he fought monsters on some lame Facebook app, he asked me the same question again.

"I like Chemistry." I have to give the diplomatically apt answer, don't I? Chem teachers got to love their subjects, right?

"But Chemistry is so complicated!"

It was a cue for me to convince him why the complexity of Chemistry makes it all the more fascinating. (Blah blah blah) x n times

After my diatribe, the monster remarked snidely,"don't blame me if your head blow up from studying too much Chemistry."

Ahhh, hard truths coming from an awfully honest mouth.

My cousin's responses are good for my ego. He giggled and laughed at all the appropriate pauses in this entry.


NUS Financial Seminar 2011

May 28, 2011 0 Comments

Was talking to a few friends about personal finance management and became a little discomforted.

It struck me that everyone was living in the present, with nary a thought about the future.
Review of seminar:

From his enthusiasm during the presentation and willingness to remain after the talk to entertain queries from the audience, one can intuit the depth of passion Dr Cherian has for being a finance educator. His dedication and inner fire for his work serves as a reminder to remain passionate in one’s chosen path in life. He continually reminded the audience to excel in all that they do – be they accountants, scientists, engineers or doctors; rewards will naturally follow excellence. One, he firmly believes, should not seek rewards.

Dr Cherian also marries academic understanding with market experiences. Despite obtaining a degree from MIT, a doctorate and tenure from Cornell University, he chose to leave the comfort of academia to acquire knowledge from hands-on learning in Wall Street. Textbook knowledge can only carry one so far. From his actions, he prompts his audience to merge technical scholarship with experiential know-how to gain a wider, more holistic appreciation of the studied issue.

After the talk, Dr Cherian revealed privately that he had founded several trusts in MIT, Cornell and NUS to provide education subsidies for poor students. He shared his charitable acts, not to impress, but to inspire successful people to contribute to the society which had nurtured them. One must be thankful for what one has and share those blessings with the people around him.
I sounded like a freaking robot, didn't I?

Vomited the review out to fulfill the minimum word count for a module. Rather wistful. Writing should be an enchanting experience; one should only write about what one has an interest in.

Anyway, I was rather indignant that people aren't planning for their futures. Who else could be responsible for them? Their mum and dad? Siblings? Mother Nature? PAP?

Would advocate personal responsibility and financial literacy as a potential panacea to the problems of modern living. Take time to learn about the world history, politics and economics. Plan for your future. Grow slowly but with awareness. I am a newbie but it doesn't worry me much as long as I'm progressing.

Look, the price of housing in Singapore is increasing and will continue to increase. Inflation, medical and transport fees are on likewise trends. Who will bear the burden of such high costs of living?
Do take a look at Dr Cherian's slides here.


A Critical Analysis of Patricia Piccinini's Art: Re-presenting Biotechnology

May 24, 2011 , , 3 Comments

”A face only a mother could love: Patricia Piccinini’s offspring” - By Peter Hennessey (2002)

Stem cells are pluripotent; they can differentiate into any type of cells, given the right stimulus. Such versatile cells promise an approach to cure even the most critical illnesses. It is this therapeutic potential that draws the interest and fervor of researchers. It is also this immense potential – to alter life as we know it – that attracts the attention of Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, inspiring her to create a series of anthropomorphic sculptures. Through art, Piccinini contributes to the global debate on this controversial technology.

In Piccinini’s Still Life with Stem Cells (2002), a little girl can be seen cuddling and stroking blobs of skin-covered organisms on the floor. The title suggests that these unsightly, shapeless lumps resulted from stem cell research. With their glossy flesh–like surfaces and folds of flesh, these transgenic organisms would have seemed unapproachable, perhaps even sinister, if not for the maternal acceptance by their gently smiling caretaker. Like the genetic technology it is commenting on, Still Life with Stem Cells is contentious; it draws support and flak in equal parts. Some museum–goers see the work as an incisive comment on the unpredictability of technology while others are repulsed by the grotesque nature of the six ‘stem cells’. By inspecting this art, we gain an appreciation in the ethical complexities of stem cell technology and understand that caution must guide the technology’s development.

[Plate 1] Detail of one ‘stem cell’ revealing its close life-like, almost human, surface textures and contours.

The wisdom of repugnance

The blobs, while clearly engineered by Man, have their own lives. Folds of blemished skin suggest growth and age. Orifices represent means to intake sustenance and excrete waste matter. A thin layer of hair provides a mechanism to regulate basal temperature while a vertebrate suggests structural support for vital organs and a nervous system. Faithful rendering of surface textures contribute to the vitality of these lumps; the ‘stem cells’ are unnervingly life–like. This hyperrealism of the ill– defined lumps makes them all the more confrontational. They are “not quite animals, but more than meat” (Michael, p. 4, 2003). They do not resemble any form of living organisms but seem oddly familiar. Their skin resembles that covering our own flesh – pinkish beige with slight blotches – yet their forms are disturbingly novel.

The disquiet evoked by the stem cells may be due to an instinctive wisdom. Leon Kass (1997), an outspoken critic against embryotic stem cell research, reminds that:

Indeed, in this age in which everything is held to be permissible so long as it is freely done, in which our given human nature no longer commands respect, in which our bodies are regarded as mere instruments of our autonomous rational wills, repugnance may be the only voice left that speaks up to defend the central core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder.

Piccinini’s visceral stem cell sculptures suggest that genetic technology willfully dismantles and reassembles DNA to produce unsettling results. This repugnance one feels is an intuitive warning against the transgression of what is unspeakably profound and a reminder to thread carefully in this revolutionary branch of science.

Who shall bear the risks?

The ambivalent combination of familiar textures on unfamiliar forms represents the unexpected side effects of genetic research too. Sarah Chan and John Harris (2007), in their essay In Support of Human Enhancement, advocates the use of enhancement technology, be it to engineer viral immunity, increase protection to coronary diseases or reduce susceptibility to cancer. They paint an ideal situation in which advanced bioengineering raises the standard of living and claim that there is a “moral imperative” to use such tools for “the benefit of future generations”. Chan and Harris argue that, throughout history, medicine had always been risky in its infancy stages, and that technology can be developed to the extent such that its benefits outweigh its potential risks. However, history is different from the present and genetic enhancement must be understood based on the current context. In the past, medical experiments involved smaller demographics and did not alter the fundamental physical characteristics of a human. Genetic alterations, however, create irreversible physiological changes on a molecular level and have significant repercussions beyond the field of medicine. The quest towards successful genetic technology, as Chan and Harris implicitly agree, carries inherent risks.

And while positive improvements – increased intelligence, longevity or muscle strength – are the goals of research, it may not necessarily be its results. Francis Fukuyama (2004, p.2), an outspoken critic against human alteration, suggests that “modifying any one of our key characteristics inevitably entails modifying a complex, interlinked package of traits” and the eventual outcome cannot be easily anticipated. The risks from genetic research, should they materialize, may be too heavy to shoulder. Even advocates of genetic research should acknowledge these risks. If the forms produced are not useful or appealing – as in the case of Piccinini’s hyperrealistic ‘stem cell–like organisms’ – who would bear responsibility? What can be done for these unpredicted casualties of stem cell research? Would they be dismissed as inevitable risks that did not pay off?

Barking up the wrong tree

The girl’s nonjudgmental care over her charges recalls the Madonna–and–Child motif, a theme often explored by artists. In Michelangelo’s Pieta, Mother Mary tenderly held the inert Jesus on her lap. Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde pieces, Henry Moore’s metallic sculptures and Ng Eng Teng’s ceramic works explore this recurrent theme too. By evoking this image of a surrogate maternal figure, Piccinini not only draws on the collective experiences revolving around this traditional motif but also reinterprets it in the modern context of biotechnology advancements.

[Plate 3] Detail of sculpture showing the serene countenance of this little girl.

To the girl, these ‘stem cells’ are “worthy of care, objects of her absorbed attention and unselfconscious touch”; she has set up “a family arrangement and a social engagement that in her mind have a logic and emotion” (Michael, p.4, 2002). It does not matter, not to the girl anyway, how these transgenic organisms appear. Like a Madonna, she accepts them unconditionally.

This selfless acceptance of unsightly cocoon–like lumps brings into mind one other comment by Fukuyama (2004, p.1). He explains that “we all possess a human essence that dwarfs manifest differences in skin colour, beauty and even intelligence”. It is this appreciation for the intrinsic spark of life which positions the girl as the organisms’ nonjudgmental caretaker. Michael Sandel (2004, p.54) shares similar sentiments with Fukuyama and explains:

Appreciating the gifted quality of life constrains the Promethean project and conduces to a certain humility. It is in part a religious sensibility. But its resonance reaches beyond religion.

The girl in Piccinini’s art is an expression of the artist’s opinions. Like her creation, Piccinini (2002) is not troubled with whether this technological transformation is good or bad; she finds these concerns “both too simplistic and a little academic”. Instead, she sees the works as her children and “wants the best for them”. Like a maternal figure, she respects the inherent value that these creatures possess – their “gifted quality of life” – no matter their appearances or provenances.

The little girl in Piccinini’s sculpture, and Piccinini herself, reminds us that we must be prepared to accept the unpredicted consequences of genetic research, no matter how unsavory it may be. They suggest that we need to move beyond concerns about genetically improving physical traits and focus on the inherent value that each individual has.

Stem cell research – its unpredictability and implications

Still Life with Stem Cells is not an installation in which the viewers are enfolded within the space of the artwork. Rather, it is a sculpture which relegates the viewers into the position of observers and distances itself from them. In this art, the girl and her charges are very still, frozen in action. Historically, a still life (or natura morte) was often an allegory on the transience and unpredictability of life (Michael, p.4, 2002). The tableau–effect of the still life dramatizes the nature of genetic engineering and the viewers stand apart to contemplate the issues raised:

Firstly, stem cell technology, by itself, is neither good nor ill; it simply is a science that can be put to use. The intuitive uneasiness against such manipulation of the building blocks of life suggests a need to examine the moral basis of such research carefully even as the technology advances.

Then, the technology may not produce the desired modifications to the human body, no matter how we may wish it. Many would probably want a share of the sweet fruits of biotechnology breakthroughs but, should the results be less glorious than expected, maybe even disastrous, who would be responsible? The capacity for unpredictability of this nascent technology reminds its overenthusiastic proponents to remain composed despite its immense potential, cautioning against reckless experimentation in stem cell research.

Ultimately, stem cell research is a result–oriented science, one focused on producing measurable improvements to physiological characteristics. By situating her art within a social unit of a girl and her misshapen charges, Piccinini reminds us not to miss the forest for the trees: to move beyond concerns about improving physical traits and pay equal – if not more – attention to the intangible spirit that all living organisms have; and to proceed carefully through the quagmire of ethical dilemmas surrounding stem cell technology, all the time being guided by an encompassing respect for this intangible “gifted quality of life”.

This article was originally written for  WP2201E From Humans To Posthumans.


Stories that should be secrets

May 20, 2011 , 0 Comments

*edited to preserve the anonymity of the involved parties
*a story which I 'heard'

Today, she found out that her student's dad was having an affair.

She didn't know what to do, how to react. All she knew was that her student was flaming with embarrassment as his mum ranted in the adjacent bedroom and her embittered words were overheard.

She really shouldn't be hearing this. Poor timing. They were having tuition. Wrong place. In the kitchen where her son's tuition teacher can overhear? There was a palpable awkwardness as student and teacher tried to ignore the caustic words.

Yet, words travelled.

She felt a little sad, a little angry and very weary.

Extramarital affairs should be skeletons in the closet. It wasn't something one could be proud of. It wasn't something that one could simply let the tuition teacher know. How could the student face his teacher thereafter?

"My mum, she's very noisy," her student said, "let's just ignore her."

Thus, she continued to explain the concepts, this time round with a louder voice.

In the adjacent bedroom, partitioned by a permeable wall, his mum continued to share her anguish with her sister/ his aunt.

Words aren't just molecular vibrations.
It has the power to heal as well as hurt.

She couldn't blame his mum. Aunty was just hurting, reeling from years of suppressed angst. Pain isn't an emotion that would come and go at will. Pain, it can't be easily subjugated.

The tutor, her student and his mum, all three put on smiles - brittle, tender ones - and continued with their lives.


On tutoring and living

May 16, 2011 0 Comments

It had been tiring to give tuition.

He wondered, sometimes, why he forced himself to wake up early on weekends to give tuition. He couldn't afford to mindlessly peruse random websites the night before or laze about on the bed after waking. It was tiring; he could feel his will waning with each passing week.

It was also tiring, the depth of commitment and focus required.

Love and energy were needed to guide. Tutoring wasn't just about scoring a straight chain of 'A's. He didn't want to just force feed knowledge - anyone could do it. He didn't want to reduce the time spent into an aloof transaction of energy for money.

To nurture, to inspire, to share. This was what he wanted.

In a way, giving tuition lent his life meaning. When all he has to look forward to was days of lectures, practicals and assignments, when reams of facts awaited him, tutoring reminded him of why he was putting himself through the academic treadmill. It reminded him of his raison d'être.

There were signs that his students were revealing more of themselves, faring better academically and maturing. Subtle hints, perhaps, but no less significant.

The boy used to end the session on time, perhaps even slightly earlier. Just yesterday, he was so caught up with the practical applications of chemistry that he forgot the time.

He received a message from an ex-student, a surprise request for him to counsel the student's wayward sister.

Little stories, not so lofty, easily forgotten. Lost in the murmurs of the infinite galaxy.

In these stories, he found the reason to continue despite his lethargy. Little stories but not so little after all.


The Tangibles as Yardsticks

May 11, 2011 , 0 Comments

One night, while the group was sitting on the dusty Vietnam ground, he heard an interesting perspective.

"I don't think that we're doing much. Look, we're basically doing stuff that they themselves are capable of doing."

"I agree. You know what? It might even be better if we didn't fly here, just to carry soil, bricks, tiles and such. We can save up the money and give it to the villagers instead."

The conversation carried on in this vein for some time. There was a palpable sense of discomfort, as they suspected that they had not achieved what they planned. A creeping sense of imminent failure, premonitive whispers.

He had been conflating self-worth with academic grades, time with money, energy with prestige.

Numbers - percentages, values, statistics, distributions - matter. They all mattered. They were the yardsticks with which others measured him against. They were the scales which he held and by which he judged himself.

And, in his mind's eye, he had fallen short.

It was inexorable, the way one got sucked into the system. A whirlpool, some quicksand. Periods of neglect, moments of not paying attention, and he would find himself marching in tandem to Singapore's frantic beat.

A quest to measure every dimension.

Source unknown

"You know what? I think that our problem, it lies with our attitude that we must measure our activities with numbers, with hours of effort put in. By any other intangible yardsticks, we have succeeded."


Macbeth @ Fort Canning Hill

May 06, 2011 , 0 Comments

Shakespearean plays resonate for they explore the universal nature of humans. The themes tread on the cusp between good and evil, the threshold after which sanity falls apart.

In the 1600s, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. 300 years later, people remain fascinated with it.

It is a story of a man gone astray. It is a story of self-fulfilling prophecies, of lofty ambitions, of macabre intrigue and an eventual fall from grace. It is one man's story but everyman's journey.

During the play, there was a dull ache in the chest, a sense in the wrongness of it all. Didn't this story play itself out many times across the collective history of human beings?
The drama unfolded in Fort Canning Hill, an open space. Bats were flying about, roused from their sleep by the shifting lights and occasional sonic booms. The weather was kind; gentle winds breezed through the grounds.

The revving of engines as cars sped on the adjacent roads, the somewhat irritating rustle of plastic as people ate their tidbits, the random snatches of a piano tune in the background all contributed to the authenticity of the experience.

It was an interesting venue, no doubt. But viewing a play in the park should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. More than once and it would no longer be charming.
The play would appear as an exotic mystery to untrained minds. One must read the plot at least once or it would be all too easy to lose track of the fast-moving play.

A rather enjoyable interpretation of the maestro's words but, in time to come, a somewhat forgettable one.
Human nature is immutable. We long for progress and hunger for more. It had been so and will continue to be.

But how much more is more? Where do we draw the line?

Macbeth was first the Thane of Glamis, then the Thane of Cawdor. He later usurped the throne and became the King of Scotland. But at what price? The price paid, while intangible, was no less exacting.

As we grow older and begin to worship all the trappings of wealth, perhaps it is time to consider this:
Pride and prestige carry a price with which the mind senses but fails to measure.


Is this Art?

I can empathise with how that writer feels. He is frustrated with the abstract works of this year’s Biennale and isn’t shy about airing his discontent.

The interior of a rundown shophouse, ribbons of black rope pinned against the wall, perplexing snatches of videos… How can these pieces be considered art? Art should be beautiful and thought-provoking, not so – dare I describe it this way? – commonplace.

Secret Affair, an installation in 8Q@SAM by Roslisham Ismail, evokes joy, curiosity, wonder – all that and a nagging discomfort that this avant garde piece isn’t art.

Six refrigerators are arranged in a ring, some fully stocked and others, woefully empty. My friends had fun, peering into the compartments and leaving the doors open for a second too long just to feel the fridge’s chilly breezes.

Highly interactive, no doubt interesting. Does this mean that I’ve a priceless artwork at home – my gray-green 5 years-old fridge – and, shamefully, did not appreciate its beauty all this while?

This begs the question: is this Art? With a little imagination, the tenets of 19th century aesthetics can be applied to our 21st century Biennale piece.

Light sources are placed beneath the six fridges, creating a shifting web of shadows. Leonardo da Vinci would have found this a fascinating mastery of Chiaroscuro.

Each fridge has an identity. Some are lovingly stocked with eggs, vegetables and Yakult. Others reflect paranoia, with meat sealed in airtight boxes and labeled meticulously. One of them is clean, almost empty, hinting at the owners’ loneliness. The deliberate composition of food lends shades of meanings to each piece.

In classical paintings, each element contributes to an overarching theme that the artist is exploring. Choice of colours, motifs and their arrangements play an integral role in understanding such works.

It makes sense, therefore, to understand this cyclic set of six refrigerators from the arrangement of food within them. I can sense warmth, from the clean, filled fridge and quiet desperation, in the repetitious stacks of airtight containers

Refrigerators, it seems, are mirrors reflecting our urban society.

Like traditional masterpieces, this installation carries multiple layers of meanings, allowing room for us to interpret it from our unique perspectives. It manages to communicate privately – yet, universally – with each viewer.

So, is this art? It doesn’t really matter – not to me, at least – if some people don't consider this installation as art. It made me think, gave me a voyeuristic joy and left me strangely energised. It was awesome and still is.

"Art” is nothing but a term. If we are willing to change our perspectives, anything can be beautiful, thought-provoking and a masterpiece.

In giving the artwork a chance, I gave myself an opportunity too.

Now, I’m going to take a good look at my fridge, to see what it reflects about my family and for a can of Coke.

P.S. take a closer look at your fridge too.


Last Reflection on GE2011

May 04, 2011 0 Comments

Realised that he was getting tired of talking about the GE.

He had swung from being a voracious reader of all GE related articles, notes and reports to being a little disdainful, a little apathetic.

It wasn't because he didn't care, but it was because he cared too much. It wasn't because he didn't want to see but because he was getting disgusted with what he was seeing.

Bashing PAP was fashionable, it would seem, in the alternative media. Bashing the Opposition was expected in the mainstream ones. He wished that the debate would transcend fear mongering and finger pointing. Not be reduced to superficial outcries to sway emotions and obscure logic.

Words were malleable to the skillful wordsmith. Anyone well-versed with the niceties of the language could slant perspectives in their favour.

He had laughed at the anti-PAP humour during one of WP's rally. After the rally, he felt an uneasy guilt which nibbled at him from within.

He wasn't conflating past successes with future expectations, nor confusing gratitude with servitude. Yes, PAP did well in the past but that did not mean it will excel equally in times to come. Yes, he understood that.

It might be do us well to remember, however, that most of us are able to sit within the comfort of our homes as we exercise our inquiring minds to criticise PAP - all these are results of our somewhat successful public policies. We can question promises, analyse history and crunch numbers; yes, please; but shouldn't there be a modicum of respect for PAP at the very least?

PAP isn't a monolithic entity. There are policies which had failed. But there are successful ones too. Criticise the flaws, please go ahead; that's how we all improve. But, at the back of your mind, remember the successes.

Pages of online vitriol against PAP reflect how the ruling party has become out of touch with Singaporeans. After thinking through, I know who I'll be voting for. Do you?


Inspirations from Tonight's Rally

May 02, 2011 0 Comments

Went for the Workers' Party rally tonight in a light blue attire. Along the way, I was troubled by a nagging sense of discomfort. What was wrong?

There was something strangely familiar about this feeling, this weird sense of rootlessness. Then, I understood.

What's a First World Parliament?
I recalled the times when I had to make difficult decisions by myself along major junctures in life. All along, I was repelled by options that are less desirable. I was a positive charge, a cation, that shifted in directions opposite to those that did not attract me.

Simply put, I knew what I didn't want and I shifted away from these options. It wasn't because I had a firm idea of what I can pursue with relentless energy. It wasn't because I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Very few people do. The directions I moved in was, more or less, guided by the most attractive opportunities that Life presented me with.

I remembered telling the kids I tutored to envision a future for themselves, to move towards their goals in life, to study hard so that they can fulfill their dreams. Their responses? They didn't know what they want; where can they move towards?

As a nation, it feels as though we are striving towards a vague idea, one modelled on flawed faraway systems.

Yes, we want alternative voices in the parliament. But what exactly do we want in the long run? What is a first world parliament anyway?

Do we want to be our system to resemble that of the US or UK? People there seem to treat political parties like football clubs. There are always some political crises in these nations: the Democrats trying to pass a bill, the Republicans blocking it, then the Democrats try to pass the bill again. How about the UK? Many countries are in a political limbo there. Germany placing the interests of the political party above the collective good of the EU while Spanish ministers seem to be quiting with alarming reguarity. Closer to home, Japanese prime ministers changed once each year for the past four years. These countries are considered First World Countries (right?) but do we want parliaments like theirs?

Yet, we all know that we do not want to end up like any of the Middle East and African countries. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." A single influential party renders the act of voting a mere ceremony; autocracy repositions itself as democracy.

So where does this leave us all? We don't really know what we want. We don't want to have our political system in a limbo. We don't want all the power to lie with one political party; yet it is difficult to straddle the line with the first stated aim. We want to model our system on a successful foreign political system but none can really address our unique geopolitical situation.

Towards a first world parliament? That's a great idea. But can we first decide what constitutes first class? If we only know what we don't want, if we don't know exactly what we want, it would be difficult to move towards anything.

History: making sense of it all

During the rally, as Mr Low explained the history of the GRC system, I realised that I need a crash course in the history of Singapore's politics. Without such background knowledge, I really can't appreciate how nuanced the policies are.

Back in secondary school, I had offered Literature in favour of History. Why study about dead people and past events? I rationalised to myself. Literature was alluring and still is. But with the passage of time, I realised my myopia.

书到用时方恨少. I now wish that I know more about Singapore's past.

The GRC system came into effect on 1 June 1988. Prior to that, all constituencies were single-membered. Apparently, after J B Jeyaretnam from Workers' Party and Chiam See Tong from Singapore Democratic Party won two SMC parliamentary seats, the GRC system was conceived to ensure that the ruling party remained in power. Instead of contesting as individuals, parties must now contest in a group of three.

In 1988, when Mr Low Thia Khiang, current Secretary General of WP, and his two fellow party members nearly won the Tiong Bahru GRC with 42.2% of the vote, the GRC system was tweaked further. GRC contesting groups can range from groups of 3 to 6 people. Now, this has many implications: Opposition parties couldn't find enough quality candidates to form credible teams while PAP owned the parliament with many GRCs simply being walkovered.

The shifting political boundaries - residents in Khaki Bukit leapt from Eunos to Aljunied to Marine Parade GRC in the past 3 GEs - hint at a greater underlying problem. More capable people have elaborated on this issue. Seek out their articles and inform yourself, please.

The Nature of Rallies

Rallies, by their nature, are rousing but brief.

During tonight's rally, I was swept away by the palpable adrenaline, the excitement which vibrated in the atmosphere. Rhetorics and humour were used to great effect. I admire Mr Low and Ms Lim for their eloquence and stage presence.

But, as I jogged home, I realised that I didn't found out much about what the Opposition planned to do. I have learned about the history of the GRC system, found out that casted votes will be guaranteed secrets and heard many anti-PAP remarks. But I still didn't know what is WP's stand on certain issues! Except for vague promises to help the poor, aged and young, working adults, I didn't hear any concrete plans.

I suspect that the concrete plans I want to know about can be found in their manifesto. And I can't help wondering how many people would actually take the time and effort to find the manifesto online and read through it.

Couldn't help feeling that emotions were riled while logic queued far behind. I can only hope that state-recognised voters comb through the manifestos of the respective parties - yes, even PAP's - before passing an informed judgement. Not base their votes on intuition, emotions and hearsay.

Support WP's policies, if you think they are good, but don't support them as though they're a football club. Too many people around me, it seems, are treating this like a mega entertainment.
Again, our political issues elude easy understanding and answers. I am inexperienced in the realm of political science. I can't apply theories on organizational behaviour and mass media communications. I can't pass a judgement that all can share and relate to. I can only delineate my thoughts and attempt to reach a choice that I can live comfortably with. That is the best we can all ask of ourselves.

In this age and time when it is popular to bash the ruling establishment and identify oneself with the alternatives, I feel a need to state the beneath disclaimer:
I am neither pro-PAP nor pro-Opposition. I am pro-Singapore.