It was 3am in the morning but looking outside it was obvious that I wasn't up alone as there were many lights turned on in my neighbourhood. It was a nation building moment and many Singaporeans were staying up to watch the election results live as it unfolded.
Regardless of how you voted, it was a night fraught with emotions and it turned out that the incumbent PAP government had won a surprising landslide victory.
There were many reactions the day after, some disappointed, some euphoric, and I'd daresay mostly surprised by the unexpected swing in the electorate towards the Government.
Surprising as the results didn't quite match the huge turn out at the WP rallies which seemed to match what we've been seeing online. Since GE2011, we have seen an increase in this very vocal minority as they have increasingly exerted their influence both online and in the many speeches and protests at Hong Lim Park.
If you have been following popular forums and social media posts, you would also have seen an obvious rallying behind the WP by this very same vocal minority. A common thread would be to blame the government for everything and support the opposition with the aim of eventually overthrowing the oppressive incumbent PAP government. The hate and vitrol in some of these forums are alarming and perhaps was the cause for the swing back towards the PAP.
I believe it caused many undecided voters to back the PAP instead of the opposition, as they perceived it was backed by the hate spilling trolls in these forums. These voters probably saw that the government had been responsive and had tried its best since the last GE by implementing more welfare policies and tightening the foreign influx. It signalled that the electorate recognized a job well done and didn't see the need to discourage the government by electing more opposition into the parliment.
Another interesting point to note was that it was a significant vote of confidence by our youth in support of our government and its policies as there was an estimated 245,500 young voters aged from 21-25, and 220,700 voters aged 26-30, according to the population census figures of citizens as of June 2014. This vote of confidence is well deserved as Singapore continues to have a low youth unemployment rate and a Manpower Minister who is commited to develop the Singaporean core.
Or perhaps it was the PM's reassuring lunchtime speech at the UOB plaza that set many minds at ease. Perceptions of an arrogant government that bullies its people were quickly dispelled as our well liked PM delieved his speech. Many say he wore his heart on his sleeves that day as he spoke with passion of his calling to serve Singapore. And the voters responded with a resounding endorsement of his continued stewardship.
For me it felt like GE2015 was a part of our SG50 celebrations, and not just because the PAP won. It was a collective experience, which I hope would encourage us to put aside our differences and focus on the love and hope for our nation.
As a small country we should never take our peace and prosperity for granted. We have all worked hard to be where we are at now and it is apt to remember the old proverb that a house divided against itself cannot stand but a cord of many strands is not easily broken.
Let us choose to remember and internalize our collective experiences of SG50, the mourning of our founding father LKY, GE2015, and use it as a rallying call to be one united people, to be proud of our Singaporean identity, and to be filled with hope for a bright future.
Majula Singapore! Onward Singapore!