A Game of Presidents

chess
 
The following is a conversation overheard at a coffee shop. The names have been changed to protect the conversationalists' identity but here's the gist of their conversation. 
 
Lup Cheong: Yo Johnny. Did you hear the news?!
 
Johnny: What is it now?
 
Lup Cheong: Tan Cheng Bock tried to register for a forum on the Elected Presidency organized by Reach, but Reach cancelled the forum once they realized he was going!
 
Johnny: Bro, Do you even realize how insane that sounds?
 
Lup Cheong: Huh?! Why are you calling me crazy?
 
Johnny: You really think the entire Tjeng Hu is so scared of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock that they'd cancel a forum session just because they knew he'd be coming?
 
Lup Cheong: Why not? They're already trying to change the qualifying criteria so he can't run anyway!
 
Johnny: No ONE man is that important la. Besides, you do know that Reach has already stated that the forum in question was canceled due to poor response? 
 
Lup Cheong: What do they mean by "poor response"?! 
 
Johnny: It means that keyboard warriors like yourself prefer to kpkb about Tan Cheng Block online, instead of trying to engage with legislators or even contrary views in person. 
 
You see here?! (pointing at his tablet) Even Dr. Tan himself is trying to tell people like you that Singaporeans should go and "actively participate in discussions" about important national issues. 
 
Lup Cheong: ...
 
Johnny: Bro, you keep talking about how it's important to speak up about national matters, but all I ever see you do is either complain online or complain over kopi. You do know that democracy is a participatory process right? 
 
That means that your duty doesn't just end at the ballot box. You should also try to engage the G when it is actively trying to solicit feedback and views. Don't complain that all this outreach is just wayang for show, then start grousing about the outcome after you opt to sit things out. 
 
That's a classic self fulfilling prophecy right there. Dr. Tan lost an opportunity to engage with Minister Shanmugam and Reach thanks to inaction on the part of people like yourself. 
 
Lup Cheong: ...
 
Johnny: You know, I think the impetus behind this Reach farce is extremely funny. 
 
Lup Cheong: Why? 
 
Johnny: Here you have Dr. Tan trying to lead by example. 
 
Dr. Tan simply posted that he tried to register for the forum and was disappointed that it ended up being canceled due to poor attendance. 
 
He then uses that anecdote to remind us that we should be more engaged in our political process. But supporters like yourself, are so engrossed in hating the pap that you would rather use him to scream conspiracy theories instead trying to do something constructive. Thanks to people like yourself, Dr. Tan's attempt a civics lesson backfired in his face. 
 
Even worse, the casual observer probably now thinks that Dr. Tan is this self absorbed ego maniac who tried to make this farce all about himself. 
 
Lup Cheong: I didn't mean for that happen!
 
Johnny: Yea, well it did. 
 
Next time bro please think. Raising a big stink online doesn't help your candidate. It just makes him look like he has unruly supporters and turns off anyone who's undecided. If you really want to help him then go and sign up for the other fore coming forums and bring your friends along with you. Then you, your friends and even Dr. Tan can voice your concerns to the tjeng hu. 
 
Bro, always remember, the best way to bring about the change you want to see in Singapore is to learn how this political game is played and play it better than your opponent. Going off angry and half cocked isn't going to do anything but help your opponent.

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