Panic, (no) Shortages

Singapore’s Ministry of Health has elevated the infection threat level from ‘Yellow’ to ‘Orange’. Unsurprisingly, this has upped the citizens' Kiasu/Kiasee-ism levels correspondingly - supermarkets all around the island were cleared out after the announcement was made.

Me? I’m just hermiting in at home. Talk about no fun :)

Impeachment, Failed. Lies, Won.

As widely expected, the Republican-dominated Senate has acquitted Donald Trump from the abuse of power charges. No doubt, after vindication, Trump will be going after his enemies. It’s hard to believe that American democracy works, given that partisan politics and executive privilege (and fear) pervades the justice system.

Elections in Ireland

Today is election day in Ireland. Sinn Fein appears to be polling strongly to form a sizeable minority in the Dáil Éireann. From reading the thought processes of the populance in the republic, it seems like people are fed up with a lack of progress on housing and health care, that they are willing to vote for a change, even if it’s a party that is traditionally associated with the IRA.

Arguably, Mary Lou McDonald isn’t part of the old guard of the Sinn’ers, and they represent a different era of Sinn Fein, that we should give them a benefit of the doubt. I can understand that.

Personally, I would have liked Fine Gael to have gotten a majority to form parliament, and give them an effective mandate to govern and solve problems instead. And if they don’t after getting majority, they have no excuse to be voted in again next election. But that’s a long, and uncommon view.

I don’t think the current electorate would have the patience to wait another 4 years to see results. But having a fragmented parliament would mean parties spending more time trying to jostle for power, making deals, and trying to get consensus to agree on anything, instead of getting things done.

Being Singaporean, while I do not like the fact that the Singapore government is made up of only a super-majority of the People’s Action Party, but the silver lining is that governance is largely effective - decisions can be made, and implemented.

And Leo Varadkar, is calculated, and by implication, effective. For that, he’s seen to be ‘cold’, and thereby un-likeable and un-voteable. While this isn’t a core reason, it’s a useless distraction peddled by the media circuit. Judge a politician by his capability AND his integrity. How good he is getting a photo-op with smiling babies should only form a minor consideration of his electability. To make that an issue seems disingenuous.

But Ireland appears to be constrained by its set of laws and people-consensus that makes decision-making slow. Long standing structural problems, like housing and health-care, probably needs political heft to push through unpopular measures, (say, removing high-rise restrictions within inner-city Dublin, forced land acquisition on arterial roads for better transit, centralising decision making from the councils, to move along (rich) folks in Dublin 4 so that existing plans for a Metro system can go ahead, increasing taxes to build hospitals, etc), but this will already alienate a fair number of people, and have them jam the whole process up in the courts. Now imagine that you are Taoiseach, and you don’t have a government majority to at least legislate past (some of) these hurdles, and reform the civil service.

I don’t think any of those suggestions is palatable to the Irish populance and will take place any time soon. The electorate want instant results, and is aggreviated by the existing ruling coalition that will likely cause votes to be split 3-ways, thereby resulting in a hung parliament.

And so, here’s to another 4 years of getting nothing done. ;p