Posted in Citizenry

Numb

So… the governor with 70% approval rating lost a second term due to (his) religion. Le sigh.

It’s not as if i didn’t anticipate this possibility, yet to see it happening for real — in year 2017 — is unexpected. Well, i did expect the runoff round to be a close call, yet never in my wildest dreams did i think the margin would be this big, or that the total percentage for the incumbent would appear to drop. Like, for reals??

Some people brought up The 5 Stages of Grief in light of this loss, but i didn’t think i was even in Denial stage. This quick-count reading just refused to sink in until i watched the ‘concession’ speech, which opened the tear gates… to my own surprise. There’s always be a winner and loser in a competition, and this gubernatorial election is no different. This isn’t my first loss, and i don’t normally feel this involved or affected by a political race, or even politics in general, because i’m well aware as to how dirty it is. Yet as tears streaming down my cheeks, i realized that i was deeply grieved at the outcome of this battle.

Elections are celebrations of democracy, they say, and it is true. It may be the only time we can exercise our rights to choose and elect the one(s) who will lead and serve the city or country. But election is also the most frustrating and exhausting period to me, mentally. Not to mention the most divisive since everybody wants their candidate to win. That’s a given. However, oftentimes it’s done through “black campaign”, ’cause apparently the only way to paint one’s choice in good light is by smearing other’s. We clearly see how it’s played out in this round: what was proposed to be a battle of ideas was turning into a malicious battle of religions. And this has turned lots of people against one another, be it neighbors, colleagues, or even friends.

Not everyone in my circle shared the same notion, and while i don’t recall ever engaged in a heated debate with any of them, i had to filter a few out simply because i wished not see exceedingly bigoted posts on my timeline. This is why i wished everything could be settled in one round. Not to prove that my choice was invincible, but to get this toxic period over and done with soonest. This is why i didn’t follow much news/campaign in the last two months. I was sick of the negativity. I didn’t even watch the official debate (i did watch the one on Mata Najwa though) because i knew the stance/arguments/expositions would be nothing but lather, rinse, repeat. Also because everything was already crystal clear to me — who’s more committed and accommodating, has workable programs and mapped out action plans, and has more impressive resume.

At the end of the day, all of these matter less than one’s persona, which depends a lot on one’s ethno-religious background. The aspect that barely matters to me; as long as you’re bettering the city/country, i don’t care who or what you are. For many, this is the one (and only) factor to consider. And i’m well aware of that. But i was still holding out hope that there are more people who are open-minded and rational, that majority would make their choice wisely, that merit would eventually prevail over biases.

Alas.

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it.
Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

I regret to say this, but this result effectively extinguished the last flicker of faith i had in people. Or the majority, to be exact. Because majority isn’t always right. Because the decision made by majority isn’t always the best. And being selected by majority doesn’t make you the best person out there. It just means more people find you more favorable given the circumstances and thus are more willing to vote for you. Still, i was crossing my fingers that the best candidate would win. Political analysts and social media influencers keep mentioning how today’s voters have matured and are smarter, and i wanted to believe in that. We did it in 2012 and 2014, so i thought scoring a hattrick wasn’t impossible. If anything, this result shows that sentiment points to THE IDEAL situation, which unfortunately is still far from reach in reality.

That this is happening in the capital, whose population should — again, ideally — be more educated, diverse, modern, and liberal is disheartening. We set example and the bar for other provinces, and with the world watching, this is our answer?

I just cannot fathom how someone with around seventy-percent public satisfaction rating does not get a five-year contract extension. Let’s say no one from the remaining 30% voted for him, it’s puzzling how half of the those who were satisfied with his work didn’t either. Putting it in company’s perspective, why would you shaft a high-performing hard worker who’s also clean, steadfast, candid, impartial, and forward-looking for a newbie who may or may not be as efficient as him? Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, no?

They say “actions speak louder than words”, but guess what, honeyed words are more powerful than concrete actions. I personally trust what i see over what i hear. I judge one’s merit and integrity by his/her actions. Because things are always easier said than done, and it’s more important to see if people are able to deliver what they promised. Maybe that’s just me, ’cause majority would rather hear sweet lies than bitter truths.

Perhaps this ‘rule’ isn’t applicable to them, ’cause all they need to do is vote for the one with the same faith. Sigh. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but that’s not all there is to it, especially in multicultural society. Granted, the teachings shall provide a foundation and guidelines in our lives, but when they’re hindering the way you’re interacting with others, maybe it’s time to step back and assess if you’re being too religious. Like, if you’re so afraid to sin by going against a certain verse of the holy book, do you think it’s not a sin to trash, slander, or swear at others?

“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”
~Sukhraj Dhillon

It’s only an election. It’s not the end of the world. Yes, but this result will affect the quality of our lives as residents in one way or another, directly or indirectly, for the next five years. Admittedly, i myself wasn’t in the know of many of the current programs as they’re mostly dedicated to the “little people”, but even then i can see visible changes and progress, especially in terms of flooding, canals’ cleanliness, and the quality of infrastructure. Traffic remains bad but we all know that multiple rapid transit projects are underway which hopefully would ease the congestion once they’re up and running. For almost three decades of my life, i’ve truly felt that we’re in good hands and that the metropolis is heading toward the right direction since five years ago. It is thus saddened me that this long-awaited sense of trust and peace of mind could not last longer.

Many people have poured out their disappointment and thanks for the fighter. While feelings of gratitude can be expressed any time, i think it’s too early to say goodbye as this pair still has six months in office.

Several overseas medias dubbed this election as “a test for tolerance” and we failed it. There’s no point discussing change when you yourselves won’t change your ways. What’s the point of expecting development and progress when you choose solely based on one’s religion?

This is probably why i enjoy watching dramas — ’cause no matter how long and uphill the battle is, justice is always served and the good guys always come out victorious in the end. So, let’s go back to watching dramas, shall we? 😉

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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