She actually meant to say - "I cannot disagree more", as the rest of her letter shows. Funny, the things that ST sub-editors miss. Anyway, here's the rest of the letter:March 21, 2006
Physical distance should not decide right to vote
DURING his walkabout in Serangoon Gardens on Saturday, Foreign Minister George Yeo was asked about ongoing plans to let Singaporeans who are overseas vote.
He was quoted as saying that 'we must make sure that those who vote are ... familiar with the conditions in Singapore and do not, from a long distance, having lost track with what's happening here, affect the political process' as voting is 'a very serious business'. I cannot agree more.
Well, Agnes has made her point very clear, and Mr Wang would just like to add a little to that. The very idea that George Yeo is operating on is pretty scary. His idea is that some citizens should be allowed to vote, and some citizens should not.According to a recent Straits Times survey, there are Singaporeans living in Singapore who have no idea which constituency they are in and who their MPs are. Are these Singaporeans any more in touch with what is happening in the country than a Singaporean living overseas, who keeps track of developments in Singapore via the Internet and other sources?
I think it is time we move away from the idea that physical distance from Singapore affects whether a Singaporean is in touch with the country or not, especially when Singapore is so wired.
Any Singaporean overseas who needs information about Singapore need only walk that short distance to the computer. Keeping in touch depends on a Singaporean's will, not his/her whereabouts.
Agnes Sng Hwee Lee (Ms)
Right now, in democracies around the world, the status of citizenship automatically confers the right to vote, with only one major qualification - you need to be an adult (21 years being the usual official age). One hundred years ago, another major qualification was very common - you need to be male - but that's fallen away; for it's now generally accepted that women are also worthy members of the human race.
But our BG George Yeo seems to be entertaining the idea of a new kind of qualification - you need to be familiar with the conditions in Singapore and you must not have lost track of what's happening here. The ramifications are awesome. Exercise your imagination a little - what is the meaning of "you need to be familiar with the conditions in Singapore"?
Will we see a day when lowly-educated Singaporeans are not allowed to vote, on the basis that they don't really understand what's happening in Singapore? Will there come a time when long-time residents in old folks homes are not allowed to vote, on the basis that they don't really get to see the conditions in the rest of Singapore? Can we imagine a day when any Singaporean who doesn't quite fit into mainstream society (because he's gay, a Jehovah's Witness, a Sayed Baba believer, an ex-convict, an activist, a conscientious objector, a political filmmaker, a Falungong practitioner or a political dissident) is also barred from voting?
Yeah, I'm daydreaming a little. Wandering into the realm of fiction. Just like Orwell, when he wrote his novel 1984. Still, it's interesting ... and scary ...
in the 2004 Canadian federal elections.