Tuesdays at Ipster Cafe: A Voter’s Confusion

Sep 08, 2015 11.00AM |

by Joshua Ip

I DON’T know about you, but I just feel very unhappy every day and I’ve been feeling this way since campaigning started. Maybe this is how real democracy is supposed to make you feel. Confused and discontented and hungry to know exactly why.

I don’t like rallies. I don’t like the crowds.
The scrum of getting there and bad 4G,
The speakers dialed to hard-rock concert-loud,
The multilingual scolding aimed at me,
Sometimes I feel I’ve gone back fifty years.
Campaigning has stood still since independence.
One big getai. The scripted jeers and cheers,
The empty seat nobody fails to reference,
The plot and characters both paper-thin,
You tell the good and bad guys by their color.
The audience knows each tune before they sing,
When everybody’s singing for their supper.

This is 2015! I would like graphs
And spreadsheets that someone can explain to me
Cogently, in well-formed paragraphs,
Not stadiums filled with shouters, bores and loonies.
We have the internet and all its ways –
Nobody reads a man by how he speaks
These days. I want to see their resumes
Laid out side by side in infographics
Their PSLE scores, L1R5,
CCA points, when they last made the news,
Their list of boy/girlfriends, husbands or wives
Since puberty, complete with top reviews,
Their horoscope, blood type, birth date and time,
Their height, their weight, IPPT award,
Their lifetime total parking ticket fines,
Even their kid’s PSLE records.
I also need day-by-day Power Rankings,
Bookie’s odds, the best Team of the Week,
Each speech subject to multiple fact-checkings
To catch them lying even as they speak.

Because I’m both excited and afraid
That I have a real choice and I must make it
And I don’t dare to cast it easily swayed
By demagogues who simply smile and fake it
But all the news reads like an animal farm
That feeds a public hungry for sound bytes
Too fast to jump at words, swiftly alarmed,
Analysis is either blue or white.
With too many opinions, few hard facts
Now all I am is stuck between diminished
Quotes which I can’t take out of context
And videos which I’m too lazy to finish.


– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.


Featured photo by Chong Yew Kong.

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