Sunday, 8 April 2007

Karaoke democracy

The flats where I live are up for the IUP (Interim Upgrade Programme) which means a mid-life pep up, specifically new lifts which stop at every floor (instead of just ground, 5th & 9th floors) and some covered walkways which will make moving around in the rainy season easier. This is Singapore, so although it is 90% funded by the Government. and 5% by the local council, the last 5% must be met by the residents and supported by a 75% majority. Hence it's polling weekend, the info packs being distributed at the beginning of the week by eager volunteers (only 5 days notice eh?). It's a no brainer, really. If you own a flat, there's no way you could get such subsidised value (about SG$1,500 = £500) any other way and your property value will rise. There's lump sum, deferred pension lump sum, weekly payment scheme or even almost complete deferral for indigent cases.

They built a natty info station and polling booth in the void deck, with models, posters, helpful staff and electronic polling machines, carpets and air conditioning. People leave with plastic gifts. All a little over the top.

So why the 2 nights of karaoke? Concerned that participation may not reach fever pitch, they setup a tent with 150 chairs and an all-comers karaoke machine set on stun. There is something heroic about woeful public performance, no matter what language its in. I don't know what it says about the democratic process, I'm just hoping it ends at the promised 10pm and I can get some sleep.