On the 17th of August 2015, we went down to the heartland areas with the intention to interview Singaporeans to seek their opinions about the upcoming General Election. However, there was a change in our plan but we still managed to conduct a few qualitative interviews with some elderly under the blocks of Ang Mo Kio.
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Talking to a few of the elderly in Ang Mo Kio, I faced the same issue of people not wanting their identity to be known. Yet, they were very opened and passionate to share without the presence of the phone recording their voice. The fear to speak up could be due to consequences they think may happen. Or maybe, I should brush up on my persuasion skills instead.
# 1 – RETIRED CHINESE MAN
- This uncle had seen us interviewing another uncle and was curious to hear what was going on. I sprung on this chance to interview him as Si Ying continued on the conversation with another uncle.
PAP is Good
This was what he expressed “PAP treats the people well. Equality. They do help the people. PAP is the best. They give the elderly who do not work $500 each.” (*as seen in the above picture). When I asked him to share why he supported PAP, he emphasized that PAP was very good. When I probed further, I was left again with the same answer.
Infrastructure Development and Provision of Services
He then told me to take a look at the surrounding infrastructure and services e.g. Dialysis Centre. When I queried about his family views, he eagerly mentioned that even his wife and children were pro-PAP. When I asked why he did not want to consider the opposition parties, or anything he felt PAP could do to improve, I received the same answer – PAP is very good.
Food For Thought:
Could this be blind allegiance? Or pure gratefulness for what PAP has done? Or even both without realizing?
#2 – 60 YEAR OLD CHINESE WOMAN
Stability and Presence
When asked why she supported PAP, she gave the answer “assurance” swiftly. When I probed further, she agreed that it was because of the contributions PAP has done for the people. “What about the presence of the Oppositions?” She replied that yes, she saw them before at the market and even shook their hands but nevertheless, PAP will still ultimately be her choice 🙂
Food For Thought:
When we stick with the old, will it bring about change to the new?
#3 – 70 YEAR OLD CHINESE UNCLE
- We had approached this uncle – asking if he was interested to share his views, but he rejected us. Surprisingly, he changed his mind later as he came running back to catch up with us, and asked what all these was about.
Affordable Medical Expenses
He stays in a small room flat with his wife who has a prolonged illness. He takes public transport 2 times a week and has no issues with our transport fares. When asked why he supports PAP, he says that he do not like to take risks, as PAP has “stability”. He also finds our Medical expenses affordable even though he has little savings and has to take care of his sick wife. He appreciates the Silver Support Scheme.
Pioneer Generation Package
He feels the Pioneer Generation Package has many subsidies such as 50% off for subsidized services at Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs) and polyclinics. When we brought up the Oppositions, he implied they were not consistently active, only showing their presence during GE period, and having to pay $1 for their newsletter.
High Cost of Living
One area of improvement he feels can be made better is to lower the cost of living, which he deems as too high. Housing was made very affordable in the past. And as an older generation, he feels the young people do not understand the hardships they’ve been through in the past e.g. having to carry buckets of water to his house.
His Friends feel Medical Bills are too Costly for the Elderly
He shared that he heard from his friends – some feel the medical bills are too still costly, especially for the elderly. There is this perception that the government may jerk up the actual medical fees, to make it look affordable after the inclusion of subsidies. But nevertheless, he’s very satisfied with what the government has done for the people.
Food For Thought:
Has Medical bills been made affordable for the elderly even with the recent changes?
Having talk to 3 pro-PAP elderly supporters, it was very apparent they were all very satisfied and grateful to the past contributions made by the government, and are not opened to the idea of voting in any opposition parties in future elections.
To read part II of our Golden Years interview – click Reality check!
[Offbeat Perspective’s Interviews]
Category: “Unique Passions”
Category: “Unheard Voices”
Category: “Public Interviews”
Category: “Amos Yee Saga – Citizen Journalism”
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Written by: Cass
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