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A Ballot Box’s Soliloquy

(Source: Straits Times)

They say your vote is secret. That, according to my knowledge, is true. Not even I can see your votes churning away inside me, much like how you can’t see how your heart beats physically. Occasionally a glimpse of light shines inside the otherwise dark interior of mine, but no eye can peer into the people’s mandate until polling day ends.

Don’t worry about me knowing your votes though; I would barely be alive in six months’ time. I’ll be locked up in the Supreme Court with my brothers and sisters, all filled with the mandate of the people in shades of black and white, understating your fiery passion of party colours. And not before long, we will all be nothing but ashes. Perhaps these are the ashes that you build a new Singapore upon, when the people have spoken and the direction of this country is casted into a cross.

Within these short metres that distance you voters and me, is a space where every Singaporean counts.

I’ve met my fair share of Singaporeans today; from manicured nails to hardened calluses, from the whiff of nicotine in their fingers to ink-stained, correction fluid-marked hands putting their vote to count. Within these short metres that distance you voters and me, is a space where every Singaporean counts.

Some spend little time to vote, marking their decision across the piece of paper that holds Singapore’s future. Some dwell upon their choices and ponder upon what is there to come. Whatever there is, for once every four years, you as a citizen have the power to choose; to turn the tables; to decide the country’s direction. No more shall any party or government tell you what to do, as you made your mark, you can walk with ease towards me.

Some of you wake up at 8am on the dot to vote, others come at the closing hours of the day. Some even missed it all, and I can feel the emptiness of their votes. It gets heavier every year ironically, a choking feeling surrounding my breath, but alas I am just a box.

I am time, frozen at this moment, alone with each and every voter, in this space devoid of posters and rhetoric, silent and quiet, without any semblance of political affiliation. Maybe except for the colour white that graces us. Nothingness surrounds us. It is just you and I, I thought.

Maybe a nation’s calling struck upon you like lightning, or a heavy future hammers you down in an uncertain economy.

Maybe a nation’s calling struck upon you like lightning, or a heavy future hammers you down in an uncertain economy. Perhaps you find solidarity with progress, reform or anything that puts Singaporeans first – be it returning power to the people or actualising true democracy. Whatever there is, today it is just you and I. With those few little footsteps, you marked your choice in Singapore’s history.

Your fears and your passions, your dreams and your aspirations, and your family. At the end of the day, all you voters want is a better Singapore. Well, it doesn’t matter to me; I’ll be dead in six months’ time. But I’m here to make it count.

Shao Kai Chng
Chng Shao Kai is a first-year History major. On weekdays, he mugs, drinks milo-ping, takes his love on adventures, and saves snails. On weekends, he works at a bookshop, sells The Shadow Of The Wind like hotcakes, and drinks teh-ping. He is only as strong as his weakest knee.