There is a video going around about students who are smaller built getting bullied by a student who is bigger. The video shows the bigger student hitting and slapping two students who are smaller built. The two boys being hit kept their heads down and did not retaliate.
From the video, we can see that there were other students in the classroom. There was even an adjunct teacher. However, no one stood up to the bully. No one. Not the other students, not even the adjunct teacher who was in the room. It seems that in the presence of a bully, the bravest thing that the students can do is to take a video and post it online.
The video has since gone viral. Many people are outraged by the actions of the boy. Many people have said that there is no place in Singapore for bullies. Even the Ministry of Education has said so. It seems that we really cannot stand it when someone bigger sized uses his size to torment someone smaller sized and also uses his size to scare other people into inaction.
But why is our outrage at bullies restricted to school bullies? There are many other bullies all around in Singapore. At work, in public places, and… in politics.
Why are we not outraged when a political party uses its super-dominance to bully other political parties? Why are we not outraged when a political party uses its super-dominance to change the electoral boundaries to benefit them? Why are we not outraged when a political party uses its super-dominance to deprive its opponents of legitimate platforms to reach out to the population? Why are we not outraged when a political party uses its super-dominance to raise the barrier of entry for other political parties? Why are we not outraged when one political party uses its super-dominance to influence the media to be biased in their favour? Why are we not outraged when a super-dominant political party bullies smaller political parties and creates a playing field that is stacked in their favour?
Instead of being outraged, we endorsed them.
There are many who are hopeful that this super-dominant political party will, for the long-term good of the nation, be less of a bully. That they will level the political playing field.
But… Why should they? There are no incentives for them to do so. They respond to one stimulus and one alone – the threat of losing vote share. They only do things in response to prevent the loss of votes. Unless and until they believe that not instituting reforms to the electoral process will cause them to lose significant number of votes, I doubt they will feel incentivised to do anything about it.
To be fair, which political party will want to do anything that helps their opponents? It’s not in their interests. If anything, it is their prerogative to put in as many obstacles as is possible without pissing the electorate off too much as to cost them votes.
So unless and until Singaporeans grow some balls, have the courage and are crazy enough to stand up to bullies, we are destined to have a political playing field that is stacked against the opposition parties.