So I understand that the PAP is fielding one of its youngest candidates ever - a certain Tin Pei Ling, aged 27 - and that many Singaporean citizens are annoyed. There is a flurry of angry posts and comments on the Internet about how Pei Ling is surely too young, too immature or too inexperienced to be a Member of Parliament.
I do not know Pei Ling. Perhaps she is exceptionally talented and capable. Perhaps she is not. All I can say is that in a normal, healthy and genuine democracy, Pei Ling's youth, in itself, would not have caused such an outcry. Why not? Because:
(1) any adult citizen (barring the bankrupts, the insane and so on) has the right to put herself up for election, and;
(2) all other adult citizens have the right to vote against her, if they consider her to be inadequate for the job.
However, Singapore is not a normal, healthy and genuine democracy. And that is why there is a public outcry. People already know that most likely, Pei Ling will not contest on her own in a single-member constituency.
Instead the PAP will field Pei Ling in a GRC team, under the protection of one or two much more experienced PAP heavyweights. Pei Ling will mostly ride on their strengths, rather than her own ability, to sail safely into Parliament.
And once she gets in, the citizens of Singapore will be forced to live with her youth and lack of inexperience, for at least the next five years.
I pity this country.
Not because of Pei Ling's youth. But because of the GRC system. For two decades, it has been an avenue for the PAP to successfully shoo their weaker candidates into Parliament and shield them from the people's political choice.
And this country then has to live with the sad consequences.