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The 2015 Singapore Swing: Depoliticised Polity and the Kiasi/Kiasu Voter


Chin, J, The 2015 Singapore Swing: Depoliticised Polity and the Kiasi/Kiasu Voter, The Round Table, 105, (2) pp. 141-148. ISSN 0035-8533 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 The Round Table Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1080/00358533.2016.1154383


The results of the 2015 Singapore general election (GE) saw the Peopleís Action Party (PAP) reverse the decline in support of the past few GEs. Many writers cited as some of the key reasons for PAPís strong showing: a flight to safety, the superior PAP campaign, the personal popularity of Lee Hsien Loong, the 50 years of Singapore's Independence (SG50) feel-good factor, changes in government policies since 2011, direct government subsidies to the pioneer generation, the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, and the mainstream mediaís attack on the credibility of the opposition. In this paper, the author offers an additional explanation, that is, the underlying causes of the PAPís electoral success were the policies laid down after Singaporeís independence and some key cultural traits of this island nation. The policy of depoliticisation led to the creation of a social contract under which political liberties were voluntarily sacrificed in return for economic growth and prosperity. The author further argues that the cultural traits of kiasi and kiasu tipped the balance in favour of the PAP when voters decided that the outlook for the Southeast Asian region was negative and Singapore needed the PAP to steer the country during this period of uncertainty.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Singapore, general election
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Chin, J (Professor James Chin)
ID Code:107571
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2016-03-18
Last Modified:2017-05-10

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