The irrational considerations of the presidential election
Let’s talk money. Not that this election is all about money, but it is an interesting angle to pursue. Let me start by dangling a $24 million carrot to see the temptation. It could be twice or three times this amount. A $650k Toto jackpot is really a peanut compares to this handsome reward. Striking Toto 10 times would only bring in a miserly $6.5 million. And you know how difficult it is to hit the Toto jackpot even once, and 10 times is simply impossible.
With such a big carrot dangling, it is unbelieveable that only 6 Singaporeans would want it. Singaporeans are either insensitive to the temptation of money, or simply idiots. Of course the stringent criteria just said, you need to be very rich and clever to apply. Entering the contest is as difficult as a camel entering the eye of a needle.
The next big mystery is for Tony Tan to quit his two well paying jobs to place his bets on the Presidency. If he loses, he will have lost the two well paying jobs and their huge salaries. If he won, he may win less than what he used to get. Now, which is paying more? The Presidency or the two jobs in GIC and SPH? It is bonkers if the two jobs pay more than the Presidency!
And the daft Singaporeans did not think much of the millions to be paid out for the Presidency. Maybe they did not think it was their money. And when Tan Kin Lian and Jee Say offered to take $2m and $500k respectively for the job, they rejected both of them. The Singaporeans rather pay $4m+ than $2m or $500k per annum to the resident of the Istana. And between the 4, every one of them can more than adequately do the job of the Presidency, all fully qualified and passed by the PEC. They are all suitable for the job.
The only one sensible, or a real gambler, in my opinion, is Tan Kin Lian. He staked $48k plus some expenses for a return of many times more. This is practical reasoning and risk worth taking. I may want to consider placing my bets in the next round.
Now, how much did it cost to hold such an election to all parties? The one day of holiday with pay to every worker, the number of hours put in by the election committees and helpers, holiday overtime pay means double pay. The advertising and logistics costs of the candidates. The time and effort of more than 2 million voters also cost a lot of money.
And all the money to vote for a non executive President that can only speak with the permission or advice of the cabinet! A lot of money spent really, for a virtually ceremonial President that many have voiced that they rather not have.
Heard that one candidate sent flyers to every household in the island, assuming 900,000 households at $1 per flyer(postage and sundry), this alone is a cool $900k.
Is it money well spent? I think so, with the jackpot standing at a minimum of $24m or maybe $50m.
Now who dares to accuse Singaporeans of being money greedy? So much money for the taking and only 6 are honest enough to want to have a go at it. And one even gave up more in return for less. Singaporeans are so rich now that money is no longer a useful stimulus to excite them.