Okay, time to finally write about this.
It was my very first time going through the voting process. I have voted before, but in a casual way, for committee members, presidents, Toastmaster committees, etc..
Again those were very casually done, with raising of hands. The only secret ballot was in Monash University Caulfield, where there was an election for their student council? So I went through the whole walled table then insert the ballot into the box thing. A third party handled the "elections".
Now the time came. After the announcement by the Election Commission
, there was a general electrified air of excitement. The days counted down, the campaigning went beyond overdrive, including massive rallies.
May 5th, 8 a.m. -- The polling station opens its doors for the first voters. According to my folks who went past the area, there was a long queue.
So we had our breakfast, and decided to cast the votes nearer lunchtime.
10 a.m. -- Dad and I departed on foot to the polling station, just a 1 minute walk away to my primary school! We had our identity cards and printouts from the site
as check sheets in case the first counter allocates the wrong voter channel. We also had a small plastic sleeve each to prevent the wet inked finger from staining.
I still find it extremely funny that despite the new identity card that has a 64k smart chip in it, verification is still done manually, with the human naked eye. Though the register is stored on a Commission provided laptop. Election volunteers, appointed by respective political parties and placed in position by the Commission, kept an eagle eye watch on the personnel keying into the computer and striking out the name.
I made sure the strike out was good. It was. Identity card given back to me with a small slip of paper indicating the channel and some handwritten number on it.
Being led by more friendly volunteers and Commission staff, I found myself in a dark dinky area
Surprise surprise the voter channel 4 queue was EXTREME!! They consisted of yuppies, all on their mobile devices checking out stuff, and talking to each other about things that have happened, church services that were cancelled in lieu, skipping church, etc..
I had to wait in this line, inching along, for over an hour. A young cop came along asking in Malay whoever is pregnant can skip ahead. I really should have brought some water. I thought it would be fast.
The official statistics were that 87% of voters turned up to vote.
Just round the corner, I encountered my alma mater
high school across the valley. So you can see how close both my schools were.
|About a third of the school now hangs over the valley with the use of a flimsy looking scaffold. Original plans called for that part to be terraced and a swimming pool added. The principal seems to be same still, though management has changed.|
|There were a few chicks in the queue|
|Passing the stinky and gayly painted pink GENTS bathroom. This seems to be the only change since I left in 1994.|
|Toilet prayer. There is such a thing! It says "ENTER TOILET PRAYER: Oh Lord, protect me with all Your might from the disturbances of male and female satan. EXIT TOILET PRAYER: With all Your hope, all praises to God who cleanses all dirt from my body and make me healthy"|
|Can someone help confirm if in front of me, Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan was having a chat with her three children / granchildren? Sure sounded and looked like her.|
|The school atrium. That old North Korean style megaphone speaker is still seen there at the far end, and the library still is to the left of it. Standard Five and Six is on the top floor. Once a classmate puked in the corridor, there was a waterfall of slimy chocolate milk (from the Govt.'s School Milk Programme) vomit from the drainage pipes as they cleaned it up.|
Once at this point, it is within the hot limit of the polling room, under the watchful eyes of several policemen and Election Commission officials with the polling agent volunteers. Photography of the polling rooms themselves are strictly prohibited and can render the vote null and void. Only media personnel who voted a few days earlier, are allowed to record the rooms.
A little dehydrated and slightly hungry, my hands shivered (with excitement too) as I entered the room. First time voting. This is it!
The first counter read off loudly my voter number and name. I watched for her to cross out my name, she kept gesticulating to me to move along. Hmm... I could have reported, but I did see her cross out the name. I really hope.
The second counter brushed the silly now non permanent ink (to make it halal sigh..) on my left index finger. Quality seems to be that of normal ballpoint roller ink. A little runny. Straightaway I wrapped the finger into the little plastic bag.
|The ink on the nail washed off almost instantly. The rest took about 2 days.|
The third and final counter handed the large sized official ballot papers. Orange for the Parliament, bermuda brown for the Constituency. If I recalled rightly.
Going behind the booth, I used the provided pen, making sure it is a proper pen. Marked both papers, folded it once and headed to the perspex boxes, already almost full.
The old Election Commission warden manning it was very nice and gentle. Told me to fold them another time and to insert them on my own. After that he used a flat stick to push in the vote.
I then walked out as fast as I could back home. Hungry, thirsty and tired.
Met the neighbour along the way and told him of the long line on Channels 3 and 4.
My mum, dad and sister all completed their votes before I reached home.
So that was it. The Opposition still owned my constituency, and the parliament seat is owned by quite a saucy lady Yeo Bee Yin