After a four-way race in the presidential election in 2011, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam got the most votes (although by a thin margin) and was sworn in as the 7th President of the Republic of Singapore, and the 3rd elected president, on 1 September. Congratulations, sir! And so, I shall not touch on the different candidates’ suitability for the post or arguments concerning them or their parties which have definitely been internet fodder in so many websites and blogs. Instead, I will say a bit about the campaign publicity materials.
One thing I like about Dr Tony Tan’s campaign (which I’m sure has the advice from the PAP) is that his publicity materials do not bear his name nor his face. They have his icon of dark-rimmed spectacles and his ‘trademark’ purple.
That makes the items such as caps more ‘usable’ after the elections than those of the other candidates’. For example, what happens to the T-shirts with so-and-so’s face and name after the election campaign? Gets thrown to the corner of the house, never to be worn again, I’m sure. Who wears them after the campaign period? And then, they might even become rags. (gasp!) So you end up wiping that stain or that spill with the losing candidate, his face would be cleaning up the mess! I think this would be disrespectful for the person whom you used to support. What a pity.
Many years down the road, Dr Tony Tan’s name would be in the records and history books, while those who fought with (and against) him during the elections would be forgotten (Tan who?) unless their name is etched somewhere in some memorabilia. I’ve read in the papers that even those who don’t support the candidates take home the items such as caps, T-shirts, button badges and magnets just for that purpose, a memento that proves them being a part of history. At least then, their names would not be forgotten that easily, unlike a previous presidential candidate whose name slips away almost as quietly as the man himself.