With polls round the corner, we tell you how you can talk to your kids about the Singapore 2015 General Election process. After all, they are tomorrow's leaders!
Singapore’s General Elections are less than 10 days away.
At the moment elections, candidates, voting, new government are the pretty much what all the adult Singaporeans can talk about. Our children are taking it all in, but are they really understanding what General Elections is all about?
While our primary schoolers are still a long way away from being able to cast their first vote, it is not too early for them to learn about elections; how they can take part in the political process; and how politics impact their lives.
Understanding the electoral process can be complicated, even for adults. So we have simplified into 7 simple facts for you to have on your fingertips to answer the what, when, why, where and how questions from your inquisitive and politically-aware primary school kiddos!
And just for extra measure, we have also included ideas on how you can involve them in this year’s election!
#1: What is the Parliament?
Our Parliament is single house and has three types of Members of Parliament (MPs). They are (i) elected MPs; (ii) Non-Constituency MPs; and (iii) Nominated MPs.
Elected MPs form the bulk and are elected at an election on a one-man-one-vote system based on simple majority.
#2: What are SMCs and GRCs?
Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) or Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). Each SMC elects 1 MP while each GRC elects between 4 to 6 MPs. Within the GRC MPs, one member must be from the Malay, Indian or Other Minority Communities.
The rationale behind this was to ensure that the minority groups are represented in Parliament. Examples of SMCs this year include Fengshan, Hougang and Potong Pasir while examples of GRCs are Ang Mo Kio, Marine Parade and Aljunied.
If your kids love maps, you may wish to show them a map of electoral divisions using the link below: http://www.eld.gov.sg/elections_map_electoral.html
#3: Who gets to vote?
Any person who is a citizen of Singapore (holder of a pink IC); ordinarily resident in Singapore; is over 21 years of age, and has his/her name included in the register of electors is entitled to vote.
Here is how you can involve your child: Get him to make a list of all members of your family. Now ask him to put on ages next to everyone names. He will see that Mum, dad, grandma and granddad get to vote, but he and his siblings don’t. You can get him to add in the number of years before he and his brothers and sisters get to be 21 – that would be the year that they would get to vote. He can see how long he has to wait!
Alright, here he may have a question about about why your Amah (domestic helper), despite being over 21, will not be voting. This is where you need to talk to him about citizenship. Tell him even though she is an adult residing in Singapore because she is not a Singaporean. Relating these aspects of election to everyday life will help your child better understand and connect with the political process.
How do explain some of the more complicated aspects such as nomination and polling itself for the Singapore 2015 General Election process to your child. Read on to find out.