austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

It is the ball that's rolling on

It's official: President S R Nathan has, on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, dissolved parliament. Nomination Day is 27 April, and the big question is going to be whether the People's Action Party will have enough uncontested seats to form a new government a week from now, or will the opposition parties be organized enough to put together enough candidates that they actually have to wait until Election Day, 9 May, before the People's Action Party returns to power. Still, it's altogether faster than it takes the United States electoral process to decide not to have debates if they're going to ask the candidates math questions.

This is also the first election they've had in which the blog menace is to be confronted. The preliminary rulings are that as blogs are not explicitly mentioned in existing election laws as legal campaign media they can't be used to advance any party. Among the other trivia that my mind has already accumulated: there are nine nomination centres. Between 11 am and Noon on Nomination Day candidates have to go to the appropriate centre with their nomination papers, statutory declarations, the Political Donations certificate, their proposers, seconders, and assentors, plus a deposit. The deposit is S$13,500, which is eight percent of the total allowances payable to members of parliament for the past year, rounded to the nearest five hundred dollars. The Returning Officer, Tan Boon Huat, ``has approved twelve symbols which candidates can use for their identity'', according to Channel NewsAsia, which I'm sure means something.

And now this unrelated piece is peculiar. I looked up Wikipedia's entry on Robert Benchley, and -- apart from his name at the article head -- all the letters B were missing. I thought it was maybe a weird Javascript or style sheet freak-out, but other pages worked fine. It's got to be some form of vandalism, but ... why? And why Robert Benchley? Someone upset about the Treasurer's Report?

Trivia: Ram Bilas Paswan, the Janata candidate for Hajipur in Bihar, India, in March 1977 received 424,545 votes from an electorate of 625,179. Source: Guinness Book of World Records, 1982 Edition, Editor Norris McWhirther.

Currently Reading: The Shadow of Alpha, C L Grant. I couldn't escape the nagging feeling the protagonist was always maybe one chapter away from discovering himself to either be on a starship, or be an android, without previously knowing it. It's a hard feeling to explain. It's a 1976 book, but not an overpopulated world -- Grant went for the other 70s menace, the series of backstory wars killing off most people. An interesting world-building bit is the note that people want to live in good-sized communities; thus, the government is making of androids to bulk up the apparent size of town and city populations. It also has that endearing 70s silliness of ramming words and city names together, like ContiGov (Continental Government) and PhilaYork (a really greater metropolitan area) and such.

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