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Singapore goes to poll

world Updated: Aug 27, 2011 00:39 IST

Choi Bee Tong makes for an unusual political rebel, especially in Singapore.

The 73-year-old retired school teacher plans to vote on Saturday for opposition politician Tan Jee Say to be the next president, a largely ceremonial position but one that Tan hopes to transform into a platform for challenging government policies in this one-party-dominated state.

Choi brought her two toddler grandchildren earlier this week to a raucous rally with 30,000 Tan supporters who booed, hissed and yelled insults every time a speaker mentioned the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) or the candidate backed by most of the political establishment, Tony Tan. A growing number of Singaporeans are dissatisfied with their government, and increasingly the once-cowed populace is no longer afraid to speak out.

They have been getting a rare opportunity to do so this year because of two elections, one for parliament this past May and one for president this Saturday.

The May election saw the PAP’s vote total fall to its lowest level since independence from Malaysia in 1965.