Tag Archive | Low Thia Khiang

WP is gracious in victory

That’s what I thought of the way the Workers’ Party handled its suprisingly (to me anyway) good victory. At least in the manner Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Lee Li Lian and Ah Huat handled their press conference earlier this morning

They were clearly delighted that their party won quite handsomely: it’s by 3,000+ votes leh and not the the 300 votes that were being twittered around be4 pole faced n squeaky voiced Yam Ah Mee made his pronouncement.

There was no trace of triumphalism among the WP leaders; no excessive and unrealistic ambitions, with Chairman Lim pointing out in answer to a reporter’s leading question. The Opposition with only 10 seats out of 90 in Parliament is a long way from being able to form a government.

So, no, unlike Chua Mui Hoong of the Straits Times, I think what happened in Punggol East last night is no tipping point for the PAP or politics in Singapore — yet.

But the PAP could make it the tipping point all the same if it doesn’t accept defeat with the same graciousness with which WP embraced victory.

Take the PAP’s press conference to concede defeat and congratulate the WP.

The slight smiles on the faces of Teo Chee Hean and Koh Poh Koon were painful to see. They were more like grimaces plastered there out of PR necessity than a genuine acceptance that the majority of citizens in Punggol East had gone with the WP!

Also, i couldn’t help noticing how Mr Teo kept clenching his fists or his impatience in asking if there were “any more questions” –that wasn’t a real invitation for more but a signal to close for the night.

Hopefully what I saw last night was just the natural human reaction to an unexpected and unwanted event and that the simmering disappointment and/or anger at being rejected wouldn’t be carried over to the handing over of Punggol East’s Town Council infrastructure to the WP.

Otherwise Punggol East could go down in the PAP’s history as the truly tipping point 😥 😥


Poor Png, poor WP, you will lose…

…. Hougang. And on my birthday too :razz:!

Which is a pity after WP leader Mr Low Thia Khiang had held the ward and SG enthralled for 20 years

I think the success in grabbing the Aljunied GRC and unseating not one but two ministers — plus retaining Hougang, despite Mr Low not being there — might have proven too much for the Workers Party to digest.

Here are the nettles that indicate WP has evolved into something that Mr Low couldn’t grasp:

  • Mr Eric Tan not being given the NCMP seat, despite his far longer service to WP than Mr Gerald Giam. What price loyalty? Are all the WP CEC members equal? Is a party without hierarchy what we want to run SG?
  • The tenuous explanation given concerning Mr Chen Show Mao’s parliamentary speech. (According to Cynical Investor it’s Mr Pritam Singh). Copy and paste may be common practice nowadays but is it OK to do it for a speech to be delivered in the highest place in our country?t
  • The mysterious ousting of Mr Yaw Shin Leong. OK, the official line is that he was a serial philanderer so his “personal indiscretions” weren’t mysterious. But as I’ve stated elsewhere in this blog, I simply don’t buy that as the last straw. Even if it was, where’s the party’s loyalty to him, hey? At least, he’s got enough bigness of heart to send a message to SGreans calling them to support the WP. If I were him, I would say “over my XXXX XXXX!”
  • The equally mysterious antics of long time WP stalwart Poh Lee Guan on nomination day. So, was he on standby or simply nutty?
  • The NCMP taunt to Mr Png Eng Huat. Was it no big deal what he “incorrectly” said? If the minutes weren’t surreptiously released by whatever mole there is/was in WP, would Mr Png have clarified? Still, the use of surreptiously obtained material don’t do the PAP proud either, in my books, even if the text shows at minimum that the Hougang hopeful couldn’t articulate to save himself.  As too Wongs don’t make a White, I wish DPM Teo Chee Hean would give over hectoring Mr Png and the WP on this issue. At minimum, the DPM would inadvertently help WP and Mr Png garner some sympathy votes.

As I dine and wine at the home of HWSNBN this Saturday, I will surreptiously look at my mobile for that text that either confirms or denies my reading of WP’s Hougang chances 😆

Uptight Workers Party’s fatal mistake

On my way home just now, I heard with disbelief on the radio  that Workers Party has expelled its ex-treasurer Yaw Shin Leong, thereby triggering a by-election at the single member seat of Hougang!

I came home and read WP chairman Sylvia Lim’s statement on Mr Yaw on the Internet.

Are the WP and Ms Lim for real? Is this the 19th century or the 21st century?

Yaw Shin Leong has been sacked because he has been “accused of several indiscretions in his private life”, he has continued to refuse “to account to the Party and the people, especially the residents of Hougang…  he has broken the faith, trust and expectations of the Party and People. ”

He was shown the door despite having “been a core member of the Party leadership for more than 10 years, and has made significant and unique contributions towards WP’s growth.   He has also served the residents of Hougang diligently.”

That’s the reward for serving WP and high-moral ground likes of Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Lim! 😥

The Cabal’s decision to expel wasn’t unanimous but was carried by a majority.

Perhaps the WP has taken this “drastic” (Ms Lim’s description) step to raise the stakes against the PAP? If the WP with a handful of MPs in Parliament has one who is promiscous, perhaps, just perhaps, there might be more in the PAP ranks with their overwhelming numbers in the House? Wishful thinking?

If this is the WP’s strategy or ploy, then I say shame on the whole party.

Mr Yaw doesn’t need to be sacrificed like this in an attempt to be cleaner than white.

In any case such a strategy is doomed to failure, because PAP chairman Khaw Boon Wan has already gone on the offensiver by questioning if the WP leadership knew about this side of Mr Yaw before he was fielded for the May General Election

If there’s no ploy or strategy, then all the more the WP seems to have lost its way, suggesting that it is unable to grow big without going to pieces over what in my view is a relatively minor indiscretion — provided the alleged paramour isn’t an underaged kid or had been dishonestly benefitting from the relationship with Mr Yaw at the expense of the party or Hougang Town Council .

Adultery is not a jailable offence in Singapore, the last time I checked; it’s not even an offence if the party most hurt by the betrayal forgives, and I don’t mean the Workers Party but the wife.

By cutting the political ground from under Mr Yaw in one swell swoop, the WP may be ensuring that his marital rift will not be healed.

Let that be on the conscience of all those in WP who think that their MPs in the SG Parliament have to be more chaste than Carmelite nuns 🙄

Let’s hope that Hougang residents will go for substance rather than hypocritical form and that in the by-election, they would vote in Mr Yaw again, whatever ticket he stands on or even if he stands as an independent.

And now for the horrid maths…

There are 2.3 million voters in the upcoming election for Singapore’s next president.

This means that if all the Tans who have been cleared to stand decide to throw down their gauntlets on Wednesday, each will have to garner a minimum of 287,500 votes in order to get back the $48,000 he has put down as deposit to contest.

OK, let’s say for whatever reasons, some 300,000 eligible voters don’t or can’t vote, because they are away or are too ill to go and vote.

That means each candidate’s money-back threshold will be reduced to say 250,000 votes or 12.5% of the voting base.

To illustrate how huge an undertaking this still is, consider that Aljunied had just 133,685 voters and three out of the five Workers Party’s candidates are brand-names among the Opposition, with one having long entrenched himself as the face of Singapore’s loyal opposition.

How many of the Tans in the hopeful quartet can claim to have as firm an image in Singaporeans’ minds as Mr Low Thia Khiang?

How many of the four are absolutely confident of at least getting their money back, the noisy support from cyberspace notwithstanding?

The deposit money aside, there’s the mammoth logistics task on election night. How many of the Tans can muster the required number of polling agents to be at the hundreds of counting centres?

Additionally, what about the cost of campaigning? This isn’t exactly peanuts, even though capped at $600K, one rally and a short campaign period of nine days.

Even if candidates were to keep a tight rein on their expenses, I can imagine it won’t be less than 25% of the permitted amount, or $150K.

So what does this stack up for the potential three losers in a four-horse race? Still a six-figure hole in their bank accounts, even if they get to keep their deposit!

If it’s a renewed profile they are after, surely the money would be better spent buying ad space or time in the media? Or better still, take the money and go on an international conference circuit and network, network! 😆

Eating my words…

On Nomination Day, I wrote a post that said Mr Low Thia Khiang and Mr Chiam See Tong had adopted a sucky strategy by moving out of their long-time strongholds of Hougang and Potong Pasir respectively to lead teams to contest in five-member Group Representation Constituencies helmed by big wig PAP ministers.

I said both risked losing their home crowd as well as the GRCs they targeted.

In the event, I have been proven hopelessly wrong about Mr Low’s strategy.

His team won Aljunied handsomely enough and swept out not one but two ministers, a speaker-to-be and a minister-to-be besides a two-term MP. As for his home base, his disciple Yaw Shin Leong basked in Mr Low’s reflected popularity and pulled in the best-ever percentage win for WP in Hougang!

I was right where Mr Chiam was concerned, although to be fair, he, his team and the party he leads are as different from the WP as chalk from cheese.

His party, Singapore People’s Party, lost both Potong Pasir where he had been for 27 years and also the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC he had hoped to get.

Yet, given his precarious health and how much he and his wife continue to be loved in PP, it might have been better had he had stuck with Potong Pasir.

As his wife was the best performer among the election candidates who stood against the PAP, it seems fair to extrapolate that had he stayed put, he might have been able to oust Sitoh Yih Pin for a 3rd time!

It’s not to be now.

Hopefully, if Mrs Lina Chiam takes up the Non-Constutency MP offer from the Election Department, she too may blossom like WP’s Ms Sylvia Lim. But time isn’t on her side!

Opposition goes for lousy odds

we doing right?

taking on George Yeo

Call it their death wish? Or the way irrational eternal optimists do things?

I’m shocked but not surprised entirely that Mr Low Thia Khiang has upped from Hougang and gone to head a “dream team” to compete in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency.

Yet going by the look on Workers Party chairman Sylvia Lim’s face at the apres Nomination Day press conf, I don’t think she’s entirely pleased by this strategic move.

While I’ve never been enamoured of George Yeo, the incumbent lead at Aljunied GRC, it’s hard to imagine that Mr Low and Ms Lim, together with corporate legal big wig Chen Show Mao (who incidentally looks and speaks uncannily like corporate big wig Ho Kwon Ping) and two others, could actually unseat Mr Yeo and his team.

Ditto for Mr Chiam See Tong and his team tilting to represent Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Ditto ditto for his wife, Lina Chiam, to whom he’s “bequeathed” his long held ward of Potong Pasir.

Of course Mr Chiam is much respected by many Sgaporeans and Mrs Chiam is much-loved by the people of Potong Pasir.

But would the people of Bishan-Toa Payoh want to swap two ministers — unpopular tho both might be among some Sgaporeans — for a leader who is visibly unwell and newcomers like Benjamin Pwee, though he might be a government scholar and articulate?

People may out of sympathy want to wish Mr Chiam and his team well but vote for them? That may be another story.

And it’s the same story from West Coast to Marine Parade. Some may prefer Nicole Seah to Tin Pei Ling but would you swap Chokie for what else besides Nicole on the other side?

Like Mr Low said, possibly prophetically, at today’s WP press conf: “This is a watershed election. We may end up with no elected opposition MP!”

He probably meant that for the WP but it could well apply across the board.

I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong. But unless voting Sgaporeans are willing to make a leap of faith into the unknown, the outcome will be — alas — completely predictable!

Tan Jee Say rocks!

we enjoy ribbing u!

see the similarity?

That was what a dear friend text me yesterday after TJS’s intention to stand as a Singapore Democratic Party candidate became public.

My friend has since added further endorsements.

TJS’s “sound bite last nite on gratitude vs servitude was really good” and “his voice is rather nice too”.

When I asked said friend whether friend would agree with my observation that the SDP candidate-designate looks like Cai Xin Yeh, friend replied “he’s got an earnest face and a nice smile”.

seriously earnest
And that’s the striking difference between the Opposition candidates and some of the long serving PAP candidates.
Look at Mr Chen Show Mao and Ms Nicole Seah. OK, these are political newbies and haven’t become battle worn yet. But then what about Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang? Their faces are all aglow in recent months, despite taking five years’ worth of brow-beating in Parliament!
Perhaps the answers to this mystery are a) when you aren’t running the country, life is easier, because you don’t have the stress of controlling 5 million+ (peeps not $) and b) when you are not all alone running an Opposition Party because you can’t attract or keep followers!
Let’s hope politics won’t take too heavy a toll on Jee Say’s generally sunny disposition! 
Meanwhile, Jee Say, jiayu! The Lunch Party supports your aspirations and wishes you all the best!
Trust the last meal we had at China Box on April 1 won’t be the last time we break bread — scramble for the last pork rib or fried bean curd  — together for too long!