Tag Archive | Potong Pasir

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!

He gave his looks for Singapore

Mr Chiam See Tong shown on TV tonight at the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange trying to distribute pamphlets to passers by was a heart-breaking sight.

Worse was when he was interviewed by Mediacorp.

His bent head; his barely audible voice. Even at this stage, he is hoping to go from Potong Pasir, a single member ward, to the Biashan-Toa Payoh Group Respresentation Constituency.

I remember his first attempt at getting into Parliament. It was back in Cairnhill when Cairnhill (and indeed the whole of Singapore) was a single member ward.

My home then was behind the Hyatt Hotel. So I was naturally a Cainhill voter.

If by looks alone, then Mr Chiam with his trade mark Volksvagen Beatle would have won hands down against his opponent, PAP strong man Mr Lim Kim San who was far older and crustier.

Well, Mr Chiam didn’t win that first time.

This time round he is 30 years older and not in the best of health.

But what he has going for him now is the fact he is one Singaporean who loves his country so much that he has willingly given up his looks and health just to be heard.

Give the man your vote?

Chiam as he is today 😦

Chiam as he once was


Pictures grabbed from the Internet 

Mr Low Thia Khiang, please don’t …

  • … leave your precious Hougang Single Member Constituency for a Group Represenation Constituency and/or
  • allow your Workers Party to get involved in a three-corner fight, wherever that might be!

I’m making this appeal for the sake of fellow Singaporeans, the Opposition and yes, even the PAP which needs credible opponents!

I’m making this appeal because from recent media reports (see sample below) it looks as if you may be rail-roaded that way by the best intentions.

avoid that wrong move!

Yours is a credible Opposition voice which isn’t all about hammering the PAP, or the FamiLee, or simply Opposition for Opposition’s sake, just because the mighty US of A has “it” and so has the once-mighty UK.

Rather, Mr Low, you and your WP chairman are the kind of MPs who I think even the PAP won’t mind having on its back benches, checking and balancing the inner cabal of the Cabinet and other party big wigs.

So don’t lose that voice — nurtured over two decades and four election victories — with some ill-advised move to a GRC.

You will not be any lesser a leader or sect-gen if you don’t stand in a GRC.

By all means have the WP contest a GRC or two or as many as your party resources can bear: just don’t get involved in 3-corner fights, whether in a GRC or SMC. You know what will happen in three-corner fights, no matter what one self-appointed cheer-leader of 3-corner fights says.

As i said in a previous post, have you heard of any of the PAP Big Three moving out of their GRCs in order to prove they are true leaders and have pulling power? Did any of the Ministers quit their safe home ground to try and wrest Potong Pasir from Mr Chiam See Tong or Hougang from you?

Instead, it was mostly left to newbies to try and try!

The PAP’s is a tried and trusted strategy. Bear that in mind when contemplating to hand Hougang to one of your proteges!

OK, so Mr Chiam wants to go for a GRC. That’s not a good reason for you to do ditto. A true leader needn’t imitate anyone else, especially when that anyone else isn’t the best strategist bar none!

Good luck, Mr Low.

PAP is great but the Opposition is certainly getting better! So don’t lose that hard earned momentum with wrong moves!

Essential to win a GRC, says WP’s Low
04:46 AM Mar 14, 2011
by Teo Xuanwei

SINGAPORE – Winning a Group Representative Constituency (GRC) is as much an aspiration as it is a necessity – in terms of ensuring effective party renewal – for the Workers’ Party (WP), going by what its chief Low Thia Khiang said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after WP’s first public walkabout in East Coast GRC, Mr Low expounded on the strategic importance of capturing a GRC: “The Opposition can capture single seats but, to make progress, it’s not that easy. The question always falls back: ‘What happens if … something happens to me? Will we be able to retain Hougang?’.

“If you are in a GRC, perhaps you can ensure a smoother renewal and continuity,” the Hougang Member of Parliament (MP) added.

The GRC system is also the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) “trump card” and also “a mechanism of gerrymandering”, and Opposition parties “have to break through that”, he said.

Breaking the PAP’s stranglehold on GRCs since they were set up in 1988 also presents an opportunity to show that the Opposition can manage a GRC well.

To achieve this target, Mr Low said the party has incorporated “much younger people” into its central executive committee.

“What we are trying to do now is to inject a certain depth into the party … so that you will see that WP is not just led by Low Thia Khiang or (Non-Constituency MP) Sylvia Lim but there will be other younger leaders,” he said. “In the next elections, you will see that the party … will also probably have newer members who can probably play a leadership role, with the maturity and experience in their professions, in their fields of expertise.”

Asked about his slate of new candidates, Mr Low demurred, only saying that it will be a mix of mature and younger members, including some professionals, such as lawyers and researchers.

Party members who were more active in meeting residents at Block 58, Upper Changi Road, yesterday morning were treasurer Eric Tan, 55; deputy webmaster Png Eng Huat, 47; assistant webmaster Gerald Giam, 34; exco member Mohamed Fazli Talip, 29; and ordinary member Angela Oon, 32.

Mr Low, however, declined to disclose who his potential candidates in East Coast GRC would be or whether he would be leading a GRC team at the coming polls, saying all will be revealed on Nomination Day.

URL http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC110314-0000030/Essential-to-win-a-GRC,-says-WPs-Low
Copyright 2011 MediaCorp Pte Ltd | All Rights Reserved

5 fatal mistakes Opposition parties must avoid …

if they want to have bona fide wards in the next Parliament and not just be given the consolation prizes of NCMP seats.

Opposition parties must not

  • Fall into the PAP trap of contesting all the 15 Group Representation Constituencies and 12 Single Member Constituencies. Sure, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said he welcomed such a scenario but there’s no need to do his bidding, surely? To do so would be tantamount to sitting at roulette trying to ensure a win by putting chips on all the numbers. The punter (for which read Opposition) will win — on one number but lose on all the other 36, giving rise to the scenario put so congently by Yawning Bread here.
  • Have three or heavens forbid even four corner fights because there will be only one sure winner in this: the PAP.
  • Let Mr Chiam See Tong contest in a GRC. While most of us admire Mr Chiam for all the right and wrong reasons, admiration for the elderly politician may not be enough to garner him sufficient practical support and faith based on which residents hand over the running of their homes and lives for the next five years to him, especially when he doesn’t appear to be in the best of health and hasn’t similar machinery like that of the PAP should anything adverse happen. Better to convince him to stay put in Potong Pasir where he and his devoted wife Lina are well-known to residents and well loved. Best for the Chiam See Tong legacy to come out of his last election (assuming he will retire from politics at the election after next?)  a winner, than a loser.
  • Let Mr Low Thia Kiang contest a GRC either. He is younger than Mr Chiam; he appears healthier too. But it is in Hougang that he can depend on the embedded loyalty he’s built up over the elections with the residents. As the leader of the Workers Party, he may feel he should lead a GRC team, rather than be stuck in a SMC. However doing that is to buy into the bait that the PAP is dangling and could lead him ending up as an NCMP. Opposition big wigs tempted to leave the security of their roots should pause and ponder: why haven’t MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh ever wanted to leave Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade to try their luck elsewhere? Because, silly, that’s their home base! That’s a lesson Messrs Chiam and Low should take to heart.
  • Take what my internet pal Petunia Lee calls “the streams of internet invective sloshed all over public internet forums and in blogosphere” as the real thing straight from the heart of the Singaporean electorate that will translate into landslide voter support come polling day. Alas, alas, the overwhelming majority who are going to vote will either never have touched a computer or no longer have time or interest in the continuous stream of poison against the PAP, because the accusations and complaints have become so predictable and same-old same-old that their creators could possibly regain their passe appeal only if they sang a different tune — which they can’t!

So, dear Opp members and leaders, don’t say Auntie L didn’t warn you! Like all Singaporeans, I want some Opposition voice in Parliament: because that chamber’s made for dialogue, not soliloquy. 🙄

Politics is baaad for your looks!

This picture below has been ripped off the Online Citizen website. Take a look at Mr Chiam See Tong. How different he looks from the days when he burst onto the political scene to contest the Cairnhill constituency where I had only recently bought my home.

He wanted to make a difference; to help Singaporeans articulate words and thoughts that had not been homogenised by the PAP machinery. He stood in the election against a PAP strong man, Mr Lim Kim San.

He lost naturally. Though I am sure he wasn’t without his supporters, overt and covert.

Have his efforts been worth it — for himself and his family? Would the Singaporeans he sought to serve and finally got to serve in Potong Pasir think it’s been worth it — for him and for those who voted for him general election after general election?

For a PAP version of what politics can do to your looks, I can think of at least two instances, when the chaps had started out suai ger and are today well, worse for wear — that surpasses anything that can be attributed to the ravages of time.

They are MP Charles Chong (whom I once thought was the most handsome man in Parliament — foolish me!) and Minister for Education Ng Eng Hen (who is a nodding acquaintance, him having been a colleague of one of my brothers at SGH).

So whether Opposition or Ruling Party politics, they are simply baaaad for your looks. 

Perhaps Dr Finian Tan (something of a good looker) — a deal-maker who returned from the US, joined our Ministry of Finance and widely expected to be in the PAP line-up of new candidates at the last general election but didn’t make it to the stage in the end — has had a lucky escape! 😀