Tag Archive | "GE2011"

National Day giveaway! GE2011 commemorative book up for grabs

National Day giveaway! GE2011 commemorative book up for grabs

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Behind every picture is a story. So here’s one…

By Belmont Lay

The book cover. Click image to see page samples.

A picture paints a thousand words. Which is why you should get a copy of GE 11: We Were There.

It is filled with nothing but page after page of glorious pictures. Translated into words, it can outsize the Bible. Or Kishore Mahbubani’s post-White-Man-triumphalism thesis.

This commemorative magazine is shot and published by the finest talents to have come out of NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (yes, they have more talents besides cussing). It shall be destined to be a collectors’ item — in about 50 odd years’ time.

Which is why New Nation is putting one copy – valued at the original price of $11 – up for grabs.

(Details of contest at the end of this article. If you asked, politely, yes, it can be arranged. I can ask Nicole to sign it.)

However, in this day and age of 140-character prose, a thousand words is a tad long-winded.

So I’ve no choice but to narrate the following story using 150 words per picture.

Just to convince you how poignant images can be. And how there is in fact a story behind every picture.

—–

Check out this screen shot of Nicole Seah taken from this RazorTV video.

It is misleadingly titled “Nicole Seah downcast after election” because “downcast” should have been substituted with “willing to cut a Faustian bargain if she could sleep for just two hours more”.

This half-minute interview segment is shown from 1 min 02 sec to 1 min 36 sec.

Now check out this picture: This was the scene about 15 minutes before the press got a chance to speak with Nicole.

About seven reporters and their crew gathered at the lift landing of a rental block of flats in MacPherson estate, obviously looking not very pleased (except maybe one of them).

This was, after all, May 8, the day after polling results were out and the Opposition were victorious because they secured 39.9% of votes.

Elections were effectively over but the poor reporters could still get no rest.

They could have been home making love, nurturing their children or eating chips while watching TV half naked, but no, they had to be out and about to interview Nicole.

But before they could even do that, they had to deal with her two-bit election agent (that would be me, yours truly).

On a Sunday. Imagine that.

Anyway, the story was that the press were really desperate to speak with Nicole because they needed a quote and some footage so they could go back to the office and string it into something coherent enough to be published or uploaded.

And they were hell bent on getting it.

But my task was to stall them because Nicole had to speak privately with a resident and the press was intimidating.

So after I beat them to the sixth floor lift landing by using the stairs while they breezily took the lift up, I pretended I knew which way Nicole went as the corridor split two ways.

“I’m sorry, I cannot let you all through”, I said pointing to one corridor randomly, before continuing, “you all will have to wait here…”

So for 15 minutes everyone stood around whinging until a half-naked old man came out of his apartment wondering just what the hell was going on.

Which is why you see this creepy-looking half naked dude in the background of the RazorTV interview.

He was doing what the press probably wished they were doing: Spend Sunday at home half-naked, eating chips and watching TV…

And having obviously picked the wrong corridor to barricade using my skinny-assed frame, Nicole emerges from behind everyone after another five interminable minutes of waiting and at that moment I could sense at least seven people wanting to throw me off the building…

———-

Contest details: Tell us what’s the funniest thing that comes to mind when you think of Dr Tony Tan’s hair and mark your tweet with @newnationsg and #tonyhair. Deadline is August 13.

Best answer wins. You’ll be asked to email us your address so we can send the GE 11: We Were There to you.

Or, you can simply purchase a copy online at MixMedia.

Mending a broken Potong Pasir

Mending a broken Potong Pasir

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Sitoh Yih Pin remains silent while police try to disperse petitioners in Potong Pasir.

By Fang Shihan

Sitoh Yih Pin has some very large shoes to fill

THE show ain’t over till the fat cat sings. It’s been 3 days since Potong Pasir was lost to PAP man Sitoh Yih Pin and still, the former opposition bastion seethes with indignation. It’s not difficult to see why this would be the case: Sitoh won by a mere 114 votes, or 50.36%.

The winner could have been either party had the 242 spoilt votes been properly cast. Or if the rumors that after including overseas voters, the winning margin was only 79 votes, were true.

Potong Pasir’s split along political loyalties – between the Chiams who’ve served the longtime residents for a good 27 years, and any PAP man who’ll dispense infrastructure upgrades like Santa Claus.

Since the ol’ fort fell, various pages have been set up on Facebook in support of Chiam, including one petition calling for a re-election (http://www.facebook.com/PotongPasirPetition). The petition has nearly 14,000 likes at this point.

Beyond a Facebook page, the organizers have also called for residents to sign a physical petition at Block 108, where Chiam’s Meet the People’s sessions used to be held. This message spread via Facebook as well as SMS.

According to one resident, Tim (not his real name), a crowd of less than 50 people were peacefully gathered outside the office around 630pm on Tuesday. The crowd consisted of residents, former residents and supporters of Chiam who had travelled down to sign the petition.

Yet when he tried looking for the petition, all he saw was a piece of paper was pasted on Chiam’s table, stating that the petition was cancelled for the day.

photo courtesy of Faris Mokhtar of Yahoo News

This was apparently because the police had been visiting the area every half hour, asking the crowd to disperse since 4pm. There was no riot van (the big red one) present but 8 white police vans and a few traffic police motorbikes were spotted.

When New Nation called one of the organisers at 815pm, she denied that the petition was seized, though the campaign was now restricted only to the residents of Potong Pasir. Non-residents were advised not to come down.

Now with the facts established, you’re probably wondering: what’s the fuss about? Elections are over so shouldn’t people move on?

Put it this way. Sitoh Yih Pin is a difficult man to like. Especially if you’ve been a longtime resident of Potong Pasir. After the results were announced, he thanked the residents for giving him a “strong mandate of more than 50%”, and subsequently went on to deride Chiam supporters by saying “for those who didn’t vote for me, please cooperate” in another speech.

No transcripts of these juicy bites can be found so you’ll have to take New Nation Man’s word for it. Because he watches a lot of local TV.

Residents who were present during the 2006 elections would also remember the street lamps that were built, and then left unrepaired when Sitoh lost the battle, leaving in a huff. Even longer-term residents would recall the NTUC supermarket that was yanked from the estate when the constituency fell to Chiam, and the bus services that were discontinued.

If you’ve been in Potong Pasir your whole life, you’d hate the PAP for their discrimination, and you’d worship Chiam for his village chief attitude towards even the most menial of things, like clearing the rubbish with the residents.

But the votes have spoken, and 50.36% of Potong Pasir has voted for Sitoh to be the next chief. The man has some huge shoes to fill, and nearly half the local population to charm over.

For a start, he’ll get some massive street cred by doing his MPS at the ramshackle void deck that Chiam has been using. Then maybe follow up by chillin’ at the hawker centre with a cold beer before overseeing the cleaning of rubbish personally. Unlike other PAP constituencies, merely kissing babies just doesn’t cut it in the former opposition stronghold. Respect must be earned.

If that’s not enough, Sitoh could also extend an olive branch by enlisting Chiam as consultant-at-large. After all, like George Yeo in Aljunied, the man has years of experience running the town and would be an invaluable resource. This could potentially save Sitoh from a lot of embarrassment as Chiam knows what flies in the town (keeping S&C charges low, keeping the kampung spirit, rustic environment and unique identity), and what doesn’t (multi-million dollar shopping centres, promenades and facelifts into facelessness).

More importantly, Sitoh must understand that wounds must be healed. He has not spoken a word since yesterday and one can only assume he’s waiting for the tide to blow over before plonking his ass in town, expecting all to be hunky dory.

The silence sir, is haunting.

A virgin’s dream: When Lee Kuan Yew admits to loving Singapore, even the opposition

A virgin’s dream: When Lee Kuan Yew admits to loving Singapore, even the opposition

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Marvin Ng fantasises about an unlikely happy ending this elections.

THE Worker’s Party wins a GRC and a number of SMCs.  The next day, the Minister Mentor goes on TV and gives a national address.  He begins by congratulating the opposition and then Singaporeans.  Then he tells us that he is very happy to see that we, Singapore as a country, has matured.

He explains that the significant victory of the opposition, despite the sticks and carrots from the PAP, shows that we, Singaporeans, have a backbone.  And that it shows that we care more than ourselves, but also those around us.  At this point, he pauses and pulls out a disc.

He explains that he made the video on the disc a few years ago.  He continues… he knows that he is not getting any younger and is saddened to see his compatriots passing on, one by one.  These men, whom he has fought together, were exemplary Singaporeans who had spent their entire lives to uplift the lives of all Singaporeans.

Like them, he is worried about Singapore and whether we will be able to take care of ourselves when he is no longer with us.  He then explains that he has made the video so that it can be shown at the time of his passing… his final message to Singaporeans, one which he has hoped would spur us on.  He then plays the video…

We then see a slightly younger MM, perhaps in the early 2000s.  MM in the video explains that if we are seeing this, it probably means that he is no longer with us.  He explains that the video is his parting words to all Singaporeans, the people that he loved.  He apologises for being a bit too harsh on us and that his intention is good i.e. to make us stronger (more or less like Tiger Mom).  More importantly, towards the end of the video, he describes the ideal Singapore that he would have loved to see before he died.  A Singapore where people are cohesive, able to think critically and courageous enough to fight for the country.

He explains that fighting for the country includes taking the government to task if they think or feel that it is no longer doing a good job.  He adds that he has always been worried that the PAP will become too successful, so much so that it is able to brush the people’s will even when they screw up.  He was afraid that Singaporeans may never reach the level of maturity and have the gumption to do something about it when that happens.

Next, he also explains why he is so tough on the opposition.  He has set the bars high and created many obstacles for the opposition to overcome.  He believes that only when the opposition is able to overcome these obstacles and still be able to reach out and touch the people, will they be worthy to represent the people.  He wants opposition candidates that are of the same or better calibre than the PAP.  The video concludes with him lamenting how he wished he could be there in a point in the future when Singapore has reached this ideal state.

He ends with an optimistic note that Singapore will get there some day and he wishes us all well and thank us all for our support.  It ends with “I love Singapore and I love you all.”

Cut back to MM.  Wiping tears from his eyes, he explains that he can now go with peace in mind. He compliments various opposition leaders (the worthy ones, for example, Chiam See Tong, J.B Jeyaretnam, Low Thia Khiang), current and past, for their courage, commitment and passion to serve.  He again apologises to them for being tough on them and hopes that they can see through his “tough love” and be able to forgive him.

He encourages the current and future opposition leaders to strive harder and make sure to kick the PAP butt again should it falter, like this current election.  He acknowledges that the current team has failed in some aspects but hopes that together with these new opposition leaders, new ideas for ways forward can be devised.  He explains that no one in the current administration, including the Prime Minister, knows of his true feelings about this and the video.  He promises to have a good discussion with the PAP team (PM and his team going to get an earful).

Lee Kuan Yew now talks to the people.  He wants us to work hard for ourselves, our children, our family and for Singapore.  He wants us to put aside petty differences and always consider the good of the country and our fellow Singaporeans.  He hopes that one day, we will be a gracious society and one that has a strong sense of nationhood which transcends language, race and religion.  He wants us to give our full support to the government and yet be mindful and be ready to play our part should it falter.

He ends… “me and my colleagues can only do so much… the future is up to you and children and your children’s children.  Make us proud…”

Vote responsibly, say ‘No’ to arrogance

Vote responsibly, say ‘No’ to arrogance

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I am 27 years old and I am voting for the second time in my life. What do I want out of my vote?

By Belmont Lay

Lee Kuan Yew

Young peepur..I dare you to vote opposition...go...vote...vote...see what happen..

THE PAP mantra is to be everything and anything to Singaporeans, even when it amounts to nothing logical.

They are determined to give you both the ruling and opposition voice; a Swiss standard of living even though your hard earned cash is locked up in your HDB flat; plus, carrots and sticks to treat and beat you over your head with once every GE. 

They’re so good they give you all the problems and solutions so you will never run out of either.

Not only that, I also realised the PAP can give you the question and answer – all in the same day – if you happen to read the local papers.

In Today on April 30, there is an article where Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam asked: Dear opposition, come up with concrete examples where PAP have been arrogant or else what you’re saying is hot air.

Shanmugam’s assertion is that there are no such instances (because you see, rather ironically, PAP is very humble in making such a strong assertion in the first place) and the opposition are just mudslinging, especially during the rallies.

By a stroke of luck, in the same day’s copy of The Straits Times, I found that concrete example.

Lee Kuan Yew said: “If they (the Aljunied constituents) choose the opposition, then I say, good luck to them. They have five years to ruminate and to regret what they did. And I have no doubts they will regret it.”

Paraphrasing, Lee basically said: “Young peepur… You vote lah… vote…I dare you to vote…go…go….later you regret don’t say I never tell you..go…”

Solid? His Leeness’ point is that property prices in Aljunied GRC will go tits up simply because… well, I really don’t understand how but he insists it will because he thinks he is god (which is stupid because everyone knows Chen Show Mao is God and the property market has many interlinkages that will not be easily affected due to the imposition of some piss-headed artificial boundary scheme called the GRC.)

There you go, Shanmugam, your concrete example that PAP is arrogant.

His Leeness’ statement is reeking with so much overbearing hao lian-ness and hubris that I guarantee you, many young folks like myself are going to vote Workers’ Party in, or rather, vote George Yeo and company out, if given the chance.

Why am I so sure?

Because His Leeness has the cheek to say that property prices will go down if Low Thia Khiang and gang make it into parliament. Then you hire Mah Bow Tan to cool property prices for what? For fun?

While we’re at it, might as well ask voters to vote in more opposition to tame the property market as a whole. Firing Mah will save taxpayers some and he won’t be around to make a hash out of everything anymore.

But that’s not what’s getting my goat today.

What is really getting my goat is this talk about talent and how the PAP possesses every damn device to locate them.

You hear a lot about this PAP machinery churning out talent like nobody’s business. Going toe-to-toe with all else out there, they have what it takes to form the next leadership.

Right? Well, right my ass.

As far as I’m concerned, the only semi-proper account of how this talent-scouting works is given in His Leeness’ memoirs in which he talks about countless tea sessions doubled up as opportunities for character assessment and clinical psychological testing like those used to spot astronauts.

Okay. First major rebuttal: After countless rounds of tea and some testing, the PAP throws up a 27-year-old jackass?

What kind of herbal tea have they been drinking?

And second point of rebuttal: Hello? Nicole is in the National Solidarity Party… Oh wait. Even better still. Workers’ Party opened their doors and hearts one fine day and in walked God Himself.

So, here’s the point of today’s missive: I want more out of my vote. I want it to be a humbling experience.

And here’s another driver-vehicle analogy: I refuse to barrel down the street blind-folded in a school bus with my future children inside when the PAP is at the driver’s helm. It’s bad enough that Mah’s sitting in there with me; the PAP has to keep telling me it’s all nice and cosy (supposedly like a HDB flat Mah built) when I know I might turn turtle.

Look, I’m not going to trust anything you say simply because you think you have our mandate to say it.

And if you honestly think that you really do have the mandate, you are just being arrogant.

Again.

Caveat: Author is the election agent and boyfriend of Nicole Seah. Read with discretion.

Virgin voter flies back from America

Virgin voter flies back from America

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Nothing can stop you from voting, if you really want to.

By Edmund Tee

Edmund and Michele – both wanted to come back to vote, but the kids decided he was the more expendable of the two.

THERE’S this guy I know who maintains that he was a technical virgin well into his late twenties.

All through his teenage years, his stint in the army, then university, and career, he dated a good number of women and was physically active with many of them, but never went all the way despite the hormones racing through his body and nether regions.

I guess it was a deal his mind made with his libido – he still gets teased about it by his wife today for saying he stayed a technical virgin for so long until he fell head over heels in love with her.

Well, my political experience is quite similar, because for lack of a better way to say this, I’m a “technical” Virgin Voter. I’ve never voted, but I’ve gotten to what I suppose is Third Base.

As a citizen, I’ve persuaded others to vote, rooted for and cheered for candidates, helped when I could, and commiserated with the underdogs. As an ex-journalist with the mainstream press, I’ve had to follow and cover the electoral process, sometimes to my disappointment and frustration.

So yes, I’ve done every thing but vote. This is because I live in Braddell Heights, which became part of Marine Parade GRC after a close contest inthe polls of 1988 and 1991.

Since then, it has been walkover after walkover. UNTIL NOW.

Ironically, I now live abroad, in Seattle, USA, and so my engagement with the elections came a little late – almost too late. But thanks to my friends on Facebook, it became clear to me that this election was going to be far different from previous ones. Thanks to Facebook and YouTube, we had unprecedented access to the opposition.

And I liked what I was hearing and reading. I especially liked what a level-headed, mature, and smart advertising executive from the opposition had to say.

So, on the evening of Sunday, April 17, I decided I would register on the Singapore Elections website as an overseas voter so that I could travel to Washington, DC, to cast my ballot. Sadly, given the time difference, Sunday night was also Monday morning on April 18 in Singapore, and the Writ of Elections had been issued.

For those of you back home, this meant that overseas voters who had failed to register before then would no longer be allowed to vote abroad.The only way to vote would be to travel back to Singapore.

And so, for this Election Day, I will take time off work, leave behind my wife and kids, and sacrifice a significant amount of my monthly income to flyback to Singapore to have my Electoral Cherry popped.

As it turns out, thanks to the creative restructuring of electoral boundaries,when I step off my early morning flight, bleary-eyed, on Election Day, I will be heading into the key battleground constituency that is Marine Parade. How will I vote? That’s for me to know, but I leave you with this quote from a man that is respected in Singapore and across the world.

“Let us shake off this oppressive shroud of sycophancy and unquestioning homage to authority. For if we just drift along, we may get to a positionwhere it is not only wrong to talk, but also wrong to think.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, New Year’s Day Message, 1965.

Nicole Seah: Ground is sweet, looking forward to competition

Nicole Seah: Ground is sweet, looking forward to competition

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Enthusiastic crowd and international media greets National Solidarity Party Marine Parade GRC team at Aljunied and Serangoon walkabouts.

A New Nation exclusive.

Little Nonya shakes some hands at a hawker centre

The hottest thing in Singapore right now, besides the darn weather and Chen Show Mao (who is God-like), is Nicole Seah.

Nicole, an advertising executive, is going toe-to-toe with Goh Chok Tong (not Tin Pei Ling, mind you) as one of five candidates for the National Solidarity Party in Marine Parade GRC.

Who would have thought, right?

What began as an unassuming informal introduction on Tuesday to announce her candidacy, Nicole’s Public Figure profile page on Facebook has since turned into a socialsphere fiesta with 15,000-plus fans and counting. (In contrast, New Nation, has about 333 fans in five months. Nicole took like what? Fourteen minutes after her FB page went “live” to surpass that number?)

She is still trending on Google, trending on Twitter and she even has her own Wikipedia entry.

Best of all, she might just make one of our editors eat his own words for stating rather prematurely that “social media would have limited influence on this General Election“.

Here’s the Little Nyonya, as netizens have dubbed her, in her own words, after today’s Sunday morning walkabout at Aljunied market and Serangoon central where about 50 party members and volunteers turned up to show their, erm, solidarity.

By the way, Nicole (who is goddess-like), is only 24 years old. And she speaks better than Chan Chun Sing, an ex-SAF regular and PAP candidate to be potentially fielded in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

——————–

Question: There was a huge turnout at today’s walkabout at Aljunied market. What do you think about it?

Nicole: We expected a crowd as this walkabout had been publicised over Facebook. The response was really warm and encouraging. For the past 19 years, Marine Parade GRC residents did not get a chance to exercise their vote so we as the opposition don’t know how it would turn out and neither does the incumbent know what to expect. But I think the ground is sweet this time at Marine Parade.

How is the ground sweet?

I’m quite sure some of those who turned up found out about the walkabout online. They were really friendly and supportive and we chatted a bit. But there was a large number of those at the market who had no idea we were turning up. And they were happy to see us there.

And CNN turned up too, no?

Yes, there was a video interview but this is not something to be unexpected. Things are changing, the local media senses it, the people on the ground can sense it and the international media too. And if you saw what the people on the ground had to say, I mean, I’ll describe a lot of them to be “relieved”. Relieved that there is going to be some form of competition this time round.

So what is one issue you noticed in Marine Parade GRC that is of concern to you?

Even as you look at how developed the place is, there are clusters of lower income households and young people who are struggling. The policies that have been implemented in recent years have also affected the middle class to a large extent, with many factors such as rising property prices, rising goods and services taxes, and the depression of local wages due to competition from a liberal immigrant policy. You can see it for yourselves on the ground. If this country wants to focus on economic growth and success, I’m sure many people would not disagree. But what is the point of all these development when you can’t raise the base?

You will also notice that many of the issues specific to the constituents of Marine Parade GRC has expanded to a nationwide scale. What has happened is that the use of GDP growth as a KPI (Key Performance Index) has given many in the public sector, especially officeholders, fat bonuses, while the man in the street continues to feel the pinch from ever-rising costs and stagnant wages. The NSP is pushing for a national focus on wage growth and abolishing taxes on basic necessities such as food staples, so that no Singaporean is deprived of their basic necessities because of the lack of money.

What about your Serangoon walkabout? How did that go?

The funny thing was people in Serangoon didn’t even know which GRC or SMC they belong too. Some were confused that they fall under Marine Parade (GRC). And there was this lady who is well-travelled and calls herself a heartlander, she approached the NSP candidates, shook our hands and even went in front of the media cameras and spoke her heart about what ails her. She said she doesn’t understand what this country has come to. And she was just passing by on her way home.

What is one message you have for the young volunteers here today?

Always remember what you are doing this for. This is not for ourselves, but for our country, for the people who cannot speak up for themselves. We may not see the fruits of our labour in the immediate future, but let that not deter us from putting forward our best shot to make this a Singapore that we can truly call home.

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