Tag Archive | "rally"

S’poreans react to Workers’ Party’s 40,000-strong Serangoon Stadium GE2015 rally crowd on Sept. 8

S’poreans react to Workers’ Party’s 40,000-strong Serangoon Stadium GE2015 rally crowd on Sept. 8

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Three thoughts that must have went past your mind at some point.


The Workers' Party rally crowd making themselves heard at Serangoon Stadium. #GE2015

Posted by Mothership.sg on Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Some 40,000 people attended the Workers’ Party General Election 2015 rally at Serangoon Stadium on Sept. 8, 2015.

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:


sian-half-auntie “Look at all these thousands of Singaporeans giving the PAP the strong mandate they deserve.”
Zuo Zhong Li, 42-year-old pineapple seller


sian-half-uncle “If it wasn’t for SG50 celebrations and Lee Kuan Yew’s death, there would be 41,000 people.”
Fan Dui Dang, 63-year-old muah chee seller


happy-bird-girl “This is to help Quah Kim Song relive his glory days. Thank you Sylvia Lim.”
Tak Giu, 18-year-old amateur footballer










Small turnout causes PAP to hold rally at kopitiam, reservation for 8 pax

Small turnout causes PAP to hold rally at kopitiam, reservation for 8 pax

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Some 200,000 voters expected to be at Workers’ Party’s Simei rally.


The PAP is holding its election rally at a kopitiam with a reservation for eight pax, with speeches being given while supporters order and eat their food.

This after PAP rallies have attracted a small turnout the previous few nights of General Election 2015 campaigning, leaving a lot of room for attendees to drift off and not pay attention to what the PAP rally speakers are saying.

The PAP has since come out to defend their decision of holding a rally at a coffee shop.

A PAP spokesperson, Poh Lan Pah, said: “The PAP has always never been a populist party. That is why we have so little followers and we are generally not popular.”

“But our small following means that we can make unpopular decisions on behalf of Singaporeans as we do not need to consult anyone or hear what the population-at-large have to say because they didn’t even come to our rallies to support us in the first place.”

“It is a kind of retribution, in a way.”

At press time, some 200,000 people are expected to attend the Workers’ Party’s rally in Simei, a popular party in the midst of a hotbed of opposition support and activity.






S’poreans react to Lim Swee Say saying he’s grateful he’s not M’sian now

S’poreans react to Lim Swee Say saying he’s grateful he’s not M’sian now

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Three thoughts that must have went past your mind at some point.


PAP East Coast GRC candidate Lim Swee Say said in Mandarin during his rally on Thursday night, Sept. 3, 2015, that he is grateful Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, or else we would still be Malaysian.

He also said before this statement that he is grateful that his father had taken a boat from China to Singapore, or else, he might be a Chinese citizen.

On both occasions, he said “Heng ah…”

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:


sian-half-auntie “His father should have stayed in China.”
Hui Jia Xiang, 44-year-old hydroponics farmer


sian-half-uncle “I don’t see how Lim Swee Say is a Singaporean benefits me as a Singaporean.”
Ben Di Ren, 62-year-old rag-and-bone man


happy-bird-girl “I wish I could also say ‘Heng ah’, but I realise PAP is still going to form the next government.”
Mei Qian Tu, 17-year-old barista










Voters beg Sports Hub: Let Workers’ Party hold last GE2015 rally there as 200,000 expected to attend

Voters beg Sports Hub: Let Workers’ Party hold last GE2015 rally there as 200,000 expected to attend

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There is no other way Singapore can accommodate such a large crowd.


Singaporeans from all walks of life, who like to attend rallies as they are about getting together and feeling Singaporean, have signed a petition calling on Sports Hub to allow Workers’ Party to hold its last rally there on Sept. 9, 2015, two days before polling day on Sept. 11.

This after 200,000 people are expected to show up for the rally, which will go down in history as the largest Singapore has ever seen.

One Singaporean, See Baey Jee, said: “There are many benefits for Singaporeans to go to the Sports Hub to attend the Workers’ Party rally.”

“One of it is that it will help Singaporeans form very good memories of the place and associate it with good vibes.”

“And the next thing is that it will bring back the National Day feeling, where Singaporeans get together to do great things, such as attend a rally.”

“Lastly, it is a very SG50 thing to do: Celebrate Singapore and what it means to be Singaporean.”

“Which is to vote Workers’ Party.”






PAP: ‘Our rally increased by 50% more people, Workers’ Party rally shrunk by 5%’

PAP: ‘Our rally increased by 50% more people, Workers’ Party rally shrunk by 5%’

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We are getting better over time, PAP said.


From 50 people attending the rally in GE2011 to about 75 people this year, PAP’s rally attendance breaches new heights.

It appears that the tide is turning in favour of the PAP.

This after the PAP reported that this year’s first General Election 2015 rally held at Radin Mas SMC experienced a much better attendance compared to last GE2011 rallies.

A PAP source said the number of people who attended increased by an impressive 50 percent.

And this must be bad news for the Worker’s Party. From various reports, it was mentioned that their rally crowd size shrunk from 100,000 to 95,000 over a four-year period, representing a five percent decline, marking a new Low (pun intended).

Only 95,000 attended the Workers' Party GE2015 Hougang rally, marking a new Low (pun intended).

Only 95,000 attended the Workers’ Party GE2015 Hougang rally, marking a new Low (pun intended).

At the PAP rally, it was reported that the people in front of the stage blossomed from about 50 attendees previously to approximately 75 in total this year as the PAP breached new heights.

Although mainstream media reports claim that PAP rallies attracted several thousand people, it has to be noted that this figure takes into account all the people living in the HDB blocks of flats in the background who are within earshot of the rally site.

It also includes counting those living in the flats who should have been alive today, if they hadn’t died.

One PAP activist, Poh Lan Pah, maintained that his party does not take drastic steps to ensure participation and all attendees are volunteers.

He said: “The 75 people who attended tonight’s rally do so out of their own volition.”

“We only prevent them from going to the bathroom during speeches as this will open up some gaps in the crowd. And the speaker might be too demotivated to speak if he or she sees it.”






Besides plywood, PAP also hoarding onions

Besides plywood, PAP also hoarding onions

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Plan is to help by-election candidate induce crying on cue to win votes.

A colorectal surgeon is expected to be PAP’s candidate to contest in Punggol East SMC by-election. But the question is: Can he cry on cue? (Photo stolen from Yahoo!)

Over the past few days, the PAP has been importing large amounts of plywood from Malaysia – an indication that the by-election at Punggol East SMC is around the corner.

Plywood is used as a backing for election posters to make them stiff. Without which, election posters will be hanging on lamp posts all flaccid, unlike Michael Palmer’s dong.

However, plywood is not the only material the PAP is allegedly buying in bulk.

Sources close to the party say they have also started hoarding large amounts of onions.

Up to four tonnes of it to be exact.

It is understood that half of the onions will be used by the Punggol East SMC by-election candidate to practise crying on cue.

This is to replicate what Desmond Choo achieved during his Hougang by-election rally in May 2012, although it is not known if he sniffed onions. Or drove his palm into thumbtacks. Or bit his tongue.

The leftover onions will be pulverised and unleashed as a mist into the atmosphere during PAP rallies to induce salty water to come out from all the other speakers’ eyes.

No time for LOL. :( Desmond Choo garnered 3 percent more votes when he shed tears during the Hougang by-election rally in May 2012.

As well as from the eyes of rally attendees, which the mainstream media will no doubt say number in the thousands.

When in fact only about 75 people will show up.

Based on evidence accrued in the by-election held at Hougang SMC last year, it was discovered that crying helped PAP’s candidate, Desmond Choo, garner three percent more votes.

His showing, nonetheless, was estimated to be the same even if the PAP fielded a cactus. Quite a sad case, indeed.

But it should be noted, that unlike the last by-election held in Hougang, there was no AIM fiasco hanging in the air like now.

Or striking foreign workers snafu every other month.

Plus the fact that PAP’s Michael Palmer vacated his MP seat after porking a woman who is not his wife, unlike Yaw Shin Leong, who only allegedly did likewise.

Therefore, some tears will be necessary.

‘WP was unprepared and had little clue about what to say’

‘WP was unprepared and had little clue about what to say’

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The most sarcastic coverage of the Workers’ Party’s first by-election rally stolen from someone’s Facebook note.

The by-election rally crowd at Workers' Party's first rally on May 19 to kick off the by-election fever.

I had my bag of popcorn out, awaiting some fireworks from the first rally of the much-anticipated Hougang by-election and I was not let down as the Workers’ Party produced the high-levels of entertainment that they are known for dishing out in their speeches.

Substance? Nope, there was no room for that, as the WP energised the crowd with a series of blunders, highlighting once again that they are nothing more than a motley crew in blue.

Candidate for Hougang, Png Eng Huat, led the series of mind-boggling and bewildering statements, that littered the WP’s arsenal.

We all would have heard the 5C’s that Singaporeans have been associated with over the decades but the ‘semi-retired businessman’ added a new dimension to the Singapore yuppie trend by adding another C.

Quite ironic that someone with a Beatles haircut would fashion himself to be a fashion icon, but Png strangely took the opportunity to use his maiden rally speech in these elections to introduce Singaporeans to the ‘Private C’, whatever that may be. (Editor’s note: I have no idea what the hell this sentence means.)

Then, in typical mafia “godfather” fashion, Png took on a new avatar and assured Hougang residents that should they vote for him and “the family” of WP, their children would be protected and never be bullied.

The strangest and most unexplainable moment of the night came when Png littered his speech with calls of “Hougang is not on sale” without any attempts to create any context for his comments.

Party chairman Sylvia Lim added to the mysterious comments of the night when she accorded a significant portion of her speech to describing the geogprahical shape of the Hougang constituency ranging from a trapezium to a parallelogram.

Maybe Ms Lim was trying to use her knowledge of geometry to convince the crowd that she was still relatively young and closer to her school-going years, than most would believe.

Whatever it was, the party chairman showed clearly that the WP was unprepared and had little clue about what to say other than to engage in some old-fashioned PAP bashing on national policies, without offering any substantial alternatives.

The WP is focusing on this national agenda and avoiding ‘local’ Hougang issues, as it has been disengaged from the ground there for too long and is incapable of feeling the pulse of the ground.

Maybe what Png was trying to say was that the Hougang people cannot be sold this time.

In which case, he would be right. Trouble is, none of us, not even his party can understand what he is trying to say.

That is an alternative voice indeed!

This was first posted on Peter Lock’s Facebook wall. It has been paragraphed and edited for punctuation and spelling errors.

Tan Cheng Bock, the super moderate

Tan Cheng Bock, the super moderate

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Psst… Got 30 seconds? Here’s everything you need to know about Tan Cheng Bock’s indoor rally.

Tan Cheng Bock has a special talent.

He appeals to anyone who doesn’t care about or who isn’t motivated by higher order, sexy issues such as freedom of speech, social justice for ex-political detainees, gay rights, abolishment of the death penalty, democracy, human rights, right to assembly and the like.

If you want someone who is perceived to be prim and proper, ultra-practical, docile, do-gooder, not prone to boat-rocking, open-book, straight as a flag pole, cleaned, cut and shaved like the protagonist in a Channel 8 drama series, damn it, then Tan Cheng Bock is your only hope as president.

The indoor rally at Singapore Expo on Aug. 25 featured children, friends, colleagues and ex-patients who provided nothing but kind anecdotes of Cheng Bock the village doctor who gets paid in kind, Cheng Bock the selfless giver of his time, Cheng Bock the altruistic good Samaritan, Cheng Bock the harmonious, pro-assimilation multiculturalist, Cheng Bock the healer of all men, Cheng Bock the far-sighted prophet who sought and received free parking on Sundays, Cheng Bock the grassroots leader, Cheng Bock the unifier, Cheng Bock the synonym for independence…

At that rate, it could have been Cheng Bock who just walked out of The New Testament.

However, Christ he isn’t, as he couldn’t resist taking a pot shot at our dear Tony Tan.

Cheng Bock said Tony shouldn’t have painted an ominous picture of the future what with “dark clouds” ahead and mentioned Tony’s recent resignation from GIC, a sovereign wealth fund that manages a part of our national reserves, as a cheap shot to show that Tony is more an establishment man in comparison.

Cheng Bock also mentioned his position as chairman of Chuan Hup Holdings, his role in saving it from financial crises and turned it from a marine equipment company to an investments holding company. Sort of like a ‘mini-Temasek Holdings’, if you wish.

He is also pretty proud of the fact that ING Asia bank asked him to be a director in 2008.

So will he win?


Sharon Au tries to give rally speech

Sharon Au tries to give rally speech

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Ex-television talking head mentions changes she observed in Singapore having been away. And then tells audience to vote for Tony Tan.

Sharon Au, a former talking head who went to Japan and France to study in 2005 after a career in TV land, marked her return to Singapore just four months ago with an inaugural presidential rally speech yesterday at Boat Quay in support of PAP’s popular choice, Tony Tan.

Au, shouting as if she was speaking, talked about the changes she observed upon her return.

She said while channelling her television persona, “The skyline has changed, the MRT system has changed, and even the people have changed.” Read the full story

What can the presidential rallies tell you?

What can the presidential rallies tell you?

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A lot, apparently. From who can capture the people’s imagination to who might just lose his deposit.

By Belmont Lay

Without a doubt, among all the candidates who have held rallies thus far, Tan Jee Say has attracted the most number of people.

No, seriously.

If you ever find yourself having to read an online tread discussing the real number of attendees to Jee Say’s rally, which in his case is interpreted to be between 8,000 and 30,000, you know you’re on to something big.

So big, in fact, that the number is disputed because no one can seem to grasp just how big the crowds swelled to when the Toa Payoh stadium was brimming with bodies.

I mean, you wouldn’t find any dispute about the attendance at a PAP rally. Especially during the General Election, where about 45 to 46 people attended. All of whom easily countable because many are retirees into their second childhood and they don’t dart about making counting an impossible task.


To prove that he is different – an independent man with independent thoughts campaigning from an independent platform – Tan Cheng Bock will be the last candidate to hold his evening rally, which will be at the Singapore Expo Hall 8 on Aug. 25.

Very unusual indeed, considering that the Singapore Expo is not even listed as one of the approved rally sites. (He must be quite independent to come up with such an independent venue.)

It is unclear how Cheng Bock managed to secure the approval for the use of this site.

Well, I guess being an ex-PAP man helps.

And his speakers will consist of no one – well known to the public, that is.

Cheng Bock also wants a “dignified gathering”, nonetheless, unlike those rowdy, guns-blazing rallies.

In other words, it will be boring.


Tony Tan’s lunchtime rally of convenience was at Boat Quay, beside UOB Plaza.

This has traditionally been a rally site used by the incumbent’s first-among-equals: The Prime Minister regularly flocks there during the General Election to bang on about something, or change tack and say “Sorry” this year for a bit of novelty.

Not that it’s hard to imagine why.

The business district rally site is popular with the PAP, and hence convenient for them, because it ensures an audience, what with the office-types milling about post-lunch.

If you recall, the attendance at PAP rallies throughout the General Election was piss poor, a testament to the notion that leaving the incumbent to their own (de)vices on any regular day to tell people what they think, they would barely draw a crowd.


Lastly, what about Tan Kin Lian’s rally?

Anyone fighting online about how many people were actually there?

Anyone knows anyone who went there?

Anyone worried the ex-NTUC Income CEO might lose his election deposit and be $48,000 poorer?

Nope, that’s right, nothing. Because that’s also precisely how much interest he is generating at the moment.

Looking spiffy, Jee Say

Looking spiffy, Jee Say

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What went down at Tan Jee Say’s Toa Payoh rally last night? Read it here in two minutes.

By Belmont Lay

So what does Jee Say hope to be as Singapore president?

He wants to change the direction of the presidency to reflect what people aspire it to be.

Simply because people want a president who has the courage to question the Government that is resting on its laurels or trying too hard to maintain the status quo.

He says, “The government of today is not the government our parents entrusted their lives and families to in the decades past.”

“This government needs to be challenged and checked if we do not want them to be complacent”.

I think this is needed and has more value for money because a president shouldn’t be paid a lot every year to walk around East Coast Park for as long as he likes.

Tan Jee Say also defended his career record. He says it is “not uncommon” for people in the financial sector to explore other job offers and move within the sector. He attained his goals during his time at one job and simply moved on.

I think that is acceptable. Because only people in elected office get to change job titles while staying still. Like Goh Chok Tong. From Senior Minister to Emeritus Shemeritus. Or His Leeness, from Senior Minister to Minister Mentor.

And so what if Tony Tan had ex-talking head Sharon Au as a speaker at his lunch time rally? Jee Say had the golden voice and ex-deejay Petrina Kow as emcee.

Petrina even hosted a 30-minute Q&A segment towards the end of Jee Say’s rally.

And what were the other high points last night? Rally speakers took pot shots at Tony Tan.

SDP’s Vincent Wijeysingha said, “I will not vote for those who defend the right of the government to hide information about GIC from us”.

Here’s a factoid: Tony Tan was executive director and deputy chairman of GIC from 2005 to July this year, when he had no choice but to quit because he wanted a raise (and more time for slow walks, perhaps) – he wanted the job as this Republic’s president.

Another factoid: GIC is a sovereign wealth fund that manages a part of our national reserves (and some of its investments did go tits up at least once during Tony’s time there).

Another speaker, Professor Paul Tambyah, senior consultant in infectious diseases, attested that Jee Say “is not the kind of person who will interrupt somebody in the middle of a response”.

This is alluding to Tony, who besides looking overly cautious a good part of the time and unable to muster a firm handshake with plebeians during others, still managed to pull together some opportunism to cut Jee Say off mid-sentence during The Online Citizen forum.

Lastly, Jee Say was decked out in a sharp suit for the night. His entire entourage was in formal wear.

Verdict? Jee Say earns brownie points gunning for style despite the sweltering heat and humidity to convey a sense of gravitas.

The Q&A segment, besides providing a glimpse into in life, also softened his image since he has been lambasted for being a tad rambunctious and confrontational.

Most importantly? Tan Jee Say comes off looking like he has a personality.

Unlike Tan Cheng Bock, for example.

Tip for the PAP: Build a church

Tip for the PAP: Build a church

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To win the next generation of voters, it needs to do something it has sucked at doing: Getting emotional.

By Terence Lee


I WILL never forget the day I attended the Worker’s Party rally at Serangoon Stadium, where the crowd of 40,000 roared in laughter whenever the speakers slammed the PAP, and where Singaporeans, led by the booming voice of Pritam Singh, recited the national pledge like they meant it. Putting it mildly, it was an awe-inspiring moment when we worshipped the sacred values that guide our nation.

It felt like church.

The only PAP rally I attended, which was in Yishun Stadium, was lame by comparison. There, nubile cheerleaders attempted to rouse wrinkly seniors to cheer, grassroots leaders sang praises of the PAP candidates for half-an-hour, and a small welcome party was planted to drape garlands on Shanmugam and Co. like they were kings.

And many in the crowd were not even true-blue PAP supporters. No pun intended.

Sure, there were small outbursts of spontaneity here and there, but it was nothing like what opposition commanded during their rallies.

The stark contrast signals an affective divide between the two camps. Sure, some of the opposition candidates are questionable, and some policy proposals downright ludicrous, but they have won the battle of attracting organic, ground-up support.

Even in the online sphere, the paragon of democratised participation, the discussion appears to be overwhelmingly anti-PAP.

So it’s pretty well-known that the pews for the Church of Lightning has been empty for decades, which means there are only two reasons why they are voted in again and again: Sheer technical competence and Lee Kuan Yew.

Sure, the PAP has to tweak and rethink some of its existing policies to win voters back. But more than that, it needs to win the hearts of both the online and offline community.

In the past, they had Lee Kuan Yew. With his charisma, intelligence, and iron-fist leadership, he brought Singapore out of the slums and inspired songs of praise. Schools were named after him, and even the uniquely Singaporean title of Minister Mentor was created for his sake.

Brutal as he may be, it’s hard not to like that son of a gun.

Fast forward to today. The Old Man has now stepped down from The Cabinet, leaving the son in charge. No doubt that PM Lee is an okay speaker, but I wouldn’t call him Obama-esque. But that’s okay, surely his party branding is there to pick up the slack?

Not really. Not when being “struck by lightning” has become a byword for the government’s heavy-handedness.

Sure, filling stadiums at rallies has never been an accurate way of predicting vote share. But it is a symptom of a deeper problem: Lack of emotional connection to the PAP.

Going forward, what the PAP has to do now is to win affection back from the 40 percent of Singaporeans that voted against them, and the untold numbers who voted for them only because the opposition sucked.

It’s time for the PAP to take a leaf from churches.

Religious entities excel at doing one thing: Building a strong network of supporters. A very successful one, City Harvest Church, attracts about 13,000 worshippers every week (despite its money-sucking practices, which makes it even more amazing).

Churches are successful at fostering strong emotive connections through music, social bonding, and preaching. They enforce moral values through weekly reminders at the pulpit, through monetary donatons and charitable work in social welfare organisations.

That is what the PAP needs. Instead of winning voters through facts and figures alone, it needs to encourage organic support in both online and offline communities, on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as well as in the kopitiams and neighbourhoods. It needs to address the moral issues that irritate voters, such as the unfair playing field in politics against the opposition, and the lack of a social safety net for the poor.

The PAP needs to carry a new message; a new vision. And they need to execute it. It needs to bring tears to my eyes, like George Yeo almost did.

Lee Hsien Loong, sad to say, cannot be the torchbearer of the new PAP because he is too tainted already. We need a new personality to front a rebranding effort; someone with a clean slate. Less boring old geezer, more Stevie Tyler authenticity (Chuan-Jin, I’m looking at you).

Relying on the Singapore brand like it did in the past will not do. As the last elections has showed, Singaporeans are now more comfortable with divorcing the Lightning from the Merlion. By voting in the Worker’s Party, they are comfortable with the idea that PAP/LKY is not Singapore, and vice-versa.

Sure, filling stadiums at rallies has never been an accurate way of predicting vote share. But it is a symptom of a deeper problem: Lack of emotional connection to the PAP.

Rallies also serve a useful purpose: It’s at such mega events that affiliations are reinforced, and thousands are inspired by the political pulpit.

In the next half a decade, the PAP will have to do a better job of becoming viral (not in the Tin Pei Ling way, please). For years, they’ve been saying that politics should be rational, calm, and measured. Yes, we need that. But voters are human beings: We need to be inspired, entertained, and engaged.

And when all the right buttons are pushed, that’s when we click that ‘share’ button on Facebook.

Low Thia Khiang: PAP not playing fair

Low Thia Khiang: PAP not playing fair

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The Worker’s Party chief says PAP sets up barriers to stop opposition parties from getting involved in grassroots activities.

Photos and text: Terence Lee

WORKER’S Party Secretary General Low Thia Khiang, speaking at Bedok stadium, whacked the PAP on Saturday night for making it tough for opposition parties to serve residents.

He was responding to criticism from Sengkang West PAP candidate Dr Lam Pin Min that opposition parties disappeared from contest grounds after the 2006 elections.

Low mentioned that because new constituencies are often created at every election, it is impossible for them to appear in a “previously non-existent ward.”

“We certainly would love to do more to reach out to the residents, but do you know we are kept out by barriers set by the PAP?” he said.

The first barrier he mentioned was that Town Councils in PAP wards have rejected applications by the opposition party to hold dialogue sessions and forums at the resident’s void decks.

Second barrier is that opposition parties cannot set up physical premises to launch activities in PAP constituencies. The PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which is a network of pre-schools, is able to rent property from the Housing Development Board (HDB) for cheap prices. As a result, they can sublet space to the PAP.

“That’s why you see that every constituency there is a PAP branch, which is usually next to PCF.”

“Sometimes, some foreign reporters who come to Singapore to interview me, and they wonder, why we conduct Meet-the-People’s sessions at the void deck. So much for a first world nation.” – Low Thia Khiang

The Worker’s Party has no branches. And since they have no access to PCF facilities, their only option would be to rent from the open market, which is too expensive.

Furthermore, opposition parties are handicapped in their own constituencies.

“Sometimes, some foreign reporters who come to Singapore to interview me, and they wonder, why we conduct Meet-the-People’s sessions at the void deck. So much for a first world nation.”

PAP MPs, on the other hand, get to do such sessions in a facility of their own.

Opposition MPs are also disallowed from using Community Centres to organise courses and activities for residents, while PAP MPs can do so. “I thought community club are meant for community, not for propelling the PAP’s interest!”

He added that in Hougang, where he was an MP, the defeated PAP candidate became the grassroots advisor through the People’s Association, a statuary board promoting social harmony. Government bodies worked through him instead of Low, and when his town council paid a sum to the HDB for lift upgrading, it was the PAP candidate who announced the initiative instead. This allows the defeated candidates to gain a foothold at the next elections.

So, while the government says that the political playing field is fair, Low firmly denied that is the case.

“When they ask me to play a game of soccer, they use a goalpost smaller than the ball!”

Make political parties, messages more accessible to the real world

Make political parties, messages more accessible to the real world

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The Reform Party pre-election rally taught me one thing: There is a large offline population yet to be reached.

By Belmont Lay

The heavy rain did not stop the Reform Party from carrying out with its activities (more photos at the bottom).

EVERYONE inside the interweb appears to be easily riled. Either that, or they look like they have an agenda, a bone to pick and/or an axe to grind.

And it appears being loud and boisterous is the only way to get any sort of attention and the force of the argument usually lies in how many sentences you can type to make a point (or until you die) and HOW MANY OF IT ARE IN CAPS.

That is why I am hell bent on bucking the trend and insist on others doing likewise, come elections.

This is something I learnt from yesterday’s pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park organised by the Reform Party.

Amidst the speeches and the pitter-patter of the downpour, there was a woman who was handing out palm-sized handwritten notes with URLs of The Online Citizen and The Temasek Review.

She said, “We all know how Singapore media is all censored and these are the only places you can find the truth.”

Before I could politely tell her that a lot of the content found on TR are paraphrased articles from The Straits Times, she scurried away possessed by her belief that she was, er, I don’t know what she believed in, but she had a stack of handwritten URLs to pass on.

And before I left the rally, I bumped into an astute middle-aged uncle who was there because he heard about the event from the mainstream press.

We had a 20-minute conversation despite my broken Mandarin and his halting English. But the gist of it was this: How many middle-aged aunties are in the audience at the rally? How many belong online? How many speak English?

For those who weren’t at the rally, the answer to that is… none.

Here’s the point of this missive: If any political party wants to better achieve a sizeable chunk of votes this election, turn your party into a symbol that can be distributed as a car decal, fridge magnet or poster. Also, don’t forget to summarise your key policies into cartoons and speak Hokkien.

Make your party logo as ubiquitous as Nike, or even better, a “Stop” sign, and you’ll stand a better chance of winning.

Reach out to the heartlanders inside the HDBs and banish the false sense of security an online presence tricks you into having.

Because the interweb might be good for words but the real people you want to reach out to don’t go inside there, don’t know and don’t care just what the hell you’re trying to tell them.

Not even in Hong Lim Park.

  • Reform party members and spectators whip out their umbrellas and put on their raincoats as it starts to pour. The sky is unforgiving throughout most of the event, lightening up only towards the end. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • While some spectators braved the rain, others watch from an unused amphitheatre sitting at the opposite end of Hong Lim Park. According to some Reform Party members, they are forbidden by the police from using the theatre since it is not part of the Speaker's Corner. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Alec Tok gives a fiery speech from the podium, while a volunteer shelters him with an umbrella. 45-year-old Alec has worked on films like 12 Storeys and A Big Road, and was a former director of the SAF Music and Drama Company. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • RP secretary general Kenneth Jeyaretnam looks pensive as he awaits his turn to speak. He seems at home and comfortable at the rally, making enormous strides since his first political event. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Kenneth seeks to leave his imprint on the Reform Party, and he has done so with an academic approach towards tackling economic issues. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Like many others, Kenneth has gotten down and dirty with them, and his shoes are proof of it. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Soaked tee-shirts, rolled up jeans, and muddied shoes are the order of the day. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Kenneth has made a point to engage all who were present at the rally. He is seen walking around the field and the amphitheatre engaging the audience. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Ditching her shoes, Jeanette Aruldoss fires off a passionate speech against the mandatory death penalty. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • The British journalist listens intently to Jeanette's speech about the mandatory death penalty. He is a keen follower of public affairs in Singapore. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Towards the end of the rally, the crowd becomes sparser. Their enthusiasm seems muted, perhaps because of the gloomy weather. Photo: TERENCE LEE
  • Gestures of opposition unity have become routine at almost every political event in Singapore. At the end of the rally, Kenneth reveals that the party will be organising a football competition for opposition parties and NGOs. They better hope it won't be declared a political event. Photo: TERENCE LEE