What can the presidential rallies tell you?

Posted on 25 August 2011

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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