Tag Archive | "National Solidarity Party"

Presidential results: PAP-endorsed candidates garnered 70% of votes

Presidential results: PAP-endorsed candidates garnered 70% of votes

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3 ways you can report the facts.

By Fang Shihan

White Tans - 3 ways

So quite obviously 65% of the population is not happy with the way things panned out for Dr Tan Cheng Bock and opposition-meister Tan Jee Say. To the extent that newly elected President Dr. Tony Tan had to assure voters that he would strive to win over the two thirds of the electorate who did not vote for him. Shades of Sitoh Yih Pin no?

The mainstream media has been surprisingly tepid on the win. Then again, with former PAP-MPs garnering 70% of the votes, of course there would be room to spare for some negativity, just to balance out the overwhelming victory by the establishment.

But just for the fun of it, New Nation has come up with at least 3 different ways you could possibly spin the news. Enjoy.

Headline: 70% of Singaporeans vote for former PAP MPs
Standfirst: Tony Tan wins with 35.2% of vote while Tan Cheng Bock garners 34.8%.

The ruling party received a resounding stamp of approval from the electorate as both former PAP MPs Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock were the top performers during the presidential elections. Opposition-endorsed Tan Jee Say trailed in third place with 25% of the vote or about 10% less than the runner up. Tan Kin Lian, who led the minibonds protests in 2008 lost his $48,000 deposit after getting only 4.9% of the votes.

Headline: Tony Tan wins by razor thin margin; poor showing for the PAP
Standfirst: PAP-endorsed Tony Tan is ushered into the presidential post, winning by a margin of 0.34% against runner up.

The ruling party was delivered a wakeup call as Dr. Tony Tan, widely endorsed by the PAP, unions and government-affiliated organizations, sat through a recount in the wee hours of the morning. Once considered a shoo-in, the performance of Dr. Tony Tan was considered by many analysts as a barometer of the ruling party’s popularity among the people. Despite having been deputy prime minister, and the executive director of sovereign wealth fund, GIC, Dr. Tony Tan nearly lost to previously little-known MP Dr. Tan Cheng Bock who runs a clinic in Jurong. The former was campaigning on a platform of reform and was widely considered as a non yes-man within the party. Combined with opposition-endorsed candidate Tan Jee Say, the non-PAP vote stood at 59.8%.

Read this better and more xia lan version.

Headline: PAP candidate Dr. Tony Tan wins via split opposition vote
Standfirst: Opposition is blamed for splitting the anti-PAP vote, and installing the PAP into the presidential seat.

Two thirds of the electorate did not want a PAP-endorsed candidate as President. Yet Dr Tony Tan had the keys of the Istana handed to him with only 7,269 more votes than his nearest rival. Netizens blamed Temasek Review, Nicole Seah and the NSP for fracturing the opposition vote by endorsing Tan Jee Say and inadvertently handing victory to the PAP on a platter.

Read Temasek Review — which was down at the time of publication — for a better blamefest.

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

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Speakers emphasise the PAP’s constant presence in the constituency, questions Opposition’s commitment.

By Grace Chew

Photo: STRAITS TIMES

SUPPORTERS shared the limelight from the Ministers of Parliament yesterday night at the Pioneer Single Member Constituency rally by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Cries of “PAP huat ah!”, “PAP Cedric Foo”, “Cedric Foo we love you!” and many other permutations of cheers were sounded by party activists and grassroots leaders, mostly in their 50s and 60s, together with deafening whistles whenever the Ministers asked for response from the roughly 500-strong crowd.

Many supporters sang his praises at the rally. The Indian emcee noted his contributions in the Pioneer Indian Activities Executive Committee (IAEC): “Cedric has done a lot to promote the Indian community through various cultural activities.
He takes part in various Frontier CC and IAEC activities, and even recognizes most of them by face and by name!”

The emcee added that Cedric has drafted letters to the authorities for quality Tamil classes and tuition. “He’s an ardent believer in bringing quality education,” she said.

“In the past, no one would want to live in Jurong. Now it’s a thing of the past. Pioneer has transformed!” said Foo, the ward’s incumbent for 10 years.

Foo mentioned the various facilities as evidence of his decade-long track record: From a “wasted land” to a place where “flats are in hot demand” with Jurong Point 1 and 2; Pioneer MRT; SAFRA Club; Jurong Medical Centre and resident centres. He has also organised 6500 activities for the residents with grassroots leaders, to build the “cohesive and warm community” of Pioneer.

“What warmed me are the sessions we have with the needy people every Monday night over 500 weeks. We have written 2500 letters to help them. We take one family at a time, and do all we can to help them because they’re part of Pioneer!” he said, to a rousing round of applause from a crowd.

In addition to the various cultural activities and facilities he had pushed for, Foo also talked about the influx of foreign workers in the area, a worry bugging most Pioneer residents. He said, “I went to foreign workers’ living quarters to understand the situation.”

He mentioned about building a place of their own – a five-million dollar recreation centre, and successfully seeking permission from the authorities to allow beer to be sold inside their dormitories.

“This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections?” – Cedric Foo

Dangling the carrot for voters, he said that closed-circuit television will be installed at every void deck, and posters put up in a variety of languages to advise foreign workers on appropriate behaviours. He also promised more childcare centres and a new primary school.

In comparison, he said that the Opposition have no concrete action. He asked, “How many outings have the Opposition had with you? How many wakes did the Opposition attend? In the 5 years that they were here, where have they volunteered?” and to that question, the crowd fervently replied “Zero! Kosong! Toilet!” with one even replying they “play marbles!”

West Coast GRC members Lawrence Wong, Foo Mee Har and Arthur Fong were also present at the rally to support Foo. They urged residents to re-elect Mr Foo, who is facing a challenge from National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) Steve Chia.

To the wonderment of the crowd, Mr Arthur Fong spoke in Cantonese about Foo, his “good friend and comrade”.

“I have seen Foo’s hard work in the last 10 years, and I hope you would vote for him!”

More seriously, Foo, a banker, spoke of the Government’s success in steering Singapore through the recent financial turmoil. She advised the crowd to vote for the government they trusted and could get the nation through tough times.

As the former Energy Market and Authority (EMA) chief, Wong observed that many top firms like Shell and ExxonMobil have chosen to invest in Singapore due to her political stability, creating job opportunities for Singaporeans.

Singapore’s health-care system was internationally recognised, he added, evident during the World Health Congross in Paris when global health-care leaders approached him.

“They knew about Medicare, Medishield and Medifund, and they knew our health-care system worked and theirs didn’t,” He said.

He talked about a 70-year-old woman whom he met recently. She declared that she would only vote for the PAP, as she could always seek subsidised medical treatment from polyclinics and hospitals.

Mr Wong then asked the crowd, “Which other government in the world serves its people like the PAP does?”

He added, “This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections? Think carefully before you vote, and choose the party that represents Peace and Prosperity.”

GE results

GE results

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Find out the election results here, as well as who your MPs will be. Map updates will lag.

2011: PAP: 60.1%, Opposition: 39.9%

2006: PAP: 66.7%, Opposition: 33.3%


View Larger Map

White: Constituency goes to PAP

Blue: Constituency goes to Opposition

Update:

2.49am – PAP wins Potong Pasir at 50.36% while SPP garnered 49.64% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 81, Opposition – 6

2.21am – PAP wins Jurong GRC at 66.96% while NSP garnered 33.04% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 80, Opposition – 6

2.10am – WP wins Aljunied GRC at 54.71% while WP garnered 45.29% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 75, Opposition – 6

2.03am – PAP wins Choa Chu Kang GRC at 61.20% while NSP garnered 38.80% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 75, Opposition – 1

2.03am – PAP wins Holland-Bukit Timah GRC at 60.10% while SDP garnered 39.90% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 70, Opposition – 1

1.56am – PAP wins Nee Soon GRC at 58.56% while WP garnered 41.61% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 66, Opposition – 1

1.54am – PAP wins Sembawang GRC at 63.89% while SDP garnered 36.11% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 61, Opposition – 1

1.48am – PAP wins Pioneer SMC at 60.73% while NSP garnered 39.27% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 56, Opposition – 1

1.45am – PAP wins East Coast GRC at 54.83% while WP garnered 45.17% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 55, Opposition – 1

1.38am – PAP wins Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at 56.94% while SPP garnered 43.06% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 50, Opposition – 1

1.34am – PAP wins Punggol East SMC at 54.53%, WP garnered 41.02% of the votes, while SDA got 4.45% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 45, WP – 1

1.28am – PAP wins Ang Mo Kio GRC at 69.33% while RP garnered 30.67% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 44, Opposition – 1

1.22am – PAP wins Sengkang West SMC at 58.08% while WP garnered 41.92% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 38, Opposition – 1

1.19am – PAP wins Yuhua SMC at 66.87% while SDP garnered 33.13% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 37, Opposition – 1

1.12am – PAP wins West Coast GRC at 66.57% while RP garnered 33.43% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 36, Opposition – 1

1.04am – PAP wins Hong Kah North SMC at 70.61% while SPP garnered 29.39% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 31, Opposition – 1

1.04am – PAP wins Tampines GRC at 57.22% while NSP garnered 42.78% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 30, Opposition – 1

12.58am – PAP wins Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC at 64.79% while SDA garnered 35.21% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 25, Opposition – 1

12.56am – WP wins Hougang SMC at 64.81% while PAP garnered 35.19% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 19, Opposition – 1

12.53am – PAP wins Marine Parade GRC at 56.65% while NSP garnered 43.35% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 19, Opposition – 0

12.44am – PAP wins Joo Chiat SMC at 51.01% while WP garnered 48.99% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 14, Opposition – 0

12.30am – PAP wins Moulmein-Kallang GRC at 58.56% while WP garnered 41.44% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 13, Opposition – 0

12.27am – Strong win expected for PAP at Sembawang GRC.

12.10am – PAP wins Whampoa SMC at 66.11% while NSP garnered 32.89% of the votes. Seats won: PAP – 9, Opposition – 0

12.07am – PAP wins Radin Mas SMC at 67.11% while NSP garnered 32.89% of the votes.

12.04am – PAP wins Bukit Panjang SMC at 66.26% while NSP garnered 33.74% of the votes.

12am – PAP wins Mountbatten SMC at 58.65% while NSP garnered 41.35% of the votes.

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Whose coattails would you ride on?

Whose coattails would you ride on?

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If you could be fielded in a 5-person GRC team and given the choice to pick any candidate from any of the opposition parties to be your running mates, what would your dream team look like?

OR TO put it in a more vulgar way, on whose coattails would you want to ride on?

Guess what? All three editors at New Nation have unanimously picked Singapore Democratic Party’s Vincent Wijeysingha and God, erm, no.. I mean, Workers’ Party’s Chen Show Mao as part of their dream teams.

Explanation of choices follows.

Fang Shihan’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party)
2. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Gerald Giam (Workers’ Party)
5. Fang Shihan

Shihan’s explanation: Sylvia’s awesome because as an Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, she’s proven her vocal worth by saying sufficiently smart and important things in parliament. The specific substance of it doesn’t matter actually, nor does her political stance.

Because people like me will vote for her, and whatever team she’s leading, simply because she symbolises ‘a credible challenge to the incumbent’.

You know, like how it is a matter of posturing? It’s like people playing mahjong for the first time, who don’t really know the specifics of the game, but they know when they get a damn powerful set and it’s time to follow through to finish it?

So, it’ll be Sylvia leading the pack, together with Chen Show Mao, Dr. Vincent for the minority, and Gerald Giam. Yes, egos may clash and Vincent may feel out of place compared to the hammers, but hey, he being the best minority candidate now.

You could say I’d have four coattails to ride on, but in reality, it’s only the leader that counts. The leader is the face of the GRC team. Sylvia’s an alpha female, has whopped the garhmen’s arse in parliament and lived to tell the tale (unlike, ahem, Viswa), and is relatively good-looking. We’ve satisfied the lesbian population, the anti-PAP ra-ra sector and also anyone who’s superficial.

That more than covers a large voter base.

Conclusion: Shihan is a closeted Workers’ Party supporter. She doesn’t even bother to explain why she chose Gerald Giam. Gerald Giam… just because. Furthermore, she might also be a progressive at heart. Or, somewhat queer.

——————

Terence Lee’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party)
2. Low Thia Khiang (Workers’ Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
5. Terence Lee

Terence’s explanation: For me, experience comes first. On this count, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang come to mind.

Sylvia has served one term as an NCMP and she appeals to the younger, English-speaking crowd. Low has been an MP since 1991. Plus, his Teochew is second to none, and older folk respond to that. Both are relatively young, and pretty sharp.

If this was the 2006 elections, I’d want Chiam See Tong. But after hearing him speak in person recently, I’m not impressed. He has lost a step. And he doesn’t seem as sharp anymore. A team, in my view, must also have longevity, which means I want the team to stay intact not only in this elections, but the next. So no, I don’t want him on my team.

I must confess something: I like the Singapore Democratic Party. No, not the old, slogan-chanting, placard-waving SDP of the Chee Soon Juan mould, but the new SDP featuring Danny the Democratic Bear. Policy-wise, SDP actually has really solid proposals. They have a Shadow Budget that tells us how they hope to fund their policy proposals, something that WP has failed to do.

I also like the fact that they are a principled and loud party who would stand up for the values even if it costs them in the short-run. A perfect complement to the WP’s pragmatic, quiet approach. WP is the yin to SDP’s yang. But I have an issue with Chee Soon Juan’s confrontational style. It’s off-putting, repulsive, and quite alien. Plus, Singaporeans remember him for all the wrong reasons.

So, therefore, I really like Dr Vincent Wijeysingha. He might be confrontational too, but he’s milder than Chee Soon Juan. I was impressed by the way he stood up to Tharman, rebutting him not just with platitudes, but arguments backed by actual figures at the Channel News Asia debate forum. He’d make a fine Parliamentarian, and furthermore, he’s openly gay (minority voice!). He’ll be a fine addition to my team.

Finally, since Singaporeans are such paper-chasers, we need a candidate with credentials so impressive that it would cause Tin Pei Ling et al. to shit in their pants and wallow in self-pity. More importantly, Singaporeans will swoon over him in no time.

That man is Chen Show Mao. Check this out: He graduated from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, and has tremendous experience in international securities offerings and merger and acquisitions. Here’s more namedropping from his law firm’s website:

“In capital markets, Mr Chen advised the Agricultural Bank of China on its recent $22 billion IPO, which is the largest by an Asian issuer, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on its $21 billion IPO, which is the second-largest IPO ever, and the first global offering that involved a concurrent listing in China. He also advised Sinochem on the largest-ever international debt offering by a Chinese company and the underwriters for China Unicom in the largest-ever international convertible bond offering by a Chinese company. Mr Chen completed the global initial public offerings of Air China, China Construction Bank, MCC, Sinoma, Sinopec, Unicom and others.”

I sure as hell don’t know what the paragraph is talking about, but count me into the Cult of Show Mao. He not only had a good career, but he’s eloquent too, judging by the interviews and soundbites he has given to the media. He’s cool as blue.

Conclusion: Terence might also be a closeted Workers’ Party supporter given that three out of five choices are from WP. He should also be forgiven for favouring flair but it is obvious that Low, Lim, Chen and Wijeysingha are hot, hot, hot. They have seared themselves into many people’s brains.

———–

Belmont Lay’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sebastian Teo (National Solidarity Party)
2. Tony Tan or Hazel Poa (National Solidarity Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
5. Belmont Lay

Belmont’s explanation: I doubt many people have heard of Sebastian Teo of the NSP. But from what I gather, he is a fluent speaker of Mandarin, Teochew and Hokkien. His demeanor puts heartlander folks at ease and he has worked the ground very, very hard the past few years doing his rounds and meeting the people face-to-face.

This is old-school politics and I like that style. And best of all, Sebby has a MBA from NUS! He is a self-made man, therefore, I approve.

Now, look: As a bargain-hunting Singaporean, what more can you ask for if you had EITHER Tony Tan or Hazel Poa in parliament? Tony and Hazel are a husband-and-wife team. Wherever one goes, the other will be right behind. Even if just one of them becomes an MP, I can be assured that taxpayers will be getting two MPs for the price of one.

Tony’s got a problem dealing with the figures of a new policy? No worries. We have a numerate Hazel to look through the numbers. Oh, you mean Hazel’s got a draft that needs some editing and needs another pair of eyes on it? Tony’s right on it.

Even Groupon.com can’t beat this deal, you know (Terence’s note: Belmont missed out on the fact that Nicole would be on this team, since they are a couple. What a bargain!).

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha. Ah… It’s always good to know that someone was a social worker. He would have seen a side of life not many people can even come to terms with. This parliament needs someone who is burdened by the problems of the poor and needy.

Lastly, I would definitely want God, erm no I mean, Chen Show Mao to be on my side. Chen has a statesman-like demeanour as he is someone who has been at the highest echelons of the corporate world, unlike say, someone who used to serve in the SAF.

And the last time I checked, he has more credentials than Tin Pei Ling has handbags.

And imagine if Chen wasn’t denied entry into medical school last time. Then he would have served National Service for real and be a doctor who would continue to serve the people. This is unlike some doctors who never served NS and still want to enter parliament.

I would prostrate myself in His presence, erm I mean, I would have a lot to learn from Him, erm no, I mean, Chen.

Conclusion: Belmont is a typical cheap bastard who is also god-fearing, no erm.. pragmatic and politically astute in his choices. His choices may appear wide-ranging, but he is a National Solidarity Party supporter.

Who would you pick? Join this Facebook poll!

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PAP can represent everyone’s interest? Thanks, but no thanks

PAP can represent everyone’s interest? Thanks, but no thanks

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Here’s the scary part about last night’s Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum: For a minute there, I actually bought what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had to say. But not for long.

By Belmont Lay

The Prime Minister's wife, Ho Ching, was there to lend her quiet support. Photo: FANG SHIHAN

THE gist of Prime Minister Lee’s argument about leadership renewal is pretty straightforward: There really is only one party in Singapore that is wise and talented enough to attract the best and the brightest to lead this country.

And that party happens to be the PAP.

This is a re-iteration of what his father, Lee Kuan Yew, famously once said: If a jumbo jet carrying 300 of Singapore’s top leaders were to crash, Singapore would be finished.

So you want viable opposition parties to be at the helm? Nope, sorry. They are going to find it even harder to attract the best.

You want a two-party system? Nope, not even remotely possible. Not that the PAP did not think about splitting itself into two.

The younger Lee said: “But the most important reason why a two-party system is not workable is because we don’t have enough talent in Singapore to form two A-teams.”

He added: “We are now pulling together the next A-team of Singapore. And the PAP candidates in this round will form key members of this team and in the next couple of rounds.”

Fair and good, right?

Well, not until you take a look at what is happening on the ground in the opposition camp and you can easily dismiss what Lee had to say about the shortage of talent.

The simple fact is that not everyone who is bright and able wants to be part of the PAP.

The National Solidarity Party has two ex-government scholars: Hazel Poa and Tony Tan, as well as a lawyer, Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss.

The Singapore Democratic Party has Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, who worked as a social worker (with a doctorate in social policy) and absolutely rocked at the Channel NewsAsia debate last week.

And short of introducing God himself to run in a GRC, the Workers’ Party has Chen Show Mao.

So, pray tell, I want none of these but Tin Pei Ling? Just because the PAP says she is good?

Why should I trust the PAP’s ability to screen for potential candidates let alone attract top dogs? There is nothing in their mechanisms that inspire confidence or convinces me that they are not just making up numbers or creating the appearance of looking diversified by fielding Tin Pei Ling.

Therefore, two rebuttal points to the PAP system: It reeks of hubris and it has a tendency to breed bureaucratic apparatchiks.

But what really got my goat was what Lee had to say about PAP wanting to represent every Singaporean: “I think we should try to the maximum extent we can, align all the interest of Singaporeans and make sure one party can represent you, whether you are the CEO or whether you are a taxi driver.”

Right…

I just cannot buy the argument that one party can represent the interest of every segment in society.

If you’re gay, or if you’re staunchly single, or if you’re divorced, or if you’re a swinger, or if you’re a single parent, or if you’re homeless, or if you’re liberal-minded, or if you’re a hippie, or if you’re really old, or if you’re really poor, or if you lack next-of-kins, you’re screwed.

Even lesser so, when it is one party trying to be representatives of all the people by manipulating the interests of its citizens.

This is social engineering gone mad.

Let’s not argue about hypotheticals but illustrate using a vivid example: Just look at what happens when you have one Housing Development Board dictating the housing needs of 80% of the population.

The system eventually went tits up late last year when it can no longer make affordable housing to cater to the needs of the masses.

My take on this is pretty simple: If the present Government (a term that was interchangeably used with PAP last night) is indeed as brilliant as it makes itself out to be, it should have been able to create an alternative to the HDB, or made tweaks to refine it.

But it didn’t.

And you ask: Why is there a need for an alternative?

Because public housing, which are built across the island, 1) do not have any quotas reserved solely for local Singaporeans and 2) are subjected to open market competitive pricing, forces prices of housing across the board (private property included) to explode the moment demand goes up.

HDB prices have gone up drastically over the last twenty to thirty years, outgrowing the average Singaporean’s ability to afford them.

And yet the HDB would still insist on providing for the majority, which means it will come back to bite you and me in our asses, because no matter how much richer you can get, you might still end up in a HDB.

Or remain staying with your parents.

I see you have half a million dollars there? I’m sorry, you can probably only afford to buy a three-room flat in Ulu Sungei Goondu, behind Woodlands forested water catchment area, you high-income earner you.

So, here’s the point of today’s missive: If you’re gay, or if you’re staunchly single, or if you’re divorced, or if you’re a swinger, or if you’re a single parent, or if you’re homeless, or if you’re liberal-minded, or if you’re a hippie, or if you’re really old, or if you’re really poor, or if you lack next-of-kins, you’re screwed.

The PAP doesn’t represent your interest at all. It can’t and I won’t even humour myself to say it can.

Period.

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Parachute politics in Singapore

Parachute politics in Singapore

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PAP brings in two new citizens as candidates for the upcoming elections. Will this move cost them?

by Terence Lee

Photo: PETER TAYLOR / Creative Commons

POLITICAL parties here have the nasty habit of springing surprises at the eleventh hour. Candidates are announced only weeks before Polling Day, and right now we do not know where most of them are contesting.

Recently, we were blessed to know that Tony Tan and Hazel Poa parachuted from a wobbly Reform Party jet and into the arms of Uncle Meng Seng, secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party.

He announced with great fanfare that his prized catch will be contesting in Moulmein-Kallang GRC, but even that is now uncertain.

Blame it on the short electoral time frame imposed by a government who would rather get on with business and leave behind messy politics, and messy opposition parties unwilling to reveal their cards early.

But the PAP recently gave parachute politics new meaning: Two of their new candidates, Dr Janil Puthucheary and Foo Mee Har, are new citizens. Janil, a paediatrician at KK Children and Women Hospital, came to Singapore in 2001 but only became a citizen in 2008. Mee Har, the global head of premier banking at Standard Chartered Bank, also became a citizen the same year.

Netizens have roundly criticised the commitment of these candidates, but Janil seems to be hardest hit because – gasp – he did not serve National Service. They also questioned whether new citizens like them truly understand the concerns of native Singaporeans.

I, for one, would not judge so quickly. It’s just like meeting someone at a speed dating event – don’t expect to know someone well within five minutes, let alone through a pithy soundbite or newspaper article. An atas Singaporean who has lived here for fifty years may have never interacted with the poor even once in their wasted lives, whereas a new citizen, concerned about the well-being of his or her adopted society, would volunteer at Meet-the-People sessions.

So time is no indicator of empathy.

But I wonder if everyone thinks the same way? Judging by calls for Dr Janil to pick up the SAR21 and shout “arty, arty, arty!”, maybe not. And I suspect this is a vulnerability the opposition parties will exploit during the hustings. Expect them to call out Janil for not being committed to, or understanding the country enough. Mee Har will not be susceptible because she has been in Singapore since 1989.

Citizenship, to some, is a fleeting concept. So is National Service. Why expect Janil to serve NS when many of us are happier without it? There is no point in making him suffer like us.

So, given the anti-foreigner and anti-immigration sentiments pervading Singapore nowadays, I cannot vouch that they will be readily accepted by voters.

But I can be wrong.

If I were them, here’s what I’ll do: To ensure that I get into Parliament, I would play it safe. Don’t start a blog, or have a Facebook page. Don’t make any controversial statements, or be overly aggressive. Toe the party line, at least until I get elected, or become a minister. Let the anchor Member-of-Parliaments I am contesting with do the heavy lifting. That’s what GRCs are for, ain’t it?

The other alternative would be to portray themselves as the rebel in the camp, but that seems unlikely to happen, given how kosher they have been in their interviews.

They should also keep harping on their credentials. Many Singaporeans who don’t really care much about politics will be hypnotised by the fact that Mee Har is some bigwig at a big bank. And don’t forget: apathetic Singaporeans have a significant influence on voting results (as Belmont astutely pointed out), since voting is compulsory.

The only way for opposition parties to counter this would be to put on the pedestal someone more impressive, maybe the CEO of a bigger bank.

Ultimately, whether these two candidates will be a boon to the PAP depends on where their parachutes land. I suspect these characters will appeal to wealthier, cosmopolitan types – Singaporeans who spend plenty of time abroad to work or study. Much will also depend on how the opposition candidates attack their credentials, and how they deflect them. Soon we will know whether both candidates truly understand the concerns of Singaporeans.

Citizenship, to some, is a fleeting concept. So is National Service. Why expect Janil to serve NS when many of us are happier without it? There is no point in making him suffer like us.

So, in an increasingly cosmopolitan Singapore, it will matter less how much time a candidate spends in the country, and more how a candidate makes the most of his or her time here.

Message to Opposition: Don’t forget to whack the PAP

Message to Opposition: Don’t forget to whack the PAP

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NSP Sec-Gen Goh Meng Seng needs to stop scoring own goals; the enemy’s the other way.

By Terence Lee

Will Goh Meng Seng (third from left) still be smiling after the General Elections, or will his antics come back to bite him? Photo: TERENCE LEE

BACK in the good’ol days when Singapore football actually meant something, you wouldn’t see Fandi Ahmad tackle  Sundramoorthy on the pitch, even if the opponent were minnows. In fact, underdogs often raise their game when facing a far superior team.

Which makes the recent catfight between the National Solidarity Party and Worker’s Party all the more mind-boggling.

It seems that the People Action’s Party (PAP) was forgotten the week after the new electoral boundaries were made known, despite being the fattest sumo wrestler in the ring, and the most dazzling (or the most kayu) football player on the field.

Instead, you get a silly blog post by NSP Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng criticising the Worker’s Party and its arrogance, to which Low Thia Khiang, his counterpart at the WP, rebutted in Lianhe Zaobao.

Meng Seng, fresh off a press conference on Thursday when he announced NSP’s slate of candidates for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, is unapologetic.

“It’s just an emotional, sentimental post. But people mistaken it as an attack. It’s not.”

Really? Even when you said they have “lost sight” of their mission, or that they are thumbing down on other parties? Even when you insinuate that they are “arrogant”?

He continues: “When you speak your mind of course it’s going to be critical. If I don’t speak my mind I’m a politician. But when I write I’m not a politician, I’m a human.”

What shall I call you then? Uncle Meng Seng? Pops? Granddaddy? Koyok Seller?

So, here’s a veteran politician pretending to be a ranty emo-kid with a personal blog-plaything. He waved away my suggestion that he was trying to use his blog to pressure the WP to give up Moulmein-Kallang. Shrewd politician? Or am I giving him too much credit?

The usually smooth auntie-killer also trips himself up by saying: “There’s nothing (in the blog post that’s) critical about anybody. It’s just a very emotional piece. There’s nothing to do with arguing who’s right and who’s wrong.”

I rest my case.

The Opposition should start doing what they do best: Whack the PAP! Say anything, like how the Prime Minister is a pig, or how Lee Kuan Yew should go to a retirement village!

But let’s give Secretary-General Sir credit where it’s due. His party is the first to officially announce their candidates at any constituency, beating even the PAP. He has managed to attract credible candidates who left the Reform Party, which indicates some semblance of leadership ability.

His experience probably helped. While Reform Party Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam comes across as a true noob with poor media management skills, Meng Seng appears slightly better.

He has another thing going for him: He looks like someone you can talk to. He’s not as dashing as PAP man Michael Palmer, but he’s cute, in a cuddly Teddy Bear kind of way.  He’s the uncle who sips kopi downstairs, Wanbao in hand. About as heartlander as you can get.

Ah Seng’s certainly someone who seems down-to-earth, or at least gives that impression. Kenneth on the other hand, seems like the opposite: He uses his poker face and impressive qualifications to hide his political inexperience.

But as much of a veteran as he is, I think the blog post is ill-timed and poorly conceived; a symptom of a deep-rooted problem within the opposition camp: Rampant egos. Calculated move or not, there is no room in politics for undisciplined emotional outbursts. It distracts both opposition parties from the real fight against the ruling party. It gives the impression of a fractured Opposition. It could be a tool used by the PAP against him.

And there’s no guarantee WP will be pressured to give up Moulmein-Kallang, despite NSP’s shenanigans and media posturing. Which means we could be headed for a three-way fight.

In fact, both parties seem to be so focused on their petty squabbles that they literally ignored PM Lee Hsien Loong’s recent jibe: “It seems to me rather exciting day-to-day changes, transformations, quarrels, squabbles, new friendships and old enmities all surfacing at the same time. I look forward to the next installment.”

Perhaps opposition members are suffering from guilty conscience. So I related my concern to a person within the NSP. And guessed what he told me? Be patient. Sure, you can tell me that, but try saying it to the thousands of first-time voters who have watched every episode of this oddball family drama, and who actually appreciate what the government has done for them so far, despite the rising costs of living. Voters are not stupid.

But as far as I’m concerned, there’s still time to get their act together.

The Opposition should start doing what they do best: Whack the PAP! Say anything, like how the Prime Minister is a pig, or how Lee Kuan Yew should go to a retirement village!

Anything but criticise your fellow opposition member in public, and pass it off as a touchy-feely moment. Even Singapore Democratic Party man James Gomez’s horrible piece on how Singapore will experience a revolution akin to the Middle East will suffice, although it sounds like empty election rhetoric that signals how out-of-touch with the ground he may be.

Yes, I’m that desperate.

More New Nation content on GE2011 here.