Workers’ Party routs PAP again

At 62.1% of valid votes cast, Png Eng Huat (Workers’ Party) convincingly defeated Desmond Choo of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the by-election 26 May 2012. Png’s vote-share was only a shade lower than the 64.8% that Yaw Shin Leong won in the general election of 2011 and hardly different from Low Thia Khiang’s 62.7% in the 2006 general election.

I’ll admit this: Png’s victory was better than I expected.

Yaw Shin Leong had benefitted hugely in May 2011 when party leader Low Thia Khiang anointed him as his heir for the single-member constituency of Hougang. Low had been the member of parliament for Hougang for twenty years since 1991, but in 2011 he decided he would lead the Workers’ Party team in neighbouring Aljunied group representation constituency (they won).

Hougang voters had evidently grown to like Low a lot, and their high regard for him was a huge advantage for Yaw last year.

However, in February this year, allegations of an extra-marital affair by Yaw and his clumsy, non-communicative way of handling the rumours led to his sacking from the party. The big question therefore was whether Hougang voters would become a lot more sceptical about the transferability of their esteem for Low to anyone else after the Yaw incident.

Now we know: Hougang voters still trust Low and the Workers’ Party and although Png is relatively new to them, they’re extending that trust to him too.

The election campaign was dominated by efforts at character assassination, led by Teo Chee Hean (PAP), the deputy prime minister. The media took the cue and played up Teo’s shrill allegations. Going by the way Desmond Choo kept his distance from these attacks, I reckon the candidate himself wanted no part of it, preferring to be a low-key nice guy to Hougang residents. Facebook chatter had it that Choo was dismayed by the strategy adopted by his own party’s bigwigs. I don’t know if that is true, but if it was, it must have been highly frustrating for him, because the mainstream media has been so pavlovian-trained to give big headlines to anything uttered by PAP leaders that invariably the daily headlines reflected what Teo wanted, rather than what Choo thought was wise.

In that sense, it was a reprise of the debacle in Aljunied in 2011. That was when George Yeo, one of the PAP candidates there, had to plead with other PAP leaders to tone down their heavy-fisted attacks. But to no avail. Lee Kuan Yew’s commandment to Singaporeans to vote PAP or else repent for five years was given full play by the mainstream media, but it so cheesed off voters, he could well have been single-handedly responsible for an extra 5 percentage points going to the opposition.

In the end, Teo’s character assassination strategy was either ignored by Hougang voters or perhaps served to fortify their determination to vote for Png Eng Huat.

The Straits Times asked me if the Poh Lee Guan affair had any effect. Firstly, I knew nothing about that because I was in Cambodia when it happened and was unable to read the news online. But I am told that this Workers’ Party old-timer had collected a set of nomination forms for himself without informing party headquarters. Apparently much hay was made of it (by the mainstream media and the PAP?) alleging disunity and chaos within the Workers’ Party.

It should be obvious now that Hougang voters refused to be distracted by it.

As I told the Straits Times: The result shows that the Singaporean voter is a mature one; he knows very well what he wants. He is not a little child that is easily distracted by side issues, petty allegations and empty noise.

And the lesson for the PAP? Learn to respect the voter.

The voter is clearly looking for a change in style and substantive changes in policy. This rang loud and clear in last year’s general election. However, the fact that the PAP engaged in exactly the same discredited tactics in this by-election probably told voters that the party has not absorbed the lesson. If it cannot even change style, what hope of changing policies? It doesn’t augur well.

Yawning Bread extends his heartiest congratulations to Png Eng Huat and the Workers’ Party.

66 Responses to “Workers’ Party routs PAP again”


  1. 1 Lau 27 May 2012 at 00:01

    I really like your: “If it cannot even change style, what hope of changing policies?”

  2. 2 JiaJia 27 May 2012 at 00:20

    Congrats to Png Eng Huat and the Workers’ Party!

    The PAP camp failed to understand that the terrain has changed, and kept using the old tactics. The more they employ character assassination ploys, the more I will vote against them.

    The media, they still think this is the 80s! Come on, people have gotten smarter and have access to greater channels of information. Who are they trying to kid with pictures of the Wp and Png in less glory state?

    In response to the loss, DPM Teo said among other things “I think residents of Hougang are special. I don’t think they’re representative of voters in Singapore as a whole.”

    I think he needs to EXPLAIN what he meant by that. If I were a resident of Hougang, I would feel quite unsettled with this kind of remark.

    • 3 Steven 27 May 2012 at 02:40

      Not only PAP has lost Hougang once again but the public has gained another credible real check on government under the watcheyes of bloggers according to Denise Phua, and we should hold Denise Phua accountable to what she says since she is one of the last remaining credible voices in PAP. Just in one day, Denise Phua has bestowed government power on bloggers to do real check. thank, Aunt Phua !

      “Go and check up the views of ex-NMP like Siew Kum Hong, Calvin Cheng, Paulin Straughan, Eugene Tan, who’s now in parliament, and even bloggers like Mr Brown, Kin Mun, they do not have allegiance to specific political parties. But they, together with other Singaporeans who have minds of their own, they are the real check on the PAP. They are the real check on the PAP.” – Denise Phua, Hougang By-Election Rally, Sunday 20 May 2012.

      We better make sure that the bloggers are on the ball to do real check on the government then starting from tomorrow ! Start criticizing on the biased independent MSM, and ask Aunt Phua to followup !

      “With power comes responsibility” now that bloggers has extra responsibility.

      • 4 Poker Player 27 May 2012 at 16:36

        OK, sarcasm. But it was really hard to tell – Singaporeans do really say and believe some really crazy shit.

      • 5 henki 27 May 2012 at 23:56

        Denise Phua, Denise Phua…
        If the views of non-partisan members like bloggers were that critical, why did it take so long for the government to realise that their sky-high salaries were a problem? Why did their salary revision come only after they lost a GRC? Didn’t people like Mrbrown directly or indirectly make some “noise” about ministerial salaries a long long time ago?

  3. 6 PAP lost forever 27 May 2012 at 00:34

    Congratulations to Png EH, Hougang and Aljunied voters.

    I hope that I can say the same for other SMCs and GRCs in or before 2016.

    Well done.

  4. 7 george 27 May 2012 at 00:47

    Although the PAP would make much of the slight increase in percentage vote Choo got, this is statistically speaking hardly significant. There can be a lot of reasons accounting for the slight increase of course including a few voters casting for the PAP this time round but it is possibly only one of many factors. What should be interesting too is the absolute numbers the difference represent.

    It is quite clear that most voters, if not all voted for the party that the candidates represent and this is how mature voters should actually vote given all things being equal – both of them came across successfully in their own way to the voters as caring. So what killed Choo’s chances is the poor image and high handedness that his party continues to convey to voters whether it is the wimpy PM Lee or the aggressive and ineffective stance of DPM Teo. Minor contributors to the PAP hustings failures include the stupid election speeches of some PAP MPs.

    Overall, the PAP campaign was marked by contradictions and the by now quite clear evidence that the govt does NOT intend to live up to its promises made at GE2011 in a significant manner – that has greatly held them back from going all out for Choo. HOUGANG IS SIMPLY TOO SMALL A PRIZE AND TOO BIG A PRICE FOR THEM TO PAY FOR. So in the end Choo reaped the inevitable!

    I totally agree, the Hougang voters are really solid and deserve our praise and respect as they continue to demonstrated their determination and fortitude against great odds and should be proud of the exemplary example they continue to set for the rest of the voters nation-wide. LTK’s leadership of the WP is both savvy and restrained. It is quite a brilliant counter to what the PAP continues to throw at his party. IMO he surpasses the PAP leaders in this respect who continued in their unchanged arrogant mould. The frustration in Choo’s face is so obvious. His party’s old dogs simply refused to learn new tricks!

    But post BE, Choo would be scrutinised by the Hougang resients and the country for his BE promises of being ‘always with’ the residents of Hougang. He has put himself and his party’s reputation on the line with his promises to improve, esp. the long overdue municipal improvements for Hougang.

  5. 8 Paul 27 May 2012 at 00:58

    OK, you may think this a little tangential, but Alex I would have thought that you of all people would prefer to avoid the antiquated gendered language that prevails in Singapore public discourse. Hence:

    “The result shows that the Singaporean voter is a mature one; he knows very well what he wants. He is not a little child that is easily distracted by side issues, petty allegations and empty noise.”

    could easily be:

    “The result shows that Singaporean voters are mature; they know very well what they want. They are not little children who are easily distracted by side issues, petty allegations and empty noise.”

    Some may see this, as rightwing pundits in the UK and US like to say, as “political correctness gone mad” – but actually in most developed societies, it’s standard English to avoid suggesting that men are the representative gender in situations when both (all?) genders participate. If you’re talking about the candidates in this by-election, it makes sense. If you’re talking about the people who voted, it’s distorting.

  6. 9 mirax 27 May 2012 at 01:28

    I have lived in Hougang for 25 years and voted for the WP since 1991. I am minority race and not a member of any political party.

    What led me to vote for LTK in 1991 was the number of times he ended up on my doorstep and the time he spent actually talking to me about my concerns. The PAP candidate never turned up, the grassroots activitists who did were actually offputting in their officiousness and obsequiousness for the PAP candidate.
    If you live in Hougang, you will see how much work the WP puts into íts presence on the ground. LTK and PEH are at the coffeeshops, funeral wakes, other events round the year. Let me give you one example of the responsiveness of the WP/LTK. My brother died unexpectedly in 2010. Seeing my bereaved family members at the void deck of BLK 701 where the Hougang Town Council is located, LTK made inquiries. Next thing we know, within hours, a funeral wreath arrived from the HTC. We were nothing to the WP or LTK, just very ordinary residents. It was a heartwarming gesture and my family in turn wrote a letter to the HTC thanking it for its thoughtfulness.

    That’s a small example why the residents of Hougang are wildly celebrating on the streets tonight as if they have won the world cup. I live in avenue 5 now and the spirit is indescribable. The cheers rang loud until past midnight. You can’t buy exuberance like that with free porridge or toilets or upgrading.

    There’s a lesson in this for the other political parties. I understand and support where the SDP is coming from when it speaks about the erosion of civil liberties in Singapore. But it is somewhat cringe-inducing to watch SDP members singing “we shall overcome” as they attempt a protest march out of Honglim Green. It has the feel of a stunt staged for an audience that is not part of my milieu in Hougang ave 5, it doesnt stir the heart or seize the soul the way the ”illegal assembly” of a few thousand people on Ave 5 did tonight. The police were there in force but didnt dare touch anyone.

    FYI my deceased brother was an inactive member of the young pap and 3 months after he died we received a letter from the PAP demanding that he pay up his overdue membership fees! (You have to see this to believe it.)

    • 10 jimmy@gmail.com 27 May 2012 at 16:49

      Don’t you think the stunts by SDP is exactly what we need to tell us not to be fearing. What resulted from this. One-man assembly law ?

      • 11 yawningbread 27 May 2012 at 23:02

        Hold on a minute. It’s the govt that passed the one-man assembly law. You’re blaming the SDP for it? wouldn’t that be akin to blaming the woman for being raped?

      • 12 mirax 27 May 2012 at 23:17

        My only point is that opposition parties have to work the ground and do it tirelessly, if they want to see results at the ballot box. They have to remember their constituency – the simple folk who respond to the cry of Huat- ah rather than the lyrics of we shall overcome, which really belongs to another era and another culture (not to diss the activism or the song which powerful as it is, is not just not ”us”.)

      • 13 Poker Player 28 May 2012 at 00:09

        The WP has got “Huat – ah” covered. What is gained by not having SDP cover “we shall overcome”?

      • 14 desiree 28 May 2012 at 09:53

        yawningbread, i interpreted Jimmy’s comment as saying that it was precisely SDP’s actions which showed up how absurd the restrictions on public assembly are. I could be wrong of course🙂

    • 15 Hougang voter 27 May 2012 at 21:56

      This is awesome. Thanks for sharing. As for your brother, RIP.

    • 16 The Pariah 30 May 2012 at 15:14

      @ mirax: I salute you and all Hougang WP voters – you have the guts, the spine, the brains, the heart, the eyes to see beyond PAP’s toxic genetically-modified “carrots”.

      1. Prioritizing HDB Lift Upgrading Program “LUP” according to PAP GE vote % = Using national $$$ to secure ruling party’s political future. What’s there to stop the PAP to pass future laws to prioritize, say:
      (a) school/uni admission,
      (b) HDB/EC purchase condition,
      (c) outpatient/hospital/nursing home admission
      according to your electorate’s PAP GE vote?

      2. PAP Govt coincidentally ended HDB Main Upgrading Program “MUP” and discontinued HDB Interim Upgrading Program “IUP” Plus from Aug 2007, thus conveniently omitting Hougang from such programs.

      3. PAP Govt still have not responded to WP-Hougang’s requests under HDB Home Improvement Program “HIP” (replaced MUP) and HDB Neighbourhood Renewal Program “NRP” (replaced IUP), both programs are also funded by national $$$. This was disclosed by WP Sec-Gen Mr Low Thia Khiang in press conf at end of Hougang BE Polling Night (the only chance for WP to get their concerns/efforts televised so that the public will know),

      4. Hougang WP voters did NOT cave-in but continued to stand straight and tall – in the same way that some of our locals did NOT cave-in to the Japs in 1942-45 to disclose names of Resistance Movement members in exchange for a bag of rice at a time of starvation – a vital basic need.

      So to those who caved-in to PAP’s upgrading carrots all over Singapore (when upgrading is NOT a vital basic need), what does that say about the values that (i) your parents/grandparents taught you and (ii) you are teaching your children?

  7. 17 Eric 27 May 2012 at 03:46

    Congrats to Png, WP and all who want democracy. Towards a first world parliament!

    The vote counting took much longer than I expected. Wonder if there was any reason? If the 1.34% reject votes had been for WP, PAP’s percentage would be 35+%. Hardly any improvement over 2011 result!

    Alex, thanks for another eloquent and insightful piece. In para 8, the year should be 2011 not 2006.

  8. 19 Anonymous 27 May 2012 at 04:08

    Note on the actual vote counts within a year. PAP had a gain of 145. WP had a loss of 1403.

    Guess whatever DC had done over the 1 year had left little impression.

    But for WP, this swing is something to watch for. Maybe it’s the start of school holidays, hence some are away. Nevertheless, much to work on.

  9. 20 ricardo 27 May 2012 at 05:28

    Congratulations and Respect to the citizens & voters of Hougang for standing up to bully-boy tactics and those like Hri Kumar Nair, Teo Chee Hean & SGP who trivialise the Democratic process in the cause of greater multi-million Dignity for the rich.

  10. 21 Lye Khuen Way 27 May 2012 at 07:37

    Right! ” if it cannot change style, what hope of changing policies? ”
    They have asked for 4 years to put right all the screw-ups.
    Unless there are mass resignations, we will not see more By-Elections across the land before 2016.
    So I guess we just have to take the PAP Chairman at his words.

    • 22 4 Years ? 30 May 2012 at 18:21

      There shouldn’t have been that many screw ups in the first place, given the million dollar salaries they were getting. All these guys have been there for years, sleeping on the job. Its ridiculous that they even dare ask for another 4 years to put things right !.

  11. 23 ABC 27 May 2012 at 07:53

    If the same type of smear campaign had been used, then it goes without saying that a certain ailing old man had orchestrated it from the day the by election nomination date was announced. I clearly see his invincible hand in this, its so obvious. Now, when will he learn, probably not. Repeat this in GE2016 for sure if he is still around.

    • 24 Yuri Seng 28 May 2012 at 23:39

      Everything in Singapore started by old man, from bad to good things. PAP is still under command by him although his presence may not be around. He uses his son as a tool to transfer his commands.

      • 25 octopi 31 May 2012 at 06:22

        The old man is gone. Anybody who thinks that an 89 year old man can still give instructions is dreaming. The real problem is people using his name in vain, ie ppl saying, “LKY would have done this” or “LKY would have done that”.

  12. 26 Impressed 27 May 2012 at 08:10

    In Singapore,it is probably better to die in ignorance rather than to die knowing the truth while doing nothing to change or improve the situation..

  13. 27 Anonymous 27 May 2012 at 10:42

    DC said this is the beginning, a new start, after losing. Well it can only be the beginning of the end of the ruling party. I cannot see it any other way. Yes men belong to another era ! Start by slashing your salary by another 50%, and improving the lives of Singaporeans, and not your own.

  14. 28 ymac 27 May 2012 at 10:45

    “… the mainstream media has been so pavlovian-trained”

    I paid close attention to the lady newscaster on Channel News Asia last night. Not sure if you caught it but I was pretty certain she prodded the panel guest (Dr Gillian) incessantly to put WP down and play up all the shit that PAP stirred

    • 29 Yuri Seng 28 May 2012 at 23:41

      Its the media staff’s rice bowl though, they are ordinary Singaporeans like us with average salary and take command from managers. Blame the mediacorp management commanded by PAP.

  15. 30 skponggol 27 May 2012 at 11:02

    With such a convincing margin, it may also be the beginning of the end for the other Opposition parties in Singapore.

    NSP can start to cut their loss in Tampines and Marine Parade while SDA can forget about Pasir Ris-Punggol. SDP may have to give up on Tanjong Pagar if WP chooses to go in there in GE2016.

    WP, which has been so unwilling to negotiate with other parties on equal footing, what’s there for them to sit down and talk with other parties in GE2016?

    With this by-election success, WP should be able to attract more people than other parties.

    The choice for the voters would be limited to PAP and a moderate Opposition.

  16. 31 WL 27 May 2012 at 11:38

    Well, well, well. The Workers’ Party won the by-election by a comfortable 62%. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought they would probably retain the seat but by a much reduced margin. Looks like the Yaw-affair didn’t affect residents’ opinion of the WP.

    Why is that, I wonder? Perhaps, having made the choice to vote for the opposition and live life in an opposition ward for the past 20-odd years, the people have seen an alternative. And the alternative is not a bad one.

    I hear the WP works really hard in their ward. The MP, their supporters, volunteers are very visible. Things do get done, goals achieved, despite obstacles placed in their way. The divide between office holders and residents are unlike those in the PAP-held wards, where the MPs – some of whom are ministers – make them almost god-like, untouchables. We all know what happens during meet-the-people sessions and MP walkabouts in those wards. The higher the office, the bigger the entourage, the bigger the fuss – it’s a they-and-us scenario. The common touch, as they say, is not so common after all.

    I am pleased the WP has won. In the existing political climate, Singapore can do with more, not fewer opposition MPs. It will be good for the country in the longer term, where, hopefully, political discourse can be discussed openly and maturely. Not one in which a single party hold sways and dictates what can and cannot be said, and uses the controlled media to propagate untruths to justify its own ends.

    Kudos to the 62.1% of Hougang residents who were not cowed and would not bowed!

  17. 32 beets 27 May 2012 at 11:49

    To be fair, its probably harder to change style. Policies for the PAP are a cerebral and academic one. If you’re looking for a rational, economic (and some would say, cold) mind making these policies, the PAP is your guy. If you can RATIONALLY convince them that the policy is a bad one, and will hurt the purse strings, they’ll do an about turn faster than you can say, “stop at one” or “no casino”. Of course, in the case of the former, at the expense of many mothers’ dignity and children’s futures. And in the case of the latter, at the expense of the poor, today.

    Changing one’s style on the other hand is a different matter because it involves changing years and years of mannerisms, and more importantly, their world-view. The PAP’s worldview is a simplistic one, either you’re with me or against me, either you’re a saint and completely transparent (like the PAP would like to believe) if not you must be dishonest and untrustworthy. Together with this comes the belief of a persistent existentialist threat, that anyone who is not with us, MUST be out to get us. Think about the amazing similarities between how Malaysia and the WP are treated, as subversive elements rather than as others with a difference of opinion/way of doing things – or just neighbors, damnit! Or about how China/India is consistently portrayed as an economic threat to us. Its a worldview that tends to give one high blood pressure.

    In my view, they should be pitied, topped with plenty of sighs of exasperation.

    • 33 Anonymous 27 May 2012 at 13:15

      Not too sure with eyes and ears closed, anyone can talk, not to mention convince them rationally. In any event, it has always been assumed they are the most rational ones, any other people are either too emotive or too short-sighted or “you-dont-understand-where-we-are-coming-from, let-me-explain-again”. Oh and btw, on changing policies that hurt purse strings, whose purse string do you think matter more to them?

    • 34 ricardo 27 May 2012 at 19:51

      Err.rrh. The days when Singapore’s economy was guided by competent visionaries like Dr. Goh Keng Swee, Tan Jee Say and Prof. Lim Chong Yah are long gone.
      Since Goh Chok Tong decided at least 30 PAP ministers should be (by far) the best paid in the known universe, increasing their multi-million Dignity seems to be the most important objective of all government policies.
      The only purse-strings that matter are their own. As for competence and vision …

  18. 35 ts 27 May 2012 at 12:18

    if you want to read too much into the results, two things to ponder
    1) number of voters went down by 1,000+, number of WP vote went down by almost the same amount
    2) Desmond polled almost the same amount of votes, does this mean PAP has a very stable core of support?

    • 36 Steven 27 May 2012 at 18:14

      Notice that more than 8000 votes go into PAP and the number of pap supporters shown up in the PAP rally is less than 1000. As why these PAP supporters refuse to show their support in presense even though PM Lee and most heavy weight ministers are there, is clear to us.
      These PAP supporters very likely to support them in vote only for political/self/fear gain (working in GLC companies ?) but disagreeing with their party in policies, and does not want to be seen in shame by their acquaintances and they just as disgust and shameful of the ruling party, hence they only show silent support.

      • 37 yawningbread 27 May 2012 at 23:00

        I think you’re reading too much into rally numbers. It is completely conceivable for a voter to totally support a party, even the PAP, without feeling any need to demonstrate it.

  19. 38 Hougang Voter 27 May 2012 at 13:00

    Why the celebration? The reality is our parliament is a showpiece like an elaborate headgear of a dying tribe. People’s aspirations and problems are not properly channelled because parliament is a joke. There isn’t a strong civil society movement in Singapore to absorb the growing resentments from misguided policies or act as a circuit breaker. The result could be street unrests if things continue the way it is and five years is a long time to wait for a proper two-party system to roll in. I fear for Singapore.

    • 39 Poker Player 27 May 2012 at 15:03

      What needs to happen is that the next time LTK asks a probing question and the speaker says “you don’t need to ask that question” – LTK needs to go to town with it.

      Also when LHL challenges him – “so are you saying Minister Xyz should resign?” He should repond without hesitation – “Duh!” (Lord Carrington’s behaviour (Falklands) is exemplary in this regard)

  20. 40 Anonymous 27 May 2012 at 13:01

    Flashback : 1984 post GE Press conference:

    Then SG PAP bitterly remarked (word to the effect):

    1. This govt will always make tough policies not popular ones

    2. This govt can be trusted be ever-renewed with the best they can data-mined and psycho-analysed to seve at the highest political leadership…
    We’ll always get the best of the best of the best!

    3. Bloody electorate: sophisticated – want a pap govt yet want to exert pressure on govt by electing opposition 1-man-1-vote flawed, maybe some men should get 1-man-3-votes ( assumption: everyone in their right mind must vote for pap no 2 ways about it )

    4. THIS GOVT SHALL NEVER BE PRESSURED – not by lobby groups, not by any section of the population…

    …..

    Brilliance extraordinarie, esteemed Lee Kuan Yew, was at then the height of his intellectual righteousness and arrogance : my radar to read beyond the horizon is beyond compare and PROVEN.

    REMEMBER HOW HE BROWBEAT ST REPORTER KELVIN AT A MEET-THE-YOUNG CNA programme years back… Never you forget my legal and legalistic prowess!

    How instructive since 1984…..

    All should go youtube to hear LKY ‘s 1984 ND Rally clip… Very profound and thought provoking for 2012 and beyond

    [added by Yawning Bread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ofjSBGmOcY%5D

    • 41 Poker Player 27 May 2012 at 15:26

      “was at then the height of his intellectual righteousness and arrogance”

      He was a political genius – no doubt. The problem is that his self regard doesn’t stop there. How he must cringe now at his pronouncements on Japan in the 80’s and earlier.

      At the height of the foreign talent craze, he was saying we needed all those foreign financial wizards because of “all those ***super-products*** which our banks cannot think of, but which Travellers has already worked out”.

      We all know what all those ***super-products*** became.

      Contrast this with Paul Volcker (who saw through the bullshit): “the only useful banking innovation was the invention of the ATM.”

  21. 42 SGPtoUS 27 May 2012 at 13:35

    Congrats to democracy – congrats to WP!!

  22. 43 mirax 27 May 2012 at 13:36

    Quite interesting to see how much attention this by-election for a tiny constituency in Singapore received worldwide. Check out the number of international news outlets carrying the story.

  23. 44 This is Anfield 27 May 2012 at 13:42

    Almost one year to the day of the GE, we can see very clearly that the PAP is still relying on the same old outdated SOP in this by-election campaign. Has it not learnt that things evolve and change? It’s just like Liverpool relying on Dalglish to bring back the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s. What it got was a man whose tactics and approach to the game reflects that era, outmoded, and certainly out-of-touch. In a broader sense, doesn’t it worry the rest of the country when the people in power are using 20th century tactics in a 21st century world?

  24. 45 Jit 27 May 2012 at 13:44

    I watched the WP’s post-BE press conference. I like the down-to-earth manner in which Png projected. I had not seen him speak before, but I must say he has won me over with his candid words and sincere manners. It makes me wonder why DPM Teo painted him as a dishonest person.

  25. 46 george 27 May 2012 at 13:55

    ts,
    To me it means, the PAP has not done better than the last time, a year ago. Percentages can be misleading sometimes, like averages.

    WP may want to find out what happened to the 1000+ absentees as they seem to correlate with the vote loss.

  26. 48 Chow 27 May 2012 at 14:18

    I think Teo Chee Hean and Desmond Choo were just playing the good-cop-bad-cop routine. Perhaps Desmond figured that this way he’ll be seen as being his “own man” by staying away from the allegations. At any rate, that’s all in the past. WP has won, and I’m glad for it. Apparently Teo Chee Hean’s reply to Low TK’s post election speech was something along the lines of cocking a snook at him. He actually challenged Low to sue him for character assassination.

  27. 49 ;ABC 27 May 2012 at 14:46

    Section 61 (1)(d) of the Parliamentary Elections Act makes it an offence to publish a false statement about the character or conduct of a candidate so as to affect his candidacy. Does the WP feel aggrieved?

  28. 50 Chanel 27 May 2012 at 15:07

    It is highly unlikely that Desmond Choo was “dismayed” by the tactics employed by th PAP bigwigs. Let’s be frank, Desmond is a low-rank PAP cadre. If he was that important, he wouldn’t be deployed to Hougang SMC. He is likely to be one of the many yes-men PAP members. Don’t forget that he works in NTUC, which is really a division of PAP

  29. 51 anon. 27 May 2012 at 15:52

    @Hougang Voter 27 May 2012 at 13:00

    I share the same fears. Although I feel that the ruling party seems unable to connect with the people and going in the wrong direction with wrong policies (which will have long-term adverse consequences eg, its immigration policies), there will be a vacuum if it gets kicked out suddenly. Think Afghanistan and Iraq. Workers Party is a long way from being able to form the govt and the ruling party is getting more and more isolated in their ivory tower.

    • 52 Poker Player 27 May 2012 at 17:00

      “Think Afghanistan and Iraq”

      You mean their problems came from a constitutional change of government through fair elections after a long rule from a single party?

      Surely you mean Japan and Taiwan.

  30. 53 Jack 27 May 2012 at 16:16

    Desmond Choo’s loss is not because of himself, but because of the Party he represented.
    Desmond Choo’s loss is not because his own campaign is ineffective but because of his bosses’ intervention especially by the now you-know-who.

  31. 54 Ahmeng 27 May 2012 at 16:53

    Luckily WP won Hougang, if not all regret like Lor 8. Don’t believe check with any hawkers at Lor 8. C & C charges up by almost 50% after PAP took over Potong Pasir.

  32. 55 Rich 27 May 2012 at 23:42

    PAP not only lost the BE, they lost ground for the next GE… Low’s speech at the media conference after the announcement of the results was him kickstarting their campaign for the next GE.

    In contrast, Choo and Teo were so reactive tt night. Teo in particular, was put on the defensive. Very poor showing.

  33. 56 The 28 May 2012 at 09:30

    ///beets 27 May 2012 at 11:49

    Changing one’s style on the other hand is a different matter because it involves changing years and years of mannerisms, and more importantly, their world-view. The PAP’s worldview is a simplistic one, either you’re with me or against me, either you’re a saint and completely transparent (like the PAP would like to believe) if not you must be dishonest and untrustworthy. Together with this comes the belief of a persistent existentialist threat, that anyone who is not with us, MUST be out to get us. ///

    Spot on. This is what I called the PAP’s binary mindset. Things are either black or white, and nothing in between.

    Do you think we should pay ministers well? – then pay them multi millions – the best paid in the world.

    Do you think we need foreign talents? – then bring them in by the millions – the highest percentage in the world (for countries, not cities, except the small oil rich gulf states).

    How much do you want? Do you want to go down the welfare-state route?

  34. 57 csm 28 May 2012 at 22:26

    “The result shows that the Singaporean voter is a mature one; he knows very well what he wants. He is not a little child that is easily distracted by side issues, petty allegations and empty noise.”
    I would re-write that and replace “Singaporean” with Hougang. I agree that the Hougang voter is a mature one, I don’t agree that the Singaporean voter is mature. After all, Singaporean voters all across the island are quite happy to be bribed by estate upgrades and other goodies – how many would have been as resilient as Hougang to stand firm for 20 years – and how many Singaporean voters have been swayed by character assassinations over the past several elections?

    • 58 octopi 29 May 2012 at 17:30

      I’m not sure that Hougang people are more “mature” than Singapore voters. I think everybody wants the status quo. Therefore if you live in Hougang you’re more likely to vote WP. If you live elsewhere, you’re more likely to vote PAP. People are still uncomfortable with the opposition taking over parliament, and they want the present arrangement – opposition takes more than 2 and less than 10 seats. And they will vote accordingly – until they change their minds in the future, of course.

  35. 59 Luther Blissett 28 May 2012 at 23:30

    If WP is keen to change Singapore for the better, LTK , SL and CSM must consider contesting AMK GRC in 2015/2016. Same demographic that consist of mainly Chinese mid to low income families and i reckon they do have a good chance for an upset.
    I do not think WP are able to attract enough talents to win 1/3 and Singapore do not have the time to wait for PAP to change. Their pace of change are too slow. The ever changing world cannot wait for Singapore and we are moving backward since 2003.
    LTK, force the real change within PAP and put the legacies to dust once and for all. Singapore needed this change and you are the only one who can do it.
    AMK GRC will be your last battle ground before retirement and Singapore will remember you forever.

    • 60 octopi 29 May 2012 at 17:27

      That would be stupid. I don’t think WP wanted to force George Yeo out of his seat. It’s just that Aljunied was the opposition hotspot, the lowest hanging fruit and everybody knew that. In 2006 and 2011, nobody went into AMK with the intention of winning.

      Also it’s not up to the WP to decide when they will take 1/3. The opposition will most probably win 1/3 before they are truly ready for it. And if they can’t handle the responsibility of the 1/3, we’re all screwed.

      • 61 Poker Player 30 May 2012 at 14:59

        ” And if they can’t handle the responsibility of the 1/3, we’re all screwed.”

        What? The difference between now and 1/3 is the PAP changing the constitution whenever it wants.

        What is the difference in responsibility now and when they get 1/3? Constitutions are only supposed to change only very very rarely.

        Give one example of “can’t handle the responsibility of the 1/3” that is different from what it is now.

      • 62 octopi 31 May 2012 at 06:05

        On second thoughts, there are no major consequences of “not being able to handle the responsibility of the 1/3”. Things will revert to what they were before. We’ll merely have a lame duck opposition which is good for nothing. And this won’t be good for the opposition: everybody will see they’re idiots and they’ll get voted out. Like the time they gained 4 seats and then lost back 2 right away, and lost 10 years.

        Constitutions are supposed to change when they’re supposed to change. I’m not a constitution fundamentalist. A lot of problems in America arise from how difficult it is to reform the political system. Imagine if you can’t remove the GRC system, no matter how stupid you think it is. Imagine that debates are ridiculously easy to filibuster: then nothing ever gets done. Do you know how difficult it was for the UK to get rid of first past the post?

        The constitutional changes that people think are undemocratic : the GRC system and the NCMP schemes have proven to be double edged swords and not benefitted the PAP as much as the lawmakers intended. The first one killed off George Yeo. The second provided a platform for Sylvia Lim to enter parliament as a full MP. The elected presidency has given the people the opportunity to humiliate the establishment.

        Constitutional changes provide the opportunity for people to experiment. The constitution should be like wikipedia: its greatness derives from how easy it is to rewrite it. If it is like the Bible, you can’t edit out the parts you don’t like, and whatever is screwed up about it is enshrined.

        On one hand you want to change the government whenever you want to. On the other hand, you want to constitution to almost never change. This is ideologically inconsistent. I welcome having more opposition members in parliament as long as they’re good. But I don’t think that if it’s harder to change the constitution, it’s a good thing.

      • 63 Poker Player 31 May 2012 at 10:32

        ” Imagine if you can’t remove the GRC system, no matter how stupid you think it is”

        Changing the constitution is how we got the GRC in the first place!

        Singapore voters gave the PAP the right to change the constitution any time it wants.

        That’s how we embarassed ourselves with the first Presidential elections!

        For goodness sakes read up about what people say about the evolution of our constitution first before you comment any more.

      • 64 octopi 1 June 2012 at 03:50

        Obviously. But you don’t seem to realise that making the constitution hard to change, and enshrining the GRC system are the same thing. And seriously, do you care more about how the first presidential elections were embarrassing to you, or do you care more about how Ong Teng Cheong managed to embarrass the establishment? History has proven that the elected presidency can be an independent voice, if not source of power.

        Actually the elected presidency is probably a lot more insiduous than that: a lot of the problems that we have today are because Singapore prefers to pump up its reserves than spend on its citizens. The presidency was set up to slap another lock on these reserves. That’s the real problem with the presidency, instead of the rather superficial view that it is an embarrassment.


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