Tag Archives: chiam see tong

Chiam See Tong and Inderjit Singh’s Takes on the Population White Paper

Mr Chiam See Tong, Secretary-General of the Singapore People's Party
Mr Chiam See Tong, Secretary-General of the Singapore People’s Party

My former Member of Parliament, Mr Chiam See Tong (詹时中) has came of his medical leave to broadcast the YouTube video below, giving his take on the Population White Paper:

Mr Chiam may no longer be in parliament, but his heart and soul is always with Singaporeans, putting our interests first before anything else.

Salute.

“Come and join me and I will like to see you in 2016. Be brave, come forward and speak up. We want to have more voices in parliament, towards a truly democratic society,” said Mr Chiam in the video.

Mr Chiam first entered politics in 1976 when he contested as an independent candidate in Cairnhill constituency, where he lost to then Minister for Communications and National Development, Mr Lim Kim San. He did not gave up, but soldiered on for two more elections before he took down Potong Pasir from Mr Mah Bow Tan.

Remember Mr Chiam’s famous line? – “I’m actually not a very brave man. But I love Singapore. I love Singaporeans.”

I love Singapore too…

Mr Inderjit Singh, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP
Mr Inderjit Singh, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP

which is why I find it frustrating that the ruling government is still so persistent on defending the 2030 6.9 million population white paper when there are so many angry voices from all directions.

Mind you, it is not just ordinary Singaporeans, academics, bloggers, opposition MPs and politicians who are giving their thumbs down to the population white paper, even a PAP MP, Mr Inderjit Singh from the PM’s own Ang Mo Kio GRC oppose it too.

Do read Mr Singh’s full speech in parliament which I have taken the liberty to reproduce from his Facebook:

On the White Paper on Population

Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to join the debate on the White Paper on Population.

While the report has some compelling arguments for the 6.9m population figure projected, we all know it is based mainly on economic considerations. Had we focused on things like building a cohesive nation with a strongnational identity, the outcome would likely be very different.

I feel the time has come for us to find a better balance between economic growth and social cohesion and yes there will have to be tradeoffs of economic growth but I would rather trade some of these for a cohesive, united nation where people feel taken care of at home and are confident of their future. I am not saying we go for low or no growth. Instead I am willing to adjust my growth expectations for a more comfortable life for all Singaporeans. I am confident we will still be able to pursue respectable economic growth when companies and Singaporeans are faced with a situation of tightened labour availability by focusing on improving ourselves through productivity and higher value capabilities. Finland and other small nations have done, we can do it too.

Our past decade of rapid population growth has already created too many problems which need to be solved first before we take the next step. I call on the government to take a breather for five years, solve all the problems created by the past policies of rapid economic and population growth. We can safely say that we have failed to achieve the goal set by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, of a Swiss standard of living for most Singaporeans, except for the higher income Singaporeans including foreigners who just recently decided to make Singapore their home. So I call for a breather in this quest of growing the population and focus on improving the lives of Singaporeans and achieve that promised Swiss Standard of living for most Singaporeans first before we plan our next growth trajectory.

Taking Care of the Singaporean Core
I have a big issue with the number of PRs and new citizens we are planning to add to our population. I don’t see the necessity to be as aggressive when the key consideration of the population growth is the economy. We have already added too many new citizens and PRs and need time for integration and social cohesion to happen. Looking at history, our population grew from around 2.4m in 1980 to 3m in 1990 and then to 4m in 2000, reaching 5.3m last year. Just looking at the resident population alone, we grew the numbers from 2.3m in 1980 to 2.7m in 1990, 3.3m in the year 2000 and then to 3.8m last year. So in the last decade we added more than 1m to the resident population, and the in last 25 years, which is close to 1 generation of Singaporeans, we have added another close to 50% more to our resident population. I believe this must be the fastest rate of population growth in the world and I feel this is just too much for us to comfortably go back and build a national identity and social cohesion which was progressing very well till the 1990s. Adding another 500,000 to 800,000 more PRs and citizens as proposed by the white paper will be disastrous and add to our already difficult infrastructure and social problems.

If it is economic growth we want then let’s just adopt the Dubai model of a transient workforce which will give us a lot more flexibility to manage numbers in the longer term. On PRs, today we already have too many of them and they are enjoying full citizen privileges without the citizens’ responsibilities. For example;
– Far too many PR boys who skip NS when they turn 18. After enjoying the privileges they have a choice of not doing NS and then leave the country. I believe only around 30% of all PR boys do NS today. Well, our Singapore sons don’t have a choice but to do NS, it is an office not to do it.
– PR children study at their International system schools sticking to their home cultures.
– PRs can buy HDB flats from the open market driving prices of HDB flats too high.

So I urge the government to reduce the number of projected new PRs and citizens just to the population replacement levels and be more selective and differentiate their privileges from citizens. I have a few suggestions for the government to consider;

• The government in the past couple of years has tried to draw the distinction between PRs and citizens by increasing school fees and healthcare fees for them. But I wonder would it not have been better to instead partially subsidize these same fees for Singapore citizens? So do it the other way round, reduce fees for Singaporeans not just increase for PRs.

• PR children must be made do national service – it should no longer be a choice and we should make it an offence if they don’t do it. We should not grant PRs to families who don’t commit their sons to National Service.

• HDB – if a PR buys a HDB flat from the open market, charge a levy of say $50k and allow them to sell only to Singaporeans. If the PR takes up citizenship within 5 years, we can refund the levy.

• Children of PRs should be made to study in our national schools so that we increase the chance of integrating them at the next generation.

• On the employment front, it is time we implement a Singaporean first hiring policy like what is done in some developed countries like Canada. Companies should show proof first that they were not able to fill a position with a Singaporean before they are allowed to hire a foreigner.

• Reconsider the dependents policy – I have come across a number of cases where our targeted one child from China brings in 2 parents who then bring 2 parents each as their dependents – Net is that we gain one young one child who we brought in for our future but also inherited 6 older people – making our ageing population issue worse not better.

I feel the differentiated privileges will separate the genuine ones from those who are here for a ride. We should grant PRs to those who are most likely going to take up citizenships so these differentiated privileges should not stifle our plans to attract quality PRs and new citizens.

This brings me to the point of how many Singaporeans are feeling about the presence of such huge numbers of new citizens, PRs and foreigners amongst our midst. First for housing – there is no doubt that the influx of foreigners in Singapore has driven up our property prices. PRs are buying HDB flats from the open market which drives up prices.

Just last week I had a dialogue session with my private estates residents and one of my residents complained that a new citizens recently bought a landed property in this old estate and was building a 3 and a half storey towering house. Well the, new citizen, the owner of the house was also present and when, I spoke with him during the tea session I found out that he was a new citizen formerly from China, just gained his citizenship and bought not 1 but 3 landed properties in Kebun Baru alone. I was surprised and saddened because many Singaporeans cannot afford to do the same, and this new citizen, no matter how he may have made his wealth is able to do so.

Many young Singaporeans I talk to, especially those who have recently graduated and have just entered the workforce feel demoralized because many of the things that they grew up aspiring to have are now beyond their reach. Our aggressive growth strategies, which allowed cheaper foreign workers, including professionals to easily gain employment passes degraded or depressed wage levels of many Singaporeans, not just the lower income Singaporeans. I remember when I started work in 1985, my salary was $1900 as an entry level engineer. After a few years I could afford a house and a car. Today, 28 years later, an entry level engineer in Singapore earns $2600, just $700 more than what I earned when I started. The mathematics is very simple, the cost of living did not just go up by 1.3% per annum the last 27 years and even more, the cost of owning a HDB flat is did not just go up by 37% since 1985.

Finally, I am perturbed by the banquet analogy used by Minister Khaw. We are talking about lives of Singaporeans. Our banquet guests come for one night and leave when the function is over. There is no turning back when we grant PR and citizenships. We must be more exact about the numbers we want to add to the Singapore population and not plan on a basis of ‘hoping we hit some number”. Because if overdo things and end up with a population of more than 7m, it may be too late to stop the fast moving train of population growth when we fire up all the engines of growing the population. We missed the mark the last 10 years, and are already paying a high price for that mistake.

In my speech in this house in 2008 during the committee of supply debate on the population I urged the government to abandon the “the instant tree mentality” in trying to grow the population in response to the declining birth rates. At that time, I did not agree with the rate of growth pursued and we know the consequences and the hardship Singaporeans faced as a result of the rapid growth, Instant trees cannot grow strong roots and can be uprooted in difficult times. I once again urge the government to slow down and plan on reaching their population target over a longer time horizon. I don’t think we can live with a 6.9m population in 2030. We may be able to handle it in 2050, no one really knows. Please abandon this ‘instant tree” mentality as we cannot afford to make Singaporeans lives more difficult as a result. I rather we err on the side of caution when it comes to growing our population. We cannot keep paying a high price for planning misjudgements.

In Conclusion, I would like to see us take a breather from re-growing our population again. We have too many problems as a result of the last breath taking population growth rate. As a government we need to rebuild the trust and confidence among Singaporeans that our citizens matter most to us and that we are willing take a break from our relentless drive for growth to solve their problems, make their lives more comfortable, give them a better quality of life and show them that any future growth of population will not create similar social and cost of living problems. At this stage many Singaporeans from all walks of life don’t have the confidence that we can handle another steep growth of the population, so let’s not push it. I would like all of us, including the government to spend the time creating and environment that gives us confidence in our future and one where our young can see a sense of hope of opportunity and if we fail to instil a sense of hope and opportunity for our future generations, we will not be able to root them here and build a strong national identity and a strong nation. This is what building a strong Singapore core should entail. So let’s delay all plans for further population growth for now.

Do you hear us?

Do  you hear the loud chorus of disapproval?

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Why Chiam See Tong should be an inspirational figure to all Singaporeans

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

(Pastor Martin Niemöller, 6 Jan 1946)

Via wikipedia:

Operation Spectrum (光谱行动) was launched on May 21, 1987 by Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) using its Internal Security Act (ISA). A second wave of arrests took place on Jun 20 in the same year. The security operation saw 22 young Roman Catholic church and social activists and professionals detained, without trial, under the internal security law, accused of being members of an alleged Marxist conspiracy bent on subverting the PAP-ruled government by force, and replacing it with a Marxist state.

After they were released, several of the detainees issued a statement countering government denials that they had been tortured. They were promptly rearrested. They were later released only on condition that they sign statutory declarations denying everything they had said in their earlier press statement.

Via The Online Citizen:

When Parliament sat on July 1987, Mr Chiam See Tong tabled a motion calling for the release of the alleged Marxist conspirators detained in May of that year. He was then the only opposition Member of Parliament (MP), JB Jeyaretnam having run into legal trouble the year before. It thus fell upon him to call for the detainees’ release in Parliament.

For a full day, Parliament debated the motion he tabled:

“That this House calls upon the Government to release immediately the 15 persons detained under the Internal Security Act for allegedly being involved in a Marxist plot to destabilise the Government.”

As People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs lined up to speak against the detainee’s release, he stood his ground. However, the conclusion was a foregone one.

To add injury to the insult of defeat, his motion was amended to congratulate the government:

“That this House supports the prompt action of the Government in arresting those involved in the Marxist conspiracy and supports the Government’s intention to release them as soon as they are rehabilitated and are unlikely to resume their subversive activities”.

You can read more of the parliament transcripts via The Online Citizen.  Chiam was fighting a one man battle against a sea of whites in parliament, yet he soldiered the burden with quiet, unwavering moral conviction.

This is a man with balls of steel. I am not mincing my words here. Mr Chiam See Tong deserves the utmost respect from all Singaporeans for speaking for the voiceless.

It was my privilege to have him as my MP for 23 years out of his 27 years representing the Potong Pasir single member constituency.

Mr Chiam greeting supporters at the 2011 General Elections
Mr Chiam greeting supporters at the 2011 General Elections

One can claim to aspire to be the “heart of the nation” or the “voice of the people” on an election platform, but it’s a different thing altogether when put to the real test.

Chiam had nothing to prove back in 1987 when he defended the detainees in Operation Spectrum. What he had was moral courage and the conscience to do the right thing.

If Chiam was eligible to run in the recent Presidential Election, my vote would have gone his way without a doubt.

I am ending this post with a video of Chiam during his younger years, participating in a debate on the Elected Presidency back in 1992:

Singapore’s Newest Tourist Spot – The “Welcome to Potong Pasir” Billboard featuring Chiam See Tong

My photo at the billboard with a group of Potong Pasir friends
My photo at the billboard with a group of Potong Pasir friends

I am heartened to see many Singaporeans posing for pictures every time I pass by the “Welcome to Potong Pasir” billboard featuring the smiling face of Chiam See Tong my ex-MP for 27 years.

Little boy having his photo taken
Little boy having his photo taken

When I came home tonight, the billboard was still there, though I am not sure how much longer it will stay there.

If you haven’t had your picture taken yet, do so quickly before the billboard disappears as a relic of history, like the erstwhile Anson constituency.

Here’s a cool time lapse video of everyday folks coming down to have their pictures taken by the billboard:

I have set up a Facebook Page called “Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town” for everyone to share and contribute your Potong Pasir billboard photos. Do join the group and help spread the love from Potong Pasir. 🙂

Directions:

The signboard is located at the entrance of Potong Pasir Ave 1, turning in from Upper Serangoon Road. If you are taking public transport, take bus 142 from Toa Payoh Interchange or alight at Potong Pasir MRT station and walk there:

Directions to the billboard
Directions to the billboard

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Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town

Entering Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town
Entering Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town

Regardless, of which party you voted for, I encourage all Singaporeans to get your picture taken at the “Welcome to Potong Pasir” signboard with Mr Chiam See Tong‘s smiling face within the next few days.

The signboard is located at the entrance of Potong Pasir Ave 1, turning in from Upper Serangoon Road. If you are taking public transport, take bus 142 from Toa Payoh Interchange or alight at Potong Pasir MRT station and walk there:

Direction to the signboard
Direction to the signboard

The picture will make a nice memento of Singaporeans’ political awakening this election.

I do not know when our new MP, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin will get the signboard replaced or demolished, but I feel that the signboard is a symbol of Mr Chiam’s 27 years legacy in Potong Pasir with the residents. It will be a shame to see it go, but it would be unfair to our new MP to keep it either.

I had mine taken, together with a group of childhood friends who grew up together in the area earlier this afternoon:

Proud to be a Potong Pasir resident
Proud to be a Potong Pasir resident
Cheese!
Cheese!
Many others came to take their pictures by the signboard too
Many others came to take their pictures by the signboard too
More others taking pictures
Another couple taking pictures

We have not met up for some time, but such was the strong bond of being a resident in Potong Pasir that we were able to organise an impromptus photo-taking gathering within an hour.

There was a thank you parade from the SPP team, scheduled from 4pm. I headed there with my friends, bumping into many other old friends and neighbours along the way.

Emotions were running high. Many people, both males and females, of all ages and races were tearing as we bid our goodbyes to the Chiams and the SPP team.

Residents flocked down their flats
Residents flocked down their flats
Sad goodbye
Sad goodbye
Mr Chiam greeting supporters
Mr Chiam greeting supporters
A young boy shaking Mr Chiam's hand
A young boy shaking Mr Chiam's hand
Suppporters going up to Mr Chiam, one after another
Suppporters going up to Mr Chiam, one after another
Hoisting the SPP flag high
Hoisting the SPP flag high
This boy was shouting his lungs out for Chiam See Tong
This boy was shouting his lungs out for Chiam See Tong
Political awareness starts young here
Political awareness starts young here
The SPP lorry sets off for the thank you parade
The SPP lorry sets off for the thank you parade
A family of ardent supporters
A family of ardent supporters
Supporters, young and old
Supporters, young and old
Mr Chiam waving his thanks
Mr Chiam waving his thanks
Supporters and well-wishers flocking to shake Lina's hands
Supporters and well-wishers flocking to shake Lina's hands
Thumbs up for Lina Chiam
Thumbs up for Lina Chiam
"Don't cry"
"Don't cry"

“Don’t cry, we will be back. Please listen to your new MP while I am not here,” urged Lina Chiam to many visibly upset and shaken residents as they shook her hands.

No one was forced or paid to line the streets to welcome the SPP
No one was forced or paid to line the streets to welcome the SPP
Lina Chiam waving to supporters
Lina Chiam waving to supporters
Some watched from their flat windows
Some watched from their flat windows
Everyone whipping out their cameras as the SPP team arrives
Everyone whipping out their cameras as the SPP team arrives
Many drove by to follow the SPP lorry as they embark on the parade
Many drove by to follow the SPP lorry as they embark on the parade
Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong
Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong
One of many ordinary Singaporeans seen tearing as the SPP team past by
One of many ordinary Singaporeans seen tearing as the SPP team past by
Another lady, touched by the Chiams
Another lady, touched by the Chiams
Little boy crying
Little boy crying

There were many others like me and my friends prowling around the small town of Potong Pasir today, armed with their cameras and video-cams. Some could have been residents, others may have come from other parts of Singapore, either way, I am happy the awareness level for Potong Pasir has gone up.

If you bother to walk around Potong Pasir, the myth that we are a ”slum” will quickly be dispelled. Do these photos below look like a slum estate to you:

Our town centre - no NTUC FairPrice, but there are many mom and pop shops
Our town centre - no NTUC FairPrice, but there are many mom and pop shops
Looks like slum or not?
Looks like slum or not?
Your Town, Your Voice, Your Pride!
Your Town, Your Voice, Your Pride!
Again... slum?
Again... slum?
I remember it was a big deal in Potong Pasir when the first McDonald's outlet arrived here
I remember it was a big deal in Potong Pasir when the first McDonald's outlet arrived here
Children's playground
Children's playground
Spiderweb
Spiderweb
Elderly corner
Elderly corner
Potong Pasir Town Council
Potong Pasir Town Council
Accounting for what the Town Council spent on
Accounting for what the Town Council spent on
Lots of greenery in the estate
Lots of greenery in the estate
More nice greenery, planted by residents
More nice greenery, planted by residents
Town Council noticeboard
Town Council noticeboard
Residents' memories
Residents' memories

Potong Pasir has a lot of hearts. That why the slogan, “Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town” resonates so well with many of us here.

I am and always will be proud to be a Potong Pasir resident.

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A Post Dedicated to Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and My Fellow Potong Pasir Residents

Mrs Chiam crying and graciously apologising to residents for losing the fight
Mrs Chiam crying and graciously apologising to residents for losing the fight to serve them

It is almost 4am, but I am experiencing such a strong surge of emotions that I have to write this post before I sleep.

The news headlines tomorrow will be full of reports of Workers’ Party’s Aljunied GRC landmark win and George Yeo’s team landmark lost.

Potong Pasir is the smallest constituency in Singapore and it’s lost to the PAP will likely be overshadowed.

As I was reading election related updates online, I am saddened that some opposition supporters are cursing at Potong Pasir residents, accusing us of “betraying Mr and Mrs Chiam for lift upgrading or a fresh coat of paint”.

This really hurts. Look at the pictures below. They were taken past 3am, after the results for Potong Pasir SMC was announced. Lina Chiam lost by a mere 114 votes:

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

It was already past 3.30am, but residents patiently lined the streets, waiting for the SPP team to return
It was already past 3.30am, but residents patiently lined the streets, waiting for the SPP team to return
Residents came from all corners, some driving by to cheer for Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Residents came from all corners, some driving by to cheer for Lina Chiam and the SPP team
As the SPP team arrives, the residents roared in approval
As the SPP team arrives, the residents roared in approval
Have you witness such outpouring of emotions at winning PAP wards? (and to think SPP lost!)
Have you witness such outpouring of emotions at winning PAP wards? (and to think SPP lost!)
Does this crowd look like a bunch of losers to you?
Does this crowd look like a bunch of losers to you?
Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Crowd gather at all sides of the roads, regardless of gender, race or age
Crowd gather at all sides of the roads, regardless of gender, race or age
Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town!
Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town!
Heading for the hawker centre to sit down and chat with the residents
Heading for the hawker centre to sit down and chat with the residents
Overheard one young man saying to Mrs Chiam: "Nevermind, they won the election, but did not win our heart!"
Overheard one young man saying to Mrs Chiam: "Nevermind, they won the election, but did not win our heart!"
Like the two kids in the picture, this is how me and my peers grew up in Potong Pasir
Like the two kids in the picture, this is how me and my peers grew up in Potong Pasir
Confetti was popped, one tube after another
Confetti was popped, one tube after another
An middle-aged man hoisted up the SPP flag in defiant
An middle-aged man hoisted up the SPP flag with pride
More cars streaming in
More cars streaming in
Opposition Unity: WP and NSP members came to cheer the SPP team - the crowd responded by cheering them thunderously
Opposition Unity: WP and NSP members came to show support - the crowd responded by cheering them thunderously

Does this look like we conceded Potong Pasir to PAP without a fight? Do you see this in other losing constituencies?

My family of four (now five, including my wife, Rachel) moved to Potong Pasir 23 years ago. We have witnessed five General Elections won by Mr Chiam See Tong since.

Potong Pasir residents have a lot of heart. We have rejected carrots from PAP for the past 5 elections. Before criticising us, reflect on yourself first and asked if you have done your part for the oppositions. Other than the residents of Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC,  in terms of vote counts, the Potong Pasir residents are still the next closest in supporting the need for alternative voices in Parliament. In fact, we have done our part for 27 years – have you? Or were you one of the cowardly lions who voted out of fear?

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin won his fight fair and square for this election. There was no name-calling and he was in most part, gentlemanly in his campaign this time round. In all fairness, this guy has balls of steel to come back for a third try at Potong Pasir even when he was offered a backdoor pass into Parliament like a certain Kate Spade. For this, he earned my respect.

In case you are wondering how I voted, I voted with my heart.

For Lina Chiam.

It was a struggle as I was not impressed by her performance on the TV debate. Her rally speeches weren’t inspirational either. I was still undecided on the morning of Polling Day.

In the end, I chose Lina over Sitoh because I decided to go with my heart, and the heart of this small town where I grew up in. I was voting for something bigger than Lina Chiam, I was voting for what this small town called Potong Pasir symbolises, I was voting for the dedicated team of Potong Pasir grassroot volunteers behind the Chiams.

The town where a simple billboard of “Welcome to Potong Pasir” with Mr Chiam’s smiling face greets me everyday on my way home. A town where there’s compassion and lots of heart. A town whose people have the courage and dignity to support a humble man as one of the lone alternative voice in Parliament for 27 years, resisting upgrading carrots, election after election, for national interest.

One of my favourite comic book when I was young was The Adventures of Asterix.

Via Wikipedia: The series follows the exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. The main setting for the series is an unnamed coastal village in Armorica, a province of Gaul (modern France), in the year 50 BC. Julius Caesar has conquered nearly all of Gaul for the Roman Empire. The little Armorican village, however, has held out because the villagers can gain temporary superhuman strength by drinking a magic potion brewed by the local village druid, Getafix.

Potong Pasir is like that small Armorican village to me, full of brave people  like Asterix and Obelix. We have no magic potion, but fierce pride and dignity to stand up to oppression while the rest of Gaul quivers. No prize for guessing which party behaves like the tyranny Roman empire in the comic book.

Growing up, I am proud to witness this indominable Potong Pasir spirit triumphs, time and again against the sea of white around us.

Many Singaporeans only had their political awakening this election. Many of my peers in Potong Pasir had theirs since we were toddlers, having been brought up in an environment where you cannot help but notice the unfairness of the PAP towards us, election after election.

Potong Pasir residents pay taxes too and the guys here all served our NS dutifully. Why are we openly regarded as second-class citizens by a government which was tasked to take care of every citizen and “leave no one behind”?

How would you feel if your MP has to hold his Meet-The-People session in the void deck; that you see a sea of white mocking him in Parliament; that he is constantly being accused of not doing more for Potong Pasir by the PAP when they twist his arms around?

The more we get whacked, the stronger our resolve to stand in defiance.

Fyi, Potong Pasir is not a slum. Far from it. Our estate is clean and the necessary amenities are in place. Mr Chiam did his best with the limited resources he has and certainly did not use the Town Council funds to play the stock market.

Rachel and I will be moving to the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC next year when our flat is ready. This is my last time voting in Potong Pasir. It is with a heavy heart that I came to the reckoning that Potong Pasir may well be written off the electoral map next election, just like what happened to Anson.

If you were to ask me, I think Potong Pasir was lost, not because 114 of my fellow residents opted for upgrading carrots as we have rejected bigger carrots in previous elections. It was probably lost because some of us felt it was time to pass the opposition baton to other Singaporeans.

It is now over to the residents of Aljunied GRC and Hougang to shoulder the burden of providing alternative voices in Parliament. I salute them for their courage to vote for the long-term future of Singapore, and not the short-term carrots dangled in front of them (For PAP supporters still moaning the lost of George Yeo and his dedicated PAP team at Aljunied, blame it on the PAP for the GRC system they created).

To Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and my dignified residents of Potong Pasir, I salute all of you for having done our part in nation-building for the last 27 years.

To Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, please do a good job. You owe it to the residents here who voted for you, though I still do not know who they are as they were not visible tonight as the Chiams’ supporters lined the streets of Potong Pasir. The silent slight majority has spoken in Potong Pasir, and we will respect their decision.

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Online Comedian Steven Lim to Contest in Potong Pasir for Coming Election?

Article in Lianhe Wanbao, dated 10 Mar 2011 (scan via EDMW) - Click Image to ENLARGE
Article in Lianhe Wanbao, dated 10 Mar 2011 (scan via EDMW) - Click to ENLARGE

Via EDMW and Lianhe Wanbao. Is he for real?

I am getting lots of popcorn ready if Steven Lim really comes to Potong Pasir to contest.

I am sure Potong Pasir residents will appreciate the  sideshow entertainment. The election deposit of $13,500 is not a lot of money to Steven Lim, considering he just spent $20,000 recently to buy air time on TV as flaunted on his website.

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Stop Taking Potong Pasir Residents for Granted and Treating Us Like Dummies!

Potong Pasir, my hometown for the past 23 years
Potong Pasir, my hometown for the past 23 years (picture via streetdirectory.com)

Recently, there’s have been news reports of many political parties and even independent candidates wanting to compete in Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency (SMC) in the near election.

My family of four (now five, including my wife, Rachel) moved to Potong Pasir 23 years ago. We have witnessed five General Elections won by the incumbent MP, Chiam See Tong.

Chiam won because he is well-connected and well liked by the mature voters in Potong Pasir who is not easily swayed by carrots dangled by the ruling party, not because the residents here are dummies who will just vote for any Tom, Dick or Harry opposite party candidates.

I am very pissed that the way it is now, many election candidates seem to think that Potong Pasir residents are just a bunch of dumb, foolhardy kampong folks who will vote for anybody as long as he or she is not from the PAP. Do you really think so?

By all means, come and contest here to have a four, five or even six corner fight. This will make this coming election all the more exciting for us here in Potong Pasir. I will get my popcorn ready. I am sure Potong Pasir residents will be happy to see many of these opportunistic candidates lose their $13,500 election deposits.

PAP’s Andy Gan contested in two elections, losing both times to Chiam. In the end, he got into Parliament as an MP via the GRC route. The current potential PAP candidate in Potong Pasir for the coming election, Sitoh Yi Pin had contested and lost twice too. However, from  recent news report, it seems Sitoh might be contesting for a third time.

Just by his sheer determination and commitment to compete for a third time in Potong Pasir instead of opting for an easy entry into Parliament via the GRC route, Sitoh is already a much better vote choice than any opportunistic candidate who is banking on a weakened Chiam to win votes.

Fyi, even Chiam took THREE elections before he was able to win the Potong Pasir voters’ stamp of approval. What makes you think any unfamiliar candidate can win with one try?

Singaporeans always complain there is not enough opposition voices in Parliament,  yet most would not want an opposition MP in their own backyard. Why should Potong Pasir residents always be the sacrificial lambs? We are Singaporeans too.

We are not dummies in Potong Pasir, but more politically aware and hence more concerned about political and social development in our homeland.

Stop making stupid, opportunistic talks about all wanting to contest here because the ground “seems” more likely to support any non-PAP candidate. Not true. We will judge each candidate by his or her own merit, not the party affiliation.

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