Tag Archives: Potong Pasir

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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Saturday Brunch at Home with Friends

Makan with friends
Makan with friends

Some weeks back, Rachel and I invited some friends over for brunch at our new home, on a lazy Saturday noon.

Our good friends, Melvin Ryan Tan and Han Joo had both just returned from abroad. Melvin was back from London for his school holiday while Han Joo was back from Tokyo after a two weeks vacation. Joining us too were Kenny and Jiali, our ex-colleagues at Youth.SG.

Rachel cooked some ribs with marmalade, baked pumpkins, bacon with banana and curry chicken. We went grocery shopping early in the morning to ensure the food preparation was on time before everyone arrive.

The brunch spread
The brunch spread
Happy guests
Happy guests
Group photo
Group photo
Han Joo acting emo
Han Joo acting emo

It’s nice to catch up with everyone again. Rachel and I appreciate everyone making their way down to remote Potong Pasir to have brunch with us on a precious weekend noon.

We should do this again some time. 🙂

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My Old Residence @ Leicester Road

Having lived there since I was 7, my family and I spend more than two decades of my life at my old residence at Leicester Road.

During the period, we saw through the iconic construction of Potong Pasir MRT station, the first MRT station to be open in an opposition ward; the redevelopment of St Andrew’s Junior School and St Andrew’s Secondary School (where I was educated) into St Andrew’s Village, joined by St Andrew’s Junior College; the development of over four condominiums in all four corners of of residential building and many more.

Finally, it was our turn for en-bloc sale late last year.

Here are some pictures I took of my old residence when Rachel and I went back to take some stuff we had missed out while moving out earlier.

The living room
The living room
My room
My room
My parent's room
My parent's room
My sister's room
My sister's room
The kitchen
The kitchen

Bye bye, 12 Leicester Road. Thanks for the memories.

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