In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three bird-women, who lured passing sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck and death on the rocks around their island.
In the S’pore context, the Sirens are those anonymous voices on the Internet who lure men with large egos and deep pockets to enter politics as voices of the oppressed, only to abandon them to ridicule, shame and monetary loss when elections are held.
When KennethJ (remember him and the Reform Party?) was thinking aloud of entering politics, many anonymous voices on the internet encouraged him to emulate his father, JBJ, to stand up and speak out for the oppressed. When he did in 2009, even more voices came out to tell him that he was their hero and they would support him.
I was one of the few Cassandras who posted anonymously on TOC that he should be aware of the Sirens. I cited the example of one Tan Kin Lian who in 2008 received emails asking him to stand for election in the coming 2011 presidential election. He then organised a petition asking for 100,000 people to petition him to stand for the presidency. In 2009, he got less than 1,500 names and renounced all presidential ambitions.
Well we know now how much support KennethJ received. Very few joined the RP, and most of them left soon afterwards. The share of the votes RP got in the 2011 GE was pathetic. The Sirens made a fool of him.
Then there was TKL. Not satisfied with being played out by the internet, he flip-flopped (I am thinking of standing, I will stand, I am thinking of standing) his way into the presidential election. And was humiliated when he lost his deposit. Did the Sirens fix him, hehe, snigger, snigger. Funniest of all, he and, Goh Meng Seng, are in denial over his loss. TKL’s media statement and GMS’s comments (see comments).
Coming back to Tan Jee Say. His performance was very credible. He got 25% of the votes. The Sirens failed to humiliate him after enchanting him to stand for president. True he budgeted S$200,000 for his campaign and we don’t know how much he got in donations. But waz money for an ex- investment banker active in the early to mid-1990s (I was only an equities dealer and salesman but I made more than enough to spend most of noughties unemployed) and an ex-Scholar?
The Sirens are now telling him to set up his own party. Still trying to fix him.
If I were him, I’d give them the finger. There are a certain number of voters who will always vote for the anti-PAP candidate. In the late 1960s this was abt 10% of the voters. After the 2006 GE, this figure had become abt 20%. After the 2011 GE, there was an estimates that this could be as high as 31% of the voters, with the most conservative estimate remaining at 20%.
Taking into consideration, the votes that went to Spoiler Tan, TJS could have gotten 30% of the hard core opposition vote, almost all of 31%. In a GRC or SMC in a GE, this would mean certain defeat, if the fight was between the PAP and an opposition candidate. If the hard core were only 20%, then taking into account 5%-Tan, he could have gotten 10% of the swing voters. Still not enough swing votes to win in a straight fight.
OI course, the Sirens would sing that 30% is a gd base to start from but look at how long it took the WP to win a GRC, over a decade. And the WP had very complacent PMs, and MPs in Aljunied. And TJS isn’t young.
At his age, he would be better off counting his dividends, and making sure that his very pretty daughters date only the “right” boys. And joining me for walks in the neighbourhood. Lots of nice areas to walk in Frankel Estate, Siglap and Marine Parade.