TJS: Right attitude, wrong project?

In Political governance on 30/09/2011 at 6:49 am

I’m one of those 75% of voters who didn’t vote for TJS in the presidential elections. I wasn’t convinced that he was sincere (to be frank,I thought he was an opportunist); and the lack of a verifiable track record, career-wise, since 1991 was of concern. My thoughts on whether he was a hero or bad guy.

And there was the issue of S$60bn. “[S]mall change”, but not to his fan websites, and the party he resigned from the SDP.

But 25% of voters voted for him which shows that he convinced a quarter of adult S’poreans that he was sincere and competent. I accept their judgement. I am happy that he has rewarded (or should it be repaid?) their trust by saying he will continue fighting for his articulated principles and convictions.

But is trying to unite the Opposition a good use of his passion and talents? I think not.

Chiam tried it twice. First with the setting up of SDA and then by trying to help KennethJ take over the SDA. The latter ended with Chiam taking the SPP out of the SDA, and with both Chiam and KJ looking stupid and arrogant. Chiam recovered his reputation, KJ never did. But KJ was playing for high stakes. If he had taken over the SDA, he would have established himself as a master tactican.

Next, why would the WP and SDP want to team up because of TJS? They have distinct brands, and appeal to different voters. If the parties worked together closely, WP would not be able to attract the swing voters. They would not to be associated with the “radicals” of the SDP. Although not true, that is the image that the swing voters have of SDP members, an image that the constructive, nation-building local media, PAP and government helped build and maintain. Though to be fair, until very recently, SDP members made it easy to caricature themselves.

It is no surprise they have not commented on what he has said.

Then there is the state of the other parties. The SPP punches above its weight because of brand Chiam. The NSP (forever reinventing itself between elections), RP (remember who this is?), and SDA are sick parodies of political parties.

See who are the parties that welcome his initiative, and are willing to join the “Coalition of the Hopeless”: the SPP, NSP, RP and SDA.

Finally, the present arrangement of all the parties not fighting three-way contests suits everyone except the SDP.  In particular, the WP benefits from having the SDP’s supporters having no choice except to vote for it. See this.

True in 2011, the WP refused to give way to the SDA in one area (but it was vindicated when the SDA candidate lost his deposit) and there were rows between the WP and NSP, and between the NSP and RP on seat allocations. But the bigger party bullied the smaller party into submission in both cases. Goh Meng Seng was bullied by the WP, and he in turn bullied KJ.

This co-operation may not be possible after the next GE. The parties, especially the WP and SDP, may raise their ambitions, but that is in the distant future.

So I hope TJS finds something more doable and constructive, taking into account his talents and weaknesses. What that could be I hope to explore in a future post. 

Meanwhile, “Tan Jee Say, Ho Say Leh”: so long as he repays the trust that 25% of adult S’poreans have in him.

  1. If the remuneration to be Ministers and to SERIOUSLY SERVE THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE is just a fraction of what are being paid now, I am VERY VERY sure the numbers will dwindle in due time.
    Those who really want to serve MUST BE VOLUNTEERILY be from the heart and soul and not from the MOUTH and not because of the MILLIONS. There is no use fighting amongst everybody, just let time tell.

  2. 60 bn is definitely small change compared to the hundreds of bn that Ho and Tan played around with!

  3. TJS draws 70 votes for every 100 votes TT receives That is a respectable showing. Btw, 65% did not vote for TT based on your reasoning.

  4. […] only see what the mind wants to believe: SFD apologists edition – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: TJS: Right attitude, wrong project? – SDP sets its sights on Tanjong Pagar GRC – Publichouse: Prompt action by MP and […]

  5. TJS wants to do a Anwar here?! Man, he dreams big, and just like what they say in football, he’s just too big for his boots!

    • Like one Liverpool FC and its fans. Won three (or is it four?) European Cups, numerous Division I League titles. But now nowhere. Toffees might win both derby games. )))))

  6. I agree with much of your analysis. The reason why we have so many political parties to start with is that everyone wants to be an Indian chief. There isn’t much political philosophy to distinguish them apart yet there are so many parties. During the GE and PE i even received calls to say support the opposition by being a counting agent or polling agent. It shows the machinery isn’t there. You don’t win elections by just talk. Organisation is also very critical.

  7. I don’t doubt that some of the distrust of opposition is hard-wired into us. But that’s no reason to be defeatist. At least TJS is prepared to give it a try. A tall order but someone somewhere must begin the first step. PAP is not all that perfect harmony either. There’s more than meet the eyes. Difference is – they are gagged by OSA and Oppositions are an open book. Sometimes, loose lips sink the ship.

  8. some chose him for lack of a better choice … or to show the ruling party something. People vote for all kinds of reason … come on!

  9. At least TJS came out with some ideas as to what we could do differently with our economy. None in the ruling party seems to have any new ideas at all! Or perhaps there is real fear of speaking once one is in the party? Sorry state of affairs indeed!

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