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.