Dec 2010: A quirky look back (Part II)

In Political governance on 21/12/2011 at 5:37 am

Continuation of

This time last year, Goh Meng Seng was strutting around as Secretary-General of the NSP, talking the talk about his “ministerial specific” strategy that would win the NSP seats in parly. Well the NSP had a lousy election save in Marine Parade (thanks to the people’s princess Nicole Seah and the PAP’s Clownish Trio of then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, his side-kick Kate Spate Tin, and her assistant “fat fingered” Denise), with GMS nowhere to be seen in the GRC he was contesting (He seemed more interested in having his photo taken with Nicole was the view of WP members who had wanted the party to contest the GRC.). No surprise that GMS is no longer Secretary-General of the NSP, and will let his NSP party membership lapse. He has moved on from NSP as he had moved on from WP after the 2006 GE.

But you can’t keep someone like GMS away from publicity and activism. He is now heading the newly formed Chinese section of TOC. Planning to use TOC to keep in the public eye? But TOC needs to expand its audience beyond English-educated “networked public”*, and as Show Mao is not available, GMS is better than nothing.

Talking of TOC, their motto seems to be, “Live dangerously”. This time last year, it was spoiling for a fight with the MIW,  what with it leaving the cyberworld to organise a seminar in which it invited all the political parties. It even had the audacity to leave an empty chair when the PAP ignored its invitation. It got its comeuppance in early 2011 when it was gazetted a “political” body and made subject to MDA rules. Well this December, it announced that it had invited the president of S’pore to attend a January bash: it wasn’t being ironical. Wonder if this had anything to do with the presidential debate that it organised and which was made available to the public via the Internet ? Tony Tan came out well when answering questions from a non-partisan live audience. Remember his margin of victory was 7,000 votes,  this debate must have helped him. The other two debates were conducted by representatives of the nation-building constructive media.

Sadly, one TKL was found wanting at that debate. He had to have 377A explained to him. In December 2010, Tan Kin Lian was looked upon as a credible presidential candidate. This despite him saying he had no presidential ambitions after his failure to get more than 1,200 petitioners to sign his “100,000 names for me to stand as president”. S’poreans still fondly remembered him as the plucky ex-PAPpie who stood up for retail investors who bought mini-bonds and DBS notes. He had problems making up his mind whether he would stand, and when he finally stood for the presidency, ran an eccentric, erratic and poorly funded campaign (one GMS was his adviser) as the “People’s Voice”. He lost his deposit and blamed everyone (especially TJS) for his defeat. He should have blamed himself: especially his refusal to fund himself in a serious way, his inept tactics, and his strategy of taking the anti-PAP voters for granted.

The maturity of most voters was shown by their refusal to be bribed by his populist promises. They knew the president hadn’t the power to implement any of the goodies TKL was promising.

Many younger S’poreans this time last year, did not know who Tan Cheng Bock was. They now know that as a PAP MP, he took on the government many times. We also now know that he is very rich, what with a place in Sentosa Cove (“Invetment leh” he says). He also showed he was a savvy campaigner (mail shot to all voters), able to attract grassroot volunteers and big sponsors.

Penultimately, last December we didn’t know much about Tony Tan’s family. We now know his eldest son got deferred from NS for 12 years and never became a medical doctor or an army medical officer; his other two sons were never selected for the SAF officers’ or even combat trained NCOs’ course despite being medically fit; and he has one good looking stunner of a daughter**, who married an ang moh.

Finally, let’s remember that in December 2010, Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim, George Yeo, and Ms Lim Hwee Hwa were in the cabinet, and Zainul Abidin was a junior minister, and Cynthia Phua was alleged to be the MP from Hell. They all lost their cushy, mega millions jobs in May 2011.

The first six have yet to find anything that pays as well. Was LKY wrong when he said, “{Y}ou have to pay the market rate or the man will up stakes and join Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers or Goldman Sachs and you would have an incompetent man and you would have lost money by the billions.”

I mean investment banks are not exactly falling over themselves to recruit any of the Competent Six.

Happy hols.


*”Modern media theorists refer to participants in such systems as a “networked public”, rather than an “audience”, since they do more than just consume information.”(Economist)

**TJS has two great looking daughters.

  1. […] A Vote for Change – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Dec 2010: A quirky look back (Part II) […]

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