Punggol East: Be gracious, generous WP

In Humour, Political governance on 11/01/2013 at 5:07 am

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind,” comes to mind when thinking of WP being challenged by SDP, SDA and KennethJ, for the right to be the sole Opposition candidate to contest Punggol East, against the PAP.

If you go to TRE, there are plenty of calls for Opposition unity; and rightly so. But most of the comments say that the other parties should not challenge the WP’s wish to contest the ward. The argument is that WP has the moral right to contest the PAP by virtue of its 41% share of the vote in the area in GE2011.

Problem is that one could reasonably argue that in 2011, the WP was morally wrong to challenge the SDA’s desire to contest the seat. The SMC was carved out of Pasir Ris- Punggol GRC, an area where the SDA had traditionally contested. So even though technically the WP did not technically urinate on another’s patch, it should have left the seat to the SDA to contest. At the time, there wasn’t too much bitching online on the WP’s stance because, Desmond Lim, the SDA candidate was not a popular man online. He had opposed the much loved Chiam (when Said Lim was in the SPP) for what it was popularly believed personal relations, and so didn’t have much public sympathy, online and offline.

Hence WP’s silence on why it should be rightful Opposition challenger. It is hoisted by its own petard

If the WP has the moral right to contest the seat because of its share of the vote, this means that

— the WP was right to ignore the informal rules of the “chop” game*; and

— accept that might is right. Bullying PAP-style is acceptable.

I hope that the parties can come to a compromise: it’s not as though the seat is marginal.

The PAP won 55% of the votes cast, 11% more than that of SDA and WP combined.

Given that SDA and KennethJ** can’t win, even if either was the sole opposition candidate; the WP has “dirty hands” and five MPs and  one NCMP MIA or AWOL,  (only Auntie and JJ are on the ball in Parly), the SDP should be given the right to challenge the PAP.

Personally if the WP is so generous and gracious, come what may, I’ll vote for JJ and WP in the next GE, even if the WP continues doing-bugger all in Parly. I had planned to be out of S’pore if the PAP fielded Charles Chong in Joo Chiat again.

For the record, I suspect that SDP is putting up its hand for a very tactical reason. It wants to contest Tanjong Pagar GRC at the next GE. It is a neighboor of Holland- Bukit Timah GRC. If the WP were to agree, it would not join the clowns in taking on WP and the PAP. Funny the other members of Clown brigade are AWOL from action: RI boys, Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say, and Goh Meng Seng. Hopefully they realise the folly and futility of being in this brigade, despite the cheap publicity members get.

Back to Dr Chee: only an ACS kid would use such deep thinking in pursuing his aim. Or maybe RI boys, Dr Ang Yong Guan and Dr Paul A, taught him game theory.


*Don’t like the “chop” system but it’s here to stay for the time being. It allows the opposition parties to take advantage of the core anti–PAP of between 25-30% of the electorate. They juz have to attract another 21-26% of the vote. Even then history shows how difficult this is.

**He is starting to back-track. Typical Saints Wayang Action man behaviour. Remember Reuben Wang, the Saints who “shoted” an obscenity at  DPM Teo, refused to apologise, then with his testicles around his neck and tail between his legs, he apologised? Yet a Saints rubgy captain and assorted rugby players allege on Facebook he is lying when KennethJ says he attended Saint Andrews school. Interestingly, the Saints rugby players defame KJ behind his back, yet don’t take action to correct his alleged lie. Wonder why? They hate the PAP and the government so much that they will not say anything bad publicly about the Opposition?

  1. […] Political Writings: The Importance of Punggol-East To SDP – Thoughts of a a Cynical Investor: Punggol East: Be gracious, generous WP – Where Bears Roam Free: Dr Koh Poh Koon’s sectarian mindset, copying Low TK’s […]

  2. From CNA:

    /// The 40-year-old surgeon is a fresh face although he has been a grassroots volunteer since 2002…. ///

    /// “I remember when I finally got my HDB flat in 1988, just after I ORD from the army, my wife and I had to borrow money from my uncle to do renovations. ///

    40-year-old — that means he was born in 1973 (or 1972). That means he was at most 16 when he ORD. You mean the SAF take in kids when they are 14??? Is this child labour or what???

    Married at 16 — wow!!!
    And got a flat at 16???
    How many years waiting time???
    You mean can apply for HDB flats when 16 years old or younger???

  3. “Back to Dr Chee: only an ACS kid would use such deep thinking in pursuing his aim.”

    Cough, cough .. you’re giving CSJ too much credit!!

    This guy (and maybe the whole party) tends to fire first, aim later. Press releases every other day, all talk, no (fill in the blanks).

    SDP had said publicly the reason why it wanted to contest : It had come up with lots of wonderful policy positions recently (including the much hyped “Public Housing”). It wants to put these policies to the people for a vote.

    It KNEW then that PAP, KJ, SDA and WP will participate.

    Aiyoh .. think of a better reason lah!! If SDP ends up ranking #3 and get a measly, say 20% (OK, better than 5% lah) of votes .. then isn’t SDP obliged to interpret this as the people smacking down all the wonderful policy positions they’re so proud of? I mean if you look at their “annual report” (press release) issued end last year, that’s what they were trumpeting as their achievement. Carefully thought through, alternative ideas and positions.

    By SDP’s own words, that will mean that the people rejected these “carefully throught through” ideas and positions. That’s a major blow to any decent party.

    In other words, by shoot-first-aim-later, SDP had framed this election in the most … let me think of the right word .. stupid way possible!! You can say you want to offer people a choice. You can say that to be a first world (oops .. this word already “chopped” by WP lah) opposition party, SDP needs to learn to compete everywhere. But to put the party platform front and centre in a 4-corner (at least) fight, that’s incredibly stupid.

    Another example :
    CSJ was quoted in the press essentially jumping up and down that WP didn’t respond to SDP’s call to negotiate. Even you speculated that SDP wants an “understanding” that the blood of LKY .. sorry, I mean Tanjong Pagar .. is theirs.

    I think WP is smart not to have responded. And incredibly stupid of CSJ to make this complaint so public.

    You want to contest in a by-election or an election, because you want to serve the people of Ponggol constituency. You cannot publicly say you are in effect, using the people of Ponggol as a bargaining chip. If you don’t give me XXX or if you don’t return my call, then I’ll …. screw things up for you??? That sounds awfully petty isn’t it?

    That now becomes another angle for the MSM to taint the entire opposition crowd. And today, CSJ had to come out and say “this is not for fun”.


    Chopping game – WP should back off.

    Unfortunately, its too late.

    If this was done (backing off) at GE2011, then fine. And maybe, as you pointed out, every party should have “honoured” the chopping game. Then you won’t have today’s situation, where SDA is hell-bent to jump in, even though it was soundly wollaped by Ponggol voters the last time (5% of votes). To SDA, its now about revenge — hell hath no fury like a SDA scorned. The whole party is consumed by the fury of the leader.

    But unfortunately, the chopping game wasn’t honored then. WP got 40% compared to SDA 5%. Put yourself now in WP’s shoes.

    You mean, because of a chopping game, it now turns away from the 40% who supported them the last time? How did WP win Aljunied? Not on first try .. from 40%+, chip at it, then get >50%. That’s WP’s style. Try, try, try, chip, chip, chip …


    Three / four / five / six / (whatever) cornered fight :

    I think this is an inevitable situation. Human nature is human nature. Who is to say who is the “best” candidate? Every parent thinks their child is the “best”. Every party thinks their idea or their candidate is the best.

    From WP’s viewpoint, I think WP will just have to go through such multi-corner fights and show that amongst all options, Singaporeans prefer them as the opposition party, heads and shoulders above the rest. In other words, continue to build on the brand. Yes, it means Punggol BE is lost, but from a long term perspective of brand building and winning the hearts of more and more Singaporeans, it will need to learn to do so in a messy environment. Because there’s no guarantee the next GE will be based on “negotiated chopping” in the future.

    If I were the PAP, you know what I’d do? I’ll ELIMINATE the $10k deposit. Make it free. Muddy the waters, let Tom, Dick and Harry join in. In every single election and even Presidential election.

  4. Update :

    And this blogger says it all :

    See what I mean by SDP’s “shoot first then aim” ?

    WP is smart – just let SDP self-destruct. Like how Obama handled Romney.

  5. SDP is the villain of PEBE. It shamelessly insists that WP give way for them to contest without bringing value to the bargaining table. When SDP failed it now threatens to bring down the entire opposition chance knowing a 3 or more corner fight will risk PAP win. When it failed in its attempt it reveals confidential communication with WP trying to embarass WP and paint WP as the spoiler and SDP as victim. What gangster is this Chee. Worst still why are 3 “talented” men still following his lead to political oblivion.
    Chee is drumming up fire among the impatient younger followers. All the firebrand style of late Jeyaratnam gets him nowhere even as I admire his passion and courage. WP has to steer its ship through the mine fields even if they may be too cautious.
    If SDP team does not see the folly, voters in PEast should see through this Spoiler and support WP because SDP does not show you respect and risk PONGGOL to be won by PAP.

  6. With due respect, I find all this call for opposition ‘unity’ rather silly – esp. in the context of a BE.

    Look, if the opposition parties Davids wanted to unite against the PAP Goliath, they should or would have to work on some grand strategy well BEFORE any election, in particular, a GE. As a BE is like kachang puteh – a minor opportunity – something that comes along out of the blue, it is fair game for anyone to have a go for private or party reason or agenda!

    One can see why SDP, WP and SDA want to have ago – as long as not losing its deposit is not an important factor. The SDP may want to test out its policies offered by the BE platform, the WP wanted to contest to see if it can wrest power from the incumbent and SDA may want to see whether it is still relevant at all after the last GE defeat. These are all very logical and practical political reasons to want to throw your hat in. And by all means.

    Realistically, how can you hammer out any sort of a workable deal in such a short notice! The parties, rather than waste the time on doing the impossible, use it for its own purpose – to prepare for the battle or just declare your intention not to come in as at least one did. In politics, it makes little sense to be magnanimous when one does not have the means or luxury for it.

    Surely the single most important result is whether the PAP would have its majority reduced. For the WP it would be feedback on how its fortune has turned post-GE2011, which is good feedback for
    GE2016, the all important show.

    So, by all means, every party for itself, as far BE Ponggol East is concerned. To do so would be to lose out on a valuable opportunity to test itself, for the big show up ahead. Even for the WP, I would
    say winning or losing is not the most important thing in this BE.

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