And with many little crosses, Singapore has chosen.
It has been a wild ride – for me especially as a Party activist. Over the past 10 days, there was drama, lots of physical work, psycological warfare, research and thinking.
The People’s Action Party is again returned to power with an overwhelming win of 81 out of the 87 seats in Parliament.
But they have lost a GRC (to my foreign friends, a GRC is a group of several constituencies in one. A win for the GRC is calculated by adding all the votes together). Aljunid GRC has gone to the Worker’s Party.
The Worker’s Party also kept its stronghold – the Hougang single-member constituency (SMC).
The PAP took back opposition stronghold Potong Pasir.
I personally feel sad for George Yeo and as a Party member, I cannot root for Aljunid to loose. But this is a good thing. A very good thing. Firstly, this will send a strong message of competiton to all in charge (and I believe competition is good). Secondly, it will help absorb some shock by reliving pent-up anger and frustration with the electorate.
Opposition strongman Chiam See Tong has lost Bishan-Toa Payoh and Potong Pasir in it’s big bet. I feel sorry for the man. If you have suffered a crippling stroke, know that it’s about the end of your tether and yet fight so hard – I think this spirit is praiseworthy. But intellectually, I cannot agree with the policies that he’s trying to push (and that’s another story for another post).
Hougang is lost to the Worker’s Party – Yaw Shin Leong has been working the grounds with Low Thia Kiang for over 10 years and that is an advantage. Eric Low shouldn’t have been asked to leave (or maybe he should have). With places like this, you need to work the ground for many, many years before you can wrestle it back from opposition. I hope Desmond will continue to stay there for years to come even if he doesn’t win the next round.
If the opposition had a chance to win big, this was it. Over the past decade, there has been pent-up tension over foreigners, inflation, growing property prices, amongst other problems. These problems, although nothing out of the ordinary in even the most successful of countries, are new to Singaporeans. And because it’s new, we see it as “a failure” of government. The opposition has capitalised on it of course – we see it this year that almost every single seat is contested.
Everyone was expecting an “Arab Revolution” of sorts. Obama’s “Change” campaign has been echoed here. Social media has become the pressure release valve for decades of repressed expression.Well, the electorate has spoken and we must trust the party to deliver.
For those of us in the party, let us help change and rejuvenate the party from within. There is a lot of work to be done and it must first start with ourselves.