GE2015: Old, New, Borrowed & Blue (1/12)

Hello, hello! This is Rene, the newest kid writer on this block! Did you read my very first article for this site?

Anyway, the election fever’s upon us and since this comes by only once every four or five years, I’m not gonna let it slide me by without me writing anything about it! So since I practically live, breathe and (you-fill-in-the-blanks, hehe!) online, I’ll be sharing little gems of social media posts with you everyday. I’ve decided to start a little #GE2015 series from now, all of 12-parters beginning from Day 1 of the campaigning period all the way to the weekend after Polling Day!


TA-DA! Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you, Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue! You see, I hope that all of us will take this whole election business really seriously, as though we’re picking our lifelong partner! Gotta say ‘I do!’ to the right guy, you know!



Part One: 2nd Sep 2015, Wed

Reinventing the Singapore Dreams;
Revisiting ESM Goh’s 5Cs Speech from 2010

Tan Jee Say is leading SingFirst to contest the People’s Action Party at Tanjong Pagar GRC, which has been uncontested since 1991.


During his first walkabout in the estate today, he told the media,

“The Government has lumped the past with present; it’s been 40 good years and the last 10 bad ones,” he added, citing the decisions to build casinos and to increase the inflow of foreign labour in the last decade. He observed that there was a lot of new housing and younger residents in the area. “These are the people who are concerned about being squeezed in their jobs and yet not having enough income to be able to afford cars, the five Cs that the PAP promised many years ago,” said Mr Tan, a former presidential candidate.


Some of you might be too young to know what 5Cs Tan Jee Say was talking about. This is a term that’s extremely popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They refer to some Singaporeans’ dogged pursuit of material wealth and comfort and how some aspire to own five items that incidentally begin with the letter ‘C’. The 5Cs are condominiums, cars, country clubs, cash and credit cards . They are also known as the Singapore Dreams.

But but but… what I’m more curious about is since when did the Government promise Singaporeans the 5Cs? This is the first time I’ve heard of it. So I went to ask my best friend, yea, the one who knows all of my (online) secrets, Google.

Oooooh, this Mister Tan arh…. Did he think that Singaporean voters would not remember what the Government has promised us? Did he think he could just anyhowly mention that the Government has promised us 5Cs and did not deliver? Tsk Tsk… Unfortunately for him, the Internet is like the elephant; it has long memory.


It was Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong who had spoken about the 5Cs, about reinventing the Singapore Dreams and it was back in 2010. He shared his own interpretation of the 5Cs, and said in his speech that everyone should have our own dreams. I found this AsiaOne article:

(ESM Goh Chok Tong) then went on to reinvent the 5 Cs and shared what the government will do to create a ground for stability to fulfill dreams:

“If I have to reinvent the 5Cs, my dream is to help create the conditions for a generation of Singaporeans to have a good Career, live in Comfort, surrounded by Children, and be Considerate and Charitable.”

“More than just a job or a means to earn a living, Career means constantly striving to be better in your chosen field. No improvement is too small. It is also about realising your full potential and a basis for individual self-respect and dignity.

“Comfort means material as well as emotional comfort. You do not need to have a lot of wealth but you must have enough to enjoy a comfortable life. You must also have the right attitude towards life. Otherwise, whatever you have will not be enough for you and you will never be contented.

“Children refer to home and family and a new cycle of life. They are the main reasons why many of us want to have a good Career and a Comfortable home.

“Beyond self and family, we want to contribute to and live harmoniously in a larger community. That is where the last 2Cs – to be Considerate and Charitable – come in.

“Being considerate includes having regard for the feelings and needs of others in our speech and actions. Just as we do not want to be hurt by others’ inconsiderate remarks, we should not pass hurtful remarks of others. This goes beyond family members, friends and neighbours.

“We should be especially considerate, given the potential divisions inherent in our society – divisions between different races and different religions, between Singaporeans and foreigners, and between the young and old.

“Being Charitable is not just about giving money but your time and effort to help the less fortunate. It means compassion and empathy for others in difficulties.

“This is my hope for Singapore. But you should have your own dream. I cannot dream for you; the government cannot dream for you. What the government will do is to create the fertile soil for you to sow and grow your dreams.

You can read ESM Goh’s full speech here.


This is quite different from what Tan Jee Say had said to the media earlier today!

Which is mighty surprising given the fact that he had previously served as then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s principal private secretary. I would imagine one would be extra-careful about quoting one’s ex-boss. Hmmm… Anyway, glad to have the chance to unearth that rather nice speech.

I wonder about Tan Jee Say’s own take on 5Cs. Maybe it’s Constantly Contesting as Candidates for Change and $60 billion Cash (that’s the cost of SingFirst’s proposed social safety net).


90% of Singaporeans Don’t … WHAT?!


I’m not trying to ridicule anyone, but this is just too hilarious. Just yesterday, Reform Party candidate Ravi made a booboo at the Nomination Centre by saying Vote for PAP‘ instead of ‘Vote for Reform Party, and today, yet another Reform Party candidate Jesse Loo made the mistake of saying Workers’ Party instead of Reform Party.

Not sure about you, but I find it hard to put my faith and give my vote to someone who can’t even remember which party he’s fronting.

Anyway, that’s not the point. What’s new is that Jesse Loo actually claimed that 90% of Singaporeans disapprove of PM Lee and PAP. REALLY?! Where did he get that from?? That’s definitely something new!

Oh well, we will find out for sure come Polling Day. Biggest ever ‘survey‘ covering the entire nation, no minimum sample size and all that jazz required.


Loooooooongest Facebook Post Ever…?
But I Love This Guy’s Comments!

This post has gone semi-viral as I’m drafting this post, over a thousand shares. It is such a loooooooooooong one!! I am seriously wondering if it’s even broken the record for being the longest post published just to tell people to #VoteWisely!


As much as I do love most part of the post, can’t deny that there’re some factual errors in there. Hey, I feel the love, mate!

But the gem of a comment came from one Xing Chew, so am ‘borrowing‘ his comment to share here,

First, there are plenty of factual errors in this write up. But let’s let it slide. Also, as a Singaporean who studied and lived in the US and in NYC, I can vouch for many of his points.

One thing tho, SMRT is private (publicly traded corporation). MTA is. Quasi govt agency. I know. My friend used to work there. What he says about NYC subway is true for the most part but the subway during rush hour are generally freaking fast. And yes. Faster than Singapore.

Next, there are many valid points he make about Singapore’s vulnerability and how Singaporeans have grown soft but the problem this argument and that of many of his ilk make is totally missing the point. You are parroting the Singapore story. It shows a very superficial understanding of the issues.

In the year and a half I been back I must say that I love and hate the changes. Love because it’s like a NYC. Global. Cosmopolitan. Hate. Because it no longer feels or look like home or the home I used to know. U need to keep in mind all this economic growth is so we can use the fruits of the labor to build a country. If there is no sense of identity, a sense of inclusiveness, a sense of leave no man behind. There will be no country, without which what is the point of all that economic growth? Most fair minded Singaporeans recognize the need for foreigners.

Most will also realize our subway lines are grossly inadequate (we have 5 now including downtown line. 7 by 2030. Don’t consider JRL an actual line). U living in NYC will know how much denser their network is. But they also realize subway lines take time.

But more important to all of that is immigration. Like u said. Singapore is small and vulnerable. Immigrants take time to assimilate. When they arrive in large numbers from the same country. They take longer to assimilate. Why? Because humans like to remain in their comfort zone. So why bother to assimilate when I have a large group of my fellow countrymen. Singaporeans on the other hand assimilate very well overseas as I am sure you do. Why?

Because we are always such a small group overseas, we have no choice. In America, the overwhelming influence of American culture is such that the foreigners become more American rather quickly over time.

But Singapore, we don’t have that. We are a young country and our real claim to culture is food and singlish which if u are an outsider, is almost impossible to penetrate. So really it becomes various foreign groups developing their own enclaves and Singaporeans keeping themselves separate. This further slows the assimilation process.

On Singaporeans part, we need to keep separate govt policy from our personal interactions. Welcome the foreigner into your social circles and homes. On the foreigner’s part, as a guest, you should do your part to appreciate Singapore’s hospitality and the opportunities u have and make an effort to connect and form real relationships and friendships with Singaporeans (keeping in mind your own government will probably not in a million years be so generous in giving out visas like it’s christmas).

And the govt need to understand they need to bring in the best people to complement us and understand that by bringing in such large numbers, u undermine the Singapore identity and ethos. Afterall, it was LKY who said that you bring too many of them at the same time, they change you instead of us changing them.

And most of all, I hope regardless of your views, please show respect for and understand there can be different point of views and just because it doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean the other party does not have a valid point.

Because ultimately, we all want the same thing. Which is a more prosperous, united and inclusive Singapore.


And like as if that’s not brilliantly rational and enough, he added,

On the bright side, Singapore’s problems are problems of success. Much better than problems due to failure.

On the more depressing side. Much of singapore’s problems boil down to one fundamental issue. A lack of land. If we were just 10x our current size. Much of the current problems will be moot. The elderly can retire to the countryside just as New Yorkers retire to Florida. But short of war (which no one wants) or buying land (Johor, batam, Bintan? Highly unlikely) really don’t know how we can overcome this.

I do believe 7m population is doable. But over 50-60 years. Not in 15 years.


The Workers’ Party had a Rally
and It Looked Like a Rock Concert!

Yea, I can’t really let this post wrap without saying something about the Workers’ Party rally at Hougang tonight. I wasn’t there, and I’m actually glad I wasn’t. The crowd was terrifying.

Here, check out the photo courtesty of


Yea, Workers’ Party rally turnout hardly disappoints.


But I’ve gotta say PAP’s Radin Mas rally tonight wasn’t as poorly attended as I’d expected. People always say they already know who PAP is and what the party stands for, in fact they can even tell what they will be saying, so they’d much rather attend the opposition parties’ rallies to hear what they have to say. Makes sense, I guess.

Here, check out this photo taken by PM Lee himself as he sat onstage facing the crowd as Tanjong Pagar GRC candidate Indranee Rajah spoke.



There you go, all of my something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue for Day 1. See you tomorrow!


About the author

rene neo

Hi, I'm Rene! Mostly in Singapore and loving it, I also have an unwhettable appetite for travel. I prefer my coffee black, my champagne dry, my days short and my nights long. I do a fabulous job of manifesting my awkward ISFP personality.

And yes, I'm still searching for my unicorn, and chasing that rainbow.

View all posts

Share your thoughts!