The mood at East Coast GRC


I am writing as a resident of East Coast GRC.

Fresh out of the jungles from reservists, I thought it best to have a chat with some of my neighbours to find out what they think about this elections, and hopefully…try to pry out a little bit about who they’d be choosing as Member for Parliament.

The first person I spoke with, was my father. He’s 70, been sitting in a wheel chair since 1995 and had been a strong supporter of Chiam See Tong and Tan Cheng Bok (mostly because of his leftist  views).

“It’s all rubbish, whoever you chose is all rubbish. Don’t forget that these people are all politicians. I’ve asked the Worker’s Party fellas if they can do something about the congested walkways (because neighbours tend to stack their belongings outside of the house) and all they can say is ‘put me into Parliament first, this place is still not in my control’…” said my dad. “Why is it not in their control? I told my friend and the very next day he spoke to the neighbours, why can’t these politicians with power do something?”


I took a walk around the estates and met with a Mdm. Tan who is a housewife in her 40s.

“You’re not the first one to come and ask us about what we think. Who I vote is my personal choice…but frankly speaking, if something is not broken why fix it?” said Mdm. Tan.

I read the Worker’s Party election newsletter. Inside it talks a lot about how the government had “U-turned” and “shifted their policies to be more Singaporean oriented”.

Now, whilst it sounded like it made sense and perhaps could be due to opposition presence in Parliament, I think credit does not go entirely to the Worker’s Party.

In the years preceding 2011, was when the mother of all recessions took place. All over the world, jobs were lost, countries went bankrupt. America faced an incredible 10% unemployment situation and some countries like Greece never recovered from the effects of the recession of 2007.

The reason we see run away immigration, expensive houses and all – are all because they were solutions to keep Singapore plunging into recession. When 2011 brought about a more positive economic landscape, it made complete sense to reel back these big guns brought about by the downturn. So how can one say that it is all credit to opposition presence?

Now, East Coast GRC is a huge…and very large constituency. It streches all the way from the borders of Joo Chiat to Pulau Ubin. Even with Fengshan cut off, it is still of considerable size…and very difficult to manage.

Most of Bedok and Simei are heartland areas. This is where the electorate is most interested in which party can assure them of a peace of mind in cost of living problems.

To adddress this, parties have put forth what they think is best for citizens. The Worker’s Party has called for minimum wage and total freeze to foreign manpower employment. The PAP team continues with jobs creation, Progressive Wage and training.

Changi and Siglap are mostly landed property and condos. The individuals there are the ones who are the target of government taxes and more often than not, do not need government interference in their daily lives. These are the people that the parties are mostly concerned about – because they don’t need your help, they are the ones most likely to vote based on idealistic grounds: freedom, rights, liberty and so on.

Me? I’ve always believed in food before philosophy. I’m a little perturbed when the opposition says that they want to peg our housing prices to median wages. That means that the house will no longer hold or build wealth. I’m also quite concerned when they say they want to spend on things like nationalised transport and unemployment benefits…because that would mean taxes would have to rise.

As I was about to head home, I chanced upon a chap at the void deck. His name is Justin Leong, is aged 29 and is a middle manager in a logistics firm at Changi Business Park. He says “I think can give chance to new people lah. If you don’t support them, then how will they become more powerful?”

That perhaps sums up the mood in Singapore: we want more opposition, but we also want the PAP to be in control.

Can we have our cake and eat it too?

About the author

Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

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