Sunday, May 1, 2011

Workers' Party for Aljunied GRC

"Emotional dilemma" is something Foreign Minister and MP/candidate for Aljunied GRC Mr George Yeo suggested the Workers' Party has put Aljunied GRC voters into.

I read this to be an insinuation by Mr Yeo that the Workers' Party appears to be manipulating voters for their cause. At the same time, it is very a patronising stance towards voters in Aljunied GRC, adopted by a Minister and a gentleman who is quite respected, competent and more importantly likeable.

In saying "emotional", you invoke its known diametric opposite - being rational. Are you trying to discredit any possible opposition victory as one that is based on an irrational electorate?

Well, let's talk about manipulating voters.

1. The Grow and Share Package and its very timely release.

2. Gerrymandering and the removal of the ineffective and unpopular Mr Yeo Guat Kwang from Aljunied GRC, resulting in thousands of voters being thrown in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Ang Mo Kio GRC. Never mind the disruption to the Workers' Party's work on the ground there, but voters feel cheated.

3. Conflating PAP votes with the support of the government, and justifying the uneven distribution of funds for public housing upgrade/renewal based on constituency. People fear their estates become Potong Pasir-ised or Hougang-ified, just by looking at media depictions of these old-looking estates. Manipulative tactic?

4. PM Lee's talk about "buying" votes in 2006.

5. Dangling carrots with very timely release of the masterplan for the Hougang area.

6. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's homophobic insinuations of paedophilia and ephebophilia against a political opponent, playing on people's prevailing beliefs.

7. The timely release of "good news" pertaining to jobs and transport, and not to mention the return of TV licenses. Hey, even the ongoing construction of the river at Bishan Park is good news. Piss away people's money to make a river while withholding support for public housing upgrades for Hougang and Potong Pasir SMCs. These lopsided national, landscape and housing development initiatives serve to manipulate voters, and put them into a dilemma.

8. The media suppression of news on opposition candidates and rallies, minimising exposure, so that the less media-savvy and less technologically-savvy electorate will be manipulated into believing what the politically conservative (i.e. conservative to the PAP government) media wants them to believe.

9. Reminding voters about their "property value" and making connections with that and support for the PAP.

10. Having Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew to get Singaporeans to engage in a "yin shui si yuan" bonanza every once in a while. Now that is manipulative as it draws attention away from current and pressing issues, which spawn from ineffective policies and economic decisions. The ruling party wants to get freaky with voters' minds, with the systematic utterances of threats and doomsday scenarios.

11. Beating around the bush with Mr Steve Tan, who pulled out of the General Elections. (But we shouldn't be harassed by the desire to find out)

12. The alleged mobilisation (with transport and food incentives) of PAP supporters to attend and make up the numbers at PAP rallies. That does not happen for the 60 and 70 year old folks who walk 15 to 30 minutes to opposition rallies, on their own accord, but consumers of mainstream media won't be able to tell the difference. Their inability to discern may affect their decision to vote. Is that not manipulative?

When Singaporeans ask "why?" and "how come?", more smoke and more diversions are created. What does this say about the readiness to be honest, accountable and to stay in touch with various segments of society?

There are probably more examples of the ruling party putting voters in an "emotional dilemma", which opposition parties will elaborate in this General Election and beyond.

How can we have an informed electorate when the flow of information and the management of the mainstream media are all oriented towards the interest of a particular political party?

As for Aljunied GRC and Hougang, the 2 wards I have grown up in (since Cheng San GRC has dematerialised), I like to say that the Workers' Party, like the PAP, is imperfect. I disagree with a few of their beliefs. But the Workers' Party's sincerity, diligence, commitment and service to residents are things that don't go unnoticed.

My previous MP was Mr Yeo Guat Kwang as I previously lived in Hougang-Aljunied (which is now potong-ed and thrown into Ang Mo Kio GRC). One word from my family and neighbours sum up this man's presence in the ward - it starts with "S" and it rhymes with "hit".

As for Hougang SMC, I have the utmost respect for Mr Low Thia Kiang. He is a true servant to Hougang residents, and so is his team.

And more importantly, I look forward to being represented by Mr Yaw Shin Leong in Parliament.

But won't it be a sweet thing to know on May 8 morning, white hot Aljunied and Hougang will be a cooler shade of light blue?


add: Any way, I'm not quite sure if I have previously mentioned about Mr Yeo Guat Kwang being rude to my mum. Here are the instances, from her account:

1. My mum voiced her concerns to Mr Yeo Guat Kwang that people are littering, chucking trash out of their windows and onto the ground below. Mr Yeo told her to contact NEA herself.

2. My mum asked Mr Yeo Guat Kwang about the lift upgrading. She recalled him telling her that residents on lift landing levels "pay a premium". She asked if this was true, because she understood that everyone pays, and the higher the level, the higher the payment. Mr Yeo waved her off and said something along the lines of "Don't believe then don't" and left. The HDB officer who was tagging along with Mr Yeo later told my mum that Mr Yeo wasn't correct about the lift upgrading payments.

3. Mr Yeo Guat Kwang knocked on my mum's door in a visit, and the first thing he said was "You again!". My mum replied, "Ya, it's me."

When she votes, she'll be seriously considering the work her MP has done for her block and the neighbourhood.


Wy said...

We all know who was the weakest link in the previous team!

soojenn said...

One more to add, just fresh and new, to your "manipulating voters"

SM Goh just took a potshot at his ex-PPS, claiming that Tan does not make the cut to be a Permanent Sec. and the reason for his leaving the civil service, and that "Mr Tan had not made a smart choice in joining the SDP".

See link at