How does one say ‘river end’ in Teochew? HOUGANG! Google Maps just told me that Hougang is indeed at the end of the Serangoon River. Stop laughing, there is an actual river in Serangoon. Google said so. But why do I suddenly care about Hougang?

Well, for starters, I hear they are having a by-election there. The last time Singapore held a by-election was December 1992 so its been quite a while. That’s right, the last time there was a by-election I was talking gibberish and wandering around Singapore aimlessly in diapers.

I was also eagerly awaiting the arrival of my baby sister in 1992. I had already drawn up the master plan to fling her against a wall and break her teeth so that in 16 years, she’d get braces to correct the disability that i gifted her for her 2nd birthday. And for her 18th birthday, she would receive beautiful teeth like me. Today, I can update one and all that the plan worked like a charm.

So as you can see, nothing much has changed over these 20 years. Now back to Hougang, the MP who was elected last year had been a very naughty boy, earning himself expulsion from his Party and Parliament. Btw, read his Wikipedia entry, daaaaaaamn this guy is NAUGHTY! Looking at him, who would’ve thought! So now there’s about to be an election between PAP’s Desmond Choo and WP’s Png Eng Huat to settle the question that everyone has been asking once and for all. Upgrading or no upgrading!

There’s bound to be reams dedicated to in depth political analysis in the local papers and political blogs. But, i pride myself on being a genius, a political savant so I will stick my neck out and predict the outcome without wasting as much time, energy or paper as those people. My justification will also be equally succinct, because at the end of the day, who really wants to read long winding analyses on politics?! Drum roll please………. I say Hougang is Thor territory!

One question which I see the pundits asking often is, “Will the election be based on municipal or national issues?”. Basically, this strikes me as a trick question to determine who people are more likely to vote for. Since polling is very restricted in Singapore, especially during campaign season, there are no agencies which do in-depth surveys and polls to determine this for sure.

As an aside, why does Singapore only seem to have 2 political analysts always quoted in the media, Asst Prof Eugene Tan from SMU and Gillian Koh from the IPS? Get some more people please, I would like to see different names. Most of the time, analysts seem to say stuff which just seems obvious. The other day, i read the following in a paper, “These differing views are the contesting parties’ attempts to set the agenda and characterize the by-election…but ultimately it is the voters who will decide which are the issues that are important to them.” No shit, Sherlock.

If the election is based on municipal issues, the PAP will probably win. It is undeniable that if the residents of Hougang were voting for the candidate they think can better deliver much needed facilities to their constituency, PAP will win hands down, confirm chop seal. They will finally get the upgrading perks that they have long been denied. I have always thought its quite a dirty tactic to not let opposition wards get similar amenities as other wards, but that’s politics for you. The boss decides, we have to accept it.

If based on national issues , WP will probably win. I believe when the media speaks of national issues, they are referring to things like transportation and housing. So what has changed from the last election nationally, when the PAP obtained their lowest ever vote share since independence, to suggest that Hougang-sters are going to vote for the PAP? The only thing I am aware of nationally which might have affected people since then, is the transportation system which seems to have declined in quality. So the answer to my question is, nothing!

I think about the election from a very simple, non-scientific perspective. Hougang has been voting WP for 20 years, so they do seem to have an attachment to the Party and might ‘forgive’ them for Yaw’s indiscretions. In a bad election year, the PAP obtained about 35% of the vote there. 65% voted WP. So there has to be a net 30 point shift for the PAP to win. I really don’t think that is going to happen. The 35% who voted for the PAP will probably stick with them, but some of the 65% might be pissed off enough to shift to the lightning column. So in all likelihood, the Workers’ Party will hold the seat, just by a smaller margin than last time around.

Of course, there could also be some sort of rallying effect which results in the WP’s vote share increasing. The Party could very well go to the people of Hougang and say with humility, “Look, our guy screwed up and we’re really sorry. We did not try to cover up for him, in fact we were as unaware of his problem as you were. When we got the idea that he was not going to come clean, we sacked him and immediately called for an election which was not granted. We could have tried to weasel our way out and cover stuff so that we get to keep the seat, but we did not. We are willing to risk 1 of our 6 seats so that you have another chance to choose. Look, you know us and we know you. We’ve served you with all our heart for 2 decades, with a lot of difficulty. Sorry, give us another chance. Most importantly, this guy is older, not so horny also. ” Now this would be funny if it happened!

At the end of the day, politics is all spin. Whoever wins, one thing is true in Singapore.

PS: Hi sister, this counts as a post about you.


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