RantThree

So as widely predicted, the Hammer Posse won control of their hood. The Lightning leaders won 145 more votes and the Hammer Posse lost 1403 votes. If only they allowed betting on elections, I could have made out like a bandit.

The outcome was never seriously in doubt, but this election reminded me of how biased the media seems towards the Government. It is quite funny because everyone can clearly tell that there is bias and not much effort is made to veil it. I do not read the Straits times regularly but I was watching Channel NewsAsia’s coverage of the by election results on Saturday night. I only watched the program for about 15 minutes but it was sufficient to cement the impression I had of the media.

They had one reporter in a Hougang coffeeshop where the WP supporters were gathered and another in a room of PAP supporters. The anchors first talked to the reporter at the coffeeshop where a thousand WP supporters were reportedly gathered. Let’s just assume there only were a few hundred because the view they showed was not very representative. So the hundreds were chanting and making a lot of noise for the WP. Then our dear anchors switched to the room of 20-30 PAP peeps. The reporter starts with “I hope you can hear me over the noise in the room” and the anchor ends the interview with “It was really hard to hear what she had to say over the noise in the background”. The PAP room also looked so choreographed with everyone wearing white on white, tudung also white.  Laughing out Loud, give me a break…

Hougang really strikes me as a place where the people love their elected representative. in fact, it strikes me as the only place in Singapore where that is the case. You only see spontaneous gatherings of citizens there and in Potong Pasir. I think they take their role as one of Singapore’s few Opposition wards very seriously. No lift? Nevermind can exercise. 1980s looking buildings? Wah retro seh. No wet market? Blackmail no work. Maybe that’s why it seems to be such a stronghold, they have an emotional connection to the Party in their area. When you read stories of Low Thia Khiang going for the wakes in his constituency and the team walking around without much fanfare, you know that the constituents trust and like them personally as they do not seem to have airs about them. In the PAP constituencies, there is a big entourage following the MPs around machiam Lady Gaga.

Desmond Choo seemed like a really nice and sincere guy who would have done much for Hougang if he won.  But i think that he was sunk by his bosses talking nonsense. Singaporeans don’t really care about issues like internal party politics that much. For people who always talk about how much they are doing, how superior they are in all aspects, they tend to do a lot of mudslinging over trivial issues and make it a campaign issue. Mudslinging pisses people off, especially when its over nonsense like the NCMP scheme. If you want to sling mud, do it well using issues that people care about, then the mud might stick.

Maybe if they planned it such that the bosses sling mud, but Desmond takes a public and vocal stance against them, he could have won more votes. The newspapers could have devoted pages to how strong willed he is, and that he is risking his political career by being vocally against the leaders. That is not such a hard situation to envision. He could be seen as independent and willing to stand up to his party leadership. If he got elected, he does not really need to care about national issues, just get Hougang the municipal facilities they desire and he will be considered successful. He could also be considered mavericky and can be used by the PAP as an example that they welcome people with strong opinions within their ranks. They can also say that people like Desmond serve as a check on the PAP, so no need so many Opposition faces. Just wayang lah, it’s how well you wayang….

The WP has been around for a really long time, so in terms of branding they are as popular as the PAP. Out of all the parties, they seem the most likely to be able to challenge the dominance of the ruling party and I think it all depends on how they handle Aljunied GRC. If they run the place well, other GRCs will consider voting for them as they know they can be trusted. The PAP has always made the constituents believe that they are the only competent party around and if WP plays its cards well  to shatter this view, they could be much more successful electorally. Who knows, 1 or 2 more constituencies may fall from the lightning to the hammer columns, then Parliament will get interesting.

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