A Post Dedicated to Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and My Fellow Potong Pasir Residents - Alvinology

A Post Dedicated to Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and My Fellow Potong Pasir Residents

Mrs Chiam crying and graciously apologising to residents for losing the fight
Mrs Chiam crying and graciously apologising to residents for losing the fight to serve them

It is almost 4am, but I am experiencing such a strong surge of emotions that I have to write this post before I sleep.

The news headlines tomorrow will be full of reports of Workers’ Party’s Aljunied GRC landmark win and George Yeo’s team landmark lost.

Potong Pasir is the smallest constituency in Singapore and it’s lost to the PAP will likely be overshadowed.

As I was reading election related updates online, I am saddened that some opposition supporters are cursing at Potong Pasir residents, accusing us of “betraying Mr and Mrs Chiam for lift upgrading or a fresh coat of paint”.

This really hurts. Look at the pictures below. They were taken past 3am, after the results for Potong Pasir SMC was announced. Lina Chiam lost by a mere 114 votes:

Video 1:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwZQbQczfu0″]

Video 2:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mBFVVuxljE”]

Video 3:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnYmuz1yaWc&”]

It was already past 3.30am, but residents patiently lined the streets, waiting for the SPP team to return
It was already past 3.30am, but residents patiently lined the streets, waiting for the SPP team to return
Residents came from all corners, some driving by to cheer for Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Residents came from all corners, some driving by to cheer for Lina Chiam and the SPP team
As the SPP team arrives, the residents roared in approval
As the SPP team arrives, the residents roared in approval
Have you witness such outpouring of emotions at winning PAP wards? (and to think SPP lost!)
Have you witness such outpouring of emotions at winning PAP wards? (and to think SPP lost!)
Does this crowd look like a bunch of losers to you?
Does this crowd look like a bunch of losers to you?
Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Lina Chiam and the SPP team
Crowd gather at all sides of the roads, regardless of gender, race or age
Crowd gather at all sides of the roads, regardless of gender, race or age
Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town!
Potong Pasir, My Kind of Town!
Heading for the hawker centre to sit down and chat with the residents
Heading for the hawker centre to sit down and chat with the residents
Overheard one young man saying to Mrs Chiam: "Nevermind, they won the election, but did not win our heart!"
Overheard one young man saying to Mrs Chiam: “Nevermind, they won the election, but did not win our heart!”
Like the two kids in the picture, this is how me and my peers grew up in Potong Pasir
Like the two kids in the picture, this is how me and my peers grew up in Potong Pasir
Confetti was popped, one tube after another
Confetti was popped, one tube after another
An middle-aged man hoisted up the SPP flag in defiant
An middle-aged man hoisted up the SPP flag with pride
More cars streaming in
More cars streaming in
Opposition Unity: WP and NSP members came to cheer the SPP team - the crowd responded by cheering them thunderously
Opposition Unity: WP and NSP members came to show support – the crowd responded by cheering them thunderously

Does this look like we conceded Potong Pasir to PAP without a fight? Do you see this in other losing constituencies?

My family of four (now five, including my wife, Rachel) moved to Potong Pasir 23 years ago. We have witnessed five General Elections won by Mr Chiam See Tong since.

Potong Pasir residents have a lot of heart. We have rejected carrots from PAP for the past 5 elections. Before criticising us, reflect on yourself first and asked if you have done your part for the oppositions. Other than the residents of Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC,  in terms of vote counts, the Potong Pasir residents are still the next closest in supporting the need for alternative voices in Parliament. In fact, we have done our part for 27 years – have you? Or were you one of the cowardly lions who voted out of fear?

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin won his fight fair and square for this election. There was no name-calling and he was in most part, gentlemanly in his campaign this time round. In all fairness, this guy has balls of steel to come back for a third try at Potong Pasir even when he was offered a backdoor pass into Parliament like a certain Kate Spade. For this, he earned my respect.

In case you are wondering how I voted, I voted with my heart.

For Lina Chiam.

It was a struggle as I was not impressed by her performance on the TV debate. Her rally speeches weren’t inspirational either. I was still undecided on the morning of Polling Day.

In the end, I chose Lina over Sitoh because I decided to go with my heart, and the heart of this small town where I grew up in. I was voting for something bigger than Lina Chiam, I was voting for what this small town called Potong Pasir symbolises, I was voting for the dedicated team of Potong Pasir grassroot volunteers behind the Chiams.

The town where a simple billboard of “Welcome to Potong Pasir” with Mr Chiam’s smiling face greets me everyday on my way home. A town where there’s compassion and lots of heart. A town whose people have the courage and dignity to support a humble man as one of the lone alternative voice in Parliament for 27 years, resisting upgrading carrots, election after election, for national interest.

One of my favourite comic book when I was young was The Adventures of Asterix.

A Post Dedicated to Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and My Fellow Potong Pasir Residents - AlvinologyVia Wikipedia: The series follows the exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. The main setting for the series is an unnamed coastal village in Armorica, a province of Gaul (modern France), in the year 50 BC. Julius Caesar has conquered nearly all of Gaul for the Roman Empire. The little Armorican village, however, has held out because the villagers can gain temporary superhuman strength by drinking a magic potion brewed by the local village druid, Getafix.

Potong Pasir is like that small Armorican village to me, full of brave people  like Asterix and Obelix. We have no magic potion, but fierce pride and dignity to stand up to oppression while the rest of Gaul quivers. No prize for guessing which party behaves like the tyranny Roman empire in the comic book.

Growing up, I am proud to witness this indominable Potong Pasir spirit triumphs, time and again against the sea of white around us.

Many Singaporeans only had their political awakening this election. Many of my peers in Potong Pasir had theirs since we were toddlers, having been brought up in an environment where you cannot help but notice the unfairness of the PAP towards us, election after election.

Potong Pasir residents pay taxes too and the guys here all served our NS dutifully. Why are we openly regarded as second-class citizens by a government which was tasked to take care of every citizen and “leave no one behind”?

How would you feel if your MP has to hold his Meet-The-People session in the void deck; that you see a sea of white mocking him in Parliament; that he is constantly being accused of not doing more for Potong Pasir by the PAP when they twist his arms around?

The more we get whacked, the stronger our resolve to stand in defiance.

Fyi, Potong Pasir is not a slum. Far from it. Our estate is clean and the necessary amenities are in place. Mr Chiam did his best with the limited resources he has and certainly did not use the Town Council funds to play the stock market.

Rachel and I will be moving to the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC next year when our flat is ready. This is my last time voting in Potong Pasir. It is with a heavy heart that I came to the reckoning that Potong Pasir may well be written off the electoral map next election, just like what happened to Anson.

If you were to ask me, I think Potong Pasir was lost, not because 114 of my fellow residents opted for upgrading carrots as we have rejected bigger carrots in previous elections. It was probably lost because some of us felt it was time to pass the opposition baton to other Singaporeans.

It is now over to the residents of Aljunied GRC and Hougang to shoulder the burden of providing alternative voices in Parliament. I salute them for their courage to vote for the long-term future of Singapore, and not the short-term carrots dangled in front of them (For PAP supporters still moaning the lost of George Yeo and his dedicated PAP team at Aljunied, blame it on the PAP for the GRC system they created).

To Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong and my dignified residents of Potong Pasir, I salute all of you for having done our part in nation-building for the last 27 years.

To Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, please do a good job. You owe it to the residents here who voted for you, though I still do not know who they are as they were not visible tonight as the Chiams’ supporters lined the streets of Potong Pasir. The silent slight majority has spoken in Potong Pasir, and we will respect their decision.

Technorati Tags: potong pasir, singapore general elections, ge 2011, lina chiam, spp, singapore people’s party, chiam see tong, mr and mrs chiam see tong, singapore general elections 2011, sitoh yih pin, pap wins potong pasir, spp loses potong pasir, potong pasir residents, spirit of potong pasir


  1. Dear Alvin and all who had voted for Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong,

    I want to thank you for voting for CST for the past 27 years. You are all indeed brave, enlightened souls! With big hearts! No doubt a legacy of Chiam See Tong’s leadership.

    For all these years, we in PAP constituencies have envied Potong Pasir and Hougang, since the first day you became Opposition. I know I have. I know of many others who do too. You are our political pioneers, the germ of our political awakening. You took that first brave step to pave the way forward towards an Opposition presence in Singapore. Aljunied GRC is the fruit of your labour. That the Opposition could win Aljunied this time is due in no small measure to Potong Pasir as well as to Hougang. Well done!

    As you have said, Potong Pasir will likely be no more next elections. That is really very sad. Nevertheless, our fight continues. I hope Potong Pasirians will continue to support the Opposition wherever they go. Together, we will create many Potong Pasirs, Hougangs and Aljunieds for the future!

    God bless you and all Potong Pasirians!

    From a grateful Aljunied constituent who voted Workers Party.

  2. Hi Alvin,

    While it’s true that PP has supported Mr Chiam for 27 years, I am still saddened by the fact that the slight majority wavered JUST when Mr Chiam needed them the most. There is a Chinese saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. I think it is clear to most of PP residents that Mr Chiam is more than just a MP, and last night was when he needed all his friends the most.

    In this watershed elections of 2011, when opposition support is at an all time high, I can’t help feeling “betrayed” when Mr Chiam took that all important step to come out of PP only to see himself being “stabbed in the back” by the people he thought he had the faith of. To admit, I am one of the “cowardly lions” you mentioned but even a “cowardly lion” like me has that courage this time round to vote with all my heart. It is really sad that while the rest of Singapore took that step forward last night, PP (the courageous lions for all of 27 years) took one step backwards.

    I am sorry for the use of some strong words, but it really hurts for all those who care.

  3. Hi Alvin,

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures and report.
    Honestly, i also feel its a lost to the supporters. As I became a working citizen, i had lost sight of politics in Singapore per se as no one had the chance to overcome the stronghold. I voted twice in my life so far, and all along i go for opposition, even though i know the credentials are not so good.

    Y? To me, it is not about lift upgrading or facilities management. It is always about living standards and people’s livelihood. With more voices it is actually like getting an audit.

    As Singaporean, i never think of supporting a candidate as an “idol” or a “icon”. CST is my exclusivity. Why? He was struck by stroke twice yet he stood firm for his constituents. I wonder would i do the same?
    This kind of thing touched my heart deeply, and i am always asking how many CST do we really have?
    If i were him, i would have retired long ago. But its about succession planning.

    Anyway, i never enjoyed any opp wins so far, and i congratulate the lucky Singaporeans at Hougang and Aljunied. We should Persevere and analyse the current situations to prepare for next GE.
    What i want to say is that in the past we had only 2 opp 85 stronghold.
    But now we have 6 opp and 81 stronghold, this also means its time to work even harder.


  4. Hi Alvin,

    Thank you very much for posting this. I rarely if ever respond to blog postings. But you’ve captured everything I felt these past month. Having lived here (albeit the Toa Payoh Lor 8 side) for the past 26 years, I felt every emotion and underwent the same dilemmas you did.

    This village has been important to me. I grew up here. Went to secondary school at SA, and now my son is at Ascension. I’ve always been proud to declare myself a resident of Potong Pasir. Even more so as I saw the flats in Lorong 7 facing us spruced up and rejuvenated. And it is precisely this act of upgrading with the funds paid by Potong Pasir residents as taxes that have led me to believe that the alternative voice was needed. Even if it is by an ex-nurse seen by many to not have the oratorical skills Oxbridge graduates, it was still necessary. My flat is more than 35 years old, and yet deemed to be not a priority for upgrading? Thats a joke and a half.

    I am proud of the 49% that stood up strong yesterday for what they believed in. And I agree that the accusations I’ve seen against Potong Pasir residents to be simplistic. If it was an emotional dilemma for Aljunied residents this time, then it has probably been the case for Potong Pasir for the past 27 years.

    Its the end of an era, but I hope that the new dawn that appears to be emerging over the past week not be a false one like that we saw in 1991. As Singaporeans, we need to keep our hopes alive that true change is coming and will arrive.

    All the Best! and great thanks for articulating my thoughts for me in your words and pictures.

  5. Thanks for the pics Alvin. It is heartwarming to see ordinary Singaporeans waiting for thier Heroes. Mr Chiam is an icon in P.Pasir,and will be a legacy in team Opposition !

  6. first, i muz state tat i’m no pap supporter. i feel tat CST has to shoulder most of the blame for Potong Pasir’s loss. Why? Becos he didnt do any succession planning. It’s clear to me tat his wife is a super-average “Joe”, and yet he expects her to win via his Chiam-surname charisma? Dun forget tat CST, despite the good tat he has done, has had problems with fellow party (or ex-party) members as well as other opposition parties. Thus, the loss of Potong Pasir is basically CST reaping wat he sowed (or didn’t sow). Peace.

  7. Although not a resident or voter, Potong Pasir was like my second home for many years, where I spent some years going there nearly everyday. I remember that day in 1991, when Chiam See Tong gave Andy Gan a right ol’ spanking. I still visit PP regularly, especially the scene of those videos, Blk 136, where my family doctor, Dr Goh has her clinic. (Incidentally her husband was a PAP MP, yet she has her clinic there, a testament to PP residents tolerance to their opponents). Hopefully the PAP will show the same tolerance and make PP an example, the kind of example of tolerance, forbearance and pillar of democracy that Chiam and the residents have displayed these past 27 years. When he first won, I was still in school, so like yourself, we’ve grown up with him.
    I am disappointed naturally with those who voted PAP, but can accept that they had exercised the right to make their choice clearly. But I cannot accept the 242 voters who didn’t make their choice, rather spoiling their votes. I am not saying they all should have voted for Lina Chiam (although I wouldn’t discourage them), rather they have done a disservice to those residents who voted for her, by casting that doubt or thought of ‘what might have been’.
    Alas an era ends, my only fear for Potong Pasir is that it disappears from the electoral map, or gets changed so much so that there is no opportunity for Lina (or whoever succeeds her as the SPP/Opposition candidate), to have another bite in winning it back in it’s natural form. Remember that Sitoh had 3 straight opportunities (plus a few more new residents in Woodleigh) to win over the voters, albeit with a wafer-thin majority.
    I hope for the sake of Potong Pasir residents that they too, are given at least another opportunity to either confirm or reject the PAP, in an unchanged constituency.

  8. 1. Thanks for writing this, Alvin. You’ve captured the essence of what went on last night. I was there amongst the crowd with my daughter, and while my heart was broken, I was affirmed in my conviction that Mr. Chiam literally lived for the love of Singapore and Singaporeans.

    2. Like Red, I also struggled with my vote because I know Mr. Chiam, but am unfamiliar with Mrs. Chiam. Like you, the metaphor of Asterix’s village resonated with me for this special town of Potong Pasir. And like the both of you, I voted for what was larger than Mrs. Chiam, and much larger than Potong Pasir, and certainly for *my* responsibility for Democracy.

    3. I’m very heartbroken by the slice of residents who gave their votes away. If they stopped to think (as I did), they would have realised that a spoilt vote is a nod to PAP regardless of how it turned out. I’m also hearing coffeeshop talks this morning by the breakfast aunties, who explain that the new condo residents who moved into the area in the past 5 years could very well have swung the votes into PAP’s favour. No matter – such is the democratic process, and for a child of democracy living in Potong Pasir, my family will abide by this, and will hold our new MP to his word to listen to us and speak for us.

    4. This is a new chapter for Potong Pasir. What I’m going to do is to say another ‘thank you’ later at 4pm to the SPP team when they come to Potong Pasir. As a family, we’ll go around taking photos with our town’s icon – the Billboard you mentioned, the Town Council noticeboards at the void deck, the flats that bear the town’s slogan and whatever else that marks Potong Pasir as the dear place in our hearts. For as long as it takes, I’ll let my 3 kids – and especially my 2 younger ones – know what living in Potong Pasir means, and no matter what happens to the town in future, we’ll always have Mr. Chiam’s legacy of treating others with respect to carry around in our hearts.

  9. Hi Alvin. I grew up in potong pasir too so we were neighbors. Similar to you I have been v involved w the politics since young w my parents an ardent support of mr Chiam. Mr Chiam in fact is our saviour. He helped my family out including myself when we unknowingly involved in a cheat scandal. He used his MP status plus his law firm to fight a law suit for us at no cost.
    Yesterday my dad actually almost faint when he learn that PAP took over the ward.

  10. thank you for the post. i m actually preparing to pen a tribute to Mr CST in Chinese for overseas online media (becoz the local Chinese media is unlikely to run my story) and i chanced upon your post…

    i m a BS-TPY GRC resident. when i learned that Mr CST was coming to this GRC, I was sooooo thrilled. Yes, i was not very impressed with Mrs CST’s maiden rally speech, but when I attended the last rally, I felt that she had made efforts to improve and I was praying/hoping that she could be given this chance to prove herself and retain the Potong Pasirians Kampung Spirit

    As for Mr CST, I had a few encounters with him (in the capacity of journalist) – he was so humble, so sincere, and yes, so fatherly. he was just like the uncle in the neighborhood.

    His rally speeches moved me.. Yes, I was also impressed by WP’s FWP manifesto, but when Mr CST said let’s build My Kind of Home together, I just couldn’t hold back my tears (and even at this moment, as I key in my very messy thoughts, I couldn’t hold back my tears)

    There is a time for everything. Perhaps, it is time for him to close this chapter and move on to something else… He can spend more time with Mrs CST, and most important of all, spend more time taking care of his health… It saddened me to see the impact of two strokes on his physique. But this true son of Singapore (other than JBJ, I couldn’t think of anyone else who deserves to be called “true son of Singapore”), had inspired many… and I am one of them, the post-65 era generation…

    my political awakening came about as early as 10,11, and in 1984, Mr CST was voted into Parliament…and since then, I had pinned hopes that one day, this nation can evolve to become more inclusive and more democratic.

    While I applause the victory of WP, I felt very defeated, not just becoz Mr CST and Mrs CST lost the GE, but so many deserving candidates lost – too many to list down – and they lost to some incompetent, arrogant ministers who still have not clue what had gone wrong and appeared like clones, repeating similar robotic, passionate-less sentences – do not why voters didn’t vote for us, will try to work harder, will try to regain their trust and confidence; we had put in a lot of efforts, blah, blah, blah….

    Perhaps, really, it is time for our hero to step aside, to give another person a chance to prove himself (but i m sorry to say that in the capacity of my previous job, had heard soooo much about this chap, but i really dun want to make any comments, since nothing could be changed)

    Perhaps, my hero’s exit, will lead to new dynamics btw the different OP…

    My sincere well wishes to Mr and Mrs CST, the residents of Potong Pasir and Bishan TPY GRC residents –

    well for Bishan TPY residents – those who had entrusted their future to a chap who couldn’t even monitor a limping terrorist and one who wanted to reduce the weighting of mother tongue in PSLE, i say good luck…if two more casino and a nuclear plant are built 5years down the road, pls dun curse and swear..

  11. Thank you writting this. While I was reading an tearing at the same time. I don’t live in Potong Pasir but always have the utmost respect for Mr Chiam. Therefore, I attended SPP’s rally at home ground few days ago. That rally was the most touching one looking at the crowd cheering for CST. The supporters walked him back to town council and cheering nonstop and at outside town council, they even cheered ‘thank you mr chiam’ like it was a national town song. Those actions by PP residents touched me n they were showing how grateful they are towards CST. I’ve never seen such actions by singaporeans.

    CST always a humble man careful with his words is a man I respect the most in parliament along with low thia khiang. I bet CST already knew it’s gonna be tough fight at Bishan-toa payoh yet he still went ahead as he knows he needed to build up a strong team now in order to contest in GRC again should he retires soon. And his belief in democracy. He’s truly a warrior!! Even his speech after announced defeat was so gentlemen! My tears just rolled down my face.

    I’ve done my part to show that we need voices in parliament for the past 2 GE. Potong pasir or hougang were my choices of flat, should I settle down one day. But now, like u mentioned Potong pasir might be another anson. I still wished to live in an opposition constitutency area in the near future.

  12. As a citizen who is living in a non-opposition ward, I am sorry to learn of such criticisms made towards the residents of Potong Pasir.

    The communal spirit that PP and Hougang has, is something that we can only envy from far. The love the residents there give their MP, is something we can never achieve. For so long, residents in PP and Hougang have stepped up to the expectations of the nation, to vote in alternative voices in the parliament. This is the courage that many in the other parts of Singapore do not have.

    I’ve taken up the challenge this year, but sadly, residents in my constituency lack the equal courage that led to the victory of Mr Chiam in 1984. I’m not a resident of PP, but I cried when I knew the result. So close, so so close. But I cried not just because PP is now a PAP ward, but that PP SMC will likely cease to exist in the next GE.

    I do not blame the residents of Potong Pasir at all. Everyone is entitled to their rights to vote, and who are we to criticise you when we ourselves have not stepped up to the challenge?

    Rest assured, the Potong Pasir spirit rests not only in the hearts of its residents, it lies in the heart of everyone who truly loves Singapore. Mr Chiam may have lost the elections, Potong Pasir may cease to exist in GE2016, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson from Mr Chiam and PP.

    “When there is life, there is hope. When there is hope, there is change.”

    Thank you, Potong Pasir residents for being our warriors for the past 27 years. We salute you.

    Thank you, Hougang+Aljunied residents for stepping up to the challenge this year. We respect you.

    To the rest of Singapore: WE HAVE A VOICE, LEARN TO USE IT. And don’t forget what Mr Chiam, Potong Pasir, Hougang, Aljunied has taught us this year.

  13. Well said Alvin, my heartfelt respect towards Mr. Chiam, he has moved me in many ways. A man of highly respect and integrity. I’ve been tearing quite a bit since the results were out. I have been to PP myself and love the atmosphere and environment there. Thou it was small but filled with warmth and nice residents , just like one big family….If ‘they’ still being humane, I hope they will still keep PP as a remembrance of Mr Chiam. God bless Mr Chiam & you family. Stay strong & good health.

  14. Dear Alvin,

    I am glad that you have voted for Mrs. Chiam. To be honest with you, I am one of the few who mentioned about Potong Pasir residents who accepted the carrots dangled in front of them, but I mentioned only those who accepted, and those who spoilt their votes. I was really angry at that time for me to say those words, and I apologize for saying them.

    It is really saddening to see someone who fought hard for Potong Pasir-ians, Singaporeans and Singapore for the 27 good, long years to lose by 100+ votes. When I saw the results yesterday on TV, I almost cried. Seeing Mr. Chiam recovering from his stroke, and contesting the GE2011, really warms my heart. To think someone whom many deemed that he should retire and rest well for the rest of his life, he wrestled with those thoughts, and felt that he should continue fighting for Singaporeans.

    I know it is rather disappointing and angry to see some opposition supporters insulting Potong Pasir-ians for being ungrateful and are ingrats to Mr. Chiam, but those words have been said. We can only continue to fight on for Mr. Chiam, and let his spirit of democracy to continue on, pursing the freedom and rights we should get. Let no words harm the strong belief you have for Mr. Chiam, and continue to live on.

    I understand that Potong Pasir-ians are petitioning for a by-election for Potong Pasir, and I would love to help you guys over at Potong Pasir to fight for your beliefs. Stay strong and we shall have a better future in the years to come.

    I will share your post to all of my friends, so they will know how it is really like to live in Potong Pasir, under the ruling of good, old Mr. Chiam and Mrs. Chiam. Thank you for penning down your thoughts. All the best in your new life in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

    Jonathan Khoo

  15. Hi Potong Pasir Residents who vote for Mr and Mrs Chiam See Tong,

    Thank you for supporting and giving us Mr Chiam See Tong for the past 27 years.


  16. Potong Pasir lost by only 114 votes. Have they included the overseas voters? If not, then they should not have declared the winner.

    There were hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans who were either not informed, being too late because of the registration process to vote. The outcome of this election will have been different.

    Overseas Singaporeans have had always had obstacles to the process to vote. It is difficult to understand why as a Singapore Citizen and for males who have served the NS, that they have to register to vote? Only Uniquely Singapore as the PAP is afraid of these voters who are usually more liberal and perhaps not PAP loyallist , as they have been exposed internationally.

    It is really sad…. but Mr Chiam See Tong has made his mark in the history of Singapore.

    Regarding Mr Sitoh, I believe he is disingenous. His request for the Potong Pasir residents to “co-operate” with him at his victory speech shows already his attitude towards the residents. What is he trying to say… is he prempting that the residents will not co-operate with him?

  17. sojenn, they lost by less than 100 votes after counting the overseas voters. It was not enough after all.

    There are, unfortunately, quite a number of Potong Pasir residents who really did voted PAP for a fresh coat of paint, after speaking to some people living there and know first hand who voted PAP.

    These people don’t really care about CST;s legacy and what he did for them and just wanted upgrading, and thought that this is the perfect chance to do it with less guilt since CST moved out of PP.

  18. Hi writer of this note
    I would hv enjoyed this note if you hv not called pple who voted for the ruling party cowards! Do u understand them enough to accuse them?

  19. I wonder if there will be more VISUAL indications of the SPP supporters’ frustrations towards the PAP coming in in the later months. It will be interesting to watch and report

  20. Excellent read. I shared many similar viewpoints as nuanced by you in this post. I have shared with friends this touching article. Wishing you all the best. Yes, every awakening needs a courageous Man & his Place — Chiam See Tong & his Potong Pasir.

  21. My thoughts have been echoed by the many comments that follow this post. I will only add on to say that CST is an opposition figurehead known by all, whether we live in the North, South, East or West of the island.

    His determination is admirable, his intentions reflect the wishes of the people on the ground.

    I live in a PAP ward half an island away from Potong Pasir, Bishan and Toa Payoh.
    I know of all the good things Mr CST has done, for the people of PP for almost the past 3 decades. I hope the people of PP will not turn their backs on him when they realise that this nation needs more than just lift upgrading, covered walkways and beautiful waterways lining our backyards.

    I have resided here for the past 26 years. I have never met my MP before, not even during this election period. The only memory of him I have is the occasional lorry mounted with PAP flags and loudspeakers driving past my home every 1 hr or so.

    Congratulations to the winning party, and good luck to Mr and Mrs CST and the members of SPP, I hope to hear more from them in the years ahead.

  22. Hey Alvin!

    Hi how are you doing? Anyways, i am saddened by the fact that Mr Chiam See Tong lost and then Potong Pasir went to the hands of the PAP by a mere 114 votes! And not to mention the 242 rejected votes is seriously a wake up call to the people of Singapore that EVERY VOTE COUNTS. We lost an honourable Singaporean who have been fighting for its people rather than for his own “power”.

    There is a possibility that this SMC will be dissolved into some other “GRC” or whatnot and that “Potong Pasir” will be harder to be won back by any Opposition party. I hope that with this new guy in PP, all the promises of upgrades and such will be given to the residents WITHIN 5 years time…

    …And then, i hope that the residents of PP will then vote him out and get Mr or Mrs Chiam back into their original place. Just my thought. 🙂

    From a resident of BP who voted for the SDP.

  23. Very touching and endearing post.
    Thank you for letting us see the love PP residents have for their MPs. So heart-wrenching that they lost by such a thin margin.
    I wish both Mr and Mrs Chiam good health in years to come.

  24. Hi Alvin

    Just like you, I’ve grew up in Potong pasir and love every bits of this little town.

    Just like you, I was still indecisive on the morning of the vote. I’ve voted for mrs. Chiam in the end as a form of support twrds uncle chiam and his team. We definitely are not interested in the silly upgrades at all.

    Having witnessed uncle chiam and team thanking his supporters on their lorry just a few minutes ago, the scene was definitely heart breaking.

    Cant help it but really felt the tinge of sadness.

  25. Dude…you’re comparing Potong Pasir to Asterix’s village?! That will make PAP as the Romans. C’mon, bad anology, man.

    Credit really should be given to PAP Sitoh for relentless determination to keep trying (it’s his 3rd bid for the constituency, right?) and not simply giving up after losing twice to Mr. Chiam.

  26. I was tearing as I read this post and the string of comments that followed. I have never stayed in PP before. However, I was relatively familiar with this small estate as I hung around the area quite often about 15 years ago during my school days; my then boyfriend had stayed there. And I love the feel of the estate even up till now. It made me feel cozy and warm, and somehow also reminded me of my childhood days during the early 80s when our life was simple and the communal spirit was still all around.
    Frankly, I was heartbroken when I learnt that Potong Pasir had fallen during this GE. It was a ward that I thought would never fall, juz like how it had stood strong against the tides for the past 27 years… Even now, I still find it hard to accept that PP is no longer under CST but under PAP. I can only hope that Mr Seetoh will love his PP residents as much and do his best for them like Mr Chiam.
    For more than half the time since we became independent, Potong Pasir has come to represent THE alternative voice not juz for it’s residents, but also for all those other wards, whose residents may not even had a chance to vote due to walkovers. We have come a long way and Potong Pasir is a legacy in it’s own right. I truly hope that the Ruling Party has the grace and magnanimity to acknowledge that and I further hope against hope that PP can remain as an SMC in GE2016 and not juz be part of another GRC. That would be a loss to all Singaporeans of my generation.

  27. Potong Pasir residents, you are not cowards nor traitors and the last people anyone wanna bury alive. It wasn’t easy on you. Don’t lose that spirit ! Ole, Ole, Ole…Jia you !

  28. As a resident residing here since I was born, and my 2nd election to date, we can only feel deeply saddened by the mere lost of 114 votes. Although I’m not one of people who goes cheering all over town, my heart is still with Mr Chiam and the respect is deeply felt. Somehow, the thought of being a PAP constituency doesn’t bode well. It seems like Potong Pasir will become a slightly ‘colder’ place as compared to the past 27 yrs and its uniqueness will be gone.

    The individuality that comes with living in Potong Pasir will be gone. Everytime when someone ask me ‘ Where do u stay?’ and my reply is ‘Potong Pasir’, they would go ‘Arh..Opposition party Mr Chiam rite?’ or if they don’t know, I would tell them ‘Opposition Party Mr Chiam See Tong’s area’ and they all would know, not the location probably, but the idea and the HEART of the place. This would probably be gone in the coming years and future when Potong Pasir will most probably be absorbed into another GRC (which most people know it’s a matter of time).

    And yes Alvin, Potong Pasir is not a slum (which I don’t know why many people say so). It is a great location and has ample amenities for everyone. Is it necessary to have upgrading all over the place? Sometimes, the more facilities and conveniences we have, the place seems colder as people’s demand grow. An umbrella brings 2 person closer to one another, isn’t it? And we truly understand that Mr Chiam did his best with the limited resources he has and we really thank him deeply for it.

    Right now, (while tearing up and writing at the same time amidst the cheer for Mr Chiam just below me), it is another new chapter for people here and for people of Aljunied. It is not easy being an Opposition ward, please remember that, since we are always the last in everything, but in our hearts, we have to fully understand what we are standing up for. Thanks Alvin, for your article, and to let us Potong Pasir-ians think about what we have and how much we should appreciate everything here.

  29. As a fellow resident for 26 years, I too faced a difficult choice. Like you, I don’t think I will be around in PP for the next GE and Ms Chiam did not particularly appeal to me. However, at the end of the day, my vote went to her. Ultimately, it is not a choice between personalities but a vote for what we want our nation to be. For the past 26 years here, I am proud when people asked where I lived and I understand there is a certain obligation that our fellow citizens expect of a resident there. That obligation is the understanding that our votes are more important than MUP/LUP or other material benefits.

  30. I am assuming that you live in potong pasir as in the areas over at Sennett estate. I think you should pause for a moment and look over to the 14blks in lor 8 toapayoh. Dim/faulty roadlights are common. And many other problems too. While I respect mr chiam and his party for their perserverance and Passion, I must highlight that potong pasir Smc consists of all the resident from potong pasir and those of the 14 blks in tpy; and the 14 blks have obviously been neglected for too long.

  31. Don’t misunderstand. Those of us who voiced our displeasure I’m sure voted for opposition. Hence we could not believe the residents in potong pasir did not have a strong vote against the PAP! Which ran vontrary to all the photos posted above…why???

  32. Jen: When I mentioned “cowardly lions who voted out of fear”, I am not referring to genuine PAP supporters. I have many good friends who are PAP supporters and politics should not be divisive. In fact, I respect them for being able to stand their ground. I was referring to those who do not believe in voting secrecy and cast their votes in fear.

    a_x: In the context of how the PAP treated Potong Pasir and Hougang residents, they are behaving like the Roman empire. I agree that Sitoh deserves credit for his win too and that was duly acknowledged in my post too.

    Haylee: No I don’t live in Sennett Estate.

  33. @Alvin
    thank you for taking the time to pen your thoughts down. Thank you for the videos that show so clearly the love that PP has for CST.
    I’m in B-TPY and voted with my heart too…

    @ Haylee
    the blocks along Lor 8 might look uncared for but if you walk through that area, you’ll feel a sense of community and ‘home’ness… my kids and I love going to eat and play in that area. They feel its more fun and less ‘structured’. If that makes any sense at all. Not everything has to look ‘elegant’ and neat to work well. I’ll hate to see the community ‘farm/garden’ disappear when ‘sprucing up’ projects happen.

  34. Hi Alvin,

    Thanks for the touching post.

    Sometimes I look at the different faces of Singapore and I wonder which of them is the most appealing, or most representative of the country I live in. Then I will realize to my horror that it matters not, since Singapore is evolving (for better or worse) at such a frantic pace that there is hardly anything for the locals to hold on to, much less an identity to speak of.

    It is quite unfortunate that the vestiges of a common identity are slowly being eroded by this relentlessly efficient economic machine. Maybe, if we make an effort to hold on to whatever social memory we retain, Singaporeans can actually start speaking of an identity.

    To the residents of Potong Pasir, Mr. and Mrs. Chiam, I sincerely salute you. While there may be a silent majority that vote for the PAP, I believe there is also a silent and not-so-minor group to whom you will forever occupy an irreplaceable status.

  35. My wife and I looked forward to welcome Mr Chiam and his team to Bishan-Toa Payoh. Its was very sad night for us. This evening, we saw those in white making their rounds to thank voters. Saw one family at the oppersite block cheering. But later when SPP team comes round, it was every block every floor residents welcoming them. So I know, our area here did our parts.

    Hope the SPP team continue their works in this area, and in the next election, we can do it better.

  36. Dear Alvin,

    I’m a first time voter at 22 and only got interested in sg politics when new media opened up my eyes to the political scene in Singapore. I’m a resident living in Woodlands, but I’ve had more interest in what was happening in Potong Pasir and Mr Chiam and his SPP team. His actions and beliefs touched me beyond any Singaporean politician could, and needless to say I was rather disappointed with the results when it was revealed.

    Your post however, showed me how myopic my view was. Potong Pasir residents are truly Singaporeans (unlike in Woodlands where everyone seems to treat their place like a hotel). Thank you for your post, to the supporters of SPP in Potong Pasir and Bishan – Toa Payoh, SPP, you rock.

  37. First of all, I wanna say this – Damn the national TV~! It was already known online more or less that PP has fallen to the juggernaut (your comparison to the Roman empire is 100% on target), yet they deliberately announce this last on TV. Like trying to tell people, hahaha, THAT Gaul village has fallen to us finally~! I respect that posts here have no vulgarities, so i will keep them to myself.

    Secondly, THANK YOU~! I was already tearing in my heart when i was seeing what was predicted by the juggernaut (a 60-40 win for them) a day BEFORE the elections – http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=3223193. Then, this morning, I chance upon your post. I need to go out when i just started on your post, but the whole day, i was thinking about it.

    So, finally, when home, I read what you wrote, the photos, and my tears just fell … My wife understood, and left me alone for a while. Even now, as I went through the comments, I am still holding back my tears.

    PP is not defined by the physical; it is defined by the people’s hearts who dares to stand against been oppressed. A beacon of hope of Singapore, for a democracy some day, a vision of Mr Chiam. Unfortunately, this time, it fell to the enemy. Yet, my heart does not blame the PAP voters at all. Moreover, after reading that the borders for PP has changed slightly to include likely more PAP supporters … how can we blame PP folks? If anything, I am sad that for the past 32 years of my life, I can never have such a noble fight in my life~!

    I heard on radio that Mr Chiam will want another election in 2016, and I worry for his health. When i read that one reader’s father almost fainted, my heart went out to the old gentleman, then my thoughts went to Mr Chiam. It must have been hard to take, yet, I believe Mr Chiam would have bear no grudges towards the PAP voters. He is too honourable for that, unlike the mindless lackeys who followed their masters every word (and paycheck).

    I do know of a PP PAP grassroots lady, and she was genuinely full of admiration for Mr Chiam too. Still, she believes Mr Sitoh has been honourable as well. I did not hear the “co-operate” part in you-tube yet. I need to judge by myself …

    Sorry if this comment post is like messed up. It IS messed up, like my heart right now. 2011 has been the best time to grab more seats for once, and we missed it~! damn~! Moreover, what other country in the world does opposition has 40% votes, but less than 10% representation in Parliament?! What nonsense~!

    The fear that PP gets absorbed into a GRC is real, because that is the tactics of the juggernaut. Despite its huge resources and advantage, it still will NEVER FIGHT FAIR. That is why my admiration for Hougang and PP has always been huge.

    Still, one reader also commented that Mr Chiam may have planned his succession plans better, and i have to agree. (Come on, we are fair people, unlike those scholarly wolves~!)

    For now, the Worker’s Party will have to carry on its good work, and the noble fight. Let us all hope that one day, the two stars of the national flag will not be dimmed like now, and will shine most brightly in future.


  38. Dear Alvin,

    I feel you… some ppl really dont think with their pea brains and shoot the blame to us calling us “spineless” and stuffs… they are in no position to say that because they dont know what we feel… well done to your article which have spoken my heart! KUDOS!

  39. Hello Alvin

    Thank you for blogging this. I wished I could have been there to witness it.
    The video especially brought tears to my eyes and no small amount of envy.
    Tears because I see the struggles of a spirited people and a brave man come to an unhappy outcome. Envy because I was unable to have even a little taste of being involved in such a noble endeavour.
    Potong Pasir residents can always have this pride in their hearts for having stood up to giants and stood together over these many years – a shining example to the rest of Singapore. More than any pledge or national anthem, the spirit and the community of PP residents and the service and perseverance of Mr Chiam show the true heart of Singaporeans. Stay true to this spirit. Stay true to the ideals represented by Mr Chiam. Show our true Singaporean identity.

    God bless you. God bless Mr Chiam and his family.

  40. Hi,

    I fully agree to your content. But you too cannot blame people that had not exercise our rights to help in the course of having another alternative voice in the Parliment.

    They came out with a GRC system which bind and lock us down for years to weaken the opposition. But I see this as not a loosing sign. Alot of Singaporean actually voted for opposition and when we look at the results, there is at least 40% in Singapore is supporting for the course. Its just that the vote is not enough to send them into the Parliment.

    I welcome you to Bishan Toa Payoh.

  41. A moving piece indeed, and a terrible waste at just 114 votes. PP constituents who had consistently voted for Mr Chiam will forever hold their heads high for their wisdom and foresight. Mr Chiam will forever be an icon in PP, and no one is going to take away that accolade. At 76, and having gone through 2 strokes, frail, weak and arched, Chiam is the true personification of what dedication to duty and caring from the heart is. He could have just called it a day. Not Chiam though. Despite his disadvantages, whether in party affiliation or in physical condition, he persevered to see his ideals through – that of wresting a GRC. Anyone who have had the chance to see him in person will agree that here is a man that truly deserves our respect, admiration and adulation. The spirit of PP will live on long after Chiam’s departure, it will never perished, and will still ignite that fervent wish in others staying elsewhere in Singapore that some day, perhaps in the not too distant future, more of Singapore will emulate it. It is coming, it is in the horizon, the signs are there, and it can only grow stronger by the day. We await with abated breath.

  42. Dear Alvin

    Thank you for capturing the essence of what makes Potong Pasir such a special place. I’m not a resident but I truly admire Potong Pasirians for their courage, conviction and love shown towards one special human being – Chiam See Tong. Mr Chiam is a true legend and you residents have helped make him the great S’porean that we’ve all come to hugely admire and respect. May this special spirit of camaraderie in potong pasir continue to live on and passed down to future generations of S’poreans.

  43. Dear Alvin,

    I have always enjoyed reading your website but I thought it was not the right words chosen by you when you asked if we have done our part to vote for the opposition and calling others cowards. Do not let emotions run high – others have a right to vote and no one should pressure anyone to vote otherwise. I am disappointed with what you said. I don’t believe anyone voted out of fear for the PAP. Let’s remain humble and respectful of one another – as a small country, we need to stay united as one Singapore, regardless of our personal beliefs.


  44. i dont know why pap always make hougang and potong pasir sound like slums.. honestly i live in bukit batok under pap.. but its so much dirtier than hougang..

    whenever i meet friends and people who lin ive potong pasir, i always hear such pride when they say.. i live in potong pasir..

    thank you to the residents of potong pasir, u made us believe that miracles do happen and has happened for the past 27 years..

  45. Dear Alvin,

    what you have written totally resonates with what I’m feeling exactly. I lived there with my grandparents, grew up there, until my parents’ apartment in Bishan (then better known for being an ex-cemetery) were ready. Potong Pasir has always been a place close to my heart, and the kampung spirit is obvious and permeates throughout. Everyone knew so-and-so, and if not, you might be referred as so-and-so’s daughter/grandma etc.

    I still have relatives living there, and never a time when I visited did I feel it was a ‘slum’; to me, it was rustic and nostalgic. A place where people fought to keep their identity. Upgrading? Good to have, but necessary? People got by without them. It’s the admirable part. It’s like a little self-sustaining village of people who could.

    I’ve utmost respect for Mr Chiam and his people, for working tirelessly for many years from that makeshift cubicle. And being of voting age, I’ve always joked that I’m going to move to Potong Pasir and make a difference.

    When Mr Chiam said that he was leaving Potong Pasir for Bishan-TPY, I was elated. It was a tough fight. But I’m proud to say that I’m one of those in the 43.06% nonetheless.

  46. Thank you Alvin for writing this.

    I too has spent about 27yrs in Potong Pasir. Can say I grew up here.
    While a lot of people are saying Mr Chiam cannot bring better facilities or upgrading program to the residents of Potong Pasir, many has not seen what the Town Council has done for us.

    Landscaping, upgrading of children playground, repair works here and there, covered linkways etc were being done by the Town Council and if I’m not wrong, the residents need not pay for any of these except for the monthly charges. These works were carried out over the years, but not remembered or announced to the world. I still remember that there was a time when Mr Chiam wanted to do some upgrading works in Potong Pasir, the application was rejected by HDB. So can anyone blame him for not taking care of this town?

    Though I didn’t go down to support the return of SPP after the results came out, I too, was looking at the crowd from outside my flat at Block 140. The spirit is high and the atmosphere is really different from the other crowds that I’d seen.

    I still like Potong Pasir after all these years. =)

  47. Thanks for this wonderful, wonderful post. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Please convey to all your neighbours many Singaporeans’ gratitude for doing extra National Service these past decades by taking the PAP blows. I’m glad, though, that it brought out the best in you and Mr Chiam.

    I feared that this election, many of your constituency would feel that it was time to stop bearing the weight for all of S’pore’s need for alternative voices in parliament, to fight Goliath. Our gain (other constituencies’ chances to vote) would be like the end of your grueling marathon.

    But I’m glad that Auntie Lina 😛 only lost by the tiniest of margins. Only just so she knew that she didn’t let you or her beloved husband down.

    I don’t agree with the criticisms of Chiam’s lack of succession planning. He did not lack for trying. Fortune was simply not in his favour. But then again, it brought out the heroism in him 🙂

  48. SE Phee:

    As I clarified earlier, the “cowardly lion” tag was reserved only for those who voted out of fear. It is not directed at PAP voters. I agree that politics should not be divisive. I did not write bad about our new MP Sitoh either, in fact, he earned my respect for coming back for a third try.

  49. Pardon me for sounding harsh. It is very self-centered of those who voted for the carrots and out of materialistic gains. Potong Pasir has just been robbed of the privilege to be served by the Servant Leaders in Mr. and Mrs. Chiam ! Is character cheaper than materialistic gains?

  50. Thank you Alvin and your fellow Potong Pasir residents. Your little constituency has really touched me in your resolve and your dignity. Looking at the photos I can’t help but feel jealous; my GRC has never shown such community spirit or togetherness. I have lived in this GRC my whole life and I do not remember there being any such spontaneous gathering of united people. We generally go about our daily lives unaware of those around us, even though we are neighbours. I wish we had your Potong Pasir spirit.

  51. Dear Alvin,

    I spent all the 24 years of my life in Potong Pasir. 22 years in the ‘mascot block’ that welcomes you back to the estate everyday, and the last 2 years in the new condo area besides St Andrews Village. Thank you for the post. I think any Potong Pasir resident can identify with the context behind it. I made a 3 hour coach journey to vote with my heart at the High Commission in London, and was hopeful till the very end that it would made a difference.

    Heritage is also about its people, and as long as Potong Pasir residents stay put, as long as we continue to shower love and concern, and display neighbourliness to each other, including new people to the Potong Pasir (think the new condo side), that can be the one of the many ways we can let the fruits of Chiam’s toil in Potong Pasir be new seeds for a generation of people living in Potong Pasir.

    Our government will not be so arrogant as to takeaway Potong Pasir and put it in a GRC (quite ironic thinking how if we belong to either Bishan-Toa Payoh, Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio… we cannot claim to not have amenities in our ‘estate’). Unless it comes to past, let’s focus on what can we do to build up our little, but precious spirit that have been left behind.

    I really treasure the SMEs also in Potong Pasir that made this place a vibrant one. The small wet markets, the illustrite store (that sells everything you need!), the many different provision shops remind me of all the good things about being niche and community that have been lost to the big supermarkets. My relatives operate a bakery in Potong Pasir itself for many years, and it has been a wonderful home. Like you, when I get married, Potong Pasir may not be the place where I can stay anymore.

    But until then, let’s spread the seeds of Chiam’s toil, so that it may blossom in time for the next young generation of people in Potong Pasir. 🙂

  52. Dear Alvin

    This is the first time I’m visiting your blog and I glad I stumbled upon it while googling Chiam See Tong.

    Your post and the other contributions brought me to tears. And believe me, when you cried last night over the loss of PP and BS-TPY, many many of us elsewhere cried with you. But I want to thank you for sharing with us your pride n joy about being a Potong Pasirian and supporter of CST. I would be so embarrassed to be referred to as a Marine Parade-ian.

    Mr and Mrs Chiam – I salute you

    Supporters of CST and Mrs Chiam – I admire your courage

    Residents of PP who enjoyed a 27-yr relationship with CST – I’m truly envious of you (i’m sure the MPs in white are too)

    Alvin, if there’s a chance (and before it’s gone), please take and share with us photos of the “Welcome to Potong Pasir’ billboard you mentioned. Such sights should be treasured and remembered.

    Thanks again for everyone who has written here. It’s crazy that the writings of strangers can make me cry so much.

  53. The fear factor, no matter how irrational we think it is, still prevailed in this election. These are real-life situations just before the 2011 election:

    1. The parents told elder son not to vote for opposition in case it would jeopardise his younger brother’s application for government scholarship.
    2. Sister’s neighbour was scared to vote for opposition because he has business dealings with the government.
    3. A caller to a radio station revealed that his wife had no choice because she is a civil servant.
    4. Husband’s friend from police force dared not vote opposition because he feared losing his pension.
    and the list goes on…

  54. @KM “first, i muz state tat i’m no pap supporter. i feel tat CST has to shoulder most of the blame for Potong Pasir’s loss. Why? Becos he didnt do any succession planning. It’s clear to me tat his wife is a super-average “Joe”, and yet he expects her to win via his Chiam-surname charisma? Dun forget tat CST, despite the good tat he has done, has had problems with fellow party (or ex-party) members as well as other opposition parties. Thus, the loss of Potong Pasir is basically CST reaping wat he sowed (or didn’t sow). Peace.”

    KM No PAP supporter? really? and to say that CST to shoulder most of the blame for Potong Pasir’s loss? based on your superflous reasons…. you must also be a fan of the MSM who demonises the opposition. It is now very clear how they have demonised even Dr Chee in the past with false accusation, smears, even up to today but they can no longer get away with it with the social media….

    One of the main reasons for the loss is the support from the overseas votes. More than hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans have not been able to vote because of the PAP’s gerrymandering, including putting obstacles to the process to vote for overseas Singaporeans, and may were not informed of the requirement to register before the writ was issued. How convenient. Overseas voters have always been a thorn for the PAP because they are geneally more liberal being exposed internationally, and most would have voted for the oppositions. It is difficult to understand why as Singaporeans that they have to register to vote, whch is a basic right.

    Also, it is not correct that the PAP government should penalise opposition wards, which LHL reconfirmed in one of his seminars before the GE 2011, with the students, where he does not think this is wrong, that the PAP government is only taking care of the PAP wards. Let’s now see where he will go with his speech to be ‘dedicated” and “humble” to serve us? now that he has heard Singaporeans? As Alvin puts it – “Potong Pasir residents pay taxes too and the guys here all served our NS dutifully. Why are we openly regarded as second-class citizens by a government which was tasked to take care of every citizen and “leave no one behind”?” The money belong to Singaporeans NOT the PAP period.

    If Sitoh Yi Pin gets the money to do all the things that was denied to CST when he was taking care of the ward, the this clearly shows what type of despicable party they are when they are in absolute power.

    @Ryu “There are, unfortunately, quite a number of Potong Pasir residents who really did voted PAP for a fresh coat of paint, after speaking to some people living there and know first hand who voted PAP.” Well again then it is again the PAP who are the despicable party depriving PP who are also Singaporeans of things which they should have and not deprived of JUST bec. they are an opposition ward.

    @whywerrun “I hope that with this new guy in PP, all the promises of upgrades and such will be given to the residents WITHIN 5 years time……And then, i hope that the residents of PP will then vote him out and get Mr or Mrs Chiam back into their original place. Just my thought.” – good idea… I cannot imagine that Sitoh Ui Pin will be able to do what CST has done oe the over 27 years in PP. except to give superficial materialistic things…

    @a_x “Dude…you’re comparing Potong Pasir to Asterix’s village?! That will make PAP as the Romans. C’mon, bad anology, man.” – that’s prcisely what they are.

    Haylee ” While I respect mr chiam and his party for their perserverance and Passion, I must highlight that potong pasir Smc consists of all the resident from potong pasir and those of the 14 blks in tpy; and the 14 blks have obviously been neglected for too long.” – again who is to be blame for this… none other than the self righteous arrogant PAP.

    Well, better take all the pictures of Potong Pasir to preserve the imagine and village of what it is before the PAP turns it into anthoer faceless constituenies under their ward, and remember Sitoh told residents in his vicotry speech (I watched in live on CNA), the ones who did not vote for him, to “co-operate” with him? Is he expecting otherwise? or is he thinking of how to “fix” them like LHL when he spoke about how to “fix” the oppositions in parliament. Sitoh is a PAP member and will have to follow their line. Anyone who thinks he can do otherwise must be in their dreams.

  55. As much as I dislike PAP in general for lack of fair fight and integrity in this election, I think it is a good opportunity for Potong Pasir to be under PAP to help improve it. In fact, I think that it is a matter of time that this place will fall under PAP as people move in and out of Potong Pasir , and possibly converted-citizens moving to PP vote PAP. What is worry now that in next election, Potong Pasir will probably be absorbed in GRC (very likely AMK and TP since the old man is keen to humiliate opp party , and thus opp party must be united to win back PP through that GRC. It is really hard to fight PAP with separate parties given the former’s resources. It will be best if WP can united all opp parties under WP label since it has strong brand, and contest PAP. And if it win, they can later split into different party.

  56. Dear Alvin

    The indomitable spirit thrives always in the hearts of the poor who have nothing left to give but only themselves.
    I am not a resident in your estate but my links goes back to 1961 (kindergarden) – 1973 (A levels) in St Andrews. I was moved to tears when I saw a Saints team shirt with “Hose” in one of photos; this was the very sports house I was in, in school.
    From the time it was a market-gardening, small farm area prone to frequent floods when the Dirty, stinky Kallang river overflowed its banks. When the loose rugby,football from our backfield was kicked into the river, the guy who kicked it had to retrieve it.. the stink will be on him despite many showers!!. There was no highway.

    Nostalgia aside, the physical landscape have changed but “the hearts clamouring for freedom has’nt” proud, independent and courageous for 27 years against all odds. Every form of abuse, injustices, inconviences were thrown at you guys. but you resolutely soldiered own. It is like the Thermpalye 300 soldiers under Leonidas who withstood the onslaught of the Persian army of 1 million under Darius.

    If only our chicken-shit nation had 10% of the steel balls you and our comrades in Hougang had!!!.. thats just wishful thinking.. it would be a different ball game now!!

    I thank you and everyone in Potong Pasir/Hougang/Aljunied for showing the rest of us what courage and pride is with a feverish hope that may some of it rub off onto my son .. who is still there wearing a “Hose” T-shirt!!!!

  57. Mrs Chiam,

    You should take the NMP seat. Though it’s a joke politically, it can give you good leverage for the next GE. It can give you prominence and if you participate actively in the parliament, residents of Potong Pasir can see who you are and what you stand for. This is of course in addition to your continuing grassroots work. We also need young blood for the SPP.

  58. Hi Alvin,

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

    I was previously staying in Toa Payoh Lor 8 and have moved out about 3 years ago when I got married. But I always like to go back there to get my groceries and also like to have my meals there at the hawker centre. Even my husband likes to go with me as he told me he felt very ‘at home’ there because everyone is so friendly and warm. 🙂

    After watching the videos which you have posted, I was moved to tears. I’m one of those people who use to wait at the car park after the election results for Mr Chiam and his team to come by after winning those past elections. Everyone would be running up to his lorry to shake his hand and congratulate him. It was such a warm and touching sight. I can always feel the pride and would hold my head up high and say that I’m staying in Potong Pasir constituency whenever some people asked me where I stay.
    Though this time round, the residents of Potong Pasir is meeting Mr Chiam and his team for a different reason, I am very sure and strongly believe that in every single Potong Pasirian’s heart, he is always a winner and not a loser. He has every reason and capability to earn the respect of not only residents of Potong Pasir, but to every true blue Singaporean.

    I have just met Mr and Mrs Chiam yesterday evening as I was leaving my mother’s place. It is the usual sight that I have expected to see. Everyone was down at the carpark and running towards this lorry to welcome him warmly. Some even followed his fleet of lorries on foot to cheer him on. Alot of us were crying and sobbing while we shook Mrs Lina Chiam’s hands. I even saw some men who had tears in their eyes(and my husband was no exception too). This scenario was never seen before whenever a PAP lorry comes by to thank the voters. Only a few households can been seen waving their hands from their kitchen windows. I can only say this shows that though PAP has won the election this time round, they certainly have not won over the Potong Pasirians’ hearts at all and I think it would take alot more effort than they would expect.

    Maybe to you, those 11 block of flats in Toa Payoh Lor 8 looked old and not presentable, but I’m sure all of the residents there do not mind at all as we shine in our hearts as we are fighters who knows that upgrading of our home is not necessary at all. We have that kampong spirit where everyone will look out for each other and we do our part to keep the estate clean. And with this kampong spirit in mind, I never had to worry about going home alone in the wee hours and even when car parks are dimly lit. 🙂

    I may have moved to Punggol now, but my heart still remains at Toa Payoh Lor 8. There are so many fond memories I have which I’m sure I’ll remember them for life.
    I will have pictures and stories which I can show and tell to my son as he grows up and will also remind him to stand up for his own rights and to believe that “When there is life, there is hope. When there is hope, there is change”.

    To all Potong Pasirians who believed and kept the faith in Mr Chiam, I sincerely thank you and salute you!

  59. Dear Alvin & Family, thank u sooo much for sharing this! Thank u for the pictures tat spoken a million words. My tears cannot stop streaming… Thank u ppl for loving Mr Chiam!! 🙁 if only I know… I will Also rush down to join the thousand of Potong pasir residents to cheer him on! I was so shaken by the result tat I couldn’t close my eyes n sleep… And I am NOT the only non PP residents to feel this way. Ur blog address a lot of question marks in my mind… Is Mr Chiam ok? Mrs Chiam must be equally upset, can she cope?? Etc etc! Reading your blog , seeing the pics. I know grandfather chiam feels warmth, love deeply after a long and tired day at the polling ctr. Thank you! Thank you!!! All great residents of PP who voted for Mr Chiam & Mrs Chiam! Pls accept my bow!!!

  60. Dear Alvin,

    I’ve chanced upon your blog while surfing Mr Chiam See Tong pages on FB. This is my 1st time leaving a comment on a blog as i rarely have time to do so, but your post is well worth my time.

    I live in the Bishan-Toa Payoh constituency. To be honest, in the past i wasnt at least interested in politics as for the past 20 years im living in my bishan estate, not until Mr Chiam came along to contest at my GRC. The personal touch he has on the people of PP is something which the people from the rest of the other constituency will never understand.

    Its heart warming to know there’re fellow singaporeans with the same sense of pride, belongingness and lack of a better word, defiant attitude. My utmost respect to Mr Chiam who’s a fighter, believer and caring leader. My heart will forever be with the Mr Chiam and his party. I was looking forward to receive Mr Chiam with open arms to my constituency, but i guess that’ll have to wait for the next election.

    In any case, welcome Alvin to bishan-tpy, hopefully next election more people like you will have more faith in opposition to lead Singapore.

  61. Thank you Alvin, for writing on behalf of many PP residents (the 49% that voted for SPP).

    I too, am a resident of Potong Pasir, & I too voted for her. I am a young man, all grown up but that night when SPP was edged out by that small 1% margin, I cried, and I cried like a little boy all over again.

    To the netizens calling us traitors, undeserving of your respect anymore, we don’t need your respect. Alvin has aptly pointed out: where were all of you all these years when we repeatedly supported (and still do) Mr Chiam when you’re living in your PAP ward & enjoying your upgrades & “perks”? We resisted and fought till the very end. We know who we are and we are proud to be residents of Potong Pasir, regardless of the outcome.

    Thank you Mr Chiam. Thank you for being there for us, making “My Kind of Town”. Thank you!!!!!!!!

  62. Thank you for this post. I teared for don’t-know-how-many times watching all his videos. Mr Chiam is indeed a hero of Singapore. Because of him, i’m proud to be a Singaporean.

  63. I’m getting all choked up again. Three weeks ago, all that I knew of Mr Chiam was through a tweet by integratedmalay: “dear sgeans, ‘machiam’ is not a Malay word. The word is macam. Machiam is the mother of opposition member chiam see tong.”
    And I sniggered at that.

    2 weeks later, I was crying at his rally. And now I respect and love them so much, that I wished I could vote, I wished I could help out and I wished I could help them with many things yet because i am foreigner, I can’t.

    Being a powerless supporter who is an outsider to this country is the worst, because here you simply. can’t. do. a. damn. thing.

  64. I’m getting all choked up again. Three weeks ago, all that I knew of Mr Chiam was through a tweet by integratedmalay: “dear sgeans, ‘machiam’ is not a Malay word. The word is macam. Machiam is the mother of opposition member chiam see tong.”
    And I sniggered at that.

    2 weeks later, I was crying at his rally. And now I respect and love them so much, that I wished I could vote, I wished I could help out and I wished I could help them with many things yet because i am foreigner, I can’t.

    Being a powerless supporter who is an outsider to this country is the worst, because here you simply. can’t. do. a. damn. thing.

  65. A friendly uncle at hawker told me before election.
    “I belong to a different generation. We were really poor. I really cannot find any fault with this government. I am very contented with what they have helped this small country achieved.”

    I shared this unlce sentiment. Yes I understand the need for opposition voice in Parliament. But I think today’s anti-PAP sentiment has gone way beyond this. Many are generally unhappy with quality of life under PAP for the past 5years.

    Maybe i am out of touch with the poor minority singaporeans who are struggling under PAP. Maybe i am without a heart.

    All i see is, safe street, clean water, racial harmony, economy striving, roof over head, well feed and well clothed Singaporeans. Majoirty of Singapore still can effort to reguarly dinning out, shop, travel oversea for leisure.

    From a dot on map we become a nation many envy. We become 1st world economy nation. Bad leadership under PAP ? Pure luck ?

    I don’t know………….have you seen our minister ? Their hair all turning white since join PAP….especialy PM Lee…..all look so aged and tired. I don’t think building this nation has been that easy for them – the weight and burden of a nation performance on your shoulder. They can have it easier in private sector.

    I do fully agree that some PAP ministers are better than others. Some are total letdown.. But a few black sheeps doesnt represent the whole flock.

    Feel PAP’s plight right now is comparable to that of a workaholic husband. Who spend more time at work than home. Only to return home to a house of angry wife and children, realising he is out of touch with his family.
    His well intention for wanting to improve material life for family has backfired, leaving his relationship strained his with family. And he still don’t really know what went wrong.

    PAP definitely made many mistakes. Some are quite serious. But overall, they did more right than wrong for the country.
    I agree Potong Pasir residents have a lot of heart. But so does PAP supporters. Many of us are not cowardly lions who voted out of fear, nor did we vote because of carrot hand-out. You assume and you assume wrong.

    Yes it take courage and dignity to support opposition. But it take strength, gratitude and grace to support and forgive a not so perfect government.

  66. i am no resident of PP, but you’ve made me look at PP (and its residents) in a different light. From the video, i can actually feel the warmth and kampong spirit. love it..

  67. Alvinology :
    I see nothing but strong sentiment and love for Potong Pasir in your posting.

    Yes politics should not be divisive. We are all fellow Singaporeans.
    When Singaporeans agree to disagree, it spell hope and unity for the country.

  68. My eyes are tearing, my heart is bleeding when i am reading this blog.. but i guess there is really nothing we can do now..
    Potong Pasir is the 1 and only place i had stayed in since 1985 when i was only a young ignorant boy at the age of 9 (being forced out from my Kampong near Bukit Timah due to upgrading projects). This place is really a place i proudly called “Home”
    Our compound is small, our building has a unique structure (slanted down) but the most important thing is our “warrior spirit”. I never know who is Mr Chiam See Tong then, not even now in personal contacts. But i remembered this familiar and friendly face then and now.. the most nearest contact i ever had was at my Uncle’s funeral back in 1994. A person whom he did not even know, but came all the way to the wake to pay his last respects to him and giving condolences to the widow and the poor 3 young kids.. A small gesture that spells a million thoughts.. that was when my heart goes wholeheartedly to him..
    Mr Chiam had contributed a lot to Potong Pasirians in 1 way or another within his humble means.. lift upgrading without a single cent asked from the residents.. and all he could afford is only Lift B (or 1 lift per block in general).. can we not be touched by that? When we asked for upgrading, he did it without asking from us.. what else can we ask from him???
    Frankly speaking my heart is burning when i saw interviews from the street complaining no upgrading after so many years, my next questions to those aunties and uncles, are you ready to come out with many thousands ($$$$) to go for the upgrading??? the answer will be definitely NO!!! so why ask??? For goodness sake, Singaporeans are pampered!!! Why can’t we exercise more?? Why do we need upgrading?? it is all because the clever government didn’t foresee us as “aging population”!!! they didn’t plan this during the first stage of building the HDB flats!!!
    Did Mr Sitoh persevere??? Look what he had done for us!!!
    Before GE 2006, he organized a lot of functions, getaways to lure the senior citizens.. he built a playground and exercise ground besides Community Centre (Whereby Mr Chiam had requested before to no avail). He built a passage way with street lights between Blk 147 and the MRT station (Likewise again Mr Chiam failed to have the permission to do so as a MP since 1984). After the GE 2006 lost, what did he do?? He withdrew totally!!!! He went into exile and removed the passage way and street lights (quoting since you guys had voted for Mr Chiam, let him do for you AND YES MR CHIAM BUILT THE PASSAGE WAY FOR US).. the playground not maintainted and the utilities are worn out.. there was once a few uncles complained Mr Chiam did not maintain this place, i straightaway told them off!!! i told them this is built by Mr Sitoh and he had left these back. Mr Chiam can’t do anything as he got no permission over that ground!!) they felt ashamed and left..
    Guys and Gals, Brothers and Sisters.. and those whom are not Potong Pasirians as us natively and truely breed and grown there, please stop criticising Mr Chiam for not doing much!! He had done his best within his capabilities!!! Looking at a 76 year old man whom had suffered from stroke twice, looking at a 62 year old lady whom had supported her husband for the past 27 or more years in politics, how can we not be moved and touched by their enthusiasm and willingness to contribute to us Singaporeans???
    Need we say more??? Government did a great job without doubt.. but we need people like Mr and Mrs Chiam to bring voices speaking for us..
    POTONG PASIR –> CHIAM SEE TONG.. this is the equation in all Potong Pasirians’ hearts.. now and ever..
    Thanks Mr Chiam and Mrs Chiam for all these years’ efforts. We pray in Lord name that both of you will be well taken care of. We shall fight again in 5 years time. Whether it is still Potong Pasir or we are being split into Bishan-Toa Payoh or other GRC, our CHIAM SPIRIT will never die.

  69. Hi Alvin, I have read your article and viewed these photos and videos many times, and am really so touched by the Potong Pasir spirit, the uniqueness of your town, and especially, the love that Chaim CT has for this little town. Thank you so much for showing Singaporeans this true spirit that no money can buy. Great Job!

  70. I don’t live in PP but I can see he has fostered a very keen relationship with his people. Now I am wondering how did the 114 vote gap come about. I have also reading online news and comments and I have a feeling that within the 5 years, the opposition parties will have a far more formidable stance. If the ruling party fails in its soul searching, they will very likely to get flipped over in the necxt election. The sad thing is that Mr Chiam didn’t win Bishan-Toa Payoh. I was actually hopping he got the GRC. He should re-build his team again and party for a stronger come-back. Best.

  71. Very touching article that is written with a heart. It certainly made me reflect on my voting choices and behaviour. Much of the readers’ sharing here are very constructive too.
    Keep these insightful and courageous articles coming

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