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