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Who’s rallying Hougang voters?

Rallies, I know, are not intended to be places where people make political pronouncements or lay out plans. They are just platforms for punchlines, pithy sound-bites and good quotes. People go there to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the pot shots levelled at the other. They come away energised, happy to have been part of an “event”. I mean, where else do you get to hear the PAP bigwigs getting “hantamed” or see the PAP drop its technocratic front and come out slugging?

I tried very hard to glean some useful points after reading reports of both WP and PAP rallies. I can only come out with this: The WP wants this to be a national election, and get the Hougang voters to focus on the issue of democracy; the PAP is making this a local election, while castigating the WP’s supposed inability to run the ward.

I hear nothing specific from either party though. It’s very much same-old, same-old.

I found one thing disconcerting – the PAP’s insistence that Desmond Choo is a stayer; unlike WP’s Yaw Shin Leong. I wish the PAP wouldn’t do this.  It’s got a long list of past “supposed” stayers who contested opposition wards and who promptly got moved to “safe” GRCs and now sit nicely in Parliament.  I mean, do I have to name them? No one can beat the “staying” power of Chiam See Tong and Low Thia Kiang who “stayed” for years, decades to win a seat in Parliament.

As for the WP’s “national” argument, I think the PAP has a point in saying that if the WP wants a voice in Parliament, then it should have put its best man forward – the one who is already in Parliament, NCMP Gerald Giam. (Unless of course, there are some NCMP regulations which would make it tough for WP to replace Giam if he got elected) So it seems the WP wants a “local” man in Hougang, Png. So is this a local election after all? Actually I keep wondering why WP hasnt made much of the fact that it is running next-door Aljunied…

Anyway, what do I know? It’s all up to the Hougang voters now. One voter I know is going to cast his vote for WP. Made up his mind a long time ago. His reasons are all “national” – disaffection with the income divide, cost of living, transport boo-boos, influx of foreigners etc. Hougang, to him, is a microcosm of Singapore. How many people think like him? If there are plenty, it’s a WP win. Even though I haven’t heard Png enough to hear him say anything to make me sit up and take notice. Or will voters be swung over by a promise of a wet market in the neighbourhood? Don’t get me wrong. A wet market is important. Anyone takes away mine and I am going to be so, so, so unhappy!

On the Hougang voter will turn the issue of what is close to the heart of heartland Singapore. Big decision indeed.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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