Editor’s note: Mothership.sg called for young Singaporeans to step up and give their perspective of GE2015. The aim of such an endeavour is to provide our readers a means to view GE2015 through the lens of young Singaporeans, warts, sparkles and all.
With Cooling-off Day just on the horizon and no Marine Parade GRC People’s Action Party (PAP) rally in sight, it is obvious that the team has no plans to put their residents through the deadly HHH (heat, humidity and haze lah).
Instead, the five-member team held a press conference this morning (Sep. 9), as an indoor (read: aircon) substitute of a rally.
Led by Minister of Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, the group includes ESM Goh Chok Tong, MPs Fatimah Lateef, Seah Kian Peng and Edwin Tong, who joined the team from the now-dissolved Moulmein-Kallang ward.
While the Marine Paraders are missing out on some rock concert-worthy moments, here are four reasons why they needn’t be too worried:
1. They say they have more time to engage with their residents
There was just one burning question on everyone’s lips: why no rally??
Here was Tan’s response:
“Well, rallies do serve a purpose, we were thinking about it ourselves… But we thought that it was important to reach out and talk, to go out, revisit (residents) again, in some places several times, whether in the block parties or the house-to-house visits. We thought that opportunity to just connect with our residents was important because it allows us to communicate.”
When probed by The Middle Ground on why he thought differently from other constituencies:
“Well, I understand that Tharman also didn’t have, West Coast also didn’t. I think you should ask them, there’s no right or wrong to this, we discussed as a team and we did seriously consider to having a rally, because some of our residents did ask. But we felt that this time round, it was important for us to reach out…”
ESM Goh also added his two-cents worth, you know, just to have the final say:
“We should go above the every single vote by walking the ground and meeting residents. So I myself walked for some 15 km for 3 or 4 hours in Joo Chiat. For us the important thing is to reach out to the private estate residents. And the best way for that is to actually engage them… so that’s what we did. We found that to be very effective. I was at Neptune Court last night, and they were able to get about 200 residents to come. We wanted a process where we speak directly to the people, instead of general message to all Singaporeans, not knowing who will be there to listen to us.
After all, who needs a GRC rally when you are ESM Goh and can hold your own mini-rally?
Then again, the team could have pulled a Jeannette-Chong Aruldoss. The SPP Mountbatten candidate has been holding rallies AND waking up at 630am for walkabouts.
2. They see things
Or the lack of things. The lack of a ramp to be specific.
While time-off from rallies has given the team more time on their walkabouts, Goh and Edwin Tong took to an early morning stroll at Dunbar Walk. That’s when Tong noticed that a bridge over a canal only had stairs leading up to it, and no sloped ramp. Said Goh:
“…over the canal, that’s stairs, old people cannot get across, in wheelchair not possible, we must do something about it. So that was Edwin Tong’s observation when we went for a walk at 7 o’clock in the morning . So I went with him across the canal to the other side to see whether there’ll be space to do a curved ramp for wheelchair bound.”
Goh went on to express sympathy for the elderly residents who would like to get across the canal to Telok Kurau Park for their tai chi, qi gong and other exercises.
3. They’re playing the cool, popular kid
ESM Goh pretty much admitted that he got a kick out of heated exchanges, before saying it’s time for things to cool down.
“Definitely I do enjoy the past exchanges with the opposition parties, and I have many good answers to your questions. But I told myself, at this stage of the campaign, we want to cool down temperature and let people focus on the day after the election. So I shall therefore not give you soundbites to questions you have asked.”
Despite not wanting to provide good media soundbites, it was simply beyond Goh’s nature as he also did this…
4. Goh Chok Tong’s sass
a) When asked to respond to Workers’ Party saying that they can run the Marine Parade town council: He simply raised his hands up in the air and exclaimed: “Har har!”
Tan Chuan Jin followed up with the politically-correct answer that “residents will decide as best they can…”
b) When Tan was done with his Q/A session and promptly announced, “That’s all. We’d like to thank you very much”:
Goh didn’t miss a beat in his curt reply: “My turn now,” which was followed by laughter from the media, and bashful apologetic smiles from Tan.
Top photo by Mindy Tan.