5 observations we made at the sterile PAP Bukit Panjang rally

So formal. Such orderliness.

Goh Wei Hao| September 06, 03:04 PM

Teo Ho Pin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Panjang SMC held his rally yesterday (Sep. 5) at the field behind Petir Park. At its peak, about 1,000 people attended it.

It was also the first time that the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC PAP candidates spoke at a rally. The team consists of Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of State for Education, and Communications and Information Sim Ann and MPs Christopher de Souza and Liang Eng Hwa.

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam also graced the event.

Here are five observations that we made.

1. The crowd was really civilised

As you'd have noticed by now, the introduction to this piece is uncharacteristically formal compared to other Mothership stories because this is exactly what the rally felt: formal.

Honestly, we thought we were at a closed-door press conference and not a rally that was open to the public.

For one, the crowd was really really civilised. Instead of a boisterous and vocal crowd, we were greeted by a meek crowd that was shy in showing their support – only a few cheered loudly or shouted in agreement when the speakers threw shade at the opposition while the majority just applauded.

Also, we thought everyone would clutter towards the stage to get a better view of the speakers, especially DPM Tharman, but most chose to just stay in their seats.

Staying true to character even when the rally ended, the crowd helped to stack up the rented white chairs. This was when we knew we were not at a press conference because we have never seen any journalist doing this.

2. The speeches followed a coherent flow

Teo started the round of speeches by sharing the improvement and milestones in Bukit Panjang under his helm like having the most number of community gardeners (340) and brisk walkers (10,000). Liang then added on by talking about the improved transport infrastructures in Bukit Panjang.

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The other candidates then took the stage and shared the contributions of PAP on a national level while criticising the opposition’s proposals at the same time, with:

- de Souza talking about Singapore’s strong defence force while not forgetting to slam Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) proposal to cut the defence budget,

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- Sim praising the government’s fiscal prudence while chiding SDP’s idea of raising income taxes, and

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- Tharman giving everyone a 101 on why the opposition’s proposed minimum wage and handouts schemes are not sustainable.

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Balakrishnan then ended the night by reaffirming the contributions of the PAP.

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3. Christopher de Souza’s speech could be interpreted very differently

de Souza shared a heartwarming story of how he and his team helped a grandmother in his constituency who had to raise her grandson alone as the mother was in jail for drug abuse. It would have been touching if we were not so distracted by some of the words he used.

Here’s the part that made us raise our eyebrows:

We stepped in with rations, vouchers and financial assistance, but, those are only practical things. As with all residents we partner, I resolved to do more beyond the practicalities to offer her companionship and friendship. Regularly, we would meet in the constituency, deliberately asking how she was coping and whether she was overcoming. Weeks led into months, months into years. Did we help? Did we assist? Some would say yes but I would like to say we partnered each other. (Emphasis ours)

Ok. We think it's just us.

4. Behind every successful female MP is a supportive husband

This guy was spotted hovering near Sim when she stayed back after the rally to talk to the residents:

sim ann husband Photo by Goh Wei Hao

Following Sim throughout, he could’ve easily been mistaken for a stalker volunteer if not for that loving gaze.

sim ann husband 2 Photo by Goh Wei Hao

His name is Mok Ying Jang, also known as Sim Ann’s husband, who waited patiently for Sim as she took pictures and shook fans with her legion of fans. (Sim had the most supporters last night with many coming all the way from her Bukit Timah ward with handmade signs so intricate that they put the fangirls of boybands to shame.)

sim ann husband 3 Photo by Goh Wei Hao

Awwwwwww! #relationshipgoal

5. There were no sport shoes


Yup, just the conventional dress shoes that PAP MPs use to always wear. We guess only PM Lee can pull off the New Balance look.


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