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Holland-Bukit Timah was one of the most exciting GRC this election, with People’s Action Party’s (PAP) and Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) exchanging words tit-for-tat. After hearing all that was said, the residents have decided and chosen PAP to represent them in the house with 66.62% of the votes versus SDP’s 33.38%.
Here’s are your new Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MPs from the PAP:
Name: Vivian Balakrishnan
Occupation: Minister for Environment and Water Resources
Terms in Parliament: 3
Name: Sim Ann
Occupation: Senior Parliamentary Secretary at Ministry of Education and Ministry of Law
Terms in Parliament: 1
Name: Liang Eng Hwa
Occupation: Chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Finance, Trade and Industry
Terms in Parliament: 2
Name: Christopher de Souza
Occupation: Litigation partner at Lee & Lee
Terms in Parliament: 2
Tell me more about what they have said.
The issues they had fired salvos at each other over included but were not limited to healthcare, minimum wage, income distribution, defence budget, ministers’ salaries and of course, the YOG expenditure.
Chee Soon Juan explained why he wanted to contest in the ‘rich man’s ward’: “A lot of people tell us, Bukit Timah area, rich folks, they will vote for the PAP. Not true. They care about their fellow citizens. And because of that, I know they will respond to our message saying, look, we have got to level up society [and] close the income gap.”
But Vivian Balakrishnan insisted that SDP’s welfare policies were untenable. Citing Singapore’s fragility, he said: “I get… uptight [and] aggressive when someone comes along, talks very well, but sells ‘koyok’ and puts our country in danger. I fight back.”
Whether or not the newly/re-elected party’s policies are more effective remains to be seen, but one thing you should take away is how Chee Soon Juan consistently took the moral high ground. The general sentiment that had gathered around him was that he was a more moderate alternative to the Workers’ Party (WP).
On name-calling, he advised SDP’s supporters: “Please don’t [call Vivian Balakrishnan and Sim Ann names]. It hurts their loved ones… I know that because they have called me all sorts of names, and it hurts my loved ones. If you attack, you attack the policy, not the person.”
On finding common ground: “What I am about to say may register significantly on the Richter scale. The PAP is not all bad. Some of the MPs genuinely work and care for the people. But by the same token, neither is the Opposition the useless, destructive force that the PAP paints us out to be. We have good ideas that will help to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. The PAP and the Opposition can – no must – find common ground and work for the good of this country.”
Fun fact: We had also learnt over this election period that Chee Soon Juan and Vivian Balakrishnan had gone to the same secondary school together, and that the former looked up to the latter’s admirable debate skills.
Chee has also earned a reputation for being a charismatic and eloquent speaker this election season, having spewed many quotable quotes (could we perhaps expect a parliamentarian version of Mean Girls from him in time to come?).
Do you have any videos of their speeches?
Yes, and here’s a highlight reel of rallies from the more outstanding candidates.
One notable speech was Sim Ann’s. During the Sept 8 rally for her constituency, her speech centred on the phrase ‘chu pattern’. Sim Ann also looked a bit too gleeful as she attacked Chee Soon Juan in Mandarin; either she was trying very hard to familiarise herself with local lingo, or she had one drink too many.
#GE2015 PAP candidate Sim Ann says SDP’s Chee Soon Juan likes to “chut pattern”, meaning someone who is full of antics. In a speech dripping with sarcasm, she tells the crowd: “If Dr Chee says he is second when it comes to ‘chut pattern’, no one else would dare to claim first.” Follow our live blog (str.sg/Z7Pd) or Twitter (twitter.com/STcom) for updates.
Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, 7 September 2015
Christopher de Souza’s speech on family, human rights and defence at the Sept 5 rally at the field behind Petir Park.
Paul Tambyah, champion advocate of healthcare policies, at SDP’s 2nd rally for Bukit Panjang SMC. He is clearly very angry at having to wait for months for a various health treatments and medical consultations (see 1:36-2:15).
While not a rally speech, included here too is a bonus gaffe by Sidek Mallek, who was unable to answer the question, “If you are elected, what is your plan to help Malays in Singapore?”
Where can I read up more about these things?
Well you’re in luck! Mothership.sg scored exclusive interviews with Vivian Balakrishnan and Paul Tambyah. Check out how they responded to some of the questions that required them to articulate their answers in less than 140 characters, à la Twitter.
If you would like to find out more about the fall and rise of Chee Soon Juan, we’ve got you covered as well. Mothership.sg even did a quick review on his new book Thinker Teacher Rebel Why? Portraits of Chee Soon Juan and shed light on the The Video that helped turn the tides against him, also known as ‘Behind the Man’, directed by Tay Bee Pin.
But you still haven’t answered my question: What does this signal?
Dr Chee Soon Juan’s latest defeat in a career of political failures is not one of the most surprising results, but what is surprising is how the PAP returned to Parliament with an even stronger mandate from the constituency with the highest percentage of privately-owned property. Many have wondered why Chee decided to contest in a GRC that likely wouldn’t chorus with his welfare policies but he pressed ahead, and it seems like idealism didn’t translate into reality.
Dr Paul Tambyah must also return to his mundane job at NUS and NUH then, it seems.
Also, despite the waning popularity of Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Sim Ann, it seems that voters have decided to trust in PAP even when given the choice to send in an alternative voice.
The defence budget stays intact, then.