This is what it feels like to spend 7 hours at the legendary Workers’ Party supporters’ Hougang coffeeshop

Good grief. What a roller-coaster of emotions.

Grace Yeoh| September 12, 12:23 PM

Every General Election, the coffeeshop at Block 322 Hougang Avenue 5 turns into the unspoken Workers’ Party (WP) gathering point.

The crowd is one of a kind – erupting into deafening cheers everytime a WP candidate appears on the television, and equally deafening boos whenever a PAP candidate is shown. Yet, no matter win or lose, their morale never drops fully.

Yesterday, I visited the coffeeshop for the first time and spent the next seven hours in the company of some very vocal WP supporters.

At about 9pm, there was already constant cheering – for no reason except to keep morale at a high.

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As the sample count results were announced, the mood dipped slightly.

The uncle beside me uttered a golden nugget of wisdom:

After a few minutes, said uncle adds: “Cannot be so bad lah, rubbish!”

It looked to be a bleak night ahead, as the People’s Action Party (PAP) saw landslide victories in various constituencies, one after another. In fact, at one point, the mix of sadness and anger was almost palpable, I am dead certain a fight would break out if the PAP manages to wrestle back WP homeground, Aljunied GRC.

A woman waved her inflatable WP hammer at the TV screen whenever the Returning Officer appeared, and shouted passionately, “He’s a PAP mouthpiece!!”

The results for Fengshan and Punggol East SMC were announced. WP loses in both constituencies. The crowd went insane – this time with disbelief and shock.

“Sh*t we lost Punggol East, I’m sorry guys,” someone lamented.

Vulgarities were hurled at the TV when the broadcast showed the PAP assembly points. They increased in volume and intensity as the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team loses Holland-Bukit Timah GRC by a huge margin to the PAP. A guy shouts exactly what, I suspect, everyone’s thinking at this point: “Oh what’s new?! White again.” And then, a shining beacon of hope: Hougang SMC. Morale picked up considerably when WP candidate Png Eng Huat retained his seat in Parliament by winning:

Same guy who made the comment on white after SDP lost Holland-Bukit Timah, now chants, “I will not wear a white shirt tomorrow! I will wear a blue, I will wear a blue.” It aided in breaking the tension, and the crowd laughs along.

Nearing 2am, the results for Aljunied GRC were still undergoing a recount. People were getting restless. Most stayed on, but some have chosen to leave. A group of uncles beside me heave a heavy sigh and pack up their things.

As the WP East Coast GRC team loses, one uncle cannot believe it. “They’re not from Marine Parade meh?” he shouts. “No, they’re East Coast. Lose already,” the woman beside him sighs.

The recount is taking ten thousand years, so I speak to a few supporters to get their feelings on the results so far. Nath, 28, a safety officer says:

“I feel like it’s fair game. As long as you compete honestly, and the individual citizen thinks you’re right, then yeah okay I’ll vote PAP. If I think the opposition is right, I’ll just vote for opposition.”

His friend, Elango, 25, a supervisor adds:

“I think if PAP is very strong, they should win by 100%. Not opposition having a bit of chances. So there are still unhappy Singaporeans who vote for the opposition. So the next election, I think they should win the Singapore heart. If PAP is very good government, in the next 10 years of 50 years, [...] I think they should still win Hougang lah. They still can’t do that.”

David Isaac, 28, a HR manager, also willingly agrees to give his take on things:

“I believe in the Workers’ Party. When election comes, it’s a very important thing in our future. I wish we have a fair voice in our Parliament, and we have a fair voice in the opposition as well. We need both sides of the story. We can’t just live on one side. It’s very disappointing so far. It’s not like GE2011, where it was much more appealing. But the fact is that, people will find a way out, regardless of government and parties that are ruling, everyone will find a way.”

And then, the moment everyone’s been waiting for: the results for Aljunied GRC are in. WP wins. (Just by a slim margin, but this crowd won’t be disheartened by nuances.) The crowd goes stark raving mad. (What’s new?)


As the crowd starts to leave, cars passing by horn to show their support. The feels are real.

I flag down a cab, and the first thing the cab driver tells me?

“Aiyah disappointing. I thought east coast got chance. Hai, why ah. Uncle also don’t know what to do."

Honestly uncle, neither do I.

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