Hougang: You are not listening

On paper, Desmond Choo should have walked away with Hougang quite comfortably. There were so many things going for him. The PM, DPM and the whole PAP machinery were speaking and rooting for him. The whole war chest of the govt was in his pocket, so to speak, to spruce up the Singapore slum in Hougang, a neglected constituency left to its own fancy and limited resources. Who can resist the kind of goodies that Desmond is rolling out, or going to roll out for them?

The main media’s courage alone would have won the election for him too. This was not in the case of Png Eng Huat, who was accused of dishonesty and lack of integrity, two factors that would have thrown him out if he were to seek employment or wanted to go into business with anyone. He was written off like a leper.

And what could Png Eng Huat offer except for more of the same? And Desmond Choo warned the Hougangkia that that was what they would get for the next 4 years if they did not elect him.

And the controversies of WP having internal quarrels, party members resigning, Poh Lee Guan collecting his donation slip and could have gone on to challenge Png in a three corner fight. Then the leak of CEC minutes being aired everywhere. This is not just to discredit Png, but also to tell the voters that WP could be infiltrated by moles, a hopeless party that could not guard even against traitors within their ranks. The worst was being accused of being a racist party. That could have been very costly.

All said, with the cards stacked against Png Eng Huat, what was left was the loyalty to Low Thia Kiang and the WP, and the hearts of the Hougangkia. Would they buy the goodies offered and change course? Would they forget the 20 years of neglect, penalties for voting the WP, and threats of more of the same?

There is also a bigger agenda at stake, where is Singapore heading? Are the voters happy with the govt, the direction it is taking, the policies and the interests of the people? And, are they confident that this govt will be there to serve them and bring about a better life for everyone? The big picture was also in play.

The Hougangkia voted against immediate short term gains. They rejected all the offers and promises. They voted for change, and for having to bear with the consequences that they have lived with for 21 years. There is some chivalry left, a sense of justice and fair play, a sense of righteousness, a hope that things can be better with a change in govt in an uncertain future.

The other opposition parties also played their parts by not throwing in a spanner in a three corner fight. It makes the choice of the Hougangkia much straight forward. The victory is the victory of the Hougangkia and those who wanted a regime change. They wanted change, but change in their own terms, not something to be bargained for. They wanted to chart their own course and the course of the country, a new course, not this one.

Desmond Choo gained 3%. In absolute terms, the gain was 124 votes more than his last election. For all the efforts and distractions, this is too insignificant to call a meaningful gain. The PAP has failed in a big way with this kind of result. It is painting on the wall.

2016 is going to see a dramatic change in political fortunes. It will be an election to count the number of GRCs falling, and the ministers that go with them. I have not been so sure about this trend of thought until this by election.

This by election is part of a bigger scheme of things to come. It is a test bed on the emotions of the people with Hougang as a small sample. Some may dismiss Hougang as too small, isolated and does not represent the whole of the island. It may be, but it still represents a big shift in the political mindset and aspiration of the common people. Look at the crowd at the informal WP kopitiam HQ and those in the PAP HQ. The difference is stark. It is the people versus the droids. It is the tide of a spontaneous people uprising against a regime gone bad and its machine. And Hougang is a confirmation that things will not be the same again. It is not going to be a status quo in the next 4 years running up to the GE in 2016.

The only minister that may be quietly smiling could be Tharman. Hsien Loong and Chee Hean are looking very likely to lose their GRCs. As things are today, not many ministers will be around after the next GE. Tharman could be the next PM in a drastically shrunk govt with a small majority in Parliament. Hougang is going to set the ball rolling.


Anonymous said...

The thought of AMK GRC falling suddenly seems frightening likely come 2016...i do hope i'm wrong

patriot said...

Like and have to agree with You that the brave and righteous Voters in
Hougang has became the CATALYST for political change in Singapore.

The Hougangites had shown the WAY, way back in 1991. They consistently maintained their INTEGRITY and never once succumbed to political bribes, threats and unfair treatments dished out to them for the last over 20 years.

Sad to say though, other than the PEOPLE in ALJUNIED GRC, no other constituency was inspired by the RESOLUTE WILL of our LOYAL HOUGANGITES.



Anonymous said...

They have maxed their carrots and it no longer has any effects on the people they exploit. These pigs are secure and can afford to express their true disdain towards their political masters through harmless ballot - like in a game show

It is a love hate relationship between the rulers and the ruled. You need the rulers to maintain a certain standard of living for you yet inside of you, you are disgusted with their values, hypocrisy,greed and arrogance.

You often see this at the working place - peoole get along with each other because of common purpose( money,obligations and for some,higher purpose ) but you are not particularly fond of their values, manners and hypocrisies etc - and of yourself( for being a loser)

The ballot box is a harmless way of showing their true disgust towards the powers - and not that they think highly of WP either.

Anonymous said...

I am a Hougang resident for 20 odd years and have always voted for the opposition 'cos I believe in checks on government on national issues. I am not related to either party. It is a well known fact that we have been punished severely for opposing on national issues. I am proud to be a Hougangkia to be a beacon for others to follow suit.

Anonymous said...

When the dominant party is gone, it will be Singaporeans Vs Singaporeans. It will be beginning of the end.

It will be ...
Redbean vs Patriot..
Matilah vs Redbean ..
Anon Vs Veritas ..
Anon1 Vs Anon2 ..
WP vs NSP vs TJS ..

Get your champagne ready !

Anonymous said...

Hougangites, indirectly representing Singaporeans, are saying No to self-serving Papies policies that harm Singaporeans interests.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Singapore's fight for independence started in 1991.
With the Hougangkias as our founding fathers.

"The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed;
the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress;

The hate of men will pass;
and dictators die;
and the power they took from the people will return to the people;
and so long as men die;
Liberty will never perish."

Text of Speech from the movie;
"The Great Dictator"

Anonymous said...

Checks and balances is just a red herring. Of course you need it but does it work?

Pigs checking on pigs don't work. Please

Anonymous said...

Very true. Exactly like pigs usurping the power and trust of pigs.

Anonymous said...

You think this is Jesus Vs Satan ah? This is Satan Vs Satan lah

Anonymous said...

Better the devil known. Or better the devil unknown, with a little hope.

Anonymous said...

If Checks and Balances do not work, then Prime Millionaire Lee can continue to autopilot from now until GE 2016?

Soojenn said...

RB, Hounggang is not indirectly representative of Singaporeans in Singapore.

Checking on the government? Look at how WP performs in parliament, rather poor don't you think? and how Peh Eng Haut is stammering, stuttering in a victory speech in the comfort of massive supporters? PEH needs to look to LTK to help him with his speech, so how will he be able to stand up to speak "independently" in parliament? Without LTK to prop him?

Is WP really that much better? They seem to be agreeable with how the salaries are calculated. Maybe they see themselves getting a chance soon to also get this pie? What have they really spoken up about.... First world parliament? Really... And the WP thinks they have first world parliamentarians to the boot? Talking about first world this first world that... What concrete actions have they taken along this slogan of theirs?

The said...

/// Anonymous said...
If Checks and Balances do not work, then Prime Millionaire Lee can continue to autopilot from now until GE 2016? ///

Who says checks and balances do not work? Ask the millionaire ministers, especially LSS, he checks his CPF and bank balances every month - and felt very rich.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Don't worry Soojenn. As they said, the first time is a bit difficult but subsequently things will get smoother.

When PAP first came to power, there were chee cheong fun seller, many workers and lowly educated leaders. They progressed from there. And it is unfair to demand so much from 6 MPs who cannot make any decision or changes to anything in Parliament.

Again, don't worry. When they have the numbers or form the govt, they will know what to do.

You may want to compare what the rest of the MPs were doing and were they doing anything better.


Anonymous said...

Like I said, in the most economy of words....Satan vs Satan, now what is wrong here?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi anon, don't worry about right or wrong here. Everyone has his own view of things.

Anonymous said...

I like to believe there is only one way....and we are all...forced into it.

Either you are part of that way or you continue to rot

Anonymous said...

Though I might be wrong...but unlikely. I am watching too :)

Anonymous said...

Hougang was forced into it but refused to go in. Hougang has found its own way, by fighting back.

Anonymous said...

we are really caught betw the devil and deep blue sea. on the one hand, we have the PAP, who are stuck in the past, plus unable to break out of the mindset they have, resulting in the sitn now.
the destination they are leading us towards looks pretty shitty.

on the other hand, we have the opposition. there is the WP, which is so-so. i would like to see them spking up more in parl. eg, why aren't they attacking PM's inclusive claim to claw upgrading for hougang etc?

there are also several potential MPs from other parties who were not voted in in the GE. they need to be given a chance. hopefully, they themselves are doing the kind of intensive groundwork needed NOW to prepare for an election in 3, 4 yrs time.

we should have started exposing more pple to the political world
years ago, by voting them in, but didn't. it is not too late to do so. so these pioneers will muck things up initially as they don't have experience. but if we are brave enough to let them have a go, push them as we push the PAP. and as they will hopefully also put pressure on the PAP, things can get better.

this would also encourage others to step up to the plate.

it will involve a lot of biting of a LOT of bullets. it will depend on how much we love spore to suffer, bearing in mind we are suffering now.

meanwhile, it is now up to us citizens do more than just bitch. pressure on the govt has produced some change. we need to put even more pressure on it and not just at GEs and BEs.

we could start with simple things like attending other parties' events. here we could find out more about them, suggest how they can improve, point out what else they need to do.

whatever it is, we cannot simply sit and wait for an election. we need to work tog. and that includes the WP working with other opp parties!!

at the same time, we must be clear that we cannot hope to have it all. tht we may not be able to keep all we have now either.

folks, it is back to the 60s, when sacrifice and hard work were called for. we've done it once, we can do it again!

Anonymous said...

There are so many, including Redbean, that claimed that the early days PAP Politicians were good, even great in working for the people/country. On the other hand, just as many are claiming that the PAP Politicians are stuck in the OLD MODE which is bad for the people/country.
Come on! Which is which? Is Sin today not the culmination and result of the past?
Whatever it was/is, one thing is clear, many Singaporeans remain ambivalent and got themselves to become fence-sitters with a VERY HIGH TENDENCY to be swayed by bribery, sweet talk, threat and other inducement. Hence, it is not that the Rulers are evil per se, BUT, the GREEDS and FEARS OF THE PEOPLE that had resulted in the situation Sin is today.
Singaporeans need to be honest with themselves and NOT PUT all blames on the politicians

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Allow me to briefly state a few points of good and bad old ways.

1. Unemployment was solved.
2. Housing was solved. Everyone could get a really affordable flat relative to their income. And no need to wait for so many years. No need to be forced to buy private properties and pay a ransom.
3. Uniformed groups were given priorities to get housing.
4. Owning a car was relatively cheap. A young officer could comforably buy a car!
5. Little congestion and jams on the road.
6. Not difficult to buy a private property.
7. Education and medicare were really cheap and affordable. Not the $8 by pass type.
8. Income gap was reasonable and political leaders did not ask for a ransom.
9. People's life were improving and everyone was moving up, not downgrading or selling their flats to survive.
10. You can take all your CPF at 55.

The bad old ways.
1. Politicians were sued and made bankrupt.
2. Political opponents lived in fear.
3. Electioneering and tactics.
4. Talking down to the people, threats etc
5. Unfair practices. GRCs, changing of electoral boundaries etc etc

Anonymous said...

You are dealing with snakes. If you don't know that, forget about looking for a solution

Anonymous said...

RB. ...there is no soul in your good and bad. The breed is an apathetic and spineless breed. Worse...stupid

Anonymous said...

'Housing problem in the past solved'

Has Singaporeans forgotten about 100s of 1000s families resettled with pitiful compensations and lost their means in living? Many of these villages are now State-owned and left empty?

In the late 80s, there were surplus building of HDB Buildings and many were left unoccupied. Birth rate had fallen since then and NOW HOUSING HAS BECOME ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEM, not just in availability, it is affordability. Why? The villages cannot remain productive like they were in the old days? And at the same time reduce the need for public housing?

Is Sin today not the transformation that the PAP of the Old and the New causing it to be?

It is pitiable that Sinkies are as selective as their Rulers in arguments.

Anonymous said...

Singapore was fortunate enough to have one talented and forceful leader -LKY.
When PAP is gone, it will be all for themselves. Destroy among ourselves. Polititicking, with no single strong party. redbean for WP, another supporting TJS, another for Nicole and whatnots, another for Gay rights, another for early CPF, another for abolish death penalty etc etc

Anonymous said...

Uncle Redbean,

This guy wants you to list out the 237 good things and the 209 bad things here. Briefly stating a few things is unacceptable to him.

Anonymous said...

Sin is deceptive. If its principles work, we can sell our ways to the world or transplant our model of governance in their soil.

How many dare say we can sell the Sin way to them?

Well, will the japs buy our idea of multimillion dollars leadership?

Anonymous said...

Don't be deceived by the good. Some people see only the good but not the venon hidden in the good.

Anonymous said...

may what you mentioned in your last paragraph come true in the next election.

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Agreed with your lists. I still prefer the good old days even there was no Internet and less freedom. But it was goodcwithout those foreigners and riding costs in housing, education, health etc Now it's all about money - more profits and revenues for the reserves. If I were the MIW, I would be very worried by just looking at Blk 233 Hougang coffee shop. It's a bad omen for them for things to come. Hope they really wake up and don't adopt self denial mode that HG is different from the rest of Singaporeans! I blog on this issue. Langgar!

Anonymous said...

"The bad old ways.
1. Politicians were sued and made bankrupt.
2. Political opponents lived in fear.
3. Electioneering and tactics.
4. Talking down to the people, threats etc
5. Unfair practices. GRCs, changing of electoral boundaries etc etc
May 28, 2012 2:03 PM.", unquote

Are the Above-mentioned tolerable and pardonable? Have they contributed to the situation today? Despite the Above-said, 60% had remained loyal to the MIWs since the 'bad' old ways, why?

Why are Sinkies singing praises about those having their hearts and hands deeply involved with the 'bad old ways'? Those folks not culpable of the sin of been accomplices? Or are Sinkies easily bought over with just sweet words.
Which of the 'respected' old and late MIWs has done anything concrete, none was ever at Hong Lim Park. None has changed anything in Sin! And the most ridiculous of it all is that the most revered amongst them has been calling the shots to this day. Lolx..........

Anonymous said...

"A Singapore slum in Hougang"

Now that's what surprises me whenever I read comments to that effect. But is Hougang really a slum? Or was Singapore really a fishing village when the PAP came into power?

Of course, apart from the lack of walkways and upgraded flats, Hougang is clean, tidy with a countryside feel. Unless there is a election on, it is peaceful and calm.

Funny thing also is that few fellow Hougangites I met complain about the surrounding environment as befitting a slum. They live in Hougang and they know better. The unssvoury comments mainly comes from outsiders, who probably never set foot into Hougang and are just parroting the PAP about such things as rubbish piling up to the third storey. Utter rubbish from a foul mouth.

That is why Hougang has remain as it is. It is not for sale! Even for $100 million!

Anonymous said...

What is frightening is fearing the future where you cannot retire because you have depleted your savings in CPF. When you fall sick, you fear that you become a burden to your children who have their own struggles with competition for jobs with FT and even living space. That is more frightening.

Anonymous said...

More like FT versus True blue Singaporeans. By 2016 how many more PAP MP or candidates will be from overseas or have served NS too?

Anonymous said...

Strangely your "pigs" reminds me of the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm. For those interested about pigs rise to power and their eventual downfall, read or watch George Orwell's Animal Farm. You probably find similarity to what is happening right now in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

We shall look forward to 2016 to see how all oppositions can work together for the good of the common folks then. Congratulation to WP and Hougang for perservering. You have earned my respect.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Anon 8:37, You are mistaken. There are no similarities. Just an exact copy.