Monday, 28 May 2012

Watz Buzzing - 28 May 2012

A sign of the support for the PAP

Youtube link:

Leave the poor uncle PAP supporter alone and let him hold his Desmond Choo sign his way lah, you over-zealous PAP branch person.

(Video of the scene at Hougang PAP HQ branch, before the announcement of the by-election results, shot off the the tv from Channel 8 news)

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Having a go at Teo Chee Hean, during a future election

DPM Teo Chee Hean endorses PAP candidate Desmond Choo

Low Thia Khiang’s unhappiness with Teo Chee Hean was very telling during the post by-election press conference when he stated pointedly that this by-election has degenerated to character assassination tactics and played up by the media that is equally culpable.

In response, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean expressed surprise at Low’s allegations of character assassination, and added that if Low felt aggrieved, he is free to take up legal action.

The best way to settle this is not through a legal action. The best way, befitting of Workers’ Party (WP) slogan of moving towards a First World Parliament is sending a six member team for an electoral battle at Teo’s ward of Pasir Ris-Punggol, which is also known as going for the jugular. This is the best chance to unseat Teo from parliament and the ministerial cabinet.

WP’s teams have performed quite well during the last elections with an above 40% average in terms of results. Hence, what WP has to do is to work on the support and keep growing that base. The party also appears to have a strong brand name, and should work on improving the brand.

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PAP's old tactics no longer work - analysts

Yahoo! News Singapore, 27 May 2012
Political analyst Bridget Welsh said the Hougang by-election results were no surprise and said that the People’s Action Party had miscalculated in its campaign.
Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore after Workers’

Party (WP) retained its Hougang stronghold with 62.09 per cent of votes on Saturday, she said, "Some of its leaders did not come off well. Attacks reflect poorly on the attacker ultimately.”

“The reasons are two-fold. The PAP tactics are outdated,” said the professor at the Singapore Management University.

“The reality is that personal attacks are not what people are interested in. Rather they want solutions for the problems they face in their daily life, from the MRT to jobs.”

She added, “The PAP just is missing the point in how it engages politically, as it is not adapting to the new reality of different needs and new expectations of a more empowered electorate.” Full story

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TOC Editorial: Playing Dirty Doesn’t Pay (Hougang BE 2012)

It would take all the propagandizing efforts by the mainstream media to portray the Hougang by-election as anything less than a bloody nose for the People’s Action Party (PAP).

None of the factors that conventional wisdom would expect to favour the PAP helped them in the least: a very public resignation by the WP incumbent (Yaw Shin Leong), the last minute possibility that a WP veteran might split the vote (Dr Poh Lee Guan), and rumours of internal party fractures over race (Sajeev Kamalasanan).

On the PAP’s side, no effort was spared in the attempt to take Hougang back: free porridge, free legal clinics, free hearing aids and loving mainstream media coverage portraying Desmond Choo as every Hougang mother’s favourite son and an untiringly youthful sportsman.

After all of the above, plus overwhelmingly favourable coverage in the mainstream press, all the PAP won was an additional 145 votes.

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The ‘Hougang spirit’ lives on

I arrived at Block 322, Hougang Avenue 5 just after the result of the by-election was announced. Although I had missed Yam Ah Mee’s announcement which I was looking forward to watching, I was not disappointed. The atmosphere in the air was overwhelmingly joyous. Without hearing the announcement, I knew instantly that the Workers’ Party’s candidate Png Eng Huat had won the by-election.

Jubilance was in the air as the large crowd comprising of both the young and old waved flags bearing the logo of the Workers’ Party, shouting “Huat ah!”, chanting the name of the party and vehicles passing by sounded their horns in solidarity. People were everywhere – at the coffeeshop under the block, in front of the Chinese medical hall next to the coffeeshop, at the field in front of the coffeeshop, lined along both sides of the road, at the field in front of the blocks of flat across the coffeeshop, and along the corridors of the blocks of flats in the area.

It was a huge party which occurred randomly without a sole organiser, without an entertainment license and without any restrain of emotions. In short and viewing it in a socio-political context, this was the biggest and most successful ‘illegal’ gathering I have seen in Singapore.

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The Significance of the Hougang by-election results

Even long before the Hougang by-election was called, it was a foregone conclusion that the PAP would be defeated and could be by a bigger margin than in the General Election (GE) in May 2011. And so the PAP candidate Desmond Choo went into the fray as something of an underdog. He had some of the PAP big guns, prominant among whom was DPM Teo Chee Hean, giving him sterling support in his campaign in the vain hope of turning the tables on the Workers' Party (WP) candidate. Even PM Lee Hsien Loong came out to canvass votes for Desmond Choo.

Despite all their eloquence in appealing to the Hougang voters to vote for the PAP candidate for an improvement in their livelihood, it became obvious that their blandishments had had little or no effect on majority of the voters.Even the strenous efforts by DPM Teo Chee Hean to discredit the character of WP candidate Png Eng Huat failed to strike home the effect.When the by-election results were announced officially , Desmond Choo only managed to gather 37.9 per cent of the votes.

This is slightly better than the 35.9 per cent he obtained at the GE in May 2011 if it could be of any credit or encouragement to him. Of course the PAP leaders could not show disappointment to the detriment of their standing and they had willy-nilly to put up a bold front that it was an improvement of Hougang voters' support.

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Do You Hear The People SIng?

In the same way that Lee Kuan Yew screwed up George Yeo, Zianal Abidin Rashid, Lim Hwee Hua, Cynthia Phua and Ong Ye Khun at Aljunied GRC in May 2011, it must be painful for Desmond Choo to be screwed politically by Teo Chee Hean, Denise Phua, Khaw Boon Wan and Lee Hsien Loong.

It is neat to note that their mean and and despicable attacks has not only backfired but also revealed their character flaws. It is unbecoming of ministers to use unethical methods to cast aspersions on decent folks just to win votes!

Having used threats of witholding funds for lift and estate upgrading in previous elections, PAP now tried to buy Hougang voters with porridge and hearing aids! Well, 62% of Hougangites were not for sale!

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The People of Hougang stand firm!

Despite the attempts at character assassination. ...despite the estate upgrading carrots....despite the biased mainstream paper coverage....despite sending in the PAP big guns, the PM & DPM, to campaign for their candidate...the people of Hougang did not waver.

In 1991 the Hougang people decided to vote for an opposition representative and they knew something the rest of Singapore did not know, they saw something the rest of us could not see. 21 years ago, before the Internet was widely used, before bloggers and the social media existed to pierce holes in our blindfolds so that we could see through the propaganda, the people in this small section of Singapore already saw a different vision from the rest of us.

When you see this vision and start walking towards it, you will not be distracted by the little potholes, the little dirty tricks played by unethical politicians, their seductive promises and material temptations. For 21 years, the people of Hougang have walked this long journey despite having to suffer deprivation and threats.

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WP post-election press conference

Mr Low Thia Khiang delivers a surprisingly hard-hitting post-election press conference, in which he hits out at the government for denying Hougang residents estate upgrading for the past 21 years, contrary to PM Lee’s assertion that his government aims to build an inclusive society. He said that we should build a first world society, not just a first world economy.

Mr Low pointed out there had been several calculated moves to discredit the WP candidate and attack the party, similar to tactics he has witnessed in the 1980′s and 1990′s. He said that this by-election has been characterized by baseless attacks, distractions, and character assassination. He also criticized the mainstream media for being once again a political tool of the PAP.

Mr Low gave his assurance that Mr Png Eng Huat will be a caring MP, and will serve residents to the best of his ability.

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Workers’ Party routs PAP again

At 62.1% of valid votes cast, Png Eng Huat (Workers’ Party) convincingly defeated Desmond Choo of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the by-election 26 May 2012. Png’s vote-share was only a shade lower than the 64.8% that Yaw Shin Leong won in the general election of 2011 and hardly different from Low Thia Khiang’s 62.7% in the 2006 general election.

I’ll admit this: Png’s victory was better than I expected.

Yaw Shin Leong had benefitted hugely in May 2011 when party leader Low Thia Khiang anointed him as his heir for the single-member constituency of Hougang. Low had been the member of parliament for Hougang for twenty years since 1991, but in 2011 he decided he would lead the Workers’ Party team in neighbouring Aljunied group representation constituency (they won).

Hougang voters had evidently grown to like Low a lot, and their high regard for him was a huge advantage for Yaw last year.

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Opposition supporters thank Teo Chee Hean for his help

Why worry about bigger national issues when you can launch personal attacks? Photo stolen from Yahoo!

By Teo Chew Lang

Opposition supporters are ecstatic about the Workers’ Party’s victory in the Hougang by-election.

And they have one person to offer heartfelt thanks to: Deputy Prime Minister and PAP’s No. 2 man, Teo Chee Hean

Over the course of more than a week of by-election campaigning, Chee Hean had repeatedly called Workers’ Party’s Png Eng Huat’s integrity into question.

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Desmond Choo: Better without PAP smear?

Since this Hougang by-election was just only slightly over a year after GE 2011, one would not have expected the results to change much. After all, lives of Hougang residents, their sentiments and allegiances wouldn’t have shifted much after a year.

Initially, I had thought that PAP candidate Desmond Choo would manage to break the 40% barrier (but still lose) with former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong caught with his pants gathered at his shins and Desmond being such a darling with the aunties and mainstream media.

The winner: WP’s Png Eng Huat
Photo credit:
The Sketchtimes

But how terribly wrong I was when it was announced that Png Eng Huat had won the Hougang seat by 62% of the votes.

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Hougang By-Election: Evaluating Channel NewsAsia’s Performance

The results are in: the Workers’ Party’s (WP) Mr. Png Eng Huat (13,447 votes, 62.09%) has secured victory over his opponent, the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Mr. Desmond Choo (8,210 votes, 37.91%). I don’t wish to comment on the factors – Mr. Png’s relatively poor oratorical expressions, the Mr.

Yaw Shin Leong controversy, the parties’ performance at the various rallies (here) et cetera) – that might have caused the gain or loss in votes (more commentaries will be published by others to analyse the outcome), and would just like to briefly evaluate Channel NewsAsia’s (CNA) coverage of the by-election.

Evaluating Channel NewsAsia’s Performance

1. I thought the entire programme was quite poorly planned, and I think it boiled down to the lack of content as a result of the amount of time made available (the broadcast started at 2100h, and the results were only announced at 2230h).

Shifting the special feature to a later slot might have been more effective, which could hence reduce the need for repetitive commentaries, questions or video clips, as well as the incessant inclusion of advertisement breaks.

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Hougang by-election: Png Eng HUAT Ah!

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I leapt with joy when the Returning Officer announced that the Workers’ Party had won the Hougang by-election. I had witnessed the massive turnouts at the WP’s rallies and the groundswell of anti-PAP sentiments.

From day 1, the PAP made blunder after blunder. Its characteristic arrogance reared its ugly head once again with the main stream media playing the supporting cast.

After all these years the PAP still regards Singaporeans as incapable of any intelligent thinking. On the contrary, compared to my generation the present younger generation are street-wise, computer savvy, well-travelled and better educated and are not prepared to be trampled over without a fight.

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The Hougang Spirit Wins!

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And so Workers Party has won the by-election in Hougang. And it won respectably with 62% despite all the bricks and bats thrown their way by the PAP and mainstream media during the campaigning.

What does this win say of the Hougang residents? Nothing new, just what we have all been saying that they are one helluva courageous group of Singaporeans who stand unbowed before threats, bullying and even the temptation of freebies. And despite all the mud thrown at WP by the media and the MIW, the residents remained sharp and clear about who they trust and what is not trustworthy.

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A proud moment

This Hougang by-election was a foregone conclusion as far as I am concerned. I was only looking to see an increased victory margin.

But even though the WP percentage went down 2%, I think it is of statistical irrelevance because this comes on the back of the WP sacking the incumbent and fielding a newbie. I would also note that the votes gained by Low Thia Khiang in 2006 had about the same percentage as Png’s.

What does this mean then? All the dirty tactics pulled in by DPM Teo to attempt at character assassination failed. The DPM, a former navy honcho fired duds. So did his boss, the PM (another dud firing former general).

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PAP’s ‘auntie killer’ got ‘killed’ at the polls again

The Financial Times described Hougang candidate Desmond Choo as PAP's 'Aunty Killer'

The verdict is out – Png Eng Huat is the new Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang with 62.09% of the votes. It was a slight dip from 64.8% of the votes for incumbent Yaw Shing Leong last year, but depending on which camp you are from, the dip can be seen as insignificant or significant.

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WP wins comfortably as expected

Mudslinging in politics won't work. DPM Teo tried to do it, questioning WP's integrity. As expected, voters in Hougang don't really care.

Congrats to the winner Png. As for Desmond, credit to him that he gave a clean fight in spite of DPM Teo's attempt to do it the underhand way.

PS - At the time of this post, those guys at CNA are talking about Desmond Choo shaving off nearly 3% from WP as if it were some kind of victory. They just won't admit PAP took wrong turn with the integrity allegation.

Also note how CNA is more interested in interviewing Desmond the loser (and DPM Teo), rather than Png. What the heck

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Photo Essay: Hougang celebrates WP’s by-election winning

Hougang residents were celebrating WP’s winning the by-election right through mid-night and into the early morning of Sunday (27 May):