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 when the Hougang people decided to vote for an opposition representative, they knew something the rest of Singapore did not know and saw something the rest of us could not see. 21 years ago, before the Internet was widely used, before bloggers and the social media started to pierce holes in our blindfolds so that we could see through the propaganda, the people in this small section of Singapore had already seen a different vision for the country 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 continued on this long journey even when they were made to suffer deprivation and threats.
This is a long journey towards a democratic Singapore. Without democracy, there will be no future for our children for we will not be able to shape our own destiny. This is a journey away from our dark authoritarian past towards a vibrant democratic future. The PAP has tried to retain their dominant power by using pork barrels, propaganda, and threats...but these are precisely the undemocratic things the Hougang people are walking away from - the more the PAP uses them to get their votes, the further the Hougang people will walk away from the PAP.
Once a people know what they are doing is right and just, there is nothing you can do to force them off their path.
On Thursday, I went to the Hougang rally and climbed up one of the blocks next to where the rally was held to snap this picture.
Today we have a govt that does not listen to the people. Does not act in the interest of ordinary citizens. It does what it wants then uses propaganda and pork barrel carrots to make us vote for them. They use their authoritarian powers to suppress their opponents and character assassination as a tactic to bring down their opponents. As they do this, we can see how much our fellow Singaporeans have suffered - the elderly citizens who are made to work at an advanced age, the large segment of workers with low stagnant wages, the high burden put the sick and their families. We look around and see our beloved country losing its identity and changing in ways we do not want it to change. We see little progress in our political system as other countries in Asia such as S.Korea, Thailand, Taiwan transform theirs to be free and fully democratic moving away from old authoritarian ways.
I sensed that many people were worried that when "Yaw-gate" broke and the frivolous Png-gate was created and played up, many people in Hougang would waver and succumb to the upgrading promises Desmond Choo dangled before them. After observing them for 21 years, I was confident they would stand firm so last Tuesday I wrote "You don't have to tell Hougang how to vote" . The people of Hougang can already see with great clarity where the PAP govt will take this country unless real change takes place. The PAP govt has demonstrated time and again that there will be no change if the people can be seduced by estate upgrading to give their votes to the PAP.
Once you see the same vision as the people of Hougang, you will have their revolve to take right path and not waver. 21 years ago, Hougang was just small SMC, a little dot on the map of Singapore but the people there knew that this long journey starts with each one of us taking a tiny step in the right direction...and if we work together these tiny steps will eventually add up to be a leap forward. There are many who will distract us, discourage us, misinform us, threaten us and lure us away from our path with tricks ...when that happens, ask yourself what will happened if Hougang people had yielded to these tricks and carrots yesterday - our nation would have been taken backwards and the small progress we made since GE2011 would have been undone as the PAP will interpret an Hougang victory as an endorsement of their policies and stop the already slow trickle of changes to improve the lives of ordinary Singaporeans. The rest of us have a lot to learn from Hougang to put our country's interest above our own local interest and understand there are more important things than facilities on our estate. By voting for the opposition, the people forego a wet market and other facilities that the PAP dangled to entice them....they have to travel to Kovan to do their marketing, But no change can come without sacrifice if they had succumbed to the divisive pork barel tactics of the PAP, it will be a great loss not just for Worker's Party but for Singapore. Each political party and MP should be elected based on how their ideas and policies will benefit Singapore and Singaporeans ..and not how much money they can redirect from national coffers to use as carrots to obtain votes, That the PAP continues to use tactics that divide and harm the country, tells us they have not changed fundamentally. The people of Hougang inspire all of us to fight against this and do what is good for our country.