Tong Se Saw/
Four men from socio-political
kingmaker blog The Online Citizen (TOC) which also sells very cool looking Tshirts (here) will be contesting in defunct Group Representative Constituency (GRC) Cheng San as independent candidates.
They are: self-proclaimed Nuisance Member of Public (NMP) Leong Sze Hian, follically-challenged lawyer and ex-Nominated Member of Parliament (also NMP) Siew Kum Hong, activist and Bollywood fan Ravi Philemon and entrepreneur (he sells T-shirts for TOC here) TOC Chief Editor Joshua Chiang.
These are the same four men who had submitted their names to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in February this year when the blog was gazetted as a political organization.
The four men made the announcement to contest at a press conference held in their virtual office on Thursday night.
According to Mr Leong (who also published a book which you can purchase here), the fact Cheng San no longer exists (it was absorbed into Ang Mo Kio GRC, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Aljunied GRC after a Workers’ party team led by opposition politician J B Jeyaretnam nearly won the GRC in the 1997 elections) should not prevent the team from contesting.
“Statistics have show that Electoral Boundaries can be easily redrawn, and we believe that we have the ability to redraw the boundaries anyway we chose,” he said, holding up a few marker pens. There were no transparencies in sight.
“With the availability of Facebook, we can always recreate Cheng San again online, create a virtual Cheng San community,” Mr Chiang chipped in. He also referred to popular blogs such as p65 as examples of vibrant online communities with diverse views: “Everyone there is so happy there that nobody is posting or discussing anything anymore.”
"No PAP candidate has contested in Cheng San since 1997," added Mr Siew. "So it will most likely be a walkover - just the way we like it."
When asked why they are standing as independents instead of joining or forming a political party, Mr Philemon answered that under TOC’s policy, no one in TOC is allowed to belong to a political party.
“I can’t speak for the rest,” Mr Siew added. “But I don’t think any opposition party wants me because I actually saw the inside of Parliament House without really trying.” Mr Siew was NMP from 2007 – 2009.
As a sign of diversity, the four will tackle different issues during this coming GE – the rising costs of living, things becoming more expensive, and people not being afford to buy the same things with the same salary.
With his eyes tearing, Mr Philemon described how as a child he wanted to go to Disneyland but his parents could only bring him to Haw Par Villa as they were middle-income earners, not rich folks.
“I don’t just understand how it feels like to be poor, but what the poor needs,” he said. “They need to be less poor.”
As for Mr Siew, he would be campaigning for the rights of follically challenged people to be able to use their Medisave for hair treatment.
“There are many causes to hair-loss, and they have very little to do with personal responsibility,” he said. “And putting kiwi (shoe polish, not New Zealanders) on your bald spot is unfeasible given our hot and wet climate.”
The negative results of baldness are plenty, he added. It could result in loss of self-esteem, which in turn results in low productivity in the workplace and in the bedroom.
“The hard truth is that we could become maids in our own country,” he cautioned.
Mr Leong, who is also the author of the book "Uniquely Singapore - from F1 to F9", meanwhile, would give free lessons in statistics if he wins the elections.
“From a statistical perspective, the more people who know how to read statistics, the less likely they will believe the rosy picture painted by the ministries,” he said, also with tears in his eyes, for no apparent reason.
Mr Chiang, also tearing, said that with his strong foundations in economics – he took the subject in the first three months of Junior College - he had come up with the perfect solution to reduce poverty.
“The problem is how we define what ‘poor’ means in Singapore,” he said. “If you change the definition of a poor person down from one who can only afford three meals a day in a coffeeshop to one who can afford only ONE meal every three days, we would eliminate poverty in our country."
As to how confident the four are of winning the GRC, Mr Leong observed expertly, “Every vote for us increases our chances of winning.”
Asked how the four will raise funds for their election deposit, Mr Chiang told reporters that TOC readers can make a donation by clicking on the ‘donate’ button at the end of each article in the TOC website.
He reveals that the four will also be appearing in a 'Sports-Illustrated’-type calendar to be on sale to the public.
“We want our voters to know us intimately, and that we have absolutely nothing to hide,” he said.
The Online Citizen wishes everyone a Happy April Fool’s Day