By Texas Hong -
I was at WP's second rally of this Hougang by-election. Towards the end of it, a heavy downpour descended upon us. Singaporeans from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, stood shoulder to shoulder in the soggy field, in one of the greatest show of solidarity I have ever seen in my life. Strangers became friends, friends became comrades. A woman standing behind me, old enough to be my mother, came over and shared her small umbrella with me. As it was too small for both of us, like all others in the rally, we became totally drenched.
Some of us, including me, were not Hougang voters. Neither were we WP apparatchiks - there was no reason for anyone to be one as it is not because of fear or favour that we turned up for the rally.
Amidst the chanting of “Workers’ Party” and “Huat Ah” that continued to resonate throughout the field, the real reasons why we displayed such behaviour are more than skin deep. It reflects upon our conscience as human beings. This is more than being “emotional” that the PAP had branded WP’s rallies to be. It was a display of our hard headedness against unfairness, and our desire for equality for Hougang residents who are also fellow Singaporeans.
The PAP likes to say that not everyone can be a good speaker and we should look at the substance of the individual. I beg to differ. The only reason why WP has good speakers is because they spoke with conscience and a just cause that all their supporters relate to. I am sure PAP has amongst their ranks brilliant speakers. However, a salesman however skilful cannot transform a Toyota into a Ferrari.
Last night’s atmosphere was similar to that of the voting pattern of Hougang voters over the past twenty years. They have constantly rejected promises of estate upgrading, in exchange for something intangible, something like pride and dignity. They have sacrificed themselves, for the rest of Singapore.
After 46 years of nation building and National Service, many Singaporeans still do not feel at home today. This is caused chiefly by divisions amongst locals and foreigners, income inequality in our society, and in this context – discrimination against opposition held wards.
I have participated in National Day Parades many times as a boy scout and during NS. But trust me, never did I feel more Singaporean than last night. Based on the ruggedness, unity and resilience displayed last night, not as Hougang voters but as Singaporeans, Desmond Choo can never win Hougang with his free porridges and hearing aids.
This article is published by The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road, #09-17 Maxwell House, Singapore 069113.