Poor Sylvia Lim.
She had just set up her brand new Instagram account recently and already some people are blue in the face with anger, it seems.
Ms Lim had made her very first post on Instagram with a photo of her at a hawker centre in Fengshan eating a plate of oyster omelette (‘orh luak’ in Hokkien).
She captioned the photo: “the taste of Fengshan – heavenly”, with a rather cryptic hashtag “#reasonstowin”.
Fengshan is the newly revived single-member constituency (SMC) coughed up once again by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) for the upcoming general election.
The Workers’ Party (WP) will be the opposition party contesting there, against the People’s Action Party (PAP).
Ms Lim’s post generated talk that she may be fielded as the WP candidate there.
Ms Lim, who is the chairman of the WP, is presently a Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied GRC.
Despite the speculations, however, the WP has remained tight-lipped about who it will send to Fengshan, with the party’s secretary general, Low Thia Khiang, saying this week that all will be made known on Nomination Day itself, although the party will introduce its candidates before that.
Ms Lim’s post has, obviously, caught the attention of the PAP’s first assistant secretary general, Teo Chee Hean.
Mr Teo was apparently so incensed by Ms Lim’s post that he called a closed-door media meeting and slammed her, launching into a rather unbecoming personal diatribe:
“Now we see the chairman of the town council saying that Fengshan SMC looks quite delicious. What’s going to happen? You’re going to swallow up Fengshan? For what purpose? To serve the residents of Fengshan? Or is Fengshan delicious because you want to add it to the pot? And help the town council with the deficit?”
Reaction to Mr Teo’s remarks have been overwhelmingly negative – with the vast majority, including some who professed to be PAP supporters, expressing disappointment at the low blow and un-statesman-like vitriol.
Indeed, Mr Teo’s attack goes against the advice of his party’s own organising secretary, Ng Eng Hen, on 26 July.
Dr Ng, who was speaking about how he hoped his party would run its campaign, said:
“I personally will tell my new candidates, no negative campaigning. That doesn’t mean you don’t point out the faults of others, but do it in a way that’s justified. Say why you don’t think their policy is better, say why that they won’t serve the needs of the residents, but let’s have less of that personal attacks. Let’s not stoop to that level.”
Unfortunately, Mr Teo doesn’t seem able to adhere to the advice and has instead stoop even lower to deliver that below-the-belt tirade of bitter anger.
The PAP leadership should watch that it does not degenerate into gutter scum politics, as some of its supporters have resorted to.
Just 10 days ago, its supporters’ Facebook page – a cesspool of hate and lies – similarly dived into a personal attack on Ms Kevryn Lim, a potential candidate for the National Solidarity Party (NSP).
The page, which is run by Jason Chua, an avid PAP supporter, and whose postings have been shared by PAP MPs and ministers, posted a photo of Ms Kevryn Lim wearing a short dress and captioned it:
“#GuessWho standing by the road side?”
The caption had several allusions – such as Ms Kevryn Lim, because of her outfit, was a prostitute standing by the side of the road probably soliciting for clients.
The post drew widespread condemnation.
This upcoming election looks to be one of the dirtiest which the PAP will engage in.
It comes as no surprise as the party is being besieged by failures – from the transport system (which have had two ministerial casualties in the last few years), to its immigration and foreign labour policies.
It is also scraping the bottom of the barrel with its search for candidates to stand on its platform – the party has only managed to recruit from the same dried pools – of military generals, civil servants and executives from government-linked organisations.
The Chief of Defence Force, a former Principle Private Secretary in the Civil Service, an investment director from government-linked Temasek Holdings, two former NTUC members, and several former failed past candidates.
Indeed, the PAP slate is an uninspiring, dull and worrying presentation of the same products from yesteryears.
It is no wonder then that it feels it needs to regurgitate old accusations against the WP town council – issues which the Auditor-General Office (AGO) had already raised in its report earlier this year, and which the WP has and is currently sorting out.
Some of the allegations are not even based on facts, but are designed to mislead and misrepresent.
The PAP, instead of fighting a fair fight – having redrawn the electoral boundaries without a squeak of explanation on why certain constituencies have been erased or swallowed up entirely into other PAP-held constituencies – is also resorting to very personal attacks against its opponents.
From the cesspools which its supporters wallow in, to the very top of the party – it seems that the PAP is not only scraping for candidates, it is also scraping at anything and everything to throw at the opposition – for it cannot even accept women dressing as they wish, or eating at hawker centres and posting about it.
Indeed, eat orh luak oso kena scold.