I am deeply heartened that Dr. Tan Cheng Bock (Tan) is apparently still active in maintaining his public profile, recently posting on his public Facebook (FB) page that he had had a breakfast catch up with son of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) in a West Coast hawker centre. I applaud his actions which have great political significance.
Firstly, Tan chose to eat in a hawker centre in the heartlands. The hawker centre culture is currently in the spotlight with the government going all out to pursue UNESCO heritage status for our hawker culture in the face of controversy surrounding how NTUC (an entity affiliated with the Singapore government) has been increasing the operating costs of hawkers while proffering to be attempting to keep the costs of food affordable.
Secondly, Tan is making it clear that he intends very much to remain in the public spotlight. Given his past candidacy in the presidential elections and his court challenge in relation to the change in the presidential candidacy rules, he is signaling his continued interest in political life. Looking at the discouraging court case that is now plaguing the Workers’ Party (WP), Tan’s courage is welcomed news in the midst of this dismal situation.
I would not be the first one to question the timing of the court case against the top brass of the WP. It is important to note that if the WP lose the case, the top brass of the WP will be held personally liable for millions of dollars which may render them bankrupt and unable to contest in the next general election. Given that general elections are rumoured to be in 2019, the situation could potentially be bleak. Without Sylvia Lim, Pritam Singh and Low Thak Kiang, the WP would be fresh out of familiar faces to put up for election.
LHY is a public figure and given the publicity that surrounded his recent spat with the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Lee), he had to have known that the public would recognise him. To have breakfast so publicly and openly with Tan has to be an endorsement of some sort. With the WP otherwise engaged, I am heartened that Tan and LHY have risen to the fray. Otherwise, the current government will literally have zero checks and balances to keep them accountable.
If the government turns the heat up at Tan, it will give the public even more reason to think that the WP case was politically motivated. This alone should hopefully keep Tan safe for the public are watching. The fact that they all wanted to take pictures is a sign of their support (or interest in the very least). The fact that the WP managed to raise so much money in just a few days is also a clear sign from the public that they disapprove of the way the current establishment has handled this town council situation.