Singapore Politics - Insights from the Inside

Friday, August 25, 2006 

National Day Rally without "Harm"

Upon an anonymous suggestion, I’ve decided to write something and some thoughts on the National Day Rally (NDR). Since many of us are sick of the “aerial” and “ground bombardment” of post-NDRs, I should write something different about this year’s NDR. Perhaps before starting on any thoughts it might be interesting (things that I’ve found boring was interesting to the readers and vice versa, so when I say its interesting, it might be boring! Readers beware!) to have some fun facts on the NDR.

Things you didn’t get to see on national TV
1) Who was the last MP to arrive at the National Day Rally?
Mr Ong Chit Chung. The MP from Jurong GRC, Bukit Batok Division, came in the hall a whooping 5 minutes late and after PM Lee had already started his speech. It didn’t help much to be stealth when he wore a red shirt brighter than the PM’s. It was a close fight between him and the former MP, Wong Kai Yuen who came in slightly later than Ong Chit Chung. But Wong Kai Yuen lost out on this one, as he is no longer a MP. Unanimously, the award had to go to Ong Chit Chung.

2) Who was the last Minister (aside from MM Lee and PM Lee) to be seated?
Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The Minister for Education and MP from Jurong GRC (there must be something with MPs from Jurong) took his seat just before the tradition last arrival of MM Lee. However, he was one of the earliest Ministers to arrive to the University Cultural Centre and mingled with the audience during the reception before the Rally. Other early comers included Foreign Minister George Yeo and Minister Lim Swee Say. Strangely, Tharman was the last to take his seat. Perhaps he might have remembered the perpetually endless toilet queues during the “half-time” break of NDR at last year’s NDR.

3) What was most peculiar and different about this year’s Rally that no one noticed?
This one is really curved-ball and has to do with SM Goh. Traditionally, just before the start of every rally, all will be seated before MM Lee Kuan Yew enter the hall to a rousing applause by all. The past two NDRs, SM Goh entered just before MM Lee and was received by applauses from the audiences. This year’s National Day Rally, GCT entered the hall with no one applauding him despite him turning around to face the audiences, expecting an applause. He intended to wave at the audience, but given the zero response, he turned back, sat down and didn’t move until to the Rally ended. Maybe he met with tough audiences or was just a victim falling from grace. But you could sense and see his disappointment. After the Rally, GCT was with Mah Bow Tan chatting about their perception on the youth near the buffet table. From my “eavesdropping”, I believed they weren’t talking about his non-applause. ;)

4) Did former Ministers get any stick from their ex-colleagues?
Unlike last year, when David Lim (former Acting Minister for MICA) walked across the whole front row Cabinet Ministers without any eye contact and smile from both parties, this year’s former Ministers faired better. Former DPM Dr Tony Tan had a lengthy conversation with now DPM Wong Kan Seng just before the Rally started and was well-received by all Ministers and MP. Former Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong had some mixed reactions. He was largely ignored by some Ministers (DPM Wong Kan Seng rather focus on his mobile phone than to look at his ex-colleague) but was greeted with smiles by some others like the ever-friendly Lim Swee Say, Lee Boon Yang and Teo Chee Hean. Only Dr Balaji Sadasivan, literately and physically, bent backwards to shake Yeo Cheow Tong’s hand.

5) Who was notably absented from this year’s NDR?
MM Lee’s wife. This is probably the first National Day Rally that she didn’t attend, or maybe I just didn’t see her there. I don’t think anyone did. Usually, she will be seated on the right side centre stand of the auditorium, with her daughter, Lee Wei Ling. But no conspiracy or wild guess, please! I do have vested interest in the stock market!

6) What usually happen after National Day Rallies?
This is something good-to-know if you ever get invited to National Day Rally. Traditionally, there will be receptions (of course with food) before and after the Rally where the Ministers and MP mingled with the attendees. But there is an implicit observation that many don’t see. Grassroots and Party (PAP of course) cadres are usually invited to the rallies. And Ministers and MPs will also gather with their constituency members for discussions and chitchats. Occasionally, the Ministers will be talking among each other on work related issues or with prominent businessmen. But most of the time, they will be with their own grassroots. Before going to that, just some quick observations. Dr Vivian was seen with DPM Jayakumar, Mah Bow Tan with SM Goh and Lim Hng Kiang was with Kwek Leng Joo, the Managing Director of City Development Limited (CDL) – formerly in the running for the Marina IR with Las Vegas Sands. Now for the main course: what is the implicit message?

PM and the rest of the senior leaders will also be at the reception to mingle with the crowd. But sometimes, what is evident is that this is one of the occasions to assess how well supported are the Ministers and MPs by their grassroots. Every NDR, there are two areas for reception, the second floor and the first floor. For the MPs and Ministers to get maximum exposure, they will usually be at the floor where the PM is. Second floor is a lot quieter. But those Ministers and MPs who are not too concern over this will visit the second floor to mingle. Some spotted at the second floor includes, Foreign Minister George Yeo, Senior Minister of State Dr Balaji Sadasivan and MP Wee Siew Kim. {See Photo: PM Lee is in red shirt with back facing the camera. Can you spot the other Minister "near" him?}

The support from the grassroots can be quite an important assessment guide of the MPs, by the PM. If a MP doesn’t seem to have grassroots support for the major events, how well can he/she even connect with the rest of the constituency and the voters? Don’t need to believe my words, by if you have a chance, observe it for yourself and make the conclusion.

7) Was Thrasymachus at the National Day Rally?
If he wasn’t there, how could he write the above observations (not conclusions)? ;)

Thrasymachus’s Thoughts on the National Day Rally
This section could be potentially so boring that it could tranquilize an elephant that can read. So please beware! Lame jokes aside, I’ll not be mentioning the stuff and so-called “analysis” on the papers but just some implicit notes and punts (not the “mee siam mai harm” kind) used by the PM.

Contrary to popular belief that only the PM drafts the NDR speech, it is not the case. The whole Cabinet is involved in the process of tailoring the speech. Thus, long before the day itself, all Ministers would have already known the content but not the delivery. This year’s NDR, he highlighted several key areas to focus on, namely, population, digital age and Singapore Heartware. Through his speech, you can also see which Ministers he has more interaction with and which Ministers are not. Many people also underestimated the NDR as a platform and channel to communicate implicit messages to the people. Like in 2003, then-PM Goh Chok Tong mentioned several key Ministers that LHL should retain when he steps down. NDR remains as an important platform for the PM.

Rising Stars and Setting Sun
In the past three National Day Rally by LHL, only one Minister was mentioned in every of his speech: Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Each time, the comment regarding Tharman was directed on their seemingly casual conversations. Perhaps he was consulted often by the PM and might be groomed for greatness. Aside from the commonly mentioned Ministers, there are also the “punts intended”. In this year’s NDR translation from his Chinese speech, he mentioned this, “Two years ago, we introduced major policy changes to encourage couples to have more babies. So far the results have been very modest.” Two years ago, Lim Hng Kiang was the Minister-in-Charge of the birth rates policies. Punts intended? Maybe. Given the amount of budget spent on improving the birth rates, he has done quite an abysmal job. But in the first place, this task was not something that one could easily manage and be done within two years. In other words, this is quite a suicidal task.

To Make or Import?
Since Goh Chok Tong’s time as PM until LHL, birth rate policies and incentives have always been a permanent fixture in NDRs and Budget speeches. But for the PM to highlight this issue but totally not speak about birth rates policies or incentives is quite a significant deviation from the norm. First, this might signal that they have given up their continual monetary incentive efforts of improving birth rates. Second, they would rather opt for a short-term fix in getting foreign talents than to pursue a seemingly lost cause. Lastly, if both are true, then they have to resolve the tension between the foreigners and locals. The foreign talents policy has been around for sometime, but seldom mentioned in NDRs as it is potentially touchy. Phrasing in the wrong manner, may have significant consequences. But I think the PM carried it well.

The Policy “Face”
Political science lesson 201: Every policy needs a “face”. This means that for every policy, some ministers must take responsibility or take the face of it. Name any policy, and you should or must be able to find a face to it. Like Goh Chok Tong’s initiative of the CPF cuts during the economic downturn, George Yeo to FTAs, or the building of MRT to Ong Teng Cheong’s credit, are the faces of the policies. So far, Lee Hsien Loong has been elusive in doing that, rightly so. Since taking on the post of Prime Minister, he has been careful in avoiding putting his face on any policies, except the IR. I don’t think that he is trying to sidestep any responsibility or controversy but is a deliberate strategy to strengthen his hold on his leadership.

Every Prime Minister needs to step out of the shadow of his predecessor, just like GCT differentiating himself from LKY, Abdullah Badawi from Mahathir. This is no easy task. But LHL is a quick learner in this field. What some new leaders did wrong was taking an issue or policy to benchmark as “success” over the transition. When Badawi took over from Mahathir, he took himself to task of eliminating corruption in the government as his report card. And he announced this even before he has grip and control over the government. Without the good ground support, he was doomed to fail from the start and is now attacked because that was his benchmarking policy and he is the face to it. LHL has smartened from this. Instead of putting his face to the policies, he delegates the policy implementation to other Ministers once he has initiates it. An example would be the population control responsibility being with Wong Kan Seng after the NDR.

Political leaders can only be criticized or attacked in two areas, leadership and policy. Leadership can be hidden as long as your team publicly voice support for you. Policies are in the public eye and success depends also on the public eye. This, of course, is more difficult to predict or manage. Thus, unless LHL is confident that he has control over the government, with his people in place, he will be and should be “elusive” in the policy limelight. And NDR is the stage where he has to be in the policy limelight. Hence, this NDR was purposely focused on broad issues, no specific policies, general and directional at best.

The Brown Man Causing Black Faces?
Yes, the latest Mr Brown’s “mai hum feat. PM Lee” got me tickling. Maybe this is already stale news to many but maybe I could just give a little heads up on what happened behind the Brown saga from MICA’s point of view.

We all reacted strongly in the way the MICA’s Press Secretary K Bavani responded to the article. But maybe you didn’t know this but several Ministers were very upset with the Press Secretary as well. Apparently, some of the MICA Ministers (except Lee Boon Yang) and other Cabinet Ministers were not informed when the press letter was published. And many Ministers were angry with her and her badly crafted letter. Simply, she reacted too soon, too harsh and without much consideration. Considering that she was also the President of the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore, her mistake was inexcusable and was not taken too lightly. But being part of the civil service the Ministers can’t turn around and scold her in public. Unity has to be presented under every circumstance. This is the rule of thumb of the government. However, this is case of forgiven but not forgotten. Thus, if you read the statements of the Ministers after the letter was published, there was a slight disjoint in statement and tune. While seemingly supporting the Press Secretary, they tried to soften the damage done. All sang the same song with a different tune (no punt intended). Don’t be surprised if you see some changes to her position in the coming 2 years (but not within this year).

It will be interesting to see or find out if Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister of MICA, shouldered most of the blame during the stormy Cabinet meeting. In any case, it doesn’t matter, as he will be joining Yeo Cheow Tong on retirement soon.

I was supposed to talk about the National Day Rally, but landed up talking about many other things that are not really related. As usual…

One more note:
Well, while many thought that the government "forced" TODAY papers to suspend Mr Brown, they didn't. When the editor of TODAY decided to suspend Mr Brown, out of fear of kanna knocked in the head by his boss or pure stupidity or purely to push the blame to the government, they did not inform the government or MICA. The officials only learnt about the suspension when it was published. This led many MICA Ministers even more upset as the whole would have thought that the government "forced" TODAY into doing that. You may not believed me in this, but trust my MICA source and TODAY papers friend. TODAY did a screw job on the government, well enough to think that it was the "MICA's heavy hand" in action again. I'm so sure about this statement that I double dare TODAY to sue me on this one (Ooops, sorry James Gomez, for bringing up unhappy and familiar GE2006 memories. I was well indoctrinated by the white forces during my early education.).

Sunday, August 13, 2006 

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong
The Benevolent Leader or The Unwilling Candidate?

I think to those who read my blog, they often have five conclusions: 1) I don’t update my blog that often (in my defense, I am rather busy and each article takes lots o f research… *eyeballs rolling*); 2) This blog seems like a FAQ for the govt and PAP (doesn’t mean that I am pro-PAP); 3) Each article is so damn lengthy (that is if you read them); 4) I wrote more on the dead than the living (or when the living becomes dead); 5) Whatever you wish to read, I’ll try to write! (*fingers crossed*)

In this article, I’ll be writing on a recent and continuing history of SM Goh Chok Tong with a slight twist. There are little doubts that he was a popular PM in comparison with his predecessor and successor. His “softer” approach and style was a breath of fresh air to many. Upon his stepping down from his premiership, there have been many articles written on his policies, his leadership and his achievements. This will not be one of them. Simply, if I do write on those standard contents, you will be better off reading the Straits Times than this lengthy blasphemy (not that Straits Times always purport the unbiased truth!).

The first lesson of observing political truths is to never treat an entity as one (btw, who am I to teach lessons of politics…Ooops). In other words, is never to stereotype or characterize the entity. What is the PAP? What characteristics does the PAP MPs or Ministers have? These questions are fallacies. Behind the scenes of unity, there may be differences in opinions, characters and ambitions. There is no PAP character or person but is just an amalgamation of diverse people and their motives. Anyway, many of policies made within the Cabinet are not unanimous. That is politics; the innate and unseen character of each participating entity. Of course, like what Lim Kim San mentioned about assessing people is that one could only briefly know the other person through observation and instinct. This is what made assessing politicians so difficult. In the public face and media spotlight, we thought we know them like friends but there are more that we don’t know than we thought we know. The resulting impact is that we place mental and perception brackets on their names, like Lee Kuan Yew (the Authoritarian), Goh Chok Tong (the Good Guy) and the Cabinet (the group of “Yes-men”) based on what the media feeds to us. This article (or blasphemy, depending on how you see it) will just add fuel for your thoughts with statements from GCT and on GCT. Ultimately, this blog can’t claim to know or speak the unspoken truth on GCT or any politicians, but just form an alternative perception track. I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions.

His Political Beginnings
In LKY’s memoirs (Chapter 41 – Passing the Baton, Pg 735), he mentioned about how he ease the way for GCT to succeed him. For those who have not read that chapter, I strongly recommend that you do. That chapter is very interesting as words are contained within words. Depending on which angle you read, you will get a different story.

First, we must know that LKY’s book was an international bestseller across many countries, and read by most leaders around the world. Second fact is that whatever he wrote in his book about GCT or LHL would be what foreign leaders read about them. In that chapter, he described GCT as “not a natural politician…tall, gangling and awkward, and spoke English with a heavy Hokkien accent.” This is not the best description for the person who is about to succeed you. LKY also described GCT as “self-conscious and without the gift of speech-making but had ability, dedication and drive, and was interested in people”. Later LKY even mentioned that he found an English women to teach GCT to speak in a more relaxed and natural way. For a person who will be Prime Minister, he still needed someone to assist him to look for a tutor? This might have pointed out that GCT wasn’t really in the “driving seat” but had an instructor beside him, constantly.

Another interesting point to the chapter was GCT not wanting move into LKY’s office. “I did not suffer any withdrawal syndrome. Chok Tong did not want to move into my old office in the Istana Annexe, which I had occupied for 20 years since I moved from City Hall, but chose to create a new office on the floor above mine.” Aside from the niceties that one might think of when he first read it, there might be more significance in that statement. Maybe LKY was literately the “power behind the throne”, or maybe it suggested how much power LKY had and wish to remind GCT about it. More importantly, what is the message that LKY wants to bring to all the leaders in the world about his deputy?

Building His Own Legitimacy
Perhaps the second lesson of politics is the word, “legitimacy”. Whether be it an organization or leader, it or he has to have some form of legitimacy. The forms of legitimacy includes: mandate from people (elections), leadership charisma (eg: Mao Tze-Dong), expert knowledge (for technocrats), military power (like in Indonesia) or economic performances. The last form of legitimacy, economic performances, is developing into the most important form for any political office. For the case of PAP, the core strength is their ability to provide economic success and is unmatched by any parties. No opposition parties came close to challenging them in that area. The trends for the past few GEs was for the oppositions to divert away from economical issues and focus on other side issues such as human rights infringements.

For leaders, they too have to build their own legitimacy and mandate as well. “Inherited” authority will not last long without legitimacy. Similarly, if a leader managed to last long (in at least a semi-democratic country), you could somewhat say that he is not riding on “inherited” authority but has some form of legitimacy (yes, I am hinted at someone).

In the case of GCT, many assumed that he was a seat-warmer, sandwiched between the Lees. In his early political years as PM, he needed to gain support from three areas, within the Cabinet, within the Party cadres and with the Singapore population. His apparent tactics was to first gain the mandate of the Singaporeans by General Elections then gradually make changes within the party and Cabinet to place the men loyal to him in key positions. Doing the opposite might anger his predecessor who still has considerably power and influence over all matters. He has seen lessons from his neighbouring counterparties and will be careful not to make the same mistakes. However, his election mandate will not come easy. Since Independence, LKY has been Singapore’s only Prime Minister. For GCT to step into his shoes and gain the confidence of the population was no easy feat.

Altered Ego in Elections
However, his first GE (1991) was setback from him and probably changed his “election personality” several degrees. In the 1991 GE, the PAP lost a record of 4 seats to the opposition, one of which was his female Senior Minister of State, Seet Ai Mee. Other wards, such as Bukit Batok, were barely won by the PAP. That election was the turning point of his “election mentality”. Since then, he has opted to be tougher during elections with his words and actions.

In the 1997 Election, he was determined to be tough on the Oppositions and would take them out by any means, previously endorsed by LKY. During the “Battle of Cheng San”, GCT gave this message,

“You decide. You choose Tang Liang Hong, Jeyeratnam, raise their status and lower the Prime Minister’s the Deputy Prime Ministers’ stature, in Singapore, internationally, that will have very serious consequences.”

“What we are now doing is to… put all the chips on the table. It is a winner-takes-all situation. MRT, LRT, Punggol 21, upgrading, estate improvement, libraries, kindergartens, better schools… all these are plans which… have put to the people.”

“We win, Cheng San will get not just the attention of Lee Yock Suan and the team. Cheng San will get the Government’s attention, my attention, Lee Hsien Loong’s attention, Tony Tan’s attention. Even in Marine Parade you don’t get such attention. So you win big or you lose big. So tomorrow, you have to decide.”

Of course, we all knew what happened to Tang Liang Hong and JBJ after that Election.

Era of Disposed Number Ones & Downfall of Twos
cheng ye xiao he, bai ye xiao he” – He who gave you success, can bring your downfall.

If one reads the memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, both volumes, you could sense his apprehension over several domestic issues such as Party splits (which I will mention later), succession planning, ousting of top Asian leaders and the downfalls of Number Twos. Not known to many is that the PAP suffered a Party split twice, once by the charismatic Mayor Ong Eng Guan and by the leftist, Lim Chin Siong. The latter split was devastating and almost permanently crippled the PAP. In recent history of our neighbours, UMNO suffered two party splits when Tengku Razaleigh openly challenged Mahathir in 1987 and when Anwar fell out with Dr M. These incidents, locally and abroad, remained deeply entrenched in LKY’s mind, even until today.

The world has seen plenty of examples of the difficult relationships between the leaders and their deputies. All these incidents led both LKY and GCT to rethink their own potentially precarious position. No matter what LKY said, deep down, he wanted LHL to be the Prime Minister someday. And he could only exert his influence if he is still in Cabinet. And for GCT, he knows what LKY wants from him and knows that LKY still has the ability and power to remove him should there be a need to. This is a tango that both are dancing in secret. Given their delicate relationship, it is not surprising to see GCT echoing most of LKY views and words. If you look through all the news reports on GCT, majority of his words are singing in the same tune as what LKY previously sung. In the opinions of many, GCT never really stepped out of LKY’s shadow.

Unwillingly Unseated?
Many often wondered if GCT stepped down willingly from the position of PM or was he pressed into doing so. Perhaps only three people in Singapore know the answer. But what we can do is to decipher his actions and words leading up to his stepping down. In the article on Lee Hsien Loong, I’ve mentioned this before and will do it here again. During GCT’s last National Day Rally as Prime Minister, he mentioned this:

“You may also have heard this old story about Loong. Back in 1990, Loong had a quarrel with Richard Hu. Dhanabalan sided with Richard. Loong lost his temper, reached across the table, and gave Dhanabalan a tight slap! The whole Cabinet was thrown into commotion. I then forced Loong to apologise.

I must be suffering from amnesia. I just cannot remember this incident! Now you know how creative Singaporeans are!”

GCT need not mention the Dhanabalan incident since it was already 13 years ago (from the National Day Rally). People wouldn’t remember if they weren’t reminded by him. But he still made that comment and later claimed amnesia. And for the first time in Singapore history, GCT created a three-step process to the transition of power, through endorsements from the PAP Central Executive Committee, PAP Cabinet Ministers and the PAP MPs. The words and actions of GCT during that year can be quite intriguing. But I’ll leave you to decipher that.

Can there be Three Tigers in One Mountain?
One question that no one explicitly asked was whether the system and post of Senior Minister would exist when LKY passes. The current situation, of having two former Prime Ministers in the present Cabinet (plus the present PM), is unprecedented in any part of the world. Since it currently exists, the question should really be whether it should continue to exist and will it cease to exist. There are some coffeeshop talks on this issue that before LKY passes, GCT will either step down or have his loyal men removed. (According to market talks) Given LKY sensitive nature developed during the tumultuous times (see the History of PAP) and struggle of the traumatic party split, he will leave nothing to chance. Although the possibilities of a party split or power struggle is negligible, he will not rest until that has been resolved even after his death.

Necessary Stage of Change: Uprooting the Roots
Some might find this (removing GCT or his men) objectionable or unwarranted, but there is nothing inherently wrong with that. The mistake that Abdullah Badawi (Malaysia’s current PM) made was his inability to gradually and systematically remove his predecessor’s men from the Cabinet and plant his loyal lieutenants into key positions. Now, he is facing a situation of having policies with no one loyal enough to him to implement it. With half of the Cabinet still loyal to Mahathir and a strong number two candidate in Najip, his position is vulnerable to ousting. That is the main reason for him to undertake several key Ministries (PMO, Home Affairs and Finance) himself.

For LHL’s team to be effective, it is vital and necessary for him to place his people into the key Ministries. As predicted before the GE 2006, I expected Yeo Cheow Tong, Lee Boon Yang and Lim Boon Heng to gradually step down (within one year) and it is taking shape now. Yeo Cheow Tong has stepped down, and both Lee Boon Yang and Lim Boon Heng have indicted their stepping down within a year. MPs loyal to GCT like Dr Tan Cheng Bock (Golf partner of GCT) have also stepped down. For GCT himself, he has been assigned to foreign and finance affairs issues such as Middle East Islamic finance hub and Malaysia bilateral issues. This isolates his impact on “domestic politics”, leading him away from the public eye and leaving room for LHL in the spotlight. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, all in the name of “renewal”.

Deciphering GE2006
Similarly, during the GE2006, two incidents are worth analyzing. Firstly, before the GE, GCT openly challenged the opposition parties to test Marine Parade GRC (his ward). Yes, all MPs and Ministers also challenged or stated that they welcomed opposition contest. But for GCT, it was different. He needed the contest to demonstrate that he is still more popular than LHL, something which he is sure of but required undisputable figures. If he scored well in the contest, it might prolong his career in LHL’s administration or (very remotely and speculatively) offer him a chance of a comeback (which GCT himself wouldn’t even expect or probably want). But he didn’t receive a contest and it turned out worse.

The second incident was his assignment to win back Potong Pasir and Hougang from Chiam (SDA) and Low Thia Khiang (WP). This is an astute move by LHL (possibly LKY). On the face of it, it demonstrates the new PM’s serious intent on recovering Potong Pasir and Hougang. The implicitly explicit reason is to keep the opposition leaders, Low and Chiam, busy in their own wards and negate their effects on the neighbouring GRCs, especially Aljunied GRC. But the real beneficiary of this strategy is LHL. There are four possible scenarios out of this strategy: 1) winning both Potong Pasir and Hougang back; 2) winning one of them back, like to be Potong Pasir; 3) losing both wards by lesser margins and; 4) losing both wards by larger margins.

If (1) happens, LHL will be credited for winning back the PP and Hougang but not GCT, since GCT was not able to do it when he was PM. But the government will run into lots of foreign affairs (such as democracy advocators) issues of having no oppositions in parliament (inter-parliamentary visits require oppositions as well).
If (2) happens, LHL will still be credited more than GCT. If (3) happens, it shows the slight impact of GCT’s campaigning influence. Lastly, if (4) happens (which happened), it will be the worst scenario for GCT. As he mentioned during the campaign, the losses will affect his “personal prestige” and “reputation”, almost like a slap in his face. Since scenario (4) materialized, GCT doesn’t have the chip to say that he is more popular than LHL or LHL is any less popular than him. And since LHL didn’t campaign at PP and Hougang (at all), the burden of loss is solely and squarely on GCT.

Once again, I’ve asked more questions than provide answers. This is probably what makes a perceivably dull local politics interesting. As mentioned in the beginning, I am no pseudo-Lim Kim San and can never be and never will be. Never can I claim to speak the uncensored truth about one’s character since I don’t know him in person. What I can do is to spark some interest that allows you to question the answers you see or hear in public and make judgments of your own. Of course, we maybe wrong and must accept that we might be wrong. There is always more that we don’t know than know. This article provides only an alternative view which might be wrong, so do make your own judgment call.

The Idealist

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    Any one but them!
    Current results

    Do you think Lee Hsien Loong became Prime Minister on his own merits?
    Yes! ("He was the best candidate")
    No! ("He has obvious backing from LKY")
    No! ("There wasn't any alternative candidate to challenge him in the first place")
    Current results

    Which of the (Junior) Minister to you wish to see him/her step down? (Part III)
    Raymond Lim
    Balaji Sadasivan
    Ho Peng Kee
    Chan Soo Sen
    Lim Hwee Hua
    Heng Chee How
    Gan Kim Yong
    Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
    Zainul Abidin
    Current results

    Which Minister do you wish to see him step down? (Part I)
    Lee Hsien Loong
    Goh Chok Tong
    Lee Kuan Yew
    Lim Boon Heng
    Lee Boon Yang
    Yeo Cheow Tong
    Mah Bow Tan
    George Yeo
    Teo Chee Hean
    Current results

    Which Minister do you wish to see him step down? (Part II)
    Lim Hng Kiang
    Wong Kan Seng
    S Jayakumar
    Tharman Shanmuguratnam
    Lim Swee Say
    Ng Eng Hen
    Vivian Balakrishnan
    Khaw Boon Wan
    Yaacob Ibrahim
    Current results

    What is your utmost concern for the coming General Elections?
    "Bread & Butter" issues - Jobs, economy, salary, etc
    Freedom of Speech - or lack of
    HDB issues - upgrading, high housing cost, etc
    International Issues - govt's handling of foreign relationships
    Transport issues - LTA, NEL, MRT
    Change of Leadership - from SM Goh to PM Lee
    All of the above
    I'll vote any party except PAP!
    I'll only vote for PAP!
    Current results

    Which is your favourite Minister?
    PM Lee Hsien Loong
    SM Goh Chok Tong
    MM Lee Kuan Yew
    DPM Jayakumar
    Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
    Teo Chee Hean
    George Yeo
    Tharman S.
    I Hate of them!
    Current results

Faces of Singapore
    Thrasymachus' photos More of Thrasymachus' photos


    The author of this blog bears no responsibility for any misinterpretation, libel, defamation, injury and death as a result of reading this blog. Contents are high subjective and readers should read with caution. All readers should be 18 years and above, with half a decent brain to judge the validity of the articles.

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