The challenges of convincing electorates’ minds

Door to door in condos

It has to happen. In my daily walkabouts to prepare residents for GE2011, I have been challenged with all sorts of questions. Typical ones include what I can do for this place, why I have joined the alternative camp, and what are the issues we are pushing for in this GE2011.

Yesterday, an elderly lady insisted I am just one of those who turn up only during GE. Unfortunately for me, none of the previous opposition candidates in this ward had appeared at her door during campaigning. They were not around before elections, during elections and after elections. She challenged me to show her things I had already done for this constituency.

I replied that I did not have the mandate of the people as an elected MP so it is difficult for me to actively do anything on the ground. She was not convinced and said that she does not know if I will keep my promise to be active on the ground if elected. I thought to myself that the proof should be what a person has done for the country and community at large, not just in a particular constituency.

So I listed my long and unbroken active community involvement since I was a student, not in this constituency but for the nation at large: as a volunteer officer in St John’s Ambulance Brigade and the Boys’ Brigade, in community projects through my church, giving talks in community centres (though not in this constituency), mentoring students, sitting on government committees to provide professional input, sitting on Advisory Boards of schools and in committees of non-profit organisations, 19 years of service to my college alumni, community assistance projects overseas, and many more. All these were done  with not a single cent of renumeration whilst balancing career and businesses at the same time. She appeared a bit convinced but still muttered that I have not been active in this constituency. Hers is certainly a tough swing vote to win, but these are the swing votes I know I must win in order to have a realistic chance of making an impact in this GE2011. So we labour tirelessly daily on marathon walkabouts, covering nearly all areas of the constituency door-t0-door.

It is a tough challenge. There are mindsets that those in opposition are not serious, that they have a personal ego to fulfil or an axe to grind. I have no axe to grind, nor am I anti-government, else I would not have served on various government committees and given talks in community centres. It will take a long while for people to accept that when one joins the opposition cause, it can simply be because he or she believes it is another way to serve the country. One can serve through community projects, in grassroots, with the ruling party, and why not with the opposition?

Perhaps after this GE2011, with a progressively changing slate of better opposition candidates, rhe electorates’ mindsets may change. But for now, it is a challenge to overcome. I am honoured and deeply touched to have a dedicated team who similarly believes that we can overcome the challenges in this elections and have toiled tirelessly with me throughout the journey. Come polling day, and we believe voters will help us make that impact.

On the campaign trail up and down hills.


15 comments on “The challenges of convincing electorates’ minds

  1. That’s the right spirit. The yong voters and those internet savvy are already with the opposition. It’s the older and non-internet savvy that need to be informed and convinced of the opposition clause.

  2. Well put across..I’m sure more and more people will come around to see your contributions to the community and put their trust in you to serve them well given a chance….When the going gets tough, the tough get going…

  3. unfortunately, the elderly grew up during the LKY days and have first hand experiences and accounts to talk of, so PAP is still the party they will support.
    Nevertheless, keep up the good work and keep ploughing… your efforts will not be wasted!

  4. I am one of those who grew up under LKY’s reign. For a very long time, I believed in the PAP system. I believed LKY when he said certain dirty deeds have to be done in the interests of our country. So I closed one eye when he detained political dissidents without trial. I thought it was for the best of Singapore that some people whom they termed “troublemakers” get sued to bankruptcy. Then the Internet came along and opened my eyes.

    I was a fool. My generation were fools. We are guilty of the state of politics in Singapore today. We were the ones who handed such great powers to them. I’m reminded of a line in a song – “For some day, sons and daughters will rise up and fight while we stood still”. My generation stood still and we’re still standing still. It’s all up to the young ones to push for change.

    So push on, my young friend. Don’t give up.

  5. This sounds like a common quip voiced against Opposition. But you can tell them that it happens with PAP constituencies too especially where there is a new PAP candidate. I do agree it is unfair. I bet if you do this way before an election, the same person may ask what can you do for them. I suspect this is one of those lines fed through the PAP election messages against the Opposition over the years. Anyway, don’t be discouraged and persevere in what you believe in. There are people like myself in Joo Chiat who believe in you and your party and believe that it is only a matter of time.

  6. Well said. What will root one to the nation is not economic values but well tested and well accepted social values like care concern respect and consideration for one another. Over the last 30 years we see an erosion of such values and unless we recaptured them what is there to make our young feel passionate and patriotic to this country we “oldies” (baby boomers) called home.

  7. PAP is too arrogant and high handed. They think they are the elitists , the cream of society and a class above the people. PAP ministers and MPs don’t see people in their eyes because they are rich, high and mighty . They pay themselves unbelievable obscene salaries worth millions of dollars at the expense of the people through high direct and invisible indirect taxes like COEs, ERPs GST, high HDB selling price, high rental and property tax, high MRT and bus fares, high medical charges , high PUB bills and a myriad of other invisible taxes. The PAP ministers have committed a lot of serious errors. They allowed American crooks and scoundrels to sell toxic bank products in Singapore, they sold the state’s power stations which are of strategic importance, they told Singaporeans that trading and investing in Malaysia Clob shares was legal though it was not and thus caused Singaporean investors to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Terrorists like Mas Selamat could easily escape under their watch in supposely high security lock up. What a great incompetence and shame? They are inviting trouble for Singapore when PAP persistently in its foreign policy keep on asking a rogue and evil super power – the US to come and interfere in East Asia affairs so as to check and balance the power of China. Singapore should not be too pretentious and assume the role of a super power. Well, just can’t bear the PAP any more. The people should be wise and either ditch the PAP or elect more opposition candidates to check and balance the haughty and tyrannical PAP.

  8. My family and I met you at a Joo Chiat constituency coffeeshop on your rounds. I suppose we now will not know – did the elderly lady see the incumbent MP, and how often? I am curious because in the 20+ years that I have lived in the area, I have not seen the incumbent MP making a house call or on a walkabout. Not even in 2006, when there was a contest. The current PAP representative has yet to be seen, too.

    • Dear GP

      Glad to know I have met you and your family. Actually, I have met the incumbent once, during door-to-door GE2006 at my house 🙂

      As a newcomer to the contest, I can only walk harder to compensate for all these perceptions. Look forward to your support!


      JJ Yee

  9. I have known Jenn Jong for 30 years. He is a person who is reliable and does not make empty promises. The fact that his previous boss is still a good friend attests to his willingness to go all out to help others, despite Jenn Jong having to face some very rocky paths with him during the 1997 financial crisis.

    I have seen how he has struck to the obligations he had in his start-up with the other shareholders and discharged his duty with integrity.

    I hope this has provided a snap-shot of his personality to those who do not know him.

  10. Since cost of living is an issue in most people mind, I am just wondering why no opposition use the before and after of the previous GEs to show people what they are going to get after this GE. Compare to the little sum they received this past month, they are going to pay much more after the GE. One sure thing is BUS/MRT fare. Next possible thing would be GST, and more. I am sure all these information are easily available in the library but you need someone to compile and publish them.

  11. I admire your spirit and conviction and I hope you won’t give up, during and after this election, to inspire those that will step forward because of what you’re doing today.

    I used to vote PAP in the last election but this time, my vote is going to WP.

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