A tale of two race horses


I shared an analog of 2 race horses at my rally last night in my speech on entrepreneurship and on small and medium enterprises in Singapore.

I am bemused by various press asking me about it. Channel News Asia told me that they told whatever they knew of my story to Mr Charles Chong, my opponent for Joo Chiat SMC. Charles remarked that Mr Chan Soo Sen and he are certainly no old horse and have been walking up and down the 4 blocks of public flats in Siglap. I laughed loudly.

No, no, no. I was not referring to Mr Chong or Mr Chan as old horses. Charles looks strong and fit. I was referring to PAP as a political party as the old horse and the opposition as the young horse. For the benefit of all, a re-narrated version of the story is provided below. It is in the context of PAP using fear factor to scare voters to vote for PAP because they are big and they have the track record, like how civil servants may be tempted to award contracts to large companies even if smaller ones can meet the criteria at a lower cost. PAP tells voters that the opposition will make errors and mess things up because they are small and not up to the mark.

Imagine you are going to place a horse racing bet. There’s an old horse that has been winning races in the past, but it is tiring and slowing down. There’s a young horse who has not been winning, but it is gaining strength and charging ahead. PAP is like the old horse, winning all or nearly all parliamentary seats since independence. But it is showing cracks and making mistakes. The opposition has won few seats or none since independence.  But it is very strong this year and charging ahead. Who do you wish to place your bet on? So vote The Workers’ Party, towards a first world parliament!

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27 comments on “A tale of two race horses

  1. I would not perceive that the PAP is using the fear factor. Its size and track record is an indisputable fact. There is no need to emotionalize it which is an unbecoming trick opposition parties often use in elections.

    Rather, I actually perceive that the WP is employing the scare tactic. Mr Low has said that he will not be a NCMP if he loses the election. The NCMP scheme was instituted so that there can still be alternative opposition voices in Parliament. But if a PAP candidate is not elected, he/she will be out of Parliament for good. Thus the NCMP scheme actually favors the opposition rather than PAP. Ms Sylvia Lim has served the NCMP role well. Why did Mr Low choose to opt out and not stand up for the people’s alternative voice through the NCMP scheme if he is not elected? Does this show that he truly cares for Singapore? Is this not also a threat to ‘frighten’ the people in Aljunied?

    PAP may have a track history of doing well in past elections. It has also made mistakes. Which party or person does not? But very often people only delve at the faults and ignore the bigger picture. Things should be put in the larger context of many more things done right and well, which are endorsed by international rankings and standards. PAP is thus not an old horse, but one that is also undergoing constant renewal and retraining. In fact things are not slowing down (you don’t call 14.5% economic growth slowing down, do you?), but moving even faster (so we have to help those who have difficulty catching up). The opposition horse is young and also getting stronger (but is it as strong yet?).

    Unfortunately in every election there can only be one winner. If one has to treat this as a betting game then it is sensible to weigh the odds and it will be obvious who the likely winner will be. But we really should not treat this as a gamble because people’s livelihood are at stake. So don’t bet, but vote carefully and wisely. Vote for the betterment of your and Singapore’s future.

  2. The NCMP scheme was instituted so that there can still be alternative opposition voices in Parliament. But if a PAP candidate is not elected, he/she will be out of Parliament for good. Thus the NCMP scheme actually favors the opposition rather than PAP.

    This NCMP scheme sounds good on the surface but it is pretty useless. The alternative voices get heard (by the MPs who are actually present, & not sleeping during parliamentary sessions) but do not get translated into action as NCMPs cannot vote on issues within parliament. Any PAP MPs who get convinced by what NCMPs say will also have to vote according to the party line due to the party whip, even if it is against their personal stand on the matter. Thus the NCMP scheme serves to have opposition members in parliament ‘for display purposes only’.

    It has also made mistakes. Which party or person does not? But very often people only delve at the faults

    Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is willing to acknowledge their mistakes. Some even react with indignance when others attempt to point out their mistakes, & do whatever they can to silence their critics.

    The way people here keep delving at the faults, reflects on how they have been brought up in a society & education system where everyone in position of authority (parents, teachers, government) keeps delving at & even humiliating them for their faults from cradle to grave. Things could be a lot more positive, & we could do with a lot more kindness, humility, empathy…instead of arrogance.

  3. Totally agreed, with Nation building especially, we should not and must not amuse the PAP government just for the sake of amusing it, or/and if other people are amusing it and ourselves follow suit, this is non professional and down right wrong by not drilling down into the details of things like what had PAP done for us? What are their plans for us, everyone will make mistakes, who does not (I agreed with this sentence, and I believe you also fully knows this too), but the way i see it is that WP is currently only not just criticizing the PAP with every small pockets of mistakes, every bits and pieces of issues and if there are big issues never to give the PAP any chances at all to speak and defence, but just talk bad about them. Do you think this is fair? You can see Mr Low’s youtubes parliamentary shots, and most I saw were just throwing criticisms at the PAP’s policies and also some he did not talk to the points, I am very concerned what Mr Low is able to bring to the people of Singapore, many feels the same

  4. I think what this Election is about is – people in Singapore who have to eke out a living earning meagre income to pay for their small HDB flat, bus/MRT fare, food, education expenses for children, expensive medical cost, etc are tired of the educated, elite, scholar-type who stay in big expansive landed houses, drive expensive cars and earn big fat salaries and 12 months and more of bonuses and almost life-long iron rice bowl, with no accountability and real measure of their work performance, telling Singapore that they are the best, their ideas and plans are the best and that they know the difficulties and sufferings of the average Singaporeans and they care. Please lah you who only go for big salaries and titles know us and understand our difficulties ? As to your performance, look at the mistakes over the years and the unrepentant arrogant ways of handling them. Look at HK which is a more vibrant, progressive society with more civil rights but governed by people who are much lesser paid.

      • I do not need the usual bad-mouthing of HK. HK may have higher costs of living, but the incomes are higher then Singapore. They are more creative, dynamic and their society is more vibrant. HK has a spirit, a soul. The people dare to participate in what is important for society.

    • I do not need the usual bad-mouthing of HK. HK may have higher costs of living, but the incomes are higher then Singapore.

      It is not bad-mouthing. It is supported by facts, and not opinions. Just do a simple Google search to verify. I was unable to find anything comparing the income levels of both countries. If you can substantiate it, it will be great.

      Creativity, dynamism, vibrancy, spirit and soul. Singapore has them. It is just different. People do speak out, not only during elections, but increasingly more on social media.

  5. I cannot agree with Pro Singapore…. Yes PAP has done a superb job and is still doing very well. I believe in democracy and if LTK who has been a MP for 20 over years and team failed in Aljunied, you shall witnessed one party system same as Republic of China. Do you want TPL to represent you or LTK and talking abt TPL, what merits she has over PAP so called reserve Dr Chia Shi Lu. I start to have my reservation on PAP choice of candidates. Yes, people do makes mistake who dont…. But if you are drawing a milion dollar salary, shouldnt WKS or Yacob get the sack. I dont even have a $100K salary and I face the sack should I fail to keep a miliion dollar account for my company.

    • I want the most capable person to represent me, and if he or she is more able, to also represent Singapore in a higher capacity, because I feel local and nationalist issues are interlinked and do go hand in hand. If we do not compete well internationally, then we will not have better opportunities for our people. If we do not care for our people (not just giving them fish, but empowering them to fish), then they cannot compete globally and be successful. If the political candidates have been tested, then I have their track record to assess their promise and performance. If they are not tested, then it is more difficult for me to make the choice, but they would have 5 years to prove their worth. It is not the end of the world.

      I do not have a 100-k salary as well, and I also make mistakes at times. But I work hard to ensure that I am of greater worth to my company than my mistakes, and I learn from my mistakes so as not to repeat them again. I am also thankful that I am not given a 1-million paycheck to shoulder the weight of 5-million people under my charge, because I know that even if someone is to give me 10 or 100 times that amount, I will not necessarily do a good job. But someone has to still do the job and subject himself/herself to public scrutiny and forsake a good part of his/her private life. I am just thankful that it is not me. But I have no qualms giving support to those whom have stepped up to serve, even though they are not perfect. Would you propose better alternatives to replace who you think are not up to mark then? If you cannot, how does it effectively solve your/our problem?

  6. This race can be easy for Mr. Yee (WP). The following points can be easily brought forward for all Joo Chiat residents to consider :

    (1) It is 101% sure that, Mr. Charles Chong (57 yrs old) will be a one-term MP in Joo Chiat if he wins the GE2011, as he is really an old horse into his 5th term of MP duty this election. No PAP MP without cabinet duty can last for that long, mostly 3 terms is maximum. Hence, Mr. Charles Chong will surely not be around in 2016. If that is the case, do we want a temporary MP that airborned into Joo Chiat and only to be served for one term ? What will be his motivation to serve when he is counting down to his retirement day by day ? If he is not going for 2nd term in Joo Chiat in 2016, it is almost certain that there is no accountability on him to perform well.

    (2) Mr. Charles Chong keeps going around the ward telling everyone that he has the solutions. How could he solves these aged old problems when his predecessor Mr. Chan has been there for 3 terms and not able to do anything on these problems ? Don’t they are from the same party – PAP ? Unless Mr. Charles Chong is telling everyone that, Mr. Chan is really suck and lousy, and he is much better than his predecessor to solve everything in one term. If Mr. Chan is lousy, then how could be we sure that all the new PAP candidates introduced this year will not be as suck as Mr. Chan ?

    (3) Mr. Yee is the local boy born and raised in Jo Chiat, he knows everything about Joo Chiat. He is young and only 46 yrs of age, he should be able to run 3 more elections starting 2011. If that is the case, likely that Mr. Yee is more motivated to resolve all these old problems unless he is not keen to be re-elected in 2016 and beyond.

    Hope all residents in Joo Chiat can see through these critical factors and make a wise decision.

    • (1) It is 101% sure that, Mr. Charles Chong (57 yrs old) will be a one-term MP in Joo Chiat if he wins the GE2011, as he is really an old horse into his 5th term of MP duty this election. No PAP MP without cabinet duty can last for that long, mostly 3 terms is maximum. Hence, Mr. Charles Chong will surely not be around in 2016. If that is the case, do we want a temporary MP that airborned into Joo Chiat and only to be served for one term ? What will be his motivation to serve when he is counting down to his retirement day by day ? If he is not going for 2nd term in Joo Chiat in 2016, it is almost certain that there is no accountability on him to perform well.

      This argument is flawed. If I only have 1 month in my job, I will still make sure I perform to the best of my ability. The accountability is not only to my company, but also to myself. By your argument, does it mean that all workers who are near retirement age will not give of their best because they need not be accountable for their performance?

      • pro-singapore…the way you reply this blog makes me suspect that you are Charles Chong. If you are not Charles, then, there is no need to put words into his mouth.

    • (3) Mr. Yee is the local boy born and raised in Jo Chiat, he knows everything about Joo Chiat. He is young and only 46 yrs of age, he should be able to run 3 more elections starting 2011. If that is the case, likely that Mr. Yee is more motivated to resolve all these old problems unless he is not keen to be re-elected in 2016 and beyond.

      Mr Yee is young and has good guts to run against the incumbent and to stand up for what he believes in. He has also done his footwork and proposed tangible measures to improve the constituency. I applaud him for his courage and efforts. Being a native of Joo Chiat is also a natural advantage and motivation for him.

      But I would not discount Mr Charles Chong’s or his predecessor’s efforts. Joo Chiat at one time was degraded to a sleazy zone but has since improved from its darkest era. I cannot vouch, but only the residents of Joo Chiat can decide for themselves if their environment and lives have really become better during the past terms under PAP.

      I wish the candidates a good and fair fight and regardless of the outcome, the residents of Joo Chiat well.

      • Pro Singapore – this shows that you know absolutely zilch about the so-called “Joo Chiat” constituency and where it is. “Joo Chiat” constiuency is a complete misnomer – none of the residents voting in Joo Chiat constituency were affected by the Joo Chiat sleaze because that bit of Joo Chiat Road is now parade Marine Parade GRC. Joo Chiat is in fact Siglap, essentially consisting of Frankel Estate, Opera Estate and some of the condominiums.

      • But I would not discount Mr Charles Chong’s or his predecessor’s efforts. Joo Chiat at one time was degraded to a sleazy zone but has since improved from its darkest era. I cannot vouch, but only the residents of Joo Chiat can decide for themselves if their environment and lives have really become better during the past terms under PAP.

        1. I think Charles Chong does not have any ‘predecessor’ yet as of now before 7 May 2011.

        2. Joo Chiat has never been degraded into a sleazy zone. I believe it is just a stretch of Joo Chiat Road. Joo Chiat Road is quite long, from Geylang Serai/Changi Road (where NTUC is) all the way to Marine Parade Road (where Church of Singapore is). The affected part is the stretch between Changi Road to East Coast Road. So it is flawed to say that Joo Chiat = sleazy zone.

        3. Apart from what Jiekai already pointed out (and JJ mentioned that in his rally speech at SengKang), you admitted that you ‘cannot vouch’. Therefore my question is are you a Joo Chiat resident ? If you are, why can’t you vouch ? If you are not, why are you writing all these ?

      • Refer to the comment: “But I would not discount Mr Charles Chong’s or his predecessor’s efforts. Joo Chiat at one time was degraded to a sleazy zone but has since improved from its darkest era. I cannot vouch, but only the residents of Joo Chiat can decide for themselves if their environment and lives have really become better during the past terms under PAP.”

        If this is so, is there a need to redraw the boundaries of Joo Chiat SMC to exclude Joo Chiat Road? Do you think PAP did the gerrymandering for fun?

  7. Dear Mr Yee,
    I’m a Joo Chiat resident who will be voting for the first time come Saturday. I read the today’s Sunday Times and am concerned with your views toward the parking problem. Your solution is to just ‘promote tolerance and neighbourliness’? Would you think that the WP is able to deliver something more concrete like what Mr Charles Chong suggested? I think another bugbear is the numerous private apartments that have sprouted along all the lorongs. If you look at Lorong N, there is a whole plot of land that was cleared recently and I belive another apartment is to be built. I wonder if there will be a cap to the number of such apartments to be built?

    • Yes I agree. There are certainly ways to improve the parking situation and the facilities, eg: building multi storey or underground car parks. JJ has done well so far, and good background, but the “promote tolerance and neighbourliness’ remark may be perceived as a bit off touch with the ground and the needs. All the best!

      • Yesterday (2 May) a Mr. Jeremy San Tzer Ning wrote a comment on JJ’s facebook about there being two different groups of people who contributed to the parking problem. One, is parking in the neighborhood; while another one is parking near the food outlets which he noted “they park, eat and go, 拍拍屁股就走了。” which I “Like” because he was spot on in identifying the different natures of the parking problems. It takes a resident to fully understand it. There are different approaches to different nature of seemingly same kind of problem.

        JJ talks about promoting tolerance and neighborliness – this approach is suitable to parking along old narrow lanes (the Lorongs in Telok Kurau and those in Opera Estate). His approach again is starting from the heart.

        As for those illegal parking around the food outlets near the main roads, it calls for a different approach definitely.

      • Even the lorongs get people parking to eat nearby. This makes residential parking difficult during dinner time. There was even a cafe (now closed down) that had a sign in Chinese saying ‘sufficient parking spaces – telok kurau lorong n’.

  8. In fact, Hong Kong has a higher cost of living than Singapore.

    what matters is purchasing power, not cost of living. rising cost of living affects people when their wages do not increase at the same (or a higher) rate, & their purchasing power falls. Singapore is ranked behind not just Hong Kong but even Kuala Lumpur in terms of purchasing power.

    Would you propose better alternatives to replace who you think are not up to mark then?

    think the various opposition parties already have done so with the new candidates they have put forward. many are far better & show greater independence of thought than PAP’s.

    People do speak out, not only during elections, but increasingly more on social media.

    because most Singaporeans still do not dare to speak out in public, unlike the people in Hong Kong.

    Joo Chiat at one time was degraded to a sleazy zone but has since improved from its darkest era. I cannot vouch, but only the residents of Joo Chiat can decide for themselves if their environment and lives have really become better during the past terms under PAP.

    as Jiekai said, the section of Joo Chiat affected by the sleaze problems has been cut out of Joo Chiat SMC & pasted into Marine Parade GRC, such that not a single inch of the entire length of Joo Chiat Road is in Joo Chiat GRC. have you been to the place yourself? the problems still do exist there, but it’s no longer for the Joo Chiat MP to deal with. PAP removed the sleaze from Joo Chiat by removing Joo Chiat from the sleaze (by redrawing electoral boundaries)…brilliant solution…

  9. because most Singaporeans still do not dare to speak out in public, unlike the people in Hong Kong.

    I would think speaking out on the Internet is more public than speaking out on the streets, since your audience is the world.

    About the electoral boundary part, my bad. Thanks for the enlightenment. I do not stay in Joo Chiat, I have never claimed that I am a Joo Chiat resident. Still, how PAP draws and redraws its boundaries every election is something which I do not see eye to eye with.

    And yah, your purchasing power phrase prompted me to find this:

    http://www.ubs.com/2/e/medlib/wmr/pdf/Preise_Loehne_2010_e.pdf

    Thanks. It is a real concern, that’s why NWC is proposing a wage increase.

  10. Mr Yee, your analogy is simple and it’s easily understandable for the masses. I can’t thank you enough for joining the WP. We need people like you in parliament. All the best for this GE 2011. It’s my first time voting but I’ve made up my mind who I wanted to vote years back and I stand my conviction to vote for your party.

    This is the best chance for WP to progress into parliament. We need your voices to speak up for e people of Singapore. Good luck.
    🙂

  11. This is my first time voting and I wish to emphasize that we are lucky to be residing in Joo Chiat, a private housing estate. Like holland-bukit timah, i can be certain that most of us here did not suffer too badly in terms of rising inflation, crowded public transport and other woes afflicting our fellow Singaporeans. We may have parking problems, but at least we do not pay for hdb seasons parking and still suffer from shortage of lots. One of the solutions in alleviating parking woes in the estate is to invest in sensible footwear and walk more. It will be a greener solution than squeezing land out for car park lots.
    To be a resident of Joo Chiat, i feel that i am already very fortunate compared to many lower income Singaporeans. Honestly their daily challenges make our parking grouse look trivial. And it is my wish that my new MP will be able to lead us as a community to help our fellow needy Singaporeans in the greater community; as it is only we can compassionately feel for and carry the weak, destitute and disadvantaged amongst us that we can then truly a first world nation.

    • I like your positive and “can-do” attitude. Well written. This is the true Joo Chiat Spirit! Keep it up!

  12. Hi Mr Yee,

    Like many of the curious readers who find their way to your blog, I too belong to the generation of first time voters. While my parents may have some measure of affection for our last MP, Mr Chan Soo Sen, his retirement sets into motion an entirely different ball game, as Charles Chong is someone completely new to us, and whose previous ‘lesser mortals’ statement do nothing to promote his character.

    Thanks for starting this blog and using it as a platform to voice your thoughts to our generation. Being someone who lives on the internet and a film and advertising student, I’ve become quite jaded and immune to most of the emotional hype and rhetorical fluff that pass me by. Having found my way here, I am glad and comforted to find that the man who wants to represent my constituency, is a sensible and level-headed man, with a good head on his shoulders and a sincere heart behind his words.

    Yes, we may have parking problems here in Joo Chiat, but no, I don’t think you should try to tell my mother to exercise friendly neighbourhood tolerance, every other evening, when she comes home and can’t park her car because the customers from the ice-cream place next door have jammed packed our small road again.

    Regardless of whether you win this time around (and I hope you do, because I think you deserve this chance), thanks for taking that courageous step to walk up onto a platform with full knowledge that standing there makes you an open target for all sorts of stones, arrows and bullets that you can’t stop from coming your way.

    To many, what you are doing is a thankless but needful job, and there must have been moments on this journey as the accusations hurl your way that you may question if this is worth it at all. So I just wanted to say thank you for doing this, I hope you get the chance to represent us, and I hope to see you, in future, play a bigger part in a Singapore government that is in touch with the same reality as me.

    All the best!

    • Dear Lizzaeh

      Thanks for your post. It’s a privilege already to be able to wear the Workers’ Party badge as candidate for Joo Chiat. While there have been some nasty comments by residents, there are many more who have been very kind to my team and I during our campaigning, some even volunteering their time to help in the campaigning.

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