Dear voters of Joo Chiat SMC, dear Singaporeans
As you now already know, I have lost narrowly in Joo Chiat SMC. I had wanted badly to win it for all the supporters who walked tirelessly with me, who blasted emails and phonecalls to lobby for support, who gave selflessly of their time and money, and for all the residents I have met who cheered me on. I accept the results and urge Joo Chiat residents to work with Charles Chong as the elected MP for the common good of residents.
My political journey officially started only 2 months ago when I was first accepted as a member of The Workers’ Party and then accepted as their likely candidate for Joo Chiat. It was not that I was not interested in politics before this, but my fear for my business and my family led me to delay my formal entry as a member of a political party until I was certain of myself. I had followed political developments in Singapore for a long time, written to the forum pages of the newspapers, sat on government committees recommending policies and served in many community activities. These have gradually led me to my conviction that there is an need for a credible alternative voice and a need to move out of my comfort zone to be part of the change process.
It has been an incredible 2 months. As a political rookie, I had to learn to overcome my fears, learn how to engage with residents, how to speak at rallies, how to organise supporters around me and how to organise a campaign. There were mistakes and hiccups but I am proud of the way we close ranks and overcame whatever problems that came our way.
We did well. I know many residents have been won over and have come out openly to declare their support for our Joo Chiat campaign, despite whatever mistakes I may have made. We swung many voters. I believe I had lost because there is still a large silent majority who have fear in them; fear of their votes not being secret, fear of the uncertainty of an alternative party running the constituency and fear of losing whatever benefits the ruling party can give to them.
My journey has just begun. It will not stop with this narrow defeat. In whatever capacities available to me, whether as an active citizen or through the political processes, I will continue to push for improvements to our political system so that there will be a fairer Singapore, there will be true democracy and there will be channels where your voices will be effectively heard. I will continue to propose ideas which I believe can improve our lives and better shape our economy.
Once again, I like to thank all the supporters and residents who have given me their confidence and I look forward to your continued support.
[My speech at Hougang Stadum after results were announced: