At the recently concluded WP Bricks In Blue variety show, I had thanked the audience for their wonderful support. I shared that I had personally experienced the magic of the support of everyone during my two years in politics. It is the magic of their support that has carried the Party so far, and it is this magic that makes dreams come alive. Whether the help is small or big, when many come together to help, we can make dreams come true. With that, I turned a piece of wet tissue paper into a snow storm lasting nearly a minute.
I meant every word of what was said. For this show, I was brought on a magical journey. It was magical not because I had put up a magic performance, but for what I had experienced in the process.
When the idea to put up a variety show to thank our supporters became serious, each MP had to put up an item individually. Singing was never my forte. I needed an alternative, and soon.
Being fascinated with magic from young, I toyed with the idea of performing magic. A WP member, Michael heard about it and offered to teach some tricks to me. So I picked up a few tricks and acquired some small props. Still, I was not confident how the tricks would work on the big stage, and how to script the sequence of acts. For lack of a better alternative, I committed myself to doing magic for Bricks In Blue, despite having never performed for anyone before.
A month before Bricks In Blue, the publicity went online. That same evening, I received a Facebook message from Eugene, a young man living in Aljunied GRC. He is a full-time student living overseas and is back on holiday. He had worked full-time for a professional magic team and had performed on the big stage. He had some professional props which he could loan me as well. It was God-sent.
So I loaned his props, including a crate with which I was to be handcuffed and locked in. I would have just a few seconds to unlock myself, escape, and change position with my assistant. He warned it would take a month of practice to get the act perfect. The assistant would be my eldest daughter, Faith. The practice required both of us to be fast and coordinated.
Eugene also helped to sequence the routines, polished our script and introduced a few more tricks. Then, we tested some of the effects in five of the Christmas parties held in Aljunied GRC and in Hougang. When Faith could not attend two of the sessions, I recruited my son, Harel to stand in. He loved it so much that we decided to add him into the big show. He would turn a burning torch into a rose.
For Bricks In Blue, we had three full-dress rehearsals and two other combined practices for the singing items in a studio. It was at these sessions that I saw how the many volunteers from all the divisions in Aljunied and Hougang put in so much sacrifice to make the show a good one. In the 56 years of WP history, the Party had never put up a variety show before. Everyone was determined to put up a good show. Many of the volunteers have a demanding day job. By day, they are lawyers, accountants, businessmen, office executives, hardworking workers and many more. Many have their families to take care of. Some are students and some even had school tests in between the rehearsals. Yet they would practice hard to make things as perfect as they could.
None of us are professional entertainers. Most do not have performing experience. The back stage crew worked tirelessly too, ensuring that the setup, sound system, backdrop and lighting worked according to plan. There seemed so much to do in the short two weeks that preparation for the show went intense.
As I watched how these volunteers piled in the hours after work and after school, I wondered what drove them. I also thought about all the hours they piled in at the weekly Meet-The-People sessions and in organising all the constituency events. I recalled the energies they burned during GE2011 and during Hougang BE. I remembered how empty fields and stadiums were transformed into huge rally sites. The logistics were immense. Setting up within hours and dismantling immediately thereafter, repeating that night after night. Combing houses tirelessly to meet as many residents as possible. All these were executed by the determination of hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have day jobs.
These volunteers are the engine behind what keeps the Workers’ Party going when the going gets tough on the ground. They are the volunteers who do not get to go to National Day receptions at the Istana which are for official grassroots members recognized by the government. They will never get any awards by the government. No PBM, no BBM. They will not get any priority for registering their children into their preferred primary school. They will not get parking privileges. Yet they work on tirelessly.
I too had experienced how many would come up to offer help to us. I experienced that during GE2011 as a newbie in the political scene. People I had never met before would magically coming forward to help in all sorts of things just when I needed help. Even for this show, I took up the challenge without any idea how I would learn my magic or how to handle the performance. Yet, everything happened magically, with people who came along the way.
This is the real magic which I had experienced. It is the magic that had carried the Party through difficult times and will continue to carry the Party forward. The magic is in all of you. Thank you, wonderful volunteers. Thank you, wonderful supporters.