Home > Singapore Scene > Please stop scolding Potong Pasir Residents, can?

Please stop scolding Potong Pasir Residents, can?

The other day we took a cab just outside my block in Potong Pasir. As is my style, I tried to engage the cabby in a conversation.

Me: So are you from Potong Pasir too?

Cabby: Me? No lah. People from Potong Pasir for the sake of upgrading voted in PAP. My friend say, they are useless – in mandarin – mei you yong. I was thinking of having coffee, but I changed my mind when I remember that.”

I could feel my husband bristling.

Hubby: People in Potong Pasir has sacrificed in the name of democracy for 27 years. Where were the rest of Singapore?

Now I must first state that the above conversation is not word-perfect. The implication and meaning should be accurate.

Yes, Potong Pasir was won by a PAP candidate. The margin was so small that if I were Mr Sitoh, I will feel such a pressure to work and serve the people, to prove myself as it were. It did not help that Mr Sitoh was involved in a controversy immediately after the elections. This prompted my open letter to Mr Sitoh. (A letter to Mr Sitoh Yihpin) As mentioned in the letter, a democracy is when we accept our friends’ choices and still remain friends.

Pro opposition/Anti PAP Singaporeans need to note that for a very long time, Potong Pasir was the sole opposition ward. I think Mr Chiam did a commendable job, given the ruling party’s tendency to give opposition wards poor priority on top of a reluctance to release tax-payers money to them.

Mr Chiam fought for it. He used a makeshift cubicle for his Meet the People’s sessions to save money. Having said that, Potong Pasir showed Singapore that yes, upgrading is slow in coming, and facilities are few. But in the circumstances, Potong Pasir is still a very nice place, a very pleasant community and a desirable residence. PAP run wards had problems too, read the following blog rat infestation and cleanliness maintenance by Ravi Philemon.

A conversation with a neighbor revealed this.

Neighbour: So good. This time, so many opposition teams standing in so many constituencies. Now is the time for the other Singaporeans to do their part. Maybe now, I can finally vote for upgrading for the sake of the old people in the estate.

She’s not blaming Chiam for the lack of facility. She’s just being realistic at the outcome. I am convinced though that this attitude of withholding upgrading from opposition wards will change. Furthermore, upgrading is not free as residents still have to co-pay. Wonder if the poor people can even afford the upgrading.  However, that is beside the point. She has her own reasons and I respect that. By the way, voting is secret, and in many of our conversations, she too seemed to change her mind, depending on pap election blunders or opposition brilliance. So don’t be so quick to jump to conclusion at her final vote. The truth remains that we do think through and weigh our options.

Coming back to her other point -Did the other Singaporeans really do their part? Well on the surface, only Aljunied GRC and Hougang did. In actuality, the vote shift in many constituencies showed that many Singaporeans did.

You cannot blame some Potong Pasir residents for having what I loosely term “opposition fatigue. This is especially so when you feel there are other people who can take over the baton – that you can rest awhile.

Furthermore, scolding, especially aggressive and abusive insults, usually bears no fruit at best, and bitter fruit at worse. If threats worked, George Yeo would not have mentioned at TV interview how a voter told him that he would vote opposition, simply because Retired MM Lee said that residents in Aljunied GRC will REPENT. I must admit though, that there is a need to ventilate. But don’t stay in that phase for too long.

For those of you who want more opposition representation in parliament, you must convince the people of the need for one, the desirable results when that happens. The social media has given you a voice. Use it wisely.

For those of you who are pro PAP – ignoring our concerns, dismissing them as noise, will only antagonize. I will not mention where, but on one fb page, a pro pap supporter actually said, if it is written by Temasek Review, just ignore it. It’s written by pro-opposition people and for pro-opposition readers. Well, for that article in question, there was a mistake – but the mistake stemmed from a PAP source. It can be easily explained away. The attitude however tells it all. That, by the way, was one reason why Marine Parade GRC performed so badly – “ignoring “noise”. The lost votes can be won, not by giving in to “populist” policies, but by understanding the frustrations and struggles of the people, by showing you care for their welfare.

The blame game will not lead to progress. Having an ear on the ground and acting appropriately does. A good parent does not spare the rod, but he uses it with love and purpose.

And please stop scolding Potong Pasir residents, can?

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  1. SpeakSpokeWriteWrote
    June 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Interesting. The fb comment re ignoring TR posts as they are written by people who voted in the opposition has been deleted. Could it be this post is read or is it just stringently moderated?

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