Home > I chope first, Singapore Scene > I CHOPE first – na nani boo boo

I CHOPE first – na nani boo boo

Singaporeans love to chope. During lunch hour, and all tables look full, your heart might skip a beat when you see an empty table. You approach the table, and just as you are ready to put your tray down, you notice a packet of tissue. Aiya, somebody choped the table already. (chope = local parlance for reserving a place)

Maybe that was what motivated Cynthia Phua and her colleagues, oops…sorry not them, but the People’s Association to chope choice sites in the Aljunied Constituency. Cannot be helped, it is in our national DNA. WP and use of public sites

It’s not just sites that get choped. The whole of People’s Association is choped by the ruling party. Go explore the pa website. Scan through their objectives, the network it controls. It is interesting to see the lofty ideals as encapsulated in its tagline – bringing people together. They forgot to mention that the people exclude opposition mps or candidates. It is even more interesting to see who is in charge.

It is amusing to me that this “chope-ing” is finally getting its come-uppance. As a resident of Potong Pasir, I have seen it firsthand for years. For instance, in the days when Chiam See Tong was our MP, at all lift lobbies and noticeboards, you will be greeted by two smiling faces. One of course was Mr Chiam, the other, Mr Sitoh. He was, and still is, the appointed Advisor. Chope –ing this position ensured no one can forget what the potential pap candidate looks like!

That is not all. For grassroots organized events, usually Mr Sitoh would be the guest-of-honour. I was certainly a beneficiary of taxpayers’ money when, together with some neighbours, I went on a subsidised trip to the Marina Bay Sands roof garden. Mr Sitoh was unable to join us, as we were carefully informed by the lady in charge of the excursion.

Then there was another event to get our residents to do morning exercise and walk. For $2, if I remember correctly, apart from exercising with Mr Sitoh, our advisor, we also get a pack of goodies that included a small tin of milo, some noodles and biscuits. On reflection, I really should have bought up more coupons and asked Meal on Wheels volunteers to give them to the needy in Potong Pasir.

These events that I mentioned took place about a month or so before GE 2011. How fortuitous for our advisor. Don’t get me wrong, there are still events going on post GE2011. After all, the PA is all about bringing people together.

We must not forget that PA is NOT political. They were not promoting Sitoh in any way, even though he was allowed to use the community club facilities for his meetings. That was in his capacity as advisor – not political at all.

The first time I remember being told that PA is not political was in response to complaints by an NSP supporter who was not allowed to use the toilet in a community centre. You can read Mr Brown’s version here. Hence we understand that even waste products of opposition party members are deemed political.

The other day we read about Mr Chen Show Mao’s disappointment. PA’s response – their grounds cannot be used for political purposes. Hmm – I did not realize that Mr Chen Show Mao was attending seventh month events to politicize. Maybe he was trying to reach out to the Hungry Ghosts! Almost immediately, Madam Cynthia Phua was alleged to have accused Mr Chen of politicizing the situation. Err – he is a politician right? You gave him a knife, and then you accuse him of trying to cut the piece of meat before him? I mean, did anyone see Obama cutting good old Donald Trump to size over his birth certificate controversy? I would be disappointed if he had not done so!

So you see the power of chope – ing? By chope-ing the board of management, you can appoint any one to be advisors, without it being a political affair, not even if the said advisors are MPs and likely candidates fielded by the ruling party in the next election. By chope-ing choice sites, you can throw the political card down, and forbid anyone associated with political parties from attending events or even using the toilets, if you happen to wear clothes associated with the parties.

I wonder why stop at politics? Maybe they should also ensure non-religious bias by insisting people wearing amulets or crosses be banned from the sites!

When I first read Mr Chen’s note, I posted the link on my fb page, and asked the question – wise or foolish. To me, this is one of the most foolish things to do since it puts the ruling party in such a childishly bad light. It’s almost like you can hear Mdm Cynthia Phua sticking out her tongue and saying, “Na nani boo boo! I don’t friend you!” to Mr Chen.

This next thought is totally random and not connected to the above post. I think Mr Chen Show Mao, who is also a “Tan” I believe, would have made a great president. Aiya…don’t scold me lah. I did not chope enough brains to be too coherent.


WP rebuttal: http://wp.sg/2011/08/media-release-on-untrue-claims-of-curtailment-of-pap-grassroots-activities-in%E2%80%A8-hougang-smc/

desmond choo, cynthia phua … further comments??

  1. WL
    August 23, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Cynthia Phua must really like hungry ghosts. I understand she used to attend all these seven-month functions before she lost the Aljunied seat. Even though she’s not the incumbent MP now she is still attending these functions – HDB/PA/CCC packet of tissue must be very useful for chope-ing things in Aljunied GRC! She might have won dates with the hungry ghosts, but I think her chances of ever winning back the GRC is gone.

  2. Truth
    August 23, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I guess its just the start of the 5 years of repenting which was promised. Its just 3 months, there’s more to came. There are lots more civil service institutions and stat-boards like the PA which have to do their bit in the non-political repenting process. The upgrading can stop, feeder buses can be reduced, there can be less police petrol forcing crime rate up, you can end up with foriegn worker hostels in your neighbourhood, more sleazy bars from Joo Chiat can be move to Aljunied, a few wet markets/ntuc/childcare can be shut down and your wifes and sisters can end up as maids in Tanjong Pagar.
    If after all this, the Aljinied residents don’t repent…we can just break up the whole GRC

  3. Johntan
    August 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    If the PAP could have been gracious and let Aljunied TC runs sites like before, maybe there
    is still a slim possibility they could win back the wards. But behaving childishly and playing
    political one upmanship like in this case certainly turns a lot of people off.
    The PM says one thing on NP Rally and his runners are doing the opposite.
    I think LHL knows about this political trickery as he’s been in politics for 20+ years.
    Perhaps he could come out to dispel and set things right ?
    Otherwise this could be the domino that cause the downfall of his MIW Party.

    • SpeakSpokeWriteWrote
      August 23, 2011 at 11:00 am

      hence i thought the responses of various mps show they were not savvy. I am still hoping that changes will come before the next election. I have not read Cynthia Phua’s response myself – but if what i read quoted elsewhere were true, then they really do not understand the impact of their words or reactions.

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