(Warning: This entry was written at 2am and uploaded just a few minutes before 3am and hence, grammar and language and flow might not be smooth but I do hope you enjoy reading it)
Having attended two Workers’ Party and one Singapore Democratic Party rally, earlier tonight, I decided to head down to Bishan Stadium to watch and listen to the Singapore People’s Party rally.
On arrival at exactly 7pm, the stadium seats were all filled up and 1/4 of the field was already full.. Based on my calculations, it would seem like the crowd as at 7pm was about 7,000 people.
Listening to the rally, SPP definitely took on a different approach compared to the ones’ I’ve heard from WP and SDP and compared to what I’ve read with regards to how PAP have managed the elections. There wasn’t a time that I recalled any of the SPP candidates spoke about how the PAP had failed them or maybe they did but perhaps it was so minimal that my goldfish memory couldn’t remember.
SPP was entirely focused on their programmes and on their vision to improve Bishan-Toa Payoh as well as Singapore. SPP began their rally by getting Singaporeans present to take the Singapore Pledge.
I was also impressed to know that when a fellow friend had attended an SPP rally previously where most of the residence were from Potong Pasir, apparently, everyone who lived in Potong Pasir seemed like they knew one another! It was pretty much like a kampong there – one whereby you’d probably be able to feel at home.
Benjamin Pwee had insisted that people address him as Ben for a start and I think that is part of SPP’s ability to connect with people better compared to PAP. SPP also says that they will hold Meet-The-People’s Session twice a week when they get elected as Members of Parliament.
He had also said that the news should use a change in words to describe parties which aren’t governing – Strategic Partnership Parties.
SPP also spoke of how it is important when doing business to not be reliant on just one vendor or supplier because you never know when that vendor or supplier might run into problems and not be able to service you any longer.
This analogy spoke well of Singapore’s parliamentary system whereby as Singaporeans, we need to apply the same analogy in terms of having Strategic Partnership Parties in the form of SDP, SPP, WP, NSP, SDA in parliament because you never know when the PAP will falter.
The Malays have a saying for this, “Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga” (No matter how smart the squirrel is to jump, he will still fall to the ground).
For most Singaporeans who watched Political Forum on CNA, you would have seen how Lina Chiam was – incapable of handling questions and wasn’t a good orator.
This wasn’t so at the rally.
She was a totally different person at the rally! She was much better in her speech… very auntie-like though but very real and motivational too.
Hamim Isa and Wilfred or was it Jimmy who spoke of defending Malays. Hamim was unhappy that the MRT line didn’t have a Geylang Serai station compared to Little India and Chinatown because whenever tourists want to go to a place where there’s Malay, it’s not as easy as directing them to Chinatown and Little India.
He also wanted to know the governments’ plan for Kampong Melayu, which is slated to be demolished sometime this year.
When Mr Chiam See Tong took to the stage earlier, he was greeted with cheers of “Chiam See Tong! Chiam See Tong!” like as if he was a rock star and honestly, he had a group of staunch supporters aka groupies if I may call it.
Watching Mr Chiam speak, it was painful to watch him speak because of his condition. Nevertheless, we were assured that despite his two strokes, he is only less physically-able but very much mentally-able.
Somehow, the SPP rally was an extension of my visit to Kampong Melayu earlier in the day.
Kampong Melayu looks like a slum and looks worst than the state of my kampong in Indonesia, a real kampong. On arrival, a kuda kepang troupe was beginning their performance and whilst I do not wish to be judgemental of my own community, I cannot help but notice that the audience was made up of Malays whom perhaps even my non-Malay friends would call Mat and Minahrep.
Now, I’ve been informed of Kuda Kepang practices and I remember as a child, I’ve watched Kuda Kepang performances live before but this was deja vu. To be watching them get into their state of trance when I arrived as the watchmen walked around to ‘feed’ the performers with smoke.
I had then left and returned about an hour later and was priviledged to observe one of the performers in a state of trance being removed of its’ ‘spirit’ and how two performers got into the trance for two other different spirits, one of which was Barongan, a Balinese.
He had stepped on glass without bleed and another was its’ pet.
I didn’t stay for long though as I then proceeded for the rally but drawing relations to what Hamim had mentioned, I couldn’t help but think, what will happen to the Malay Culture should Kampong Melayu be demolished?
Taman Warisan is supposedly a centre for Malays as well but it is located in Arab Street, a town once lived by Arabs. Kampong Melayu was an initiative of the PAP, they need to answer for its’ demise and demolishing it isn’t the solution.
Oh.. I think at last count, there would easily have been about 15 to 20,000 people at the rally too!