After three Population White Paper protests and one Transport Fare hike demonstration, the ideas and slogans seem to be running dry for Gilbert Goh, a NSP candidate in the 2011 General Elections. With crowds similar to PAP rallies, dwindling sale of memorabilia and cash donations, Gilbert Goh has resorted to more eye-catching measures to attract the waning interest.
For the weekend protest against transport hike, the recorded crowd was about 300, a far cry compared to the first protest that attracted nearly 5000 Singaporeans. Actual interested persons were probably lesser with the police and media presence bolstering the crowd size as well.
Promising to burn an effigy of Lui Tuck Yew, Gilbert Goh eventually backed down after being cautioned by police that the burning could inflame the crowd although it was not illegal in its own right to burn stuff as seen during the Hungry Ghost Festival (no permits needed). Instead, he asked the crowd to splash water on the effigy to douse their anger over the transport hike. Just to add, Gilbert Goh or someone in his oragnising team should have had the mind to bring a bin to burn the effigy.
Water was not the only liquid being played around that day. At one point during the protest, the crowd was asked to pull out their ez link cards and spit on them. No one expected them to throw the cards away as it was as good as money, so most of them had to wipe away their own saliva and keep the cards back in their pockets. I guessed it was the only little common sense left in the organiser that prevented him from asking the crowd to gather the cards in a heap and spit on them.
The point of spitting on something as good as money was lost on most Singaporeans. Was Gilbert Goh trying to prove that ez link cards were water-proofed?! Not to mention spitting isn't entirely hygienic and civilised in the first place. If the policemen on the ground were any smarter, they would have told him that spitting could get him arrested and charged, and Gilbert Goh would have stopped. Refer to this chap in Woodlands bus interchange.
When Gilbert Goh backed down from burning the effigy and asked the crowd to spit on ez link cards, he lost the last chance to make himself a credible opposition voice. Gilbert Goh became to be understood as a mediocre who was more interested in plain popularity and his moment of fame rather than the ideas or vision he stood for, if there were any.
Unlike Chee Soon Juan who chose to send a clear signal of where he stood, despite knowing the consequences of their actions, Gilbert Goh seemed more like a desperate MediaCorp artist trying to stay relevant. I admit I am not a big fan of Mr Chee, but yet, who could deny him of his place in the political history of Singapore. Gilbert Goh, on the other hand, was a star that shone for a night and is now in a desperate downward spiral, clinging on to his little fan base, while most Singaporeans look the other way.