Aljunied GRC – those 2 words probably strike the deepest fear in the hearts of PAP leaders (besides the 3 sweet little words, “Tin Pei Ling”.)
After discrediting the Workers’ Party’s rule in the town council, it’s time to knuckle down come General Election and wrest control of the territory from a supposedly incompetent incumbent.
And this is how it plans to do it – field a team of candidates that are more in touch with “municipal issues” (ie the daily running of the estates) rather than candidates with lofty national ambitions.
Sounds good in theory. After all, that’s how the Workers’ Party managed to overthrow Singapore’s first woman minister (Lim Hwee Hwa), foreign minister (George Yeo), potential Speaker of Parliament (Zainul Abidin Rasheed), and others not particularly worthy of mention.
But how is this strategy of “ground people” playing out in Aljunied?
We’ve an investment manager, Victor Lye, who apparently has an eager eye for spotting faded zebra crossings and leading teams of anti-WP flyer distributors.
A private banker, Chua Eng Leong, whose memory serves him so well that he can remember an “unfair” grade awarded him by a primary school teacher.
A Rajah and Tann lawyer, K Muralidharan Pillai, who’s simply put, a legal eagle from one of Singapore’s top firms and no doubt, a pretty well-to-do man (albeit not on par with Mr I’m-Not-Lavish-Despite-My-10Mil-Sentosa-Cove-Home Kong Hee.)
An SMRT deputy director, Kahar Hassan, who’s part of the transport company that many have been baying about because of the increasingly frequent breakdowns, despite mega profits and giant bonuses for its leaders.
And then there’s East Coast GRC’s Siglap CCC’s chairman, Chan Hui Yuh, a bilingual voiceover artist whose “warm friendly and melodious voice that makes her such a joy to listen to.”
Mega bucks executives meets one cunning linguist – how’s that for a team that’s close to the “ground”!
In case those reading haven’t realised by now, Aljunied GRC isn’t 6th Avenue in Bukit Timah.
Rather, it comprises some parts of Hougang, Serangoon Gardens, Bedok and Aljunied.
In other words, how in the world does the party expect mega bucks and a cunning linguist to connect with a largely working class to middle class community?
Does the PAP expect these candidates to understand the municipal issues involved in running these “common man” estates from their ivory towers?
No wonder Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen has already leapt to their defence, saying:
“Why would we want to field somebody that we know has a higher chance of being rejected and deprive ourselves of an office-holder?”
In other words, we don’t want a repeat of the Unfortunate Case of Curious George.
Or, “Tikam tikam a bit and try our luck, if lose never mind lah.”
So, send in the clowns?