I made it a point to catch the Workers' Party rally tonight. It's their first rally, and I wanted to see Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao and Yaw Shin Leong in action. I also wanted to see -- for myself -- just how big the crowd is.
The second question is easier to answer: it was a massive crowd. See for yourself (photo at http://darrensoh.com/elections/), make sure to scroll all the way to the left:
The crowd was so big, that the mobile networks basically all died. After a while, nobody had any service at all. It was sheer exhilarating and inspiring madness.
As for the speeches -- Low Thia Khiang was his usual polished self, working the crowd effectively in English, Teochew and Mandarin. Sylvia Lim had a great performance as well, definitely much much more powerful than her speeches in 2006, although I was a little surprised she didn't deliver a Mandarin speech (at least a short one). Her call-and-response style worked very well. Chen Show Mao did a couple of sentences in Tamil, rather more in Malay, and was excellent in Mandarin -- but the pacing for his English speech was a little too slow. And Yaw Shin Leong acquitted himself well, although he kept building the crowd to a crescendo (which was really skilfully done) and then going an anti-climactic "ok?".
But for me, the surprise of the night was Gerald Giam. He was frankly quite stiff in the TV forum with the other parties. But he was really good tonight, worked the crowd well, delivered his speech strongly and convincingly and basically rocked the house. Gerald looks to be a real gem in the making.
Now that I'm back at home, adrenaline fading and legs aching, caught up on Facebook and much of the material from the other rallies, the question in my mind remains one asked by one of the speakers (Chen Show Mao?): last election, we also had huge crowds, but look at the voting outcome. What will it be like this time?