Friday, 29 April 2011

Workers' Party rocks Hougang, 28 Apr 2011

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, make sure to scroll all the way to the left:

The Hougang tsunami

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?


ck said...

Hi Kum Hong,

Thanks for giving us a quality update and analysis..Aooreciate it:-)

Gary said...

The results on polling day will tell whether the majority of voters have graduated into the 1st world or still wallowing in the third!

Terh said...

I believe time has changed. People now have stronger reasons and, more importantly, the courage to cast their votes for the opposition, which now has many excellent, committed and selfless intellectuals..!

The Pariah said...

Once upon a time, PAP was opposition party.

Back then, our parents and grandparents gave PAP a chance to get into Parliament to learn on-the-job.

Now, it is our turn to give Opposition Parties the same chance to start our journey towards A First World Parliament with meaningful checks-and-balances.

The Pariah said...

“Courage is not a lack of fear, but the ability to act while facing fear.” Anonymous

kickit said...

I agree with "The Pariah"! Like Chen Show Mao said on Thursday, "How many five years are there in a life time?" I hope we seize the day on 7 May!
BTW, I hold the MM and the PAP wholly responsible if indeed, we do not yet have a "first world" opposition. Guess who has been driving out some of the top thinkers? Besides, the PAP themselves were equally untested when they were opposing the Colonels in the 50s. I say, put a good person in the seat and he or she will rise to it.

ahgois said...

I really like the last 2 lines of your blog, because I feel it underscores the sentiment that S'poreans are smart enough to know that electing a few opposition MPs into parliment will not change anything because they wouldn't be able to out-vote (in parliment), and out-do (work with the civil service) the majority (PAP). They can only raise the daily concerns of their constituents lining up to see them at their void deck office and perhaps that's why a 2 party system is needed (vs multiple opposition parties): we don't have the critical mass of opposition MP.

- Mike

Anonymous said...

now that is huge for me, i never seen something like this in singapose before.
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