Singapore’s most persistent and tenacious opposition candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan has often complained about the mainstream media being biased. So when he decided to embark on a 140km walk round Singapore to raise funds for his party, he probably didn’t expect the mainstream media to cover his feat. Well, they did.
The Straits Times
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan began a four-day-long walk around the island on Thursday (Nov 12) morning at Hong Lim Park.
Titled Walk The Talk, the 140km-long walkabout aims to raise funds for the party as well as raise public awareness of it.
“We’re trying to raise funds for the programs we’ll undertake over the next four, five years until the next GE, including training our potential candidates… and this is one way of doing it. And it’s something that hopefully catches the attention of the public,” said Dr Chee, who is secretary-general of the SDP.
In September’s general election, SDP contested 11 seats and won none but got the second highest share of votes among the opposition parties.
Dr Chee, 53, aims to cover 30km on Thursday and travel on foot from Hong Lim Park to the western part of the island.
He will then cover eastern Singapore and conclude the walk on Sunday with a rally at the Speakers’ Corner. The party will be posting updates on his progress on Facebook.
At the flag-off on Thursday, he was joined by four supporters: three SDP central executive committee members and one party volunteer. They posed for a photograph before Dr Chee, dressed in a white T-shirt printed with the SDP’s logo and carrying a duffel bag and sleeping bag, set off along New Bridge Road.
Dr Chee plans to sleep at nights in a lorry loaned by a party supporter and will be walking alone.
Channel News Asia:
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan started his 140km cross-island walk on Thursday morning (Nov 12) in a bid to raise funds for his party and to send out a message that the SDP does not “only come alive during elections”.
“We’re trying to get our message out, we’re doing what we can to keep Singaporeans informed. So that is the other thing (besides raising funds) to raise awareness to get people to pay more attention to politics in Singapore, the Opposition and what we’re doing. These are important issues,” he told reporters before the event, titled Walk the Talk.
Setting off from Hong Lim Park at about 10am, Dr Chee plans to trek up to 16 hours a day — with a two-hour dinner break to mingle with residents — over four days.
On the first day, he aims to cover the west side of Singapore — including Bukit Merah, Alexander Road, Ghim Moh, Yuhua, Toh Tuck, Upper Bukit Timah Road, Bukit Panjang, Teck Whye Lane and Yew Tee.
He will cover the northern part of the island tomorrow, the eastern part on Saturday and the southern part on Sunday, before ending his walk in the evening with a rally at Speakers’ Corner.
Dr Chee, clad in a T-shirt and shorts, will have a duffel bag and sleeping bag with him on the journey. He plans to sleep in a lorry loaned by a party supporter.
You can check out the SDP Facebook page for the likes and comments. The response is quite positive, though I’m not sure if “overwhelming” is the right word. Apart for a few photos and videos that received 600-800+ likes, most of the updates received little attention. The SDP also posted updates on their Twitter account (https://twitter.com/yourSDP) and as you can see, the response there is even more underwhelming. I’ve often argued (and even had a brief exchange with Dr Chee Soon Juan on his Facebook page) that though the mainstream media is undoubtedly biased, it is not the main reason for the opposition losing ground in the last elections. The media in 2011 was as biased as it was in 2015. Why the swing in favour of the ruling party?
I’ve already given my analysis in a previous blog. I believe that apart from Pioneer generation scheme and the passing of a legend, the shocking results may be attributed to a phenomenon I call Opposition Power ParadoxTM. An increasingly powerful opposition brought on the cheers at election rallies, but at the polls, its strength actually worked against it. When they were the obvious underdogs with no capability of ousting the government, more and more disgruntled Singaporeans voted for them to help blow off some steam. When the opposition started to emerge as a force to be reckoned with, even more people stood with them in spirit, but when it was time to cast their votes, the kiasu, kiasi, gian png people (the 3 attributes of the majority) played safe and voted against the people for whom they cheered so loudly. It’s a bit like the sometimes shocking results during tribal council on another episode of Survivor where a strong member who thought he had formed an alliance to get the weakest member eliminated gets voted out. Even more ironically for Dr Chee, it’s the alternative media that mocked him.
I have this to say to Dr Chee:
By now, only the most cynical or prejudiced would still be doubtful of your sincerity and determination. Once again, I salute you. But the fact remains that you are trying to court too many soulless, apathetic, insecure and materialistic people (silent majority) in this country. Your recent speeches and actions must have touched many hearts. The people may respect you from the bottom of their hearts. They may even cheer you on from the bottom of their hearts, but at crunch time, it’s the party with the power, the influence and the financial muscle that determines their choice. Your sincerity cannot match the machinery capable of flashing sticks and carrots before the people’s eyes. Ultimately, their philosophy is best summed up thus:
“我宁愿坐在宝马车里哭，也不愿意坐在自行车后面笑.” or in this case:
I feel sorry for you but I wish I’m wrong. Wishing you all the best.
© Chan Joon Yee