A pre-election survey conducted between 30 April to 3 May 2016 by Blackbox Research showed that Bukit Batok voters found SDP candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan to be the better candidate than his PAP rival Mr Murali Pillai.
However, residents rated the PAP as the preferred party (67%) to SDP (28%).
The survey had predicted that the PAP would win the by-election by 64.4% of the vote to the SDP’s 35.6%. The actual result turned out to be better for the SDP which secured 38.8% of the popular vote.
“The SDP clearly benefited from fielding a high-profile candidate,” Blackbox commented, “Polling results showed that Dr Chee was successful in pushing up the Opposition vote.” It added that the SDP would likely have benefited from a longer campaign period.
The group had predicted from its pre-election results a comfortable PAP victory. The data showed that the electorate indicated a generally higher level of satisfaction with present economic conditions: “87% think they are better off or doing the same as people living elsewhere in Singapore.” Only 8% said they were worse off.
The survey also showed Dr Chee with a 53% overall positive perception by Bukit Batok voters.
On the issue of upgrading of the estate, only 43% under 40 years of age said that it would continue regardless of whether the SDP or PAP won the election. 47% in the age group felt that upgrading would proceed only in the PAP won.
Once upon a time in a poor kingdom far, far away, there lived a princess by the name of Princess Voter. One day, the king summoned Princess Voter to his office and told her that he had found a perfect life partner for her.
“But father, I’m in love with Prince Chee Ah Meng.” Princess Voter protested.
“What’s so good about that Prince Chee Ah Meng?” the king argued. “He has lost all his land and property fighting the barbarians from the north.”
“That makes him a hero!” Princess Voter yelled. “I admire heroes, especially those who are athletic and charming like Prince Chee Ah Meng.”
“I cannot approve of this union.” said the king, vigorously shaking his head. “Our kingdom needs more covered walkways and homes for the busy folks to dump their children and aged parents. Santa Claus has promised me that he would ensure those projects get underway and make our people happy. Unless this Chee Ah Meng can prove himself …”
“I’ve got an idea.” said Princess Voter eagerly. “Why don’t you let me go on a hunting expedition with Prince Chee Ah Meng and Santa Claus. The first man to shoot down a fire-breathing dragon wins my hand.”
“But … we’ve not had an encounter with a fire-breathing dragon for years. Besides, Santa Claus will never stand a chance.”
“No buts.” she insisted. “I’m off to Dragonland with Prince Chee Ah Meng. Ask your Santa Claus to hurry up.”
Princess Voter sent a pigeon to inform Prince Chee Ah Meng of the mission. They met up at the palace gates. She climbed onto his white horse and they galloped off towards Dragonland. For the first few minutes, the princess was thrilled with the power of the ride. The sound of hoofs on the grass, the feel of Prince Chee Ah Meng’s firm chest against her soft delicate back. She felt she was in heaven. But Dragonland was far away and Princess Voter’s trance of sailing on clouds soon turned into a punishing nightmare. When she finally got down from the horse, her dress was soiled and her butt was badly bruised.
“Endure, my princess.” said Prince Chee Ah Meng. “For our love and the security of our country. Endure.”
“How much further do we have to go?” asked Princess Voter, panting. Her lovely locks, soaked in perspiration, made her hair look like a mop now.
“To avoid alerting the dragon, we’ll have to travel to its den on foot.” said Prince Chee Ah Meng.
“On foot?” exclaimed Princess Voter. “Is there any covered walkway?”
“I’m afraid not.” sighed Prince Chee.
Princess Voter shrugged her shoulders. She figured that since she had come for the adventure, she might as well immerse herself in the romance and intrigue that situation provided. One day, she would tell her children this story and make them feel proud of their parents. She decided to put up with the discomfort. The couple walked towards the dragon’s den, hand in hand. She had never ridden so far on a horse. She was usually in a carriage. She had never walked on such muddy ground, let alone seen a fire-breathing dragon. The risk of being burned alive like criminals tied to the stake did not occur to Princess Voter until they caught sight of the hideous beast licking its claws in its den.
When the dragon saw them coming, it stood up and warned them with a grunt.
“We’ve been discovered. Let’s get out of here.” cried Prince Chee.
The couple ran as fast as they could. The dragon gave chase but dared not wander too far from its den. Before it turned back, it threw a long tongue of fire at them.
“Ah!” cried Princess Voter when caught the scent of her burning hair.
“Are you all right, my lady.” said Prince Chee hugging his princess.
“Do I look like I’m all right?” she barked back at him. By now, she was totally dishevelled and angry with herself for trying to marry romance with adventure.
“I’m so sorry to have brought you along with me, my dear.” said Prince Chee looking apologetic.
Princess Voter did not answer. She sat on the root of a huge tree, sulking. Then suddenly, she heard a sound from the distant end of the forest.
“Ho ho ho ho …” it went.
Princess Voter stood up. It was Santa Claus. He parked his sleigh at one end of the clearing in the forest and approached the couple.
“My, my, I almost failed to recognise you, my princess.” said Santa Claus, eyeing her from head to toe and shaking his head in commiseration. “I may not be a dragon slayer like Prince Chee, I’m only good at giving out presents with other people’s money, but I will try my best. You just wait here.”
“Forget about the dragon, you fools. I’ve had enough of all this already. Get me home now.” cried Princess Voter.
To Prince Chee Ah Meng’s surprise, she walked past his horse and climbed into Santa’s sleigh.
“My lady …”
“Isn’t my butt bruised enough already? If I return to the palace on your horse, I won’t have any butt left. I hereby withdraw the competition. But you can go ahead and slay the dragon if you want. Our kingdom is poor and we can’t afford to reward you with gold. A nice certificate should suffice.”
Santa Claus drove Princess Voter back to the palace. The ride on the sleigh was immensely more comfortable. Back in the palace, Princess Voter declared that she had withdrawn the competition.
“Will the dragon be slayed?” asked the king.
“Prince Chee Ah Meng is working on it.” she said, sinking into the rug next to the throne.
“What about your promise to marry him?”
“I think we can give him a certificate or medal or something like that.” said the princess shrugging her shoulders. “There are more pressing issues now. I need new clothes, new shoes and a new hairdo.
“My poor child … but you should know that I can’t afford those.”
“Leave it to me.” said Santa Claus, smiling proudly.
Princess Voter was elated. She hugged and kissed Santa Claus. The king was shocked by this turn of events. So Santa and Princess Voter got married and lived happily, comfortably and prettily ever after. What happened to Prince Chee Ah Meng? Well, he slew the dragon, but who cares? They even forgot about his medal.
© Chan Joon Yee