Hougang By-election: I am a Houganite! (Ref “Ich bin ein Berliner” – JFK)


[Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!” – “I am a Berliner”]
President John F Kennedy

Click here for the video.

On 26/5/12(Sat), at Blk 322 Hougang Ave 5 coffee shop, Workers’ Party supporters from all over the island congregated there to await the Hougang By-election result shared the same sentiment – “I am a Houganite!”

American President John F Kennedy in one of his famous speeches spoken in Berlin, West Germany says, “I am a Berliner!” Now why did an American President utter that sentence?

Please check for details here.

In my previous post, written here I talked about the Hougang spirit. For twenty years, that Hougang spirit was always at that old Hawker Centre and cluster of one and three room flats obliterated by HDB. But that spirit was still much in the air at Blk 322 Hougang Ave 5 last Sat night and early Sun morning.




More than 2,000 WP supporters were in or around the said coffee shop with much more spilling all over the road. Vehicles passing by were also happily honking. Many were from outside Hougang SMC. They came from all over the island. They came to join and celebrate that Hougang spirit.

DPM Teo says Hougang is different from other constituencies. Is that so? It shows just how disconnected and detached they are. Is he saying that Hougang is not made up of Singaporeans or another breed different from the rest of us? Or is it that nearly all of Houganites are from the working class unlike those well off elites? Still in self-denial mode?

One year after that shocking watershade GE 2011, the WP still has the solid support in Hougang with a 2% or 3% drop in votes. The slight drop could be due to the unhappiness over WP’s previous sacked MP (having let them down) or some commentators attributing it to the voting pattern of new citizens? It’s any body’s guess. Fact is WP won by a comfortable 62%.

I have watched most of the rally speeches on YouTube and other sources in the net. Retired PAP MP Peh CH’s oratorical skill in Hokkien was powerful and impressive. His fiery speech almost convinced me how this government has done so much for our tiny little rock of 700 sq km with nothing in terms of resources except ‘air and the sun’ which are free. Without the PAP, we would have been ‘dead!’ long ago.

I thought that line of argument was so much better than petty pecking and nibbling at WP’s internal decision & discussion minutes on NCMP or criteria of choosing the best man etc. I respect veteran retired MP Peh for his fiery emotional speech that really moved me. But that was in the 60s to 90s when PAP really did a fantastic job delivering the good life and the Singapore dream to every citizen. I still salute them especially the founding fathers for those remarkable achievements.

Those golden years where Singapore prospered by leaps and bounds with stakeholders really enjoying the fruits is gone. We still have high impressive GDP growth rates. But for who? Not for those low wage workers! Look at every angle, the bottom 20% to 30% are losing out and yet the government says otherwise. We feel it but they don’t. They are always trying to explain the problems away. I do not wish to waste bandwidth by elaborating here. My article here says it all.

When I watch WP rally speeches it suddenly dawns on me that they are also as sincere, hardworking and loyal Singaporeans sacrificing themselves to speak out for us. Why should they langgar and ruin their future? They can always opt to join the elites in the establishment enjoying super fat iron rice bowl remunerations in the first place. Opposition politics gives them no perks, privileges, directorships or rewards except endless headaches and stress with risks of getting bankrupt! Why langgar them?

When I heard MP Pritam Singh’s solid rebuttal against PM’s accusation that WP and sacked MP Yaw SL had let the Hougang residents down, I really wanted to hug him. He laid out all the facts from PAP’s first day in power till recently, listing all the PAP Ministers, MPs, Union Chief etc who were corrupted and jailed. Mind you he didn’t even attack Desmond Choo’s integrity who was closely related to that disgraced corrupted ex-PAP MP Choo. That is why I felt like hugging him. I’m sure most of us do.

Some of the WP speakers also highlighted the well known fact that common areas in their Aljunied GRC ward were given to PA to prevent them from organizing social activities. Those MPs were elected by the voters of Aljunied GRC. Why give them this sort of treatment? Why “chop off their legs and arms?” It’s extremely petty isn’t it? Did I hear “inclusive” correctly? How to be inclusive when elected opposition MPs are treated indignantly? Don’t forget that they are part of our parliament and administration of this country. They are not ‘enemies’ out to destroy our country. They are also the loyal sons and daughters of our country – not traitors.

We are in a modern era with fast instant Internet access. Do you think we are still in those days where most of us are not aware of what’s going on? We no longer live in the dark ages of those kumpung days where we dig a hole in the ground to shit.

Dotseng gives an excellent overview of the picture here. Why ‘bully’ our elected MPs who are also part of our society. Why can’t they be treated with more graciousness in a gentlemen manner?

When the DPM started the mud slinging and character attack on WP candidate in Hougang, are we not reminded of that adorable ESM scoring his own goal last year? That strategy backfired.

“SENIOR Minister Goh Chok Tong was asked about his earlier remarks yesterday:
On scoring ‘own goals’ with his comments during the hustings:
‘I would say that I did kick the ball in the direction of the PAP goal post, but I think the ball didn’t go in. It hit the goal post (langgar tiang) and went out, but it was in that direction.’ On his praising Foreign Minister George Yeo and his comment that ministers can be criticised or even voted out for policy mistakes such as not delivering on housing or transport or letting Mas Selamat escape…” Source.

Desmond Choo was wise enough to declare the YSL affair closed. He didn’t want to attack his opponent’s integrity. Desmond Choo is a gentlemen after all. For that he deserved praise. I applaud him. I’m sure he will have better luck if he were to stand in another SMC. This “baptism of fire” has certainly given him much life lessons. It has taught him humility. Hope he doesn’t give up. No wonder why those Hougang aunties support him all the way.

There is simply too much to analysize and speculate on the repercussions of this toughly fought Hougang By-election. Desmond – the acknowledged “underdog” was so desperate that he even shed tears appealing the voters to give him a chance. Retired MP Peh even told the voters to ‘kick’ Desmond out in the next GE if he can’t deliver! He even staked his reputation on Desmond Choo.

Hougang By-election is indeed the mother of all elections where they – only two straight fight, fought tooth and nail over the 9 day campaign. The results still remain more or less the same.

Most of the Hougang residents are from the lower income group or so called “heartlanders”. They identity with the blue WP instead of the whiter than white elites. The ballot box is the best feedback. Is it still only a local based By-election?

I say this here like what President John F Kennedy says, “Ich bin ein Hougangite” in German.

“I am a Houganite!”


PAP must rethink its approach: analyst

Read related article on Hougang By-election post mortem.

PS: Title of article given by Dr Mike aka Lohcifer.

About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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12 Responses to Hougang By-election: I am a Houganite! (Ref “Ich bin ein Berliner” – JFK)

  1. Lohcifer says:

    Peh’s speech was powerful? Oh come on, he spoke like a thug! Retired has-beens should simply fade away not dug up to sling mud!


    • Steven says:

      “Retired MP Peh even told the voters to ‘kick’ Desmond out in the next GE if he can’t deliver! He even staked his reputation on Desmond Choo.”

      This Peh among the PAP jokers can’t stop to amaze me with their nonsense. Consider that PAP won Hougang so hard, what are the chances that voters can even kick Desmond out regardless of performance if PAP can still shamelessly gerrymander Hougang into AMK and TJ ? Such clown don’t deserve reputation when they could not even stake reputation on the line to ensure Hougang will not fall under PM’s GRC. But then what is reputation when there isn’t any honesty, integrity and credibility to speak of in the first place for them.

      “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
      Abraham Lincoln quotes

      And that time is the voting time !

      Why are the PAP still still still thinking we are living in pre-internet time ?


      • Exactly! They keep on harping that it’s a local by election and that HG is different from the rest. How stupid of them? They are really in self denial mode. Must they see their coffin ready for them right in front of them then only will they shed tears?
        If you read Redbean’s article it’s clearly stated why they are still blur or confused of themselves. http://mysingaporenews.blogspot.com/2012/05/obsolescence-of-once-mighty-political.html?m=1
        Their end is near. If I were them I will be darn worried in another 4 yrs time. Don’t say sorry cuz it’s not going to change your fortune – more GRCs will fall!


        • Steven says:

          PAP really live in make-believe world of their world, still delusing themselves into believing that they can reframe issue as and when they like it , and set the agenda for others to follow.

          They say that one can never be too old to be comedian , and some freak is a living proof.

          “May, Mr Lee Kuan Yew continued to insist that (PAP) ministers can easily earn more in the private sector and thus must be paid millions to be ministers.”

          Still going round the globe to promote inverted logics ? Buy High Sell Low, anyone ?


          • Lol! I don’t see any of those retrenched MIWs doing very well in the private sector. Some even can’t survive in the private sector but to crawl back to GLCs or stat board. I understand there is one at SingPost right? Another is at China-Sing bridge or something? Really langgar!


  2. WL says:

    Of course Desmond can deliver IF he got elected…he would have the whole PAP machinery behind him and the government’s deep pockets (aka taxpayers’ money) to fund whatever he wanted in Hougang. There certainly won’t be barriers or underhand tactics in his way. Too bad for him, Hougang is not for sale.


  3. george says:

    Desmond can deliver only AFTER he wins. This is so like the PAP, you have to given them what they want FIRST before you can ever think of receiving anything from them. That is 3rd world govt thinking.


    • Agreed. He will have the full powerful machinery backing him for his programmes. Unlike WP, obstacles and restrictions placed on them making them difficult to succeed.


  4. sporesc@hotmail.com says:

    Peh CH often spoke like a thug in Parliament when he was an MP.


  5. sporesc@hotmail.com says:

    Peh CH’s parliamentary speeches and responses to opposition were often rude and without substance. He sounded like a thug who should not be an MP. Please don’t glorify him unless you are familiar with and actually endorse his past contributions.


    • I didn’t know about that. I only heard him speaking once in the recent rally via You Tube. Thks for telling me. You are not the only one saying that.


  6. sporesc@hotmail.com says:

    Thanks for the response. Too bad it’s not easy to access old parliament records. They will show how uncouth and thug-like Peh CH’s parliamentary speeches and responses were. Well, to me at least.


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