8th February 2013
Chiam See Tong, that old lion of Potong Pasir, has stirred from his den to give the People’s Action Party (PAP) a big bite on the backside (for which Dr Koh’s services are urgently needed).
|Chiam See Tong|
Mr Chiam turns 78 on 12 March 2013. He has suffered terribly from two debilitating strokes, the first of which occurred exactly five years ago on 6 February 2008.
The strokes have made it hard for him to speak but nothing beats listening to Mr Lionheart himself! [Link]
In the YouTube video, Mr Chiam speaks, or rather mumbles, in spurts. Sometimes he reads from prepared notes and sometimes he looks directly at his audience and speaks.
Mr Chiam begins by saying:
I am Chiam See Tong, Secretary-General of the Singapore People’s Party. I am appalled that the PAP targets to increase Singapore’s population from 5.3 million to 6.9 million. This 6.9 million is a huge figure.Mr Chiam does not mince words. He lambasts the PAP government for pursuing a growth-at-all-cost policy that has led to the entry of many foreign workers, which has in turn led to a job squeeze, where “many of the jobs that were held by Singaporeans were taken away by foreigners, especially the PMET jobs”. PMET stands for professionals, managers, executives and technicians.
Once Singapore’s longest-serving opposition MP, Mr Chiam goes on to say:
Can you imagine a small island of Singapore with 6.9 million people? It will put tremendous pressure on all our infrastructure, especially housing, as Singapore is a small island and land is the only problem of Singapore. That is the day when Singaporeans will suffer the pressure of high population, truly high population in Singapore.Proposing a solution, the venerable gentleman says:
You may ask what is the solution. I think the best solution is to open the doors for more Singaporeans to give more of their ideas. Singapore is purportedly a democratic country. For that purpose, we have to invite more Singaporeans to join the opposition so they can give more ideas to the government.Mr Chiam is the embodiment of the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” He stood for election four times, each time scoring better than previously, before he finally won passage into Parliament.
I’m sure when you open the flood gates, many more Singaporeans will come forward with brilliant ideas and the problems can be solved easily. Together, we can solve most of the problems that PAP have been finding it difficult to do so. They are at the moment dragging their feet and, in a way, calling for help.
Be brave, come forward and speak up. We must have more voices in Parliament to make it a truly democratic place.
In 1976, at the age of 41, Mr Chiam ran, and lost, as an independent candidate for Cairnhill but garnered a not inconsiderable 31.8% of the votes. He ran again as an independent candidate in 1979, in the Potong Pasir by-election, where he gained 33.15% of the votes. He founded the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in August 1980, predicated on the safeguarding of parliamentary democracy. In GE 1980, Mr Chiam contested in Potong Pasir under the SDP banner and lost with 41% of the votes.
In 1981, an unprecedented libel suit took place and Mr Chiam became the only opposition member ever to receive a public apology and out-of-court damages from a PAP leader, after suing then Foreign Minister S. Dhanabalan for undermining his professional ability and competence at an election rally. Then Defence Minister Howe Yoon Chong, Chiam’s opponent in the 1980 election, also made amends for similar remarks.
The dogged Mr Chiam scored his first political victory in 1984. With 60.3% of the votes, he won the Potong Pasir seat and entered Parliament. His opponent Mah Bow Tan suffered a sobering loss (pun intended).
Mr Chiam, infirm though he may be, is most likely Singapore’s favourite politician. On 5 August 2011, he was honoured at the inaugural Yahoo! Singapore 9 awards for coming first in the “Politics” category. In an online poll conducted by Yahoo!, more than fifty thousand Singaporeans had voted him ahead of four other politicians: PM Lee, former Foreign Minister George Yeo, NSP’s Nicole Seah and SDP’s Vincent Wijeysingha.
Mr Chiam’s humility is encapsulated by these words: “I’m just an ordinary Singaporean…”
Source: TRE website