Everyone’s a winner, just not in the way they might actually want to win

We’ve seen the best and worst of Singaporeans at GE2015. We’ve already covered the fails of this elections, and it’s about time we turned to look at the winners.

Some personalities have really managed to stand out for all the right reasons, showing that you don’t have to be elected into Parliament to be a winner.

Here’s the top 12 wins of these elections.

1. Chee Soon Juan rises above the mudslinging

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Dr Chee has been the success story of this election. Here is a man with a very colourful history, who few expected to make much of an impact.

Few expected the SDP rallies to have such high turnouts, for Dr Chee’s speeches to be so well-received and for him to be mobbed for two hours signing autographs after his rallies. But all those have happened, and some in the PAP haven’t been too happy about it.

On 6 Sept, Sim Ann made a now-famous speech that went viral on social media, saying:

Dr Chee is one of the best — probably number one in Singapore at ‘chut pattern’. More ‘pattern’ than badminton.

Dr Chee enjoys insulting himself by saying that he has been called a liar, a gangster and a psychopath when no one has called him such names.

And on 7 Sept, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said:

I have just one message to send to the SDP: In the PAP, we do not have a tradition of backstabbing our mentors.

It was clearly a veiled swipe at Dr Chee over his falling out with mentor Chiam See Tong.

And what did Dr Chee say in response to these accusations?

I will not engage in gutter politics.

If I win this election, I want to win with honour. And if I lose, I want to lose with grace and dignity.

Although Dr Chee lost in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, he has emerged with his reputation at a higher standing than ever before.

2. Tin Pei Ling no longer stamps her feet and now knows what to say

Yes, the once often-derided Mrs Tin Pei Ling is now a mother, and she certainly knew what to say when NSP’s Cheo Chai Chen said that being a mother was her weakness. She confidently replied:

I am committed to MacPherson. I returned to work soon after delivery (two weeks to be more exact) because I want to continue to serve. I am confident that even as a mum I can continue to focus on my work in MacPherson.

And, for reference, here are the results for MacPherson SMC:

People’s Action Party: Number of votes: 17,227 (63%)
Candidate: Tin Pei Ling

Worker’s Party: Number of votes: 8,826 (36%)
Candidate: Bernard Chen Jiaxi

National Solidarity Party: Number of votes: 215 (0.82%)
Candidate: Cheo Chai Chen

Note: At 215 votes, or 0.82%, the NSP’s Cheo Chai Chen has the dubious honor of being the worst-performing non-independent candidate at GE2015.

He did much worse than independent Han Hui Hui, who managed 2,629 votes and 10% of valid votes, and didn’t even have the backing of a political party.

3. DPM Tharman steps up to haul back some ground for the Men In White

There were so many PAP rallies that no one knew which Minister was going to show up where, so it was a pleasant surprise for all in attendance when DPM Tharman himself showed up to this Jurong GRC rally:

We’re no good at finance, but all we can say is — our Minister for Finance really knows his stuff. Take half an hour out at work to listen to this — you’ll be glad you did.

After all, DPM Tharman was appointed Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee — that’s the committee that decides IMF’s policies. He was also bestowed the title of Finance Minister Of The Year by Euromoney in 2013.

No wonder the SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah said:

Many of us in the alternative parties hope that one day DPM Tharman will have a falling out with PM (Lee Hsien Loong) and will come out to lead a grand coalition of opposition parties.

We’re not sure how his team leader Dr Chee would have viewed that.

Yes, he did say that he wouldn’t engage in personal attacks, but he certainly didn’t say he would engage in personal COMPLIMENTS either.

This is what we imagine Dr Chee might have said to Dr Paul in private:

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As we now know, DPM Tharman’s Jurong GRC edged out PM Lee’s Ang Mo Kio GRC to become the best-performing PAP constituency in this year’s General Elections, with an overall percentage score of 79.28%, beating out Lee Hsien Loong-helmed Ang Mo Kio’s 78.63% by less than 1%.

4. WP rallies test Singapore’s transport system

Anyone who had been to any of the Workers’ Party rallies in the last two weeks will tell you that getting out after the end of the rally was a total nightmare.

Buses were packed, police didn’t allow taxis to stop, and the pedestrian footpaths were simply not built to handle tens of thousands of people swarming out like angry bees from a hive.

It was like some carnival. It was total madness. I remember vividly watching Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang walking along the security barriers and shaking what must have been thousands of supporters’ hands.

He practically couldn’t leave.

“Like a super rock star,” I heard people in the crowd murmur.

If you’re not convinced, check out our side-by-side comparisons.

5. Singapore Democratic Alliance comes up with some eye-catching posters

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With these posters strategically located right next to a smiling photo of PM Lee, you’ll always think of these numbers whenever you see him. That’s a principle of memory by association.

SDA may not be a big party, but they certainly got their message across.

6. Ong Ye Kung calls for a more united Singapore

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This is what Mr Ong, who previously contested in Aljunied, said at the PAP’s rally in Sembawang on 7 Sept:

The PAP will say, ‘better future, prosperity, progress — support me’.

And the Opposition will say, ‘no, you are marginalised, you’re being shortchanged, you should be unhappy’.

And so in every election we draw a line in the sand and people are divided.

He added while this division always disappeared after every election, it was not the case after the 2011 elections.

Pointing out that the late MM Lee’s death brought the nation back together again, he called for a genuine diversity of opinions in policy making, and not to blindly follow democracy for democracy’s sake.

Even WP head honcho Low Thia Khiang referred to his words in his speech at Serangoon Stadium, saying that he agreed with Mr Ong in calling for a more united Singapore.

No wonder he’s being touted as a future office-holder.

7. Chiam See Tong proves he still has a long way to go

Despite suffering a mild stroke in 2008 which clearly affected his health, Mr Chiam showed us all that he still has the fighting spirit of a warhorse. This is a man, when being asked on Nomination Day if he was retiring from politics, said:

I’ve still got a long way to go.

Despite not standing as a candidate, Mr Chiam made the effort to appear at all the Singapore People’s Party rallies. His presence encouraged the crowd and energised his party’s speakers who would often cite him as a source of inspiration for their entering politics.

At every rally, he would speak slowly but surely, encouraging the voters to support the SPP candidates running in that ward. He would also thank them for coming.

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For the younger generation who haven’t really seen Mr Chiam in his stride, here’s a televised political debate from 1988 between some of the country’s biggest political icons.

Yes, you may recognise the two men in white with the 80’s glasses.

8. Harminder Pal Singh carries the hopes of the SDA

You may remember him from the 2013 Punggol East videos. I remember thinking, “wah, this guy can speak”. Well, he is a motivational speaker by trade and easily the best speaker in the Singapore Democratic Alliance lineup.

9. Lim Tean appears out of nowhere to lead the NSP

He first caught our attention on the Channel NewsAsia televised debate, holding his own as a relative unknown against the biggest guns of the other political parties.

He is, like Mr Harminder Pal Singh, also the best speaker of his party, speaking evenly and eloquently on important issues.

Too bad the rest of his team are a heavy burden to carry — his Tampines GRC team includes Mr Choong Hon Heng of ‘BOOOOOO THE PAP’ fame.  He also had to cover up for Cheo Chai Chen’s boo-boo, saying that he “did not mean to be derogatory towards mothers.”

Unfortunately, his presence did not help — there was nothing notable about the Tampines GRC results — but we think Lim Tean definitely gave a good account of himself at this elections.

10. Workers’ Party’s ‘Optimus Prime’ truck rolls out

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A 14-wheeler container truck made headlines when it was spotted at the first few Workers’ Party rallies.

Its brightly lit facade drew comparisons to Optimus Prime, the badass Autobots leader from the Transformers franchise. No other party had such heavy-duty support.

Unfortunately, we guess it drew too much attention as the driver was stopped by police and asked to take down the Workers’ Party slogan and logo.

As we sometimes say in Hokkien, it has ‘kee chia’, or ‘up lorry’, or “die already”.

11. The entire People’s Action Party

It was a dark day for the opposition, but the Men In White were jubilant. They had recorded an overall vote percentage of 69.9%, an increase of almost 10% from 2011’s 60.1% result.

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They also made improvements on opposition-held areas like Aljunied and Hougang  and took back Punggol East from the Workers’ Party. No matter how you look at it, it’s a win for the PAP at the 2015 General Elections.

12. This guy at a Workers’ Party rally

So we’ve already talked about the massive turnouts at WP rallies above. Surely anybody who went to any of their rallies would have been swept up with the fervour and high energy at these rallies.

Surely even the sternest of PAP fans would have been caught up with the excitement.

Evidently not this guy. Just check out what he did at WP rallies.

His antics were so popular, this tweet ended up being the most shared tweet of #GE2015 with over 4 thousand retweets.

We would just like to take a look at the balls of this guy.

You know, for science.

It’s been a good campaign

It’s said that ‘Reputation is temporary, character is permanent’. We’ve certainly learned a lot about these winners and their characters through their words and actions. Hopefully most of them will still be contesting in GE2020.

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Featured image via Tin Pei Ling’s Facebook.
With references from Singapore Elections Department.