Let me get one thing straight - I have very little knowledge about the upcoming election, except for what I read in the papers, see on TV and find in the social media.
Having said that, I do have quite a lot of time and respect for our local MP in Sengkang West, Dr Lam Pin Min. I have met Dr Lam on a few occassions now, the most recent being at Fernvale Point this morning. Off to an early start for a Sunday, I met up with a number of my fellow Grassroots members (CCMC and RC) and neighbours from the local community at the Koufu food court.
The atmosphere was quite abuzz, with the arrival of Dr Lam not long after we started sipping on our Kopi. As usual, he was immaculately groomed and the admiration and even friendship displayed to him by all of the community members present, was immediately apparent, as he moved from table to table to engage in conversation with everybody in attendance... my most amazing observation, was how he recognises and knows so many people personally. So much so, that I was somewhat embarrassed later after the gathering - Dr Lam remembered in which block I live, and questioned me as to why I drove the short distance of only a couple of blocks... I told him it was because I was feeling lazy - although half true, the actual main reason was that 8:00am on a Sunday is very early for me. If I didn't drive, I would've arrived even later than I already did.
During the breakfast, I was treated to my first real exposure to politics in Singapore. I turned to see a huge procession of 'baby blue' T-Shirts. I was told by one of my mates, that this was one of the opposition parties... talk about 'full force'! They moved along like a parade of dignatories or royalty - single file, shaking hands with everyone in their path, and distributing brochures all the way.
When they arrived at our table, the apparent 'leader' of the group shook my hand and asked "Where are you from?"... not sure of the actual intention of the question, I responded "Singapore" (after all, I was only 2 blocks from my home)... this brought about laughter among his ranks, and led to his next question (which seemed somewhat 'loaded') - "Oh, are you a citizen?"... now I understood the intent - maybe his original question could have been better worded as, "Will you be eligible to vote in the election?"... needless to say, I was not given a party brochure. :)
With my hand ready to cramp up from the multitude of handshakes that ensued, as the rest of the blue shirts passed me by, I was not all that surprised to see the gathering of media already buzzing around... I saw at least Channel News Asia crew and became aware of the Straits Times journalist when he approached me immediately after the blue shirts and also asked if I was PR or Citizen.
Anyway - what started as a very simple breakfast with local friends, ended up as somewhat of a political event... the reason I suggest in the topic of this article that it was (or is) a challenge for the opposition, is that regardless of what one might read or see in the news, after talking with so many of my neighbours and friends and those in attendance, the support for Dr Lam Pin Min seems somewhat overwhelming. He has undoubtedly done so much good for this community already, and I'm sure he will continue to do so in the future... I suspect that the opposition really does have their work cut out for them in this SMC.
Shortly after leaving Fernvale Point, I went home and collected the family, donned my Sengkang West Zone E, RC T-Shirt, and we trekked back across to Block 412 for what was a very successful block party (Family Carnival).
A huge congratulations to the RC organizers and volunteers - the kids were running around with permanent smiles on their faces... and I understand that tickets to this event were sold out completely well in advance. It was also wonderful to see residents digging into their pockets to help out in the 'Japan Disaster Appeal'!
Below are a few pictures from the event - and by clicking here you can see even more!!