In every election, there’s bound to be heroes, wayang acts, biased journalists and my favourite of all – commendable characters. So here’s my personal list of top 10 this GE.
10. Ong Ye Kung (PAP)
From the rookie casualty of GE2011 to a successful candidate in GE2015, somehow Ong Ye Kung has left a deep impression. He didn’t seem too attention-seeking but sincere when he speaks. My favorite was during the press conference after the results were announced.
He had said that GE2011 wasn’t a failure but a setback, which turned out to be a liberating experience allowing him to gain more experience in different environments. It showed his determination and connection to the ground, without sugarcoating on the problems he had observed.
Some MPs do not speak up. Some speak up excessively, making reckless comments. Others, like him, speak little but get straight to the point. I like.
9. Dennis Tan (WP)
While he may not be the most charismatic or academically-prominent character in Workers’ Party, Dennis Tan has proven himself to have great discipline and Workers’ Party interest at the very core of his thinking – disciplined and straight to the point but not extreme.
My favourite part is his speech when the results were out, which is also a good example for WP and some fellow party members especially. He embodies the WP that I used to know to a large extent.
8. S. Iswaran (PAP)
I’ve never liked the Nomination Day procedures, especially the nitpicking part. Maybe there’s a point in penalizing parties for the smallest mistakes but I think that’s lame in modern context.
But when Iswaran found the mistake in Reform Party’s form, I appreciate the way he handled the matter, informing RP and actually allowing them to make the due changes as he didn’t want win by default due to technicality.
Additionally, if you actually watch the video of when it happened, he didn’t laugh at Kenneth but instead, pointed him in the right direction with a sense of urgency. Two thumbs up for him.
7. Loke Hoe Yeong (SPP)
One of the youngest faces in Singapore People’s Party, Loke Hoe Yeong is also the biographer of Mr Chiam’s story, “Let the People Have Him”. While he may not be a good speaker at rally, I believe that there’s a lot of potential in him.
If anything, I’d have expected young aspiring politicians to join Workers’ Party because of their reputation. So I was surprised that Loke, who happens to have the same abbreviation as me (LHY) haha, chose to join SPP. At the rally I attended, he also brought up some important questions that I had –
- Singapore’s economic strategy to attract foreigners is outdated;
- What is the absolute limit of human’s population and where do we go when we hit 6.9million?
- For new citizens brought in to increase birth rates, their parents may also add to our silver tsunami, isn’t it?
I think he has great potential as soon as he brushes up on his bilingual public speaking skills and charisma. You should know better than to read from a script!
6. Osman Sulaiman (RP)
In a trend where candidates from various parties are competing who has a worse sob story of their growing up years, I appreciate Osman’s honesty that his was far from it.
He covered a range of topics that may not be entirely practical but do bring people’s attention to them, such as the pay of NSmen, the widening gap of the rich and poor, the elderly pension as well as child-bearing benefits. He is also a relatively charismatic speaker of the bunch, looking and sounding the part.
5. Darryl David (PAP)
To be honest, after my previous disappointing encounters with the MP, I was having mixed emotions about meeting the newcomer Darryl David. But due to a twist of fate, he happened to be on a walkabout in our area just as I was returning home.
He appears to be friendly, genuine and sincere, unlike the previous MP, so that was a good first impression. When I saw him again at another coffeeshop another day, he seemed to get along with the team well, without an air of arrogance. Would love to see what he’d be up to in parliament next.
4. Devadas Krishnadas
(CEO of Future-Moves Group, CNA Guest Analyst)
Among the few guest analysts invited onto the Channel News Asia live telecast of nomination day and polling day, Devadas Krishnadas is one of my favourites with his slightly conservative but well-balanced viewpoints (unlike a particular someone else). Despite his lukewarm charisma and insistence on balance of perspectives, some things he say are still pretty insightful, such as the importance of bringing up more topics this election instead of focusing on certain things like immigration policies.
3. Glenda Chong (CNA Anchor)
One of the most impressive news anchor I’ve seen so far. I don’t know much about her before this election, but it was impressive seeing her report on Nomination Day, able to fill the blank spaces with facts and figures. There are certain reporters who tend to be outright biased in their live report from nomination centres and I appreciate Glenda’s insistence for them to report on the opposition party statuses, throwing question back at the reporter even after the latter has ended her report. This is the kind of balance in media that we need and I hope to see more of her as the anchor in the future rather than the biased few.
Secondly, she also did an impressive job on the night of September 11, doing a report on the results. I’m assuming that there’s some sort of “advanced green screen” effect in the studio with the map set, and she did a great job simplifying the numbers.
2. David Chan
(Professor of Psychology; Director, Behavioural Sciences Institute, School of Social Sciences, SMU)
My absolute favourite analyst at this year’s election, an a comfort to see on counting night. Why? Compared to Devadas Krishnadas, David is more daring in his analysis of the results and raised many highly thought provoking points, such as
- Ruling party and opposition support about one-third each, they call it a “swing” because the remaining 40% all went to PAP in unison
- Some who voted for PAP may not be happy with the results because they thought that others would vote for the oppositions
It’s a pity there were so many people in the studio that night, because I would have loved to hear more about what he has to say. Also, it would be great if he could be around for Nomination Day, helping to fill in the gaps with constructive and interesting (albeit slightly controversial) viewpoints.
Here’s an interview with him by ST that is worth reading: [CLICK]
1. Lina Chiam (SPP)
To be very honest, before I saw Lina Chiam at their rally, the impressions I had of her are – not highly-educated, auntie-like and somewhat riding on Mr Chiam’s legacy. But it was a humbling lesson for me (haha, I learn from the best) to see her in this election.
For one, she has the right focus on the issues in the heartlands and talks about what PAP has done to Potong Pasir that affects the livelihood of family businesses. She tackles issues, not people.
Secondly, if I were in her shoes, I don’t think I’ll have her courage to speak up in parliament. Yes, her English is a little uncomfortable to hear, but she actually has substance. Although she was a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, she still spoke up for her people actively. My favourite quote from her was when she was asked what topics she would like to speak up about in parliament, and she said
“I will speak on all issues that affect Singapore.”
Although she lost the chance to be NCMP after this election, I admire her humble and positive attitude unlike some other opposition leaders. While she hasn’t decided if she would run for election again, she kept it open in honestly, and still thanked the people on a very personal level. The younger candidates from political parties have a lot to learn from her. And yes, don’t judge a book by its cover. You have to attend the rallies to really tell substance from s*.
These people did not make it to my list of top 10 but I think their improvements are commendable too.
Pritam Singh (WP)
From the random unknown candidate of Workers’ Party in 2011, Pritam Singh has made tremendous improvements in his public speaking skills over the past few years, and left me with a deep impression. There was more confidence and less fidgeting.
He also spoke in a way that is digestable, touching on topics such as
- Parliament super-majority of a party has to be cut down to reverse state of some matters
- Town councils with political agenda is punishing opposition supporters
Roy Ngerng (RP)
I first saw Roy Ngerng speak at #FreeMyInternet protest at Hong Lim Park years ago. Although I have forgotten what he had said then, I still have an impression of him being charismatic, firm and well-prepared.
Seeing him speak at the Reform Party rally is a similar but better experience. He has the talent of getting to the bottom of issues and understanding the core promise that the people want to hear. Particularly his statement that “I will get into parliament, research on policies and debate on them” struck a chord within me because it makes him one of the few candidates who saw what the election is about – it isn’t an end of revolution, but a beginning to do more work in order to serve the people.
Great job on that, and I hope he persists in what he does best, start walking the grounds ASAP and make even more improvements in the next election.
Another candidate I had judged by looks until I heard him speak. Benjamin Pwee actually has a lot of passion and insights in politics. He was once in PAP youth wing, then he became the chairman of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and then gave up the idea of contesting in Potong Pasir and joined forces with SPP.
Background-wise, he was in the civil service but then went on to the private sector. If you really hear him speak, he has a lot of insights about how government in Singapore can learn from other countries he has been to, and he’s also careful with his words.
Maybe the one thing that’s putting him down is his political image. He strikes me more as a religious person that lacks the charisma to attract media and mass attention. But that should be an easy thing to fix with professional help and social media presence in the long run.
MIA – Glenda Han Su May
She’s one of the few rookies I remembered amidst the elections buzz back in 2011 and I was a little disappointed that she’s missing from the Workers’ Party team of candidates this year. Hopefully she’ll be back after settling down in her marriage. 🙂