“Courage” seems to be a key word in the PAP’s by-election campaign with candidate Desmond Choo and Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat mentioning this a few times when urging the Hougang residents to vote for PAP.
In his final rally speech last night, Desmond cried aloud: ” There is another way, another path forward. It involves change. It involves courage. It calls for conviction – to step forward to write a new chapter!”
And Swee Keat supported this cry with: “I believe the residents of Hougang have sentimentality, integrity and courage…I don’t need to elaborate on your sentimentality and integrity here. But what about courage? It is the courage to say goodbye to the past, the courage to choose a new future”.
Hello! If I were a Hougang resident I would be insulted by what they said. Hougang, with its track record, should be the last constituency in Singapore to have their courage questioned. What do Desmond and Swee Keat think the Hougang residents have been doing over past two decades? Hougang residents, in the main, have been the bravest of the brave among Singaporeans in daring to vote for change again and again for the better good of the nation. If I had my way, this special breed of heartlanders should be awarded an equivalent of the Purple Heart star for daring to go against the grain, against the most powerful political party in Singapore and for defying the odds despite being bullied across generations.
On the other hand, it takes no courage to vote for PAP as it is the safe road, the route to material comforts of upgrading and the way to keep Singapore in the exact same mould shaped by the same party.
Real courage is what many of the Hougang residents have already shown us – by daring to defend their belief in democracy and helping Singaporeans gain more alternative voices in Parliament. And they have kept at it no matter how much free porridge and threats are thrown at them. Now that is real courage.