When the by-election was first announced a couple of weeks ago, my colleague confidently declared that the Hougang ward will revert to the PAP. I thought it was not likely as that will require a 15% swing, given that the last incumbent, Mr Yaw Shin Leong, secured about 65% margin of victory in the 2011 GE. Given that nothing very drastic has changed since then, except for the sacking of a sitting MP by the Workers Party, there was no real reason for the swing. Of course political commentators and letters to the press suggested that Hougang residents are finally ready to throw in the mantel of "sacrificial lamb" in favour of inflating their property prices through the behest of a PAP MP. But it appears that this is the minority view. The people of Hougang appears to continue to like the WP and returned the Hougang seat to them.
It was comical indeed, last night, when I was catching the press conference by the losing team. In the first one, Mr Desmond Choo was totally hidden behind the cameras and I could hardly hear what he said. And I was not the only one. A reporter at the scene made the same point and had Mr Choo repeat what he said, but his face was still hidden. Much later, CNA interviewed him again, without any other reporters in sight. DPM Teo was again standing next to Mr Choo, now in full view, saying the same thing for the 3rd time. The whole thing struck me as rather amateurish. Certainly the whole thing was not as carefully stage-managed as one would expect of the PAP machinery, but I suppose they weren't in the mood anyway.
My sympathies go out to Mr Choo. I don't know him personally, but from news reports leading up to polling day, I could see that he was working hard, and appeared to have the residents' interests at heart. I don't doubt his sincerity. He appears a good man. Young, handsome, energetic. What's not to like about him? His only problem is that he is with the wrong party, on the wrong side of the fence, so to speak. So what if his influence got Hougang a free legal clinic and whatnots. The benefit of these appeared unproven to 62% of Hougang voters. I think the WP also noticed Mr Choo's sincerity. At least MP Png Eng Huat (aka Huat Ah) appears to be able to get along with him, hinting at a cuppa or more with him in the future. Maybe Huat Ah can, in time, persuade Mr Choo that his political future in Hougang is with the WP, i.e. if he still wants to stay around in Hougang. Otherwise, he will have to wait out Mr Png's health before finally getting elected, like Mr Sitoh Yih Pin of Potong Pasir. But this is WP, so you can bet that there will be another good WP candidate then. Why shouldn't that candidate go by the name of Desmond Choo? He should just join the WP, shadow Huat Ah for the next 4 years, get the residents to know him as the Low Thia Khiang anointed successor to the Hougang seat, and stand as a WP candidate for Hougang. I am sure the reluctant Huat Ah will be more than willing to step aside. The fastest way into Parliament, I'd say, though at the "wrong" side of the bench.
Its his choice but it will give the PAP a fit.