Reading about Mr Chiam See Tong

My mum used to tell me that Chiam See Tong ‘chiam seetong’ Potong Pasir for many years. Growing up, I was greeted with “Chaim See Tong won Potong Pasir again”.

It is a pity that Lina was unable to regain the Potong Pasir seat and I view that residents want the estate to be equipped with better facilities and amenities.

The CST era may be over…..

But let us not forget what this man has done, the battles he fought and what he stood for.

Here are some bite-size information that I collated:

Early battles:

– GE 1976 Cairnhill

– By-Elections 1979 Potong Pasir

– GE 1980 Potong Pasir

– GE 1984, Potong Pasir

He lost in 3 elections before winning electoral division of Potong Pasir in 1984. Mr Chiam garnered 10,128 votes while Mah Bow Tan took 6,674.

Taught at:
-Raub, western part of Pahang at Mahmud Secondary School
-Cedar Girls’ Secondary School

Fun Facts:
-Excelled in swimming and badminton
-Is an ACS boy
-14 years age gap between Lina and him
-First time he gave Lina flowers was because there was an old lady selling them
-Held his first rally campaign at his Newton Court home
-First started contesting in election as an independent candidate

First date with Lina:

-Went to the grave of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery East in North London.
-Lina did not know who Karl Marx was.
-Would always tell this joke when people asked about story of his first date – “Why were there suddenly so many people at the grave of Karl Marx? Because it is a Marxist Conspiracy!”

His Volkswagen Bettle:

-Bought a white 6 month old Volkwagan Beetle for 3,000 pounds in UK. Changed the color to purple in the later years.
-Christened it Herbie.
-Drove the car from London to Singapore by land and sea.

Election Strategy: Serial number on ballot papers
-He knew that presence of serial number on ballot papers and specimen poll cards will cause voters to think that PAP can find out who voters vote for.
-This instilled fear in people.
-Decided not to speak about it to prevent drawing attention to the issue.

Election Strategy: Whispering campaign/Reverse psychology
-Someone would keep a distance behind walkabouts and shout to the people around: “Stupid man! Can be a lawyer but don’t want. Join politics for what?”

Doing the right thing:
-Chiam reached out to the High Court seeking damages for slander made in those elections speeches by Dhanabalan and Howe Yoon Chong. Both ministers issued letters of apologies and the lawsuits withdrew.

Strawberry generation

Use of ‘O’ Levels results by MIW
-Compared MBT – ‘O’ Levels – 6 distinctions, 2 credits to CST – 6 credits, 1 pass.
-This move misfired and MIW got the results wrongly
-CST results were 7 credits, 1 pass
– Voters identified themselves more with Mr Chiam -With his ‘O’ Levels, making it as a lawyer and cared enough to be a politician.

The above were some of the interesting history that I read about. Sadly, I don’t see anyone like him in the other camp.

I’ll end this post with the Mr Chiam’s maiden speech at the dispatch box.

“Mr Speaker, Sir, this is my first debate in Parliament and I believe that at the outset I would like to state my position in relation to Parliament and in relation to the nation.
I shall be a loyal opposition, loyal to the Constitution, loyal to the nation, but not loyal to the ruling party. My role in Parliament is to contribute to nation building. We are a very young country and we have much to do in terms of nation building. Nation building must not be the sole concern of the ruling party. The opposition is equally responsible in nation building. In fact, the whole nation must be responsible for that”. (Source – Page 196, Let the People have Him , Chiam See Tong: The Early Years)

strawberry singapore

Jamie – Rise of The Strawberry Generation (RTSN)

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