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Walkabout at Jurong GRC: Chance encounter with Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam


When Mature People Meet….. Collaboration Becomes Possible

The walkabout at Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre on Sunday saw SingFirst achieving several “firsts”. This is what we mean:

1. First walkabout when we met a minister making his round at the same location

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2. First attempt in getting the members and supporters to take public transport to the walkabout location

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3. First largest turn out by our members and supporters

DSC_96434. First ever longest walkabout route

DSC_95095. First ever most photo requests by members of the public with our chairman and secretary general

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DSC_9637DSC_9636DSC_9624Taking the public transport to the location was our first attempt in building the bond and rapport between the members and supporters. This arrangement also allowed us to gain exposure and to publicise our party name. Everyone was enthusiastic and admitted that it was indeed a refreshing idea.

This walkabout was by far the largest turn out by our member and supporters. A total of 25 of us gathered at Lakeside MRT before making our way to Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre. SingFirst is encouraged by the great support by our members! It goes to show that we are growing in terms of membership.

As the market and food centre occupies 3 storeys with several units on each floor, it made its way into our record book for the longest walkabout route. Apart from the market and food centre, we also seized the opportunity to visit the nearby flea market. We were pleasantly surprised that many patrons at the market and food centre immediately recognized our chairman, Dr Ang Yong Guan and secretary general, Mr Tan Jee Say. We were even more surprised when several of them came up to the duo and asked for their pictures to be taken together.

The most pleasant encounter during this walkabout was the chance meeting with the finance minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He too was at the food centre greeting the residents. He was pleasant and greeted us with warm smiles and handshakes. We suggested having a photo together and he agreed without any hesitation. That wasn’t the end of our encounter with him. While taking a break from the walkabout at a nearby coffee shop, he came to us and said that the coffee shop has the cheapest food in the area.

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From this walkabout, we would like to highlight some interesting points from the residents and our brief meeting with Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

  • The residents recognized that there is a need for a political change in Singapore. They are also curious who will be the candidates for SingFirst and whether we are up to the mark to take on the ruling party in the next election. Many still bear the scars from the memory of the 1960s and 1970s during the tussle between Barisan Socialis and the PAP.

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  • They are sincere in their response when approached. The residents either stand up to greet or putting away their utensils to have a brief word with us. They also hope that SingFirst is able to do more to help the citizens.

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  • They hope to see in the coming election younger candidates with a credible party running for the public office and who can take on the PAP.

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  • MPs need to speak their language from the ground to represent them in parliament. They hope the MPs truly understand their plight.

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  • There is no need for scholars to stand for elections or be MPs. They just need someone who is able to understand their concerns and have a heart to feel and fill their needs. The Punggol East by-election is a good example where a caring candidate won despite a four-corner fight.

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  • The SingFirst logo is being etched into the minds of the Singaporeans. One elderly man said he recognized the logo because it resembles an ice cream brand.

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Mr Tharman’s encounter was an encouraging one as he is so open. SingFirst hopes to see more of such PAP politicians to engage alternative parties. Only with such openness can we then build a better Singapore and move Singapore forward.

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Taman Jurong walkabout was a new milestone set for SingFirst. We hope we will set a higher benchmark and be fortunate enough to meet more ministers or MPs in our future visits to the various GRCs.

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4 replies »

  1. Tharman gained respect?? Have you read this?
    Legal charge and conviction
    While serving as Economic Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 1993, Tharman was charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in a case involving the release of Singapore’s 1992 second-quarter flash projections to a research director, Raymond Foo, and economist Manu Bhaskaran, of Crosby Securities, and to journalists Kenneth James and Patrick Daniel of the Business Times.[9]

    The OSA case, which stretched over more than a year, was reported extensively in the Singapore press. Tharman contested and was eventually acquitted of the charge of communicating the GDP growth flash projections. Senior District Judge Richard Magnus then introduced a lesser charge of negligence, because the prosecution’s case was that the figures were seen on a document that he had with him at a meeting with the private economists which he had attended with one of his colleagues. Tharman contested this lesser charge too, and took to the witness stand for a few days.

    The court nevertheless convicted him together with all the others in the case, including the editor of Business Times newspaper which published the figures. Tharman was fined S$1,500, and the others S$2,000. As there was no finding that he knowingly communicated any classified information, the case did not pose any hurdle to his subsequent appointment as the Chief Executive of the MAS.

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