Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Friendship and Politics

This is the 10th Anniversary of my involvement in opposition politics but instead of feeling happy about this "unusual journey" that I have chosen, I just feel sentimentally strained.

Throughout these 10 years of active involvement, I have made quite a number of friends as well as unknown faceless foes. I have worked hard and contributed to both Workers Party's as well as National Solidarity Party's growth in two different periods.

I have special sentimental attachment to WP especially when I have contributed to the rise of WP in its re-branding exercise by helping to revamp the party and fighting the battle of Aljunied GRC in GE 2006. I would regard Mr. Low Thia Khiang as my first political mentor who have guided me through the formative years of my involvement. And I still respect him as the saying goes, once a teacher forever a teacher.

Along the way, I have made many other friends in WP who have up till now, still remain close friends.

My departure from WP was the darkest day of my political life. I have chosen to leave very quietly without much fanfare even though the pain within is just like a heavy stone pounding the heart repeatedly non-stop.

After a few months of self reflections and reassessment of the roads ahead, I finally decided to join NSP with strong persuasion from Sebastian Teo, President of NSP. Frankly speaking, at first, it was a cultural shock to me. I have to spend time adjusting to new party culture and such. I was asked to take up the Secretary General post when Law Sin Ling decided to step down but I declined because I know I still cannot fully integrate into the party just yet.

It was last year that I finally decided to take up the Secretary General post and from then on, it is a road of no return.

NSP has transformed very fast under the leadership of Sebastian Teo. Within a few years, we have revamped our newspaper North Star into one of the top selling opposition papers in town. Even some ex-WP comrades have told me privately that North Star is indeed better than other opposition papers. We have inaugurated the Malay Bureau and our membership has grown significantly.

Never would I expect that WP would have 3 corner fights with NSP in the coming GE. I am being torn apart as my loyalty for my party NSP has to be weighed against the friendship I have cultivated in WP. At one point of time I was even contemplating to be the one leading the team in Moulmein-Kallang GRC to fight out the impending 3 corner fight because it would not be fair for my other NSP comrades to bear the brunt of such aggression. I am totally disappointed but in a certain way, could understand why WP has to go into such aggression. For two parties which are growing rapidly, it is just a matter of time that such battles will be waged.

Although there will be more heart pain in the process of such 3 corner fights but the wish of having "friendly 3 corner fight" will really be wishful thinking. There can never be "friendly 3 corner fight" in politics when the stake is heavy where any one party could just lose their election deposits.

It is not a battle of politics for me but rather, a battle of sentimental emotions against upright reasoning. There is absolutely no reason for WP to step into Moulmeign Kallang and wasting resources in a battle that nobody can win when there are other places like Sembawang GRC which is just next to Nee Soon GRC which is not contested.

The main aim of all opposition parties should be winning a GRC, not going into 3 corner fight. This is especially so for WP which is viewed as the biggest party with the highest potential to wrestle Aljunied GRC from PAP in this coming GE. A 3 corner fight in a GRC with fellow opposition party like NSP is truly unnecessary distraction from the main mission.

But somehow, I think WP members have lost sight of the most important mission they have set for themselves for this GE. Many of the new members have not gone through the baptism of fire, least contributed to the re-branding exercise that we have gone through but yet they have such a "gungho" feeling that they are invincible and could possibly thumb down other parties.

It is with my saddest and painful heart that I have to fight for Singapore in a very unique way. Arrogance and head-swell syndrome are bad traits for Singapore politics. It will be a hard battle ahead but I believe that each and every voter will have a very clear mind of what fairness and good reasoning mean.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

"There is absolutely no reason for WP to step into Moulmeign Kallang and wasting resources in a battle that nobody can win when there are other places like Sembawang GRC which is just next to Nee Soon GRC which is not contested", unquote.

Meng Seng;
can You contest Sembawang GRC yourself or assemble a team to contest it? Or like the other opposition parties, You too want to avoid the Constituency? Any reason why no opposition is contesting said ward?

The most hopeless place may yield the best result, a freak victory maybe sweeter and more memorable. Voters in Sembawang will be similar to voters elsewhere, me am sure many are supporters of Alternative Parties. Do your best to put a team there.


Anonymous said...

Those whom are voting for PAP has no dilemma, for opposition voters...i say again:

My mission is very clear, that is to send oppositions into parliament so as to have real veto power to make sure legislations enacted are for the benefits of singaporeans.

The only party to benefit from a 3 cornered fight will be the PAP. The opposition votes are effectively broken into half, fragmented.

This is no good. Both opposition will lose your deposits and the elections dept (in the PM office) will be laughing to the bank with your hard raised money.

United front is what we singaporeans dream to see in our oppossitions.

i am hearten that SDA is not fighting mrs chiam in PP. Gentlemanly, i respect. The general public got eyes to see.

please, present a UNITED FRONT.



Anonymous said...

GMS, you are regarded a traiter
by WP. Govt has not yet announced
the election date, you have already
spread the dispute with WP into open, how can you be a good leader
without any patience and tactics
to bring the dispute into open
so soon. Must be low profile and
do not reveal your plan too early
otherwise PAP will be laughing
at the opposition paties.
you have not learnt your lesson
by discussing the problems online.

Anonymous said...

I am Moulmeign Kallang residents,I will vote opp party even the opp party candidate is a turtle.

07/03/2011 zaobao reported that a long Q (55 of AMK GRC residents) went to ask MP Lee Bee Hua to give $20 transportation voucher at last thursday evening , MP Lee did not reject any of them.

I don't know whether Moulmeign Kallang got PAP MP offer something like this? If they have I will bring my whole family and neighbours goto ask for it. I want to see they can afford to give voucher to how many residents.

If you can inform me then I will vote your party, If WP can inform me then I will vote WP.

Anonymous said...

I think you should not fight with WP over M-K. They are less likely to lose the election deposit and thus will not give in to u because of that. If election deposit is your concern, please dun do stupid thing. If not,be prepared to pay to proof your point. U sold your HDB flat at a good price in a good market. Dun worry! If got 2 oppo in M-K, I'll choose the more established one that u used to be from..hope u got my hint..

Anonymous said...

I stay in the now M-K too. I hope u guys can work it out. I will support opposition for sure..but if there are more than 1, I'll rather go for the more established one. All the best to you all! Jia You!

crescit said...

Dear Mr Goh,

if you could see these few preceeding comments as a microcosm of the ground sentiment in M-K, then you would see that the smarter thing for NSP to do would be to go for an uncontested GRC e.g. Sembawang.

Then your party would not be wasting resources in a contest you are less likely to win if it were a 3 cornered fight.

NSP would look more gracious, thus increasing the general positive feelings towards your party in all constituencies it is contesting.

Now is the time for NATIONAL interest, not PARTY interest. Bring down the juggernaut first to level the playing field. Then the parties' ideological fight can truly begin.

Anonymous said...

I will vote for the opposition party who is well established and
have proven itself. You are a deserter from WP and now you openly
scolding WP that in itself
you have made a grave mistake
in politics. Obviously, WP has
a better chance to win against PAP
, so don't waste your time in M-K
and go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Mr Goh. I have the highest respect for you and the work you done for your party. I would have voted for you or anyone from your party if it is just NSP and PAP.

With that said, if I have to choose between candidates from WP and NSP (including yourself), I would have chosen WP.

The reason is that WP has been fighting the hard fight for a long time. They have almost captured a GRC for past three elections if not for the gerrymandering of PAP.

As such, I feel they are the party most deserved to win. Also, I feel that with their blue-collar worker credo, they will most likely get the votes from the Ah gong, ah mah who are anti-PAP.

More importantly, they have pay their dues by sending "suicide-squads" to AMK GRCs to contest and have their people forge in baptism of fire.

As such, I request that you emulate Desmond Lim of SPP and not get your party into a 3 party fight with WP and pay your dues to send "suicide squads" to stand in wards like AMK, Tanjong-Pagar etc... You and your party will be respected for the better. You have to think long term and not short term. If WP wins, everyone will win eventually.

Goh Meng Seng said...

I would urge all my readers to have an open mind.

At first glance, you may just choose the party like WP but I think as matured voters, we should take a good look at the respective candidates as well.

NSP will be introducing candidates very soon for Moulmein Kallang GRC.

As the traditional methodology goes, if everything fails, we will just compare candidates to decide.

Goh Meng Seng

Anonymous said...

GMS, I think you are the one with
no open mind, if you do not listen
to the feedback. You deserve to lose. How many years have you been in NSP as compared to LTK who has proven himself in and outside paliament. I for one will not vote for NSP if you insist on your sturborness.

soojenn said...

"It is not a battle of politics for me but rather, a battle of sentimental emotions against upright reasoning. There is absolutely no reason for WP to step into Moulmeign Kallang and wasting resources in a battle that nobody can win when there are other places like Sembawang GRC which is just next to Nee Soon GRC which is not contested."

Why do you feel that there is absolutely no reason for WP to step into the M-K GRC?

You have indicated that there are other GRC's that are not contested, so why is NSP not considering these as you have recommended for WP to do?

"Arrogance and head-swell syndrome are bad traits for Singapore politics. It will be a hard battle ahead but I believe that each and every voter will have a very clear mind of what fairness and good reasoning mean."

The PAP are well known for their arrogance but look what they hav achieved to date even with their arrogance.. know your voters.

Who in the opposition are you insinuating as "arrogant" since you did not name it in you posting. You yourself have some share of this arrogance when you try to force your ideas of who whould stand fo which GRC when a 3-corner fight happens.

Like some of the posters said, you votes may increase in any other constituency in the event you decide to be the more gracious opposition party to move forward by going into another constituency.

market2garden said...

Wish your press conference today a success though I'm not sure about the purpose.

And yes, the newspapers (latest 2 - 2010 Vol 1 & 2011 Vol 1) that you mentioned indeed have "quality" even at a glance.

And for friendship and politics, I must say nobody is stupid, no singaporeans is stupid, no parties are stupid, no alternative parties are stupid, and all aware that the continued impact of past election (2006), this election (2011), and the election after 2011. It's also about the market share, the success of past unity conference (at least the past 3) is now its own nemisis.

market2garden said...

And nice talking to Dexter. As I'm struggling with my FB, difficulto to post message right now. Dexter has a certain quality of strategic and critical thinking.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I disagree that voters will vote based on candidates, unless the candidate's name is Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong, Lee Hsien Loong, Chiam See Tong or Low Thia Khiang. (Maybe perhaps Sylvia Lim)

The best NSP could come up with is Steve Chia, and even he could not win against Gan Kim Yong. Any new candidates you can come up with will be too new for people to care. Even if they have a PhD. (unless you have somehow able to net a PAP minister)

As such, people will vote base on party brand name and currently, WP has the best brand name among the opposition.

Let me put it this way, I would vote for any newbies WP put up versus any "veterans" NSP can put up simply because Low Thia Khiang will have the experience to mentor these newbies in managing town councils and do presentation in parliament.

More importantly, WP can reign in their candidates more, I believed. I doubt any candidate running as party of the party can do anything he likes without the party approval (e.g. voting in parliament or doing some major things in managing of town council)

Your best deal is to negotiate with WP. This time they hit M-K GRC but if they garnered less than 40% vote, next time is your turn.

Anonymous said...

I am the resident of Moulmein Kallang GRC. I hope that NSP will not be coming here to contest as it would mean that your team is going to lose the deposit. I'm pretty sure of that because most of the voters here will be supporting WP. The last thing we would want to see is for any of the opposition candidates loosing their deposits. Also, if the result turns out to be PAP 46% WP 43% NSP 10% Void votes 1%. Then you are screwed. You will be making a bad name for yourself as everybody will remember that faithful night when NSP spoilt the party of the WP and help the PAP to win the election. I'm sure everywhere that you go. You and your party will be cursed by many and they will not sympathize with you for failure to take back the deposit. Don't let this happen, go to Sembawang GRC please, that GRC is now flooded with PRC now. You will be regarded as a hero and you might just win it. but need to think of a way to make those new PRC citizen vote for you first. good luck.

Anonymous said...

The recent talking point show was first time I heard GMS speak. I was impressed with his confidence, cogency arguments and his ability to think on his feet.

Some weeks ago I spotted GMS at an AMK central coffee shop while I was having my dinner. What struck me was his generosity to an elderly woman who was going from table to table trying to sell packets of tissue paper. When she approached GMS, he did not hesitate to buy several packets of tissue paper from her. GMS was the only person in the coffee shop that evening who helped this elderly lady. I think he has a heart and will make a good representative for the ordinary man in the streets.

Anonymous said...

As a follow-up to my comment @ Anonymous 11.03pm,I wonder why no one seems keen on challenging PM's AMK GRC ward?

Given that part of Aljunied has been absorbed into AMK GRC, YCK as well (some condo residents here have lost land due to the N-S highway project)I think support for PAP may be wavering.

market2garden said...

Anonymous 11.08
Why not AMK G?
I suppose opp camp has the ill intention to let PM Lee to maintain his record (vote percentage lower than the national average) till his last day in the office. That was possibly for him the first and the last battle to fight as Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

GMS, please go contest in Sembawang GRC. I have many friends and colleagues staying there saying that they will vote for oppostion for sure. They are all sighing, saying that it's a shame that there's no opposition there and their miss to vote! So go for it!

Anonymous said...

NSP should contest in AMK GRC instead of M-K GRC. I'm sure he would be well liked for his recent foray at the AMK coffee shop. The prospect of a great showdowns between the PM and GMS...

Anonymous said...

As someone had mentioned.If in the event that WP failed to secure the majority vote to win because of NSP then NSP reputation will be further
dampened. Worst still if NSP loses deposit. Chances for the above 2 to happen is very high. Lose-lose situation for NSP.

Anonymous said...

First Singaporeans complain that opposition don't do their walkabout. Then suddenly walkabout does not seems to be important anymore. At least NSP do not work against and opposition. I give my support but I hope not to see a 3 corner fight. http://forum.channelnewsasia.com/viewtopic.php?t=414215&sid=71e63ad76fe6259fab1c0e9b4337f230

Anonymous said...

Me hopes that Meng Seng will take the suggestions, advices and reasons offered by commenters here.


crescit said...

Arsene Wenger had ultimate faith in his players - believing their passing game to be the best. Then came Barcelona. He did not have an 'open mind' in changing the style of play to thwart Barcelona. He wanted to 'compare' his players with Barcelona's head to head in the passing stakes. No plan B.

Guess what that inflexibility wrought him? Nothing. Utterly outpassed. No shots on goal. Just because he stubbornly refused to accept that, while his players may be good, quality is relative in any contest. And they were found out by Barcelona.

Hope you understand what I'm trying to get at. So many well meaning commenters here are saying the same thing.

We are behind you...please reconsider your tactics, in the National Interest.

coolingstar9 said...

In general election 2006, opposition supporters had about 3o over percents.
In theory, the 30 percent out of 84 seats should have 25 seats ( 25 opposition MP )but in reality only two opposition MP.
So, I think this 30 over percent opposition supporters, they hope is simple.
If this general election, if opposition can just win one more seat, these opposition supporters will be very happy like striking TOTO.
So, let us hope that moment to come.

CCoolidge said...


I hope you are not discouraged by the comments online. But I do think you should listen to a slice of the online community. Reality bites, but I am personally convinced that WP will get a lion share of the opposition votes.

Even if NSP manages to field all the ex-Reform Party members, their credibility has already been somewhat marred by the exodus episode. Furthermore, the layman on the street would more likely identify with WP than NSP.

Would backing down be fair to you or NSP?
NO, absolutely not.

However, politics is all about sacrifices for the greater good. If you're in it for the long run, this turf war would look trivial decades from now.

It's unanimous that there should only be one party to defeat. You should know better than me that if a three-corner fight breaks out, then the battle is lost even before it has begun.

By then, I would hate to see that NSP unfairly bears the brunt of the blame.

God Bless and all the best.

Anonymous said...

agree with most of the comments here.. you should leave M-K to the WP, even with your supposedly better candidates.

Why not go to other GRCs to give voters another choice? Tanjong Pagar is seriously in need.. test the old man a bit..

Anonymous said...

Frankly, personal ego aside, WP has a better chance wining votes from the anti-PAP and the middle voters. However, if NSP has better (objectively perceived by WP as well) candidates, why not contesting under WP's umbrella? With good candidates and WP brand which is more recognized by voters, chances of winning should be improved.

The recent not-happy-get-out-and -form your-own-party attitudes in opp. parties itself is a great hindrance to the development of strong opp. in singapore!

Anonymous said...

Strongly agreed, WP is a estabished
brand. the logo 'Hammer' is a strong emotional atraction esp for the working class and the poor,
I would strongly urge the NSP to pool resource with WP and contest
under 'hammer'. Time has proved that NSP is less attractive and have no chance of winning any seats
from past records.

The Void Deck said...

Hey Meng Seng

Just stay on the path and hold the line. As long as you are sincere in your conviction on what is best for Spore, voters can see that. Everything will fall into place in time.

market2garden said...

The Workers' Party was to contest the seat in the 2001 general elections, but its candidates failed to fill up the forms properly and were therefore disqualified.
Opp Parties Leaders / Candidates please ensure that no such thing happens to you even you have plan A, B & C etc.
Don't follow WP's footsteps.

Brian said...


Mr Goh MS,

I used to be a resident of Hougang and voted for WP in 2006. But have recently shifted to Yio Chu Kang about one year ago and hence is now under AMK GRC.

I was disappointed that WP is not coming to AMK GRC. Every opposition wants to attack the GRC that appears to have the weakest PAP GRC, but few dare to come and attack the strongest GRC such as AMK GRC, Marina Parade and Tanjong Pagar, where PM, SM and MM sits. If yr party does come to AMK GRC, i assure u my whole family would vote for yr party.

But seriously, between NDP and WP, I would still choose WP. I have viewed a couples of election debates and witnessed how Mr Low attempted to fight for us.

I don't think WP is arrogant but just confident because they have really put in a lot of resources in those areas that they have targetted. The types of "arrogant" that u perceived WP right now is different from the "arrogance" in PAP. And, i don't think it would be a good idea for u to blog about internal disputes about oppositions. At least, i don't see Slyvia or any WP commenting about the disunity of opposition in their blog.

What citizens need is to have a team of leaders whom can implement policies of interest to Singapore and the citizens, be it from ruling party or oppositions. An opposition job is not to deliberate find faults with the ruling party but to critique - praise if the policy is good and criticise if the policy is bad.


Anonymous said...


Take a SMC. Gain a foothold in parliament.

In fact, Sylvia Lim, Tony Tan, Hazal, KJ and yourself MUST enter parliament.

Through SMC. LTK maintain SMC and CST if still remain in PP will most likely stay in parliament, that will make -

7 oppositions. God's perfect number.

Firm foundation for 2015/16 election.

Anonymous said...

I am very concern on Firdaus presence with you.

Please educate your party member.

I am a Tampines resident and no way i gonna vote for you!

Anonymous said...

Since NSP is so persistent in sending a team to M-K GRC. No point wasting time giving advise or feedback.

I call upon the residents of M-K GRC to vote for the more established oposition party which is the WP should there be a 3 cornered fight.

Don't split our votes, it is essential to send a clear signal to the ruling party that what we have had enough.

Remember don't split our votes!

Anonymous said...

NSP may actually win Tampines with some newly joined ex-RP candidates as we know lots of people hate MBT...

But, but accusing WP in the open for being high handed, and holding press conf to declare its newly joined ex-RP candidates to contest the KM GRC... you're closing the door for WP to negotiate for a win-win resolution. I wonder who's actually being high handed

Goh Meng Seng said...

I have to reiterate here, Firdaus is NOT NSP member, neither does he represents NSP in form.

Goh Meng Seng

Opposition supporter said...

Dear Mr Goh,

Please do not involve in a 3 corner fight. It is a waste of resources. Do you know that many voters are anxiously waiting for opposition party to contest in their ward ?

They can' t wait to see as many opposition parties as possible are voted into the parliament.

This is our only one and last chance to save the true blue singaporeans before they become the minorities in their own motherland.

Anonymous said...

Mr Goh,

Don't have 3-corner fight, ok? You think you announce early so WP will be blamed for setting up the 3-corner fight issit??

Please lah, you're wasting your good candidates like that...

Come contest in Tanjong Pagar lah.. we need good candidates there to give the old man a test and a scare..

Anonymous said...

One to one, opposition candidates are underdogs.

3 corner fight ? No chance !

Anonymous said...

no offence, 2 or 3 corner fight...i predict u will lose.

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Friends, supporters and readers,

It is official. NSP will give up Moulmein Kallang GRC to WP and Yuhua SMC to SDP.

Goh Meng Seng