I am not at all surprised by the emergence of Dr Chee Soon Chuan as the star of the rallies.
My personal misgivings about his character and political agenda aside, I must admit he is a charismatic, passionate and eloquent speaker. In fact, I rate him as the best speaker among all the candidates, bar none.
Besides his oratorical skills, full credit must go to his PR team for turning his image around. Almost everyone I have talked to (about him) noticed the change in him. He appears to be more matured, more controlled, less confrontational and certainly less angry.
And it is further enhanced by all those stories he has chosen to present to the public. By now, who doesn’t know about his long and hard struggle with the PAP? Who wouldn’t sympathize with his spartan lifestyle after being made bankrupt by those lawsuits? Who wouldn’t admire his doggedness in carrying on the fight for democracy even after years of persecution?
In the minds of many people, he is the Jedi knight who dares to go against the Evil Empire of PAP… or so it seems.
BUT (a very big one)… if we were to look beyond the rhetoric and think about it: what has he actually done for Singapore and Singaporeans?
- While claiming to care deeply about the plight of low-income earners and the poor elderly folks, I have never heard of him initiating any project to help them, despite having a political party behind him.
No donation drive for them. No giving out of goodies on holidays. Not even organizing a free trip to the zoo.
It is one thing to flash pictures of poor folks collecting cardboards on his website, to write sob stories about them on his blog and to tell his audience at rallies about his “alternative economic policies”, it is quite another to take real concrete action to alleviate their pain.
- And also consider this: While he loves to liken himself to people like Gandhi, Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi, what has he done in comparison with those people?
All I can remember over the years was that he would frequently fly overseas to speak to the Western media, ranting about how un-democratic and oppressive Singapore’s political and judicial systems are (something which even his former mentor, Mr Chiam See Tong, were not impressed). So has those speeches improved the lives of Singaporeans or just helped in raising his profile?
Of course, I may be proven wrong in the future, he could really turn out to be the savior of democracy in Singapore, but at least for now, I am convinced he is someone who is more concerned about his own political ambitions than the lives of our fellow Singaporeans…