And the prize for most endearing person goes to...
And the prize for most endearing person goes to...
- By Dannon Har
- | Jul 08, 2020
"The truth is, the PAP, in all likelihood, will have this mandate by the end of this election," said Workers' Party Sengkang GRC candidate Jamus Lim during a live debate broadcasted on CNA on Jul 1.
This was the preceding sentence to the now-famous quotable quote by Lim: "What we are trying to deny the PAP isn’t a mandate. What we are trying to deny them is a blank cheque.”
While the results of the Singapore General Election 2020 may in all likelihood turn out as Lim said, we think even now, many of the candidates in running have shown greatness in their own ways during their campaign trail.
So for the fun of it, whether or not they turn out to be our representatives in parliament after Election Day on Jul 10, these outstanding Singaporeans listed below have already won a place in our hearts and minds. Here, we hand out totally random awards for those we think are deserving of our recognition.
Most Endearing Award
Offering us that great sense of relatability and down-to-earth goodness is none other than Singapore Democratic Alliance's Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC candidate Kelvin Ong. Netizens have come to say that he looks like a typical "ah beng" selling handphones and screen protectors at neighborhood shops, but the former food delivery rider and current manager at a facilities management company has struck a chord with average Singaporeans because (in his words) he's just like one of us. And we tend to agree. We'd also like to give an honorable mention to Reform Party's Charles Yeo, running for the Ang Mo Kio GRC, for his (lack of) proficiency in Mandarin just like how many Singaporean Chinese are. He might not be winning any debates soon, but he sure is growing on us.
Sustainability Warrior Award
One of the most important topics of concern for younger voters is sustainability. Though generally an understated issue throughout the campaign period, it was Workers' Party's Raeesah Khan, running for Sengkang GRC, who can truly be given the title of a steadfast Sustainability Warrior. She has been an activist for environmental and social causes since she was 17 (what were we even doing at that age?), and when introducing herself to the electorate, she made it clear that sustainability and climate change is one of her top concerns for Singapore. PAP's Masagos Zulkifli deserves a special mention though, for being part of a talk early on in the campaign period that actually centred around sustainability.
While the lineup of candidates is still overwhelmingly male, the slight increase in female representation this year is a step in the right direction. And when it comes to matters of the heart, it's the women of this GE that have gotten us all flustered. Creating the most warm, fuzzy feelings in the cockles of our heart is none other than Workers' Party East Coast GRC hopeful Nicole Seah. Her girl-next-door allure aside, many have taken well to her genuine show of care and concern for the people she represents. One of the most touching moments has got to be an Insta Story she posted about a taxi uncle. After paying for her ride home, the driver actually offered, in his words, a "small donation of $200" to her to support the WP cause. Tears started welling up, and she insisted that the uncle keep his money during this difficult time, and that his moral support was enough. There goes our heart going "Bedok Bedok" again.
A person who gets back up to fight, no matter how battered, shows great resilience. And one true fighter this GE has got to be PAP's Heng Swee Keat, now gunning for a seat at East Coast GRC. He may have been pitted against social media darling Nicole Seah, but our Deputy Prime Minister and deliverer of national budgets (one of which was even called the Resilience Budget) has stood firm despite taking a beating, and we applaud him for that. From his unexpected move from familiar ground Tampines GRC to East Coast GRC, personal health concerns, to his fumbled speech on nomination day (“For our East Coast residents, we also have a plan for the East Coast. We have a East Coast, Singapore, we have a together and East Coast plan. We care at the East Coast”), we truly admire a man who can take so many hits but still stand resilient in the face of it all.
Hypebeast Influencer Award
There could ever only be one winner in this category, and it is Progress Singapore Party's Tan Cheng Bock, vying for a seat at West Coast GRC, that takes the cake. The 80-year-old showed off his knowledge of hypebeast culture via social media to better appeal to younger voters, which is especially important given the predominantly digital nature of GE2020. His claim to counter-fashion fame skyrocketed when he announced that he often wore glasses without lenses (how hypebeast is that!). He was also caught explaining in an Instagram video to his friend what "hypebeast" actually meant, in Teochew no less. A truly woke individual, the lovable doctor can be seen giving shoutouts to Insta-famous influencers too, firmly planting him as the reigning Hypebeast Influencer in Singapore.
The jury is still out on who the Most Valuable Player this general election is. But if you ask us, we'd say Workers' Party's Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) and PAP's Vivian Balakrishnan (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) both deserve to be in the final inning. Their bromance is something never before seen in Singapore, and might just be what we need for party lines to blur. When they squared off during the Jul 1 political debate aired on CNA, both performed admirably and with dignified respect for the other. Such civility and avoidance of petty brinkmanship in debate, while focusing on the intricacies of real issues, is exactly what we need in Singapore's parliament. Our future looks bright with these guys around.
All photos used in this article are taken from the respective candidate's Facebook page.