Appearance on Channel NewsAsia forum

I represented the Workers’ Party at a Channel NewsAsia television forum titled “A political form for Singapore’s future”. The forum will be broadcast on Sat 2 April at 10pm on CNA, with a repeat telecast on Mon 4 April at 10pm on Channel 5. Here is the news report / curtain raiser for the programme

I represented the Workers’ Party at a Channel NewsAsia television forum titled “A political form for Singapore’s future”. The forum will be broadcast on Sat 2 April at 10pm on CNA, with a repeat telecast on Mon 4 April at 10pm on Channel 5. Here is the news report / curtain raiser for the programme:

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

23 thoughts on “Appearance on Channel NewsAsia forum”

  1. WP’s main argument why people should vote for WP seems to be that Singapore needs an alternative voice in the event one day PAP is no longer able to govern well. In that case I, like most Singaporeans, will be voting for PAP and not WP since even WP implies that everything is currently going well in Singapore with PAP in charge. I will vote for WP only when PAP is no longer governing well.

  2. @bluex
    The various WP leaders only gave a frank and honest assessment of it party membership being unlikely to be able to form the next government AT THE PRESENT MOMENT on its own, but that they are building up to it.

    Nowhere did WP ‘imply that everything is currently going well in Singapore with PAP in charge’. I challenge you to provide this evidence.

    In the absence of this evidence, it would be facetious to say ‘I will vote for WP only when PAP is no longer governing well’. In fact, I would offer that PAP’s governance vis-a-viz income equality, cost of living etc. is being called in question by increasing numbers of Singaporeans.

  3. @crescit

    Perception is everything. So far WP’s main argument is that Singapore needs alternative voices and not that PAP is performing poorly. If not, I challenge WP to argue how PAP is doing poorly. Otherwise I believe most Singaporeans, like myself, will be sticking with PAP in upcoming GE.

  4. @bluex
    I take it that you concur that WP did not say that everything is going well with PAP in charge. Thank you.

    I do agree with you, however, that WP needs to be more on the offensive with regards to PAP’s failed/failing policies, in order that the perception gap between press propaganda and reality may be closed.

  5. @crescit

    If things are not going poorly, it implies all is well. I thought there was no need to clarify such simple logic.

  6. @bluex

    You are making a fallacious argument there.

    Even taking your first statement at face value, absence of a negative – ‘poorly’ – does not imply a positive – ‘well’.

    More importantly, you still have not shown any evidence that WP has stated or implied that things are going well or even ‘not poorly’ with PAP.

    Which makes your premise for you and ‘most Singaporeans’ to vote PAP rather flimsy since it is not based on the reality of what WP have said but the perception you are trying to create here.

    I have said my piece and have no wish to be a last word merchant, so I rest my case here.

  7. @Crescit

    Instead of using logic, you are over-analysing semantics in order to disprove what I set out.

    I think you agree with me that WP has not said that PAP has done poorly. In that case, you would agree with me that we can infer either 1) WP thinks PAP has done poorly but has not said this about PAP, or 2) WP does not think PAP has done poorly.

    1) implies any of the following possibilities:
    – WP chose not to say PAP has done poorly because it had no evidence; or
    – WP chose not to say PAP has done poorly even though it had evidence; or
    – WP negelcted to say PAP has done poorly when it actually wanted to do so.

    You would agree if 1) is true, WP does not have the credibility or competence for Singaporeans to vote for them.

    We move on to 2) “WP does not think PAP has done poorly”
    which I had thought was straightforward. But I think what you are trying to say is that there is some neutral possibility between “poor” and “well”. If so, you are splitting hairs. But even going by this argument and there is indeed a neutral possibility between “poor” and “well” that let’s term as “ok”, this means that if WP thinks PAP is not doing poorly, WP thinks PAP is doing “ok” or “well”.

    Ultimately most voters will not vote WP for the sake of voting WP when even WP itself thinks PAP is doing ok. We just want whatever party that works for Singapore and we will continue voting PAP since it is doing ok. We do not start on WP’s side and we are not going to over-analyse semantics to try to come up with a defense for WP like you have done. It does not change our perception that PAP is ok. Thus I predict WP will win only Hougang SMC this GE.

    I’m ok for you to clarify further even though you said you rest your case, since I’m no lawyer and neither is this a court. And by “I’m ok”, I mean I’ll be able to take it “well” if you choose to continue this discussion, in case you interpret my “ok” as less than positive.

  8. Hi! I just watched the telecast, and I think you did the best among all the opposition politicians present. :) You presented very reasoned views, though I feel that you could have been more critical of government policy and more specific on what exactly the WP stands for. For example, you talked about how the formative years are very important, but didn’t elaborate on what policies your party has in relation to that. I can buy your argument on why we need an opposition presence in Parliament, but I was left wondering what else your party can do and what exactly its stance on some of the hot-button issues is. Hope you’ll be able to present that effectively to the public in the coming days. All the best for the elections!! :)

  9. The political forum was such a disappointment. The representatives from the opposition parties pale in comparison to those from PAP in terms of content as well as public speaking skills. Surely you’d expect them to come better prepared or send better speakers for this opportunity? Dr Vincent appeared the most grounded and confident but kept mentioning single anecdotes to substantiate his major points. He smartly raised several points which could not be rebutted by the Minister in the interest of time, though. Mrs Chiam in particular was so disoriented, especially in her final ‘I believe’ speech which was basically a mishmash of lofty ideals with no hint of her party’s direction or plan of action.

    The opportunity to sway voters at this political showdown was unfortunately lost.

  10. Just like to say that You and Vincent have done quite well.

    Keep it up!


  11. Gerald, way to go in representing your party on national TV.

    You had some nerves… Keep doing public talks and you will get used to it.

    I have one minor comment on the counter-question you posed to Finance Minister Tharman – the idea of 1 party steering the whole ship.

    You could have made for a stronger argument on WP’s behalf if you did not pose this question, but rather go straight to the premise that no nation should be without opposing checks and balances.

    Instead what you could have asked is challenge the so called “track record” they are asserting themselves to have as the justification of the 1 party rule.

    Your asking of “should we have a 1 party rule or should we have opposing voices” makes everything not as strong.

    Just a comment. But other than that, keep it up! I’m rooting for you guys!

  12. One more thing: PAP seems to have some penchant for saying, “Well if the opposition can field better candidates, I cannot see how they can rule Singapore”

    This is a loaded statement. It assumes that the candidates are not good enough. However you answer this question just exerts their statement that you are not “better”.

    Instead, challenge their credibility by pointing out that *despite* all the great accolades ON PAPER, how is it that the PAP has been unable to satisfactory address key national issues? The issue is not “better” candidates(on paper), but rather the performance that is being judged.

  13. Hi Gerald,

    0) Part 1 of the forum:

    1) I think you did well but I’ll say it as it is…

    Objectively*, this is how I’d rank the performance of each of the participants:

    #1 Tharman
    #2 Gerald
    #3 Jo Teo

    Honourable mention: Vincent Wijey.

    *I understand this is still subjective, as there is no objective measures for things like that. By objectively, I mean to say that my opinion takes into account neither my friendship with Gerald nor my political leanings.

    2) Tharman is a little hard to beat I suppose. He was sharp, he was well-prepared, he had the numbers, he was articulate, he took apart Vincent Wijey easily, and he skillfully picked his battles e.g. he virtually left the how-do-you-guarantee-PAP-will-never-fail question unanswered. (It says a lot when he chose not to directly answer the question you raised not once but twice, as compared to how he made a meal out of some of the numbers thrown at him.)

    3) The good news is, you have youth on your side. He is, after all, born in the 50’s and has got a good two decades over you. I’m sure given time, you’ll be at the same level. Your performance is sterling for a rookie. Wished I had a “fast forward” button to see how you will turn out in 20 years.

    One suspects Tharman was asking himself “Why the heck didn’t Gerald join PAP?”

    4) Nice touch there at the end… when Melissa Hyak said you have one extra minute and you let it go graciously. When it comes to the sting in the tail, less is often more. You may have lost a minute, but you probably won over hundreds.

    5) It seems that the WP is slowly but surely growing in stature and credibility, and is becoming a non-ruling party worth listening to. I congratulate you on picking the “right” party to advance the cause you so fervently cherish.

    6) I hope you are diligently taking Mandarin classes… looking forward to see you repeat the stunt in Mandarin some day. The importance of Mandarin in local politics will only grow with time.

    The Best Is Yet To Be… Go Singapore Patriot!

    An Old Friend

  14. Hi Gerald,

    You spoke eloquently and excellently in the show.

    Please continue to speak up on behalf of us.

    Thank you.


  15. Hi Gerald

    good job on the CNA forum, i thought you and Vincent presented your views clearly and scored some points w potential voters.

    however, i was abit disappointed that the WP’s vision seem to be that of a back up to PAP in the event they were not performing in future? thats not enough for me…

    i think alot of ppl want to see the PAP overwhelming dominance in parliament curtailed. Policies and laws affecting Singaporeans are often passed w/o meaningful, if any, debate.( CPF changes, FT policy, casino etc) a bunch of highly paid yes men (and women)! not to mention the issue of accountability (Mas Selamat, Temasek losses, YOG overbudget) we definitely need more opposition ppl voted in to stop the rot.

  16. I’m a big fan of Tharman. He’s a born debater, which I suppose was why PAP asked him to represent the party at the forum.

    Nevertheless, your performance made me sit up. You were articulate, your arguments logical, and your presentation well-reasoned, contrary to the popular image of deranged or intellectually inadequate opposition members. It was most refreshing to hear you speak, in contrast to the SDP chap who was most articulate but whose arguments were nonsensical.

    Looks like the Workers’ Party has a stable of extremely credible candidates this election. All the best. I’m in East Coast GRC, and will certainly support your party if nothing goes wrong before 7 May.

    PS: Can you please ask Low Thia Khiang to run in Aljunied GRC with Sylvia Lim? It’s the opposition’s only chance at capturing a GRC.

  17. This was the first time I was introduced to you (via TV) and you came across as measured, rational and firm. This is highly refreshing for an opposition party member. Looking forward to hearing you speak in Parliament.

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