On Tuesday, the 22nd of May, 2012, I witnessed something extraordinary.
It was the second rally. Speakers from the Workers’ Party lined up to say their piece. Vote Workers’ Party, vote Png Eng Huat. The crowd was large, the speakers were fired up. Everything appeared like it would in a typical Workers’ Party rally, only it wasn’t.
As the night progressed, rainclouds started to gather. A storm was brewing, and if you’ve stayed in Singapore long enough, you’d know it was going to be a big one. I was manning the merchandise booth together with other volunteers and wondered if we would end the rally early.
Every one of the speakers stayed on and the supporters followed suit.
Some came to take shelter at the merchandise booths. Some ran to nearby HDB void decks and understandably, some headed home. But at least 60% of the crowd remained, opening up their newly-purchased Workers’ Party umbrellas, floor mats, random cardboard pieces and anything else that could shelter them from the rain. New friends were made as those who had umbrellas scrambled to shelter those without, especially the women, children and elderly.
The speakers remained on stage, refusing to budge in spite of the rain and rejecting offers of umbrellas. If the supporters could brave the rain to hear them speak, they would make sure the rally went on. They weren’t about to retreat into their comfort zones. It was quite a funny sight, as their scripts were soaking wet and many of them tried, to no avail, to keep their glasses dry.
To be honest, I don’t think anyone really remembered much that was said after the rain fell, because another message rang loud and clear.
Rain or shine, the Workers’ Party is always here for you.
No theatrics, no empty promises, no fancy slogans. If you suffer, the Workers’ Party is with you. Rain or shine, we are here for you. We walk in your shoes, we live your lives, we understand how it feels not to have lift upgrading, sheltered walkways, lighted car parks and beautiful estates. We will find a way to provide for you, even if it means digging into our own town council funds.
The contrast between the Workers’ Party and the People’s Action Party could not have been starker. We do not have massive funds, land and resources to back us up. We will not be able to build beautiful estates and gardens, provide as many grants, subsidies and financial support. We do not even have a proper office (it’s a small room along Syed Alwi Road, with a dormitory housing Chinese workers next door).
Why would anyone vote for the Workers’ Party? Who would support the Workers’ Party?
People who believe in a better tomorrow. People who want a different Singapore. People who believe that there is more to life than beautiful houses, cars and shiny exteriors which hide rotting insides. People who want their children to have more than a certificate. People who would share umbrellas with their neighbours and take care of the less fortunate. People who believe in justice, fairness, freedom and democracy.
The very same people who refused to be chased away by the thunderstorm.
To the residents of Hougang,our bastions of democracy, I salute you.
To the volunteers, members and leaders of the Workers’ Party, I salute you.
To the rest of Singapore, there is hope for us yet.
Vote Png Eng Huat.
Vote Workers’ Party, Towards a First World Parliament.