Some days back, a friend wrote about his choice in Aljunied. Today, he wants to give you an insight into what is happening now that he has exercised his choice. Essentially, they need all the help that they can find. [Note: Please read the follow-up here.]
Many years ago, I told Sylvia Lim, if she were elected in any constituency, I will come help her make a difference on a non-partisan basis. I am pleased that I will finally make good on that word.
Dear friends of Aljunied and Singapore,
I wish to thank my dear friend, Dharmendra, who has graciously allowed me to voice my thoughts here. I also thank the brave souls of Aljunied who have taken the leap of faith with me. And the many many many of you who have showered us with your blessings, your comforting words and your love. We at Aljunied are indeed a privileged lot. Or are we?
Today, after mulling over for many times over, I decided to write this second essay. This time, addressing what is the situation on the ground and what needs to be done urgently.
So let me start.
When the Workers' Party won by a margin that was more than they probably dreamt of, the only member of the winning team who knew what to expect was Mr Low Thia Khiang. By this, I mean that he and only he alone knew what the PAP would be doing next.
As everyone is aware by now, rumours have been flying around that cleaning services have been terminated and thus, refuse is just lying around, making it a “slum”. And now, the rest of us know.
Now now, my dear friends, this is not the problem. This is a temporary hurdle that we need to cross. And everyone is watching, those who support us, as well as those who deride us.
This piece is from my heart. And I hope you will receive it in faith and address the immediate concerns at hand, which I believe will be solved with everyone's help. Those of you who have friends in cleaning services or any of the activities listed below, please help us out.
On the surface, nothing has changed in Aljunied. But hear hear, a great deal has changed. And not for the better mind you. The day after the Great Day, notice boards were stripped of everything they held save the brackets. I believe even that was due for taking down as I saw some of them trying to remove those boards to no avail.
Rubbish bins placed around the neighhourhood were immediately removed so people now had to go back into their houses to throw things away. Suddenly, everything WAS MADE TO STOP WORKING.
I am only thanking my lucky stars that the water in my pipe and the electricity has not stopped.
I drove around the whole of Aljunied yesterday from 8am to 3pm. The sights of what I saw will be what I will be sharing with everyone shortly.
In a lot of places, rubbish has not been cleared. Cleaning contractors do not don their familiar t-shirts bearing the Aljunied Town Council logo any more. A lot of them (those who I saw working) were wearing their own clothes. The posters of the PAP have been removed. In their places, bare rostrums of steel gleam brightly awaiting their next banners.
A lot of blocks have not been swept. There is litter and leaves and what nots on the grass that the little children play on. The green grass that the elderly walk on. The green grass that the cats eat when their stomachs are in pain.
I do not understand this. Why are the children, the babies, the elderly and the innocent being punished like this? Won't we recoil in horror if we saw our little one walk and pick up a piece of rubbish on the ground and put it in her mouth?
Would we not yell out in horror if our aged mother or father slipped and fell? Or shake our heads in utter disgust when the stench in the air is so powerful and yet our aged parents cannot walk fast enough to escape the smell due to their age?
Is this what we pay our taxes for? Is this what we call a First World Nation? Is this what is called “Care”? What happened to the 45% who voted for PAP? Are they supposed to suffer as well? What about their children? And their parents?
Where are you, George Yeo? Where art thou? He who speaketh of reform!
But frankly, there is no need to panic my dear friends. We have committed on a journey. We will see it through. And we do not need our former poster Ministers to aid us. We will do it ourselves.
But that which unfolds over the next few days and weeks, will reveal to the people, in graphic detail, how we will be chastised by the establishment and yet, how brave a people we are in Aljunied.
And more importantly, how this current Government will “listen” to alternative voices and “care” for everyone. I mean, that is what our pledge says right? Regardless of race, language or religion.
Our immediate concern: We need help in getting some cleaners into our estates really quickly. Those who have the means or contacts or friends, please do so... quickly!
MPS (Meet-The-People Sessions)
Let me touch on this briefly. I will be outlining in a separate piece on the mechanics of it again later.
MPS is currently the only way that our MP can now interact with us. It typically happens once every week and that too, within a certain time period.
We need to find a way to circumvent this limitation. Otherwise, everybody will be overwhelmed. Let me explain.
When a PAP MP writes a letter, residents will accept whatever the petition writers told them.
“They will reply you in two weeks.”
“They will let you know in a few days, you just wait for the letter.”
With our new crop, people will be coming in to DEMAND. And I will naturally think that these will be “orchestrated” for some reason, or genuine, I really don't know.
I expect the first session to be challenging. But hell, we are used to challenges by now. So those of you who can volunteer time, stationery, water, writing materials, printers, laptops and so on, do speak with our team (Mr Low and company) and determine how we can solve this quickly.
Our new MP will need all the help he can get. So those of you who are professionals – lawyers, doctors, lecturers and so on - please put aside time to aid those who need help. People who cannot write letters can type the letters. Those who cannot type can call out the numbers. Those who cannot call out the numbers can do some translation work.
There is work for everyone my dear friends. And we need to turn out in numbers to aid those who need our help. To ensure that NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. Even in these trying times.
My dear friends of Aljunied and Singapore, we the residents need you to rally around us to lift us. We have made history by making the impossible possible. Now, join us in our journey to rebuild our country, one step at a time, one person at a time. Join us in our endeavour to never let ANYONE bully us into submission.
I leave you with the wise words of Winston Churchill: "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."
An Aljunied Resident
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