TBT goes to Bukit Panjang

Singapore Democrats

Gandhi Ambalam and Jufrie Mahmood saying it in ChineseThe first Tak Boleh Tahan campaign for 2009 kicked off in earnest today as SDP members and activists went to two constituencies — Bukit Panjang and Toa Payoh — to spread the message of the future of our economy under the PAP Government.

The activists fanned out into the kopitiams and wet markets distributing a four-page coloured flyer packed with information and illustrations.

As in the past, many of the residents having their morning meal ingested the information as quickly as they did their breakfast. A few at Bukit Panjang stood up to engage the group in conversation on the recent Lehman minibond fiasco. They were concerned about the loss of millions of dollars by the Town Council which had invested the money in the toxic financial instruments. The constituency is run by Dr Teo Ho Pin.

A resident in his forties, who identified himself as Jason Wong, said: “In the first place, why must the council collect exorbitant sums of money in conservancy charges and then go and invest it in high risk products? Town Councils should only mind the business of making sure the housing estates are kept clean and other amenities are adequate for the residents.”

A disgruntled Mr Wong complained that the management’s job is not to speculate through so-called investment managers in risky and dangerous ventures using our money that in itself is collected extremely over and above what is required for the short and long-term maintenance of our estates.

From the shopping centre, the group proceeded to more kopitiams in the area, passing through shophouses and stalls along the way and giving out flyers.

The breakfast crowd at the coffee shop facing the main Bukit Panjang Ring Road was visibly excited as the SDP members and supporters approached them wearing Tak Boleh Tahan T-shirts.

At one stage, some members of the morning crowd cheered and clapped enthusiastically after engaging and exchanging views with the TBT team on how the PAP is exploiting and marginalising ordinary Singaporeans.

A resident at Block 450, who wanted to be known as only Mr Jacob, said: “Now that I know your website and email address from the flyer, I would make it a point to read your blog and contribute my comments whenever necessary.”

The flyers quickly ran out. After close to two hours of distribution, the four-member TBT group sat down with residents to have coffee before calling it a day.

The story over at Toa Payoh Central where another group of SDP members and activists went was not much different. Residents were seen poring through the flyers and some were seen shaking their heads when they read about the prime minister’s salary. Clear many were feeling the impact of the recession and were unhappy about how the rich lived their lives quite divorced from the hardship they were going through. 

From the enthusiastic response, SDP and its supporters are encouraged to continue our walkabouts and to engage our fellow citizens. This is despite the series of court cases that the activists are facing for standing up for our rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

Note on the hearing that took place the last two weeks involving the activists distributing flyers at the Raflles City Shopping Centre: The case could not be completed in the two weeks (5-16 Jan 09) allocated. The trial has been fixed for resumption on 13-23 April 09.

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