Behind Saturday’s pre-election rally which caught much attention, something else was going on behind the scenes. Exercise Lightning Block, which we announced two weeks ago, was simultaneously taking place.
The Exercise, a simulation of the activities during general elections, was held over the same weekend as the rally at Hong Lim Park was held. This arrangement of organising the two activities together was to put the party machinery under pressure.
The objective was to gauge our capability in response to the stresses and strains of the GE, and identify the weak spots so that we can rectify them in time for the real campaign.
A debriefing was held at the end of the exercise where all involved critiqued the operation. Our evaluators submitted a preliminary report which pointed out several critical areas that we had to take note of and strengthen. A detailed written evaluation will be provided.
All in all, we had reason to feel encouraged because Team SDP came through with a good grade.
Director of the operations, Mr Jeffrey George, said: “On the whole I was quite happy with the major functions and sub-teams in their performances although there were areas that we needed to beef up.”
“I think it was a job well done and I want to thank everyone, members and volunteers, for their hardwork and dedication.”
Simulated activities were planned in considerable detail right down to the hiring of transportation to ferry our supporters to filling up nomination forms.
The Exercise commenced on Friday 24 Sep 10 and ended on 26 Sep 10. The first task of the operation was to test the operational readiness of our GE website.
The various teams and sections conducted their own drills which had to come together to ensure that the Exercise flowed smoothly, and that the party functioned as an effective whole.
Below is a brief chronology of the three-day Exercise:
24 September, Friday: Elections are called and members and volunteers were activated to the Party office. Candidates, election agents, proposers, seconders and assentors were summoned to the office to fill up nomination forms.
Proof-readers were on hand to go through the forms to make sure that all were correctly filled in. Even our commissioner for oaths was on standby to check that everything was in order.
25 September, Saturday: Members and volunteers assembled at the Party office in the morning. Shortly after 9 am, they boarded the bus that took them to the “nomination centre” at the Speakers’ Corner. There we simulated the nomination of the candidates.
Lunch was provided at around noon following which the logistics team remained behind to continue with the set up for the rally. The operations team took the coach bus to Bukit Panjang where we visited several blocks of residents, an activity we will be conducting during the GE.
Our camera crew were on hand to record the proceedings.
Following the house visits, the operations team assembled back at Speakers’ Corner for the rally.
At the conclusion of the rally when the last goodbye was said and the last hand shaken, the crew, with bones aching and muscles fatigued, dragged themselves to “tear down” the stage and and tents, cleaned up the vicinity, and hauled the equipment back to HQ. It was past midnight when things were finally put away.
That was when the video team went to work to produce the video for the following day. It was 5 am before the last video operation was completed.
26 September, Sunday: Members assembled at Bukit Panjang at 7 am to prepare for deployment to the various “polling stations”. We also used the opportiunity to do a walkabout in the estate.
Following the visit to the hawker centres, we went on house visits to meet the residents.
The team did not stop until past noon whereupon we proceeded to our next venue for the final activity of the Exercise – the debriefing.
It was not a session for back-slapping and congratulations but rather to make a sober assessment of the entire operation.
Exercise Lightning Block stood down at 5 pm.
Now for the real thing…