Minister and PAP MP Dr Vivian Balakrishnan reported on his Facebook that he was going to attend a block party on Saturday, 2 June 2012 at Blk 179, Lompang, his constituency at the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
This comes right after the Jurong Town Council (JTC) had stopped the SDP from holding our block party at the at the Yuhua SMC on 8 May 2012. This is, again, another example of the PAP applying one set of rules for others and another for itself.
The Singapore Democrats started the idea of holding block parties last year with the objective of getting to know the residents and listening to their concerns. It is also a good way to foster community spirit or gotong royong, a concept and practce which has been lost since the advent of the PAP Government.
The idea seemed to catch on with the residents as more and more people are attending these social events. Our last party at Yuhua saw a record turnout as 30 people showed up even though we had to move the function to a nearby coffee shop because of the Jurong Town Council’s ruling.
SDP’s Communications Head, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, had asked for a copy of the Rules and Regulations regarding the prohibition of political parties hosting social gatherings at void decks and common areas in HDB estates from the JTC. Even though it agreed to provide us a copy, the Town Council has not followed up with its promise. (See here)
The idea of block parties is not only popular with the residents. Dr Balakrishnan seems to like it too as he advertised on his Facebook that he too was going to attend one in his constituency. (See screen shot, right)
He is not the first PAP MP to follow in the SDP’s footsteps. The SDP had announced before the general elections last year that, if elected, we would conduct town hall meetings to gather feedback from the people.
In July 2011, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Mr Hri Kumar announced that he would organise such town hall meetings with his residents. (See here)
And residents reported to us that soon after we had distributed groceries and other basic necessities in the Marsiling estate, Mr Khaw Boon Wan had gone around the same few blocks doing the same.
Dr Balakrishnan’s fellow MP at the GRC, Mr Christopher de Souza was spotted observing the SDP’s block party at Ghim Moh. (See here)
Of course, we don’t mind the PAP folloiwng our lead in organising their own block parties and town hall meetings. But to copy our activities and then prevent us from organisng them is just too much.
These are signs of a ruling party having run its course, not confident of itself and empty of ideas. It does not inspire confidence and, with such acts, does little to endear itself to Singaporeans. How do you lead a nation when you can’t even compete with your opponents without resorting to such bullying?