Was it all a waste?

Clarence Zeng

It was a hard, and heavy decision that was made known to the members that we were pulling out of the race in the Punggol East by-election.

We had just concluded yet another night of house visits which ended on a high note. When it finally dawned on us that we had to withdraw from this by-election, my heart sank.

I started to think about the feelings of our members and volunteers who had been so committed to doing the groundwork. Many had applied for leave once the writ of the by-election was announced – not just one day, but a whole stretch. Some who had arranged to travel overseas, threw away their air tickets.

These members and volunteers, who sacrificed their sweat and toil to commit to the campaign hustings, how would they feel? Would they feel that their efforts would have been for nothing?

No doubt, there is more than a tinge of disappointment for me. We had a strong candidate, backed up by viable alternative policies, and people who are ready to work on the ground. But if there is any emotion that resonates stronger within me right now, it would be pride.

Pride because we visited at least 10,000 households in Punggol East SMC in the past nine days, a schedule we had originally planned to complete in two months.

Pride that we were able to mobilise many members and volunteers each day, some committing up to 8 hours of their precious time on physical work daily. More than 50 members showed up on short notice in our
first walkabout.

Pride that we visited every household with a smile, and painstakingly explained our party’s ideological stand and policies in the various languages and dialects.

It was the start of a ground campaign that showed the conviction of the Singapore Democrats in this electoral contest, a ground campaign that answered our critics who say that we are a party that is all talk and no action.

To these members and volunteers, I thank you, and I’m proud of what you have done. Our efforts have definitely not gone to waste, having enlightened our fellow Singaporeans in Punggol East that Singapore can have an alternative future led by a party that is Competent, Constructive, and Compassionate.

Clarence Zeng is a member of the Young Democrats and Deputy Head of the SDP’s Ground Operations Unit.

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