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Team SDP continued to visit the Toa Payoh-Bishan GRC to meet residents and sell its newspaper, The New Democrat. Party members have been going around the constituency continually in the last three weeks to spread its message about the need for a strong opposition in Singapore.
In fact the Democrats have been working in the GRC for the past couple of years. Since re-starting its newspaper a couple of weeks ago, the party has upped its activity in the GRC by visiting the two estates on weekends as well as weekdays.
The residents seemed surprise at seeing the presence of the opposition. This is because the constituency has not had elections in the last two decades due to walkovers.
The people, however, quickly warmed up to the SDP when they realised that the party was working hard in the area in anticipation of an election in the not-too-distant future.
“Elections are coming. Help us build up the opposition, help us speak up for you, help us keep democracy alive in Singapore. Support the SDP!” party workers implored. Many readily purchased the publication.
Some even whispered encouragment: “I support you,” one diner at a hawker centre told us. “Come to this constituency, we’ll vote for you,” said another resident. “I can’t stand the Government, we need opposition” a lady said in a hushed tone.
The reception the SDP received was palpably warm and this was translated into encouraging sales of The New Democrat.
But the team is not carried away. We are acutely aware that there is still a major obstacle to overcome – fear. Several people still expressed fear when it came to voting for the opposition. This is understandable. After years of repression, many Singaporeans are intimidated by the Government.
In addition, the control of the media through the decades have left many uninformed of alternative views. The mass media continues to censor news about the opposition especially the SDP’s.
Add to this the manipulation of the electoral process by the ruling party and it is no wonder that elections always result in “resounding landslides” for the PAP.
The SDP is determined to change all this. We are aware of the uphill battle but we remain undeterred. While we have expanded – and will continue to expand – our presence on the Internet, we are also determined to campaign and spread our message on the ground.
By campaigning both on the ground and through the Internet, we are determined to break the PAP’s autocratic stranglehold on Singapore.