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Yes, we admit it. It is true that the SDP was caught in a rare but full political retreat last week.
The discussion was intense as it was serious and the party leadership was on hand to make sure that all viewpoints were examined before a decision was made. Sparks flew as the heat increased with the members staring intently at what was before them.
But before the PAP starts to whoop and holler, take it easy. We’re not backing away from anything. Far from it. In fact, it’s the other direction that we’re moving.
The party’s leadership and invited guests were cocooned for two days last week to discuss plans for the future, including the upcoming GE that is expected to take place in the near future.
Everything from the overall approach to political reform in Singapore to the nitty-gritty of election campaigning were discussed. There were also sessions discussing potential candidates, training sessions, and issues that affect Singaporeans. There were also video presentations that made the discussions lively.
An issue that ran across the spectrum of views was the plight of Singaporeans who are taking a double whammy because of the recession and the fact that they are being displaced by foreign workers. Singaporeans are genuinely upset by the discrimination they were facing in their own country.
Another subject that came up for mention were the losses racked up by the GIC and Temasek, and how unaccountable the PAP Government was.
In terms of election campaigning an area which drew much focus was, of course, the use of the Internet. With the PAP using the state-controlled media to campaign against the Singapore Democrats, the party will have to rely extensively on the New Media to carry its message across.
Action plans were drawn up for the immediate future to make sure that preparatory work begins. Over the next several weeks, Singaporeans will see these plans take shape.
The nearly 30 persons who attended the event were made up of a majority of younger Singaporeans who showed much energy and verve in coming up with ideas.
But all work and no play makes democrats dull members. Following the discussions, the participants relaxed over a BBQ dinner, hence the ‘sparks’ that flew. Some of the more “durable” guests stayed on and chatted into the wee hours of the morning over drinks and peanuts.
The SDP in retreat? Yes, and that’s the way forward.