Tan Jee Say’s rally speech and the things of SDP

May 02, 11 Tan Jee Say’s rally speech and the things of SDP

Tan Jee Say looks like one of the more credible candidates to come out. From his online profile, he looks like he has experience in policy making and the execution of such policies. Of course, we would never know for sure. But sometimes, you just have got to take a risk to choose based on the current available information. He also wrote a 46page economic paper of which there is a summary by TheOnlineCitizen. Do take a look! For those with more time on their hands, I would suggest reading the full paper though. I have to say, it’s long.

He starts off by saying of his $60billion national renewal plan as mentioned above. His suggestion was that it can funded by Temasek Holdings or GIC, or by using the National Reserves. Apparently his suggestion was rebutted by some PAP ministers that the sum of money is ‘no small change’. His logic at this point is pretty decent. I felt that the PAP’s counter response was a pretty weak one. The crux should be to address the issue on how this plan can be executed. It’s very easy to come out with a plan, it is the implementation and execution that would be a challenge.

He then turns his attention to Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, which is the opposing candidate in the PAP camp for Holland-Bukit Timah. Apparently Dr Vivian Balakrishnan mentioned that he was astonished that Tan Jee Say said $60billion was small change, and that it took ‘perhaps a decade to accumulate that amount’. Again, very nice rebuttal by Tan Jee Say who said that in the 3 years from 2006-2008, the general government finance recorded a surplus of $75billion, which was $15billion more than his suggestion. I have not check out the figures for this, but perhaps a significant amount was due to investment gains. In any case, a very sound logic by Tan Jee Say.

There wasn’t much else in the speech, since it is probably one of the opening rallies from SDP. I would be looking forward to hear the other speeches from Tan Jee Say for sure.

I do believe there is a need for National Renewal. It seems that for the last few years, Singapore has been on a fire-fighting stance. This is probably due to some complacency in general, even though individual ministers might be competent. In order for the country to grow, we have to be more forward looking. Perhaps one reason is that nobody dares to make the tough decision of proposing an unconventional idea. Just like for a business corporation, it is easier to try to streamline the company, than for the company to innovate and grow.

Again, the devil is in the details and the execution. He does have a good outline in his economic paper. The ideas are generally sound, and most of the logic is simple to understand. Things like reducing labour/land space intensive jobs do make sense. In a way, it is like taking 1 step backwards in economic growth, so that we can take many steps forward after that. I would have to say, it is definitely ground-shaking, and there will be a significant amount of structural unemployment if the renewal plan is to be implemented.


Since this is a GRC contest, I also went to take a look at the other speeches by the team members.

Dr Ang Yong Guan seems quite of a maverick. Note he read Psychiatry and Dr Chee Soon Juan read Psychology. I wonder if learning all these science on the mind and behaviour causes a person to do weird things. Perhaps thats the difference between engineers (thinks too logically), accountants/financiers/bankers(thinks towards efficiency), lawyers (thinks of all the loopholes and overly complicates things) and the social science people (psy, etc etc). A big generalisation maybe. I’ve seen some of his other speeches, and he is definitely an intelligent man. Same goes for Dr Chee Soon Juan. He does seem like a pretty decent person, perhaps slightly over the top in his expressions at some occasions. I hope if he does get into parliament, he presents more substance than noise.

I do have a bone to pick about the tissue paper on chair issue that he mentioned. Personally, I don’t find any problems with that. In most workplaces, food outlets are limited and queues can take at least 10 minutes. So what’s wrong with a group of 4 people, putting tissue paper on the seats so that they can all buy together and come back together? In a sense, it actually creates efficiency. Maybe for him as a doctor at paragon, he doesn’t face any of these issues faced by the typical white collar worker.

I would highly recommend watching his speech above for comedic value!


Dr Vincent Wijeysingha does seem like a nice guy. Interestingly, he is the only one in this team to be in the Central Executive Committee of SDP.He lived in UK for 16 years, only moving back to Singapore last year. There seems to be a lot of such Overseas Singaporeans (such as Chen Show Mao, Glenda Han. James Gomez), who for some reason find the current election to be an opportunistic time to come back and attempt changes. I do hope that these people choose to remain in Singapore even if they lose the election. There has to be that kind of commitment. He does seem to be a social activist. People with passion are always nice to have. Let’s hope there’s competency to back it up.


Not much can be found on Michelle Lee, but she seems to be fairly high caliber. Started out in finance, before deciding that teaching is a better way of life. I applaud that decision, because not many people can make that choice on money vs passion nowadays. I don’t know how successful she was in finance, but I believe people should not go into a job if they have simply no passion in it.


The PAP’s candidates for the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC are Dr Vivian BalakrishnanChristopher de SouzaLiang Eng HwaSim Ann. To be honest, I have not watched any of the election rallies by these few candidates, typically because incumbent rally speeches will always be different from contesting rally speeches. For incumbents, I find it might be easier to search for their past actions in the last 2-3 years and gauge from there. For the contesters/opposition, theres really not many other resources to see. I would probably be watching all their rally speeches in the next couple of days though.


The brand name of SDP has not been particularly spotless. However, they seem to attract better candidates than WP, NSP, SPP or the other parties. Looking back at history, SDP has managed to field candidates such as Chiam See Tong (He actually founded SDP before moving on), Ling How Doong, Cheo Chai Chen (who moved on to NSP). The risk I see, is that as individuals, they are strong, but there seems to be some kind of strife within SDP. I hope that would be resolved and that the current batch of candidates will remain in SDP even if they lose the current election. I have looked at the SDP manifesto, and I would have to say theirs appeal to me the most out of the various opposition groups.


May the best team win!


  1. Thend /

    Dr Ang, He’s funny lorrrr

  2. Thend /

    Actually. Michelle’s Speech ain’t too bad.

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