Do You Hear the People Sing

Massive, overwhelming crowd at the Workers' Party rally at Punggol East

Massive, overwhelming crowd at the Workers’ Party rally at Punggol East

I’m sorry if I’m referencing Les Misérables again after my last post (I’ve been a fan for 19 years, pun intended :P), but a few nights ago, on the 19th January, I was part of a similar sea of unbridled passion, fervor and excitement as the French revolutionaries when I attended the Workers’ Party rally* for the Punggol East By-Election. (For those of you not familiar with Singapore politics, no, this is not a revolution. The backstory is that the ruling party had to fire their own Minister helming the seat in that political ward because of an extra-marital affair and had to call another election for people to choose their new MP.)

There are hundreds that stayed by the roads and pavements because of the extremely muddy field.

There are hundreds that stayed by the roads and pavements because of the extremely muddy field and they could not get near enough to the stage.

The HDB blocks, especially block 182, are filled with onlookers. The blocks afforded the best overall view of the field.

The HDB blocks, especially block 182, are filled with onlookers. The blocks afforded the best overall view of the field.

The echoes of the speeches can be heard from many blocks away.

The echoes of the speeches can be heard from many blocks away.

People squeezing along the corridors to get a glimpse of the rally. Though they can't see the speakers, their voices could be heard loud and clear.

People squeezing along the corridors to get a glimpse of the rally. Though they can’t see the speakers, their voices could be heard loud and clear.

The echoes of the student revolution song “Do you hear the people sing” reverberated in my soul as I witnessed the immense gathering of the crowd despite the elements, the rain having poured non-stop for at least 15 hours, and even as the rally started, a light drizzle still prevaded. The field where the rally took place was muddy and soaked, and you must really want to be there to want to enter the field voluntarily – I would know, because my nice blue shoes were ruined entirely, and even the hem of my jeans got muddy.

Wearing one's allegiance on the heart - literally.

Wearing one’s allegiance on the heart and sleeve – literally.

The highly distinctive WP branded umbrella

The highly distinctive WP branded umbrella

Residents of Punggol East listening intently to Mr Low Thia Khiang's speech

Residents of Punggol East listening intently to Mr Low Thia Khiang’s speech

A light hearted political jibe bringing laughter to this rally attender

A light hearted political jibe bringing laughter to this rally attender

The beating of the hearts the people there echoed the beating of the drums (I kid you not), and the blaring sounds of what I think were Vuvuzelas (I went a little late, and couldn’t get near the front where the sounds were coming from) can be heard whenever a member of the workers’ party was introduced, but the loudest cheers and applause were reserved for Mr Low Thia Khiang, the leader of the Workers’ Party.

Not everyone could get close enough to the stage nor on the field and many listened by the roads and pavements.

Not everyone could get close enough to the stage nor on the field and many listened by the roads and pavements.

Mr Png Eng Huat, the newly elected MP for Hougang in the recent by-election brought smiles when he said he never expected another by-election so soon.

Mr Png Eng Huat, the newly elected MP for Hougang in the recent by-election brought smiles when he said he never expected another by-election so soon.

Many were seen hoisting the colors of the party up high.

Many were seen hoisting the colors of the party up high.

Rain and wet weather are no deterrents for a family outing to the WP rally!

Rain and wet weather are no deterrents for a family outing to the WP rally!

“Thank you all for coming to the rally despite the rain. We should be ok, unless there’s a lightning risk” he started, making a salient reference to the ruling party, whose symbol is that of a lightning rod. Guffaws erupted across the field, mixed with cheers and racuous shouts of support.

A passionate WP supporter stood steadfastly with this sign to welcome people to the rally.

A passionate WP supporter stood steadfastly with this sign to welcome people to the rally.

I saw this woman carrying a chair to the rally while talking towards the field. It would be a good idea, as I later found out. The rally is 3 hours.

I saw this woman carrying a chair to the rally while talking towards the field. It would be a good idea, as I later found out. The rally is 3 hours.

There’s something about attending an opposition rally, especially one by the Workers’ Party. These people came without any free busing, nor free food (unlike those from the ruling party, whose supporters are often bused down, with promises and the lure of free meals), nor were they coerced in any way to be present. They just came, umbrella in hand (many sporting the trademark blue umbrella embossed with the WP logo), waving flags in support, roaring in unison and agreement in an uncoordinated fashion.

Lee Li Lian's poster illuminated by a flashing light. A lot of pple took turns to snap a picture of her with their mobiles.

Lee Li Lian’s poster illuminated by a flashing light. A lot of pple took turns to snap a picture of her with their mobiles.

Only later did I realise the flashing light is from a bicycle. How creative!

Only later did I realise the flashing light is from a bicycle. How creative!

Flying the party flag proudly

Flying the party flag proudly

Perhaps, Singaporeans are not as apolitical and apathetic as we thought we were. And judging from the results of the General Election of 2011, the people are singing. And this is the music of a people who would no longer put up with what Singapore is turning into anymore.

Does this mean these 3 candidates in the 4-corner fight should "Give Way" to WP's Lee Li Lian? A lesson in placement of signs....

Does this mean these 3 candidates in the 4-corner fight should “Give Way” to WP’s Lee Li Lian? A lesson in placement of signs….

* In the interest of full disclosure, I live in the Aljunied ward (which WP conquered in the 2011 General Elections, a historic first in the history of Singapore where 4 MPs of the ruling party were unseated simultaneously) and is a supporter of the Worker’s Party and the policies they embody.

Update: Feel the rush and the excitement in my next post – “The People Have Spoken” on the historic win for the Workers’ Party in the Punggol by Election!

 

9 comments for “Do You Hear the People Sing

  1. Heather
    January 22, 2013 at 20:34

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures. Hope to see more for tonite’s rally as I m unable to make it there.

    • January 23, 2013 at 12:10

      Hi Heather,

      thanks for the kind words! I am heading down for the last night of the WP rally today (23th Jan) and will definitely be posting more pictures from tonight! 🙂

  2. P Tang
    January 23, 2013 at 15:28

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures. As they say, “pictures paint a thousand words” 🙂
    Kindly take picture of the PAP & RP rallies as well & post them. It’ll be interesting to see the contrast. Not many of us participate in the rallies and neither can we count on the ST to report accurately.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Thanks.

    Regards
    Patricia

    • January 28, 2013 at 12:57

      thanks Patricia! Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. dreamzz
    January 23, 2013 at 23:43

    Great documentation, how about a making it into a book? 🙂

    • January 28, 2013 at 12:57

      thanks! I’m planning on it too 🙂

  4. April 15, 2015 at 23:59

    Oops, the should say “The beginning of February. I signed up on the 3rd.”

  5. May 17, 2015 at 01:38

    Kosmetik Tagesdeals bis -85 Rabatt

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