If you are Moderate, Vote Tan Cheng Bock
Tan Cheng Bock was the last candidate who held a rally. As another stamp of his preference for symbolism, the first one being the PMO shifting out of the Istana to show separation of the two, he held his rally indoors at the Singapore Expo and not at an open field or a stadium. Breaking away from the rally tradition, breaking away from the norm. It symbolised to the objective-minded voter that Tan Cheng Bock thinks differently, is willing to challenge conventions and is independent in that sense. That message that he breakaways from the others to get things done is already half the battle won in the public relations competition.
Tan Cheng Bock is calling out to the moderates among the 2,274,773 eligible voters. The make-up of so-called moderates would be those who want change, but who do not want it too drastic, who want someone that would not be confrontational but yet bold enough to put his foot down. These same moderates would see through the rhetoric of candidates like Tony Tan and Tan Jee Say as an extension of the spin of the PAP and the SDP. They do not want someone to be the proxy for either the PAP or the opposition. They understand that the president should not polarise politics, and neither should he simply be a puppet. Tan Cheng Bock is the all-rounded candidate.
He has experience in parliament and performed excpetionally in his past GE as a PAP candidate at Ayer Rajah. No doubt his contributions as a MP were not spectacular, but neither was his performance dismal. From the last presidential broadcast on TV on Friday night, he appeared sincere and did not have the fake plastic smiles of Tony Tan and Tan Jee Say.
His acknowledgement of his wife’s important role in his personal and political life is a nice touch, just like his “thank you” in the the four official languages and Hokkien. The doctor from Amakeng showed his experience that he has not lost his political instinct to engage people. The use of the sign language interpreter during the rally was also a first class move to score political points especially among the disabled. He reminded voters that this doctor knows what to bring to the show. His other big sell during his campaign was his emphasis on multiracialism and this was something that the other candidates did not give much attention to in comparison.
The results of the PE would be a good map of how Singaporeans view politics in what is essentially a by-election. Voters know that the PAP is already in power and now is the opportunity to show their support for a particular kind of politics ahead. The attractiveness of moderate politics can be determined roughly from how well or dismal Tan Cheng Bock performs.