What’s the frequency, Kenneth and Desmond?

Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Desmond Lim

Spoilers Alert

It’s confirmed then that Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Desmond Lim are set to spoil the fun that we are all hoping for: a straight fight between PAP and WP in the Punggol East by-election.

I never understood the frequency

These two men are clearly on different wavelengths from the electorate. Mr Jeyaretnam claimed that “an overwhelming proportion of people welcomed us to Punggol East, and they knew us and they were glad to see us contesting”, yet it is obvious from social media and online forums that supporters of the opposition cause are overwhelmingly against either of them running for the by-election. Did he read the grounds wrongly, or chose simply to ignore it? And was he encouraged to join in after SDA’s foolhardy decision to go ahead?

As for Mr Lim, the less said the better. We all know what happens to a fool and his money. First time round, we were sympathetic; second time, it gets comical. He must still be sore that WP tried to snatch the ward he laid claim to.

Tunnel vision from the outsider’s screen

RP argues that they offer a different policy platform and philosophy from the Worker’s Party, and that sending another WP candidate into parliament serves no benefit for the opposition cause. What benefit is there, then, to send another PAP candidate into parliament instead by virtue of their meddling? With odds so heavily stacked against the opposition, every little victory is to be celebrated, even if it goes to WP. This inability to see beyond party self-interest will only hurt RP’s credibility in the eyes of the people in the long run.

Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy

While we can’t argue against the right of these men to run, it is the mark of an astute politician to pick his battles. Sadly, we are seeing none of that where these two men are concerned. It is too much to ask for opposition parties to unite, so all we want is a check on this mindless zeal to plunge headlong into a fight and hurt one another’s chances in the process. It’s a shame that so strong is this itch to run that even an angry Alanis Morissette can’t scratch hard enough on.

It doesn’t happen often that the right way out is also the easiest one, but this is one such occasion. SDP has shown that you can step away with some credit, and thereby save yourself potential embarrassment and a lot of money. Live to fight another day, as they say. There is little to be gained from going for quick opportunistic wins.