We published an op-ed by one of our regular contributors, Forever Vagabond, suggesting that the secretary-general should stop his attacks on Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief, Dr Chee Soon Juan. The article, ‘Goh Meng Seng once tarnished WP’s reputation by embroiling in Internet “brawl”‘ said that the head of newly-formed People’s Power Party, Mr Goh, should avoid casting unkind comments on Dr Chee because “the comments he made about other politicians can easily boomerang back to himself.”
Mr Goh has replied to the writer of the article in our Facebook. We republish his views in full.
The Critical 10 Percent
Well, it has been an interesting day with the expected backlash pouring out. While many opposition supporters and members always cry foul about how the mainstream media distorted opposition members’ messages by putting up sensational headlines, it seems that many opposition supporters and online media are also 100% capable of doing so as well.
Many anxious friends have expressed concerns to me privately as well as many have expressed quiet support in private messages. But that’s the part and parcel of opposition politics.
Apart from all these chest-thumping and angry shouting, very few actually bother about the rationale behind my article. Maybe I am unable to express clearly and I apologize for that.
Almost none of the hardcore opposition members have asked the intelligent question on why 40% is so important? But definitely they have shown one united trait of labeling people like me who didn’t sing their tune as “PAP mole”. Well, again, I guess they must have learned from PAP in doing fast labeling work. wink emoticon
I have read Ravi Philemon write up and also some others who try to justify how good SDP Dr Chee is by making comparison between the “vote swing percentage” and putting up statistics as such. Vote swing percentage comparison was made between Punggol East By-elections(PEBE) and Bukit Batok By-elections ( and they declare BBBE is as good as PEBE!
Statistics has to be used very carefully with the context of data. Making such comparison is assuming that the difficulties of converting or swinging the votes at different levels are the same. This is a flaw assumption.
Let me put across this point. Do you think a candidate is great if he is able to swing from 12% votes to 30%? A whopping 18% swing. Is this 18% swing comparable to the 18% swing from 40% to 58%?
Of course not. The context of the data is that the hardcore opposition votes constitute about 30%. The next 10% from 30% to 40% are the opposition sympathizers. The next CRITICAL 10% from 40% to 50% are the neutrals.
To swing from 12% to 30% is nothing compared to a swing of 10% from 30% to 40%! And to swing from 40% to 50% is the MOST difficult because as we get nearer to the 50% point, the voters are neutrals who are white leaning.
Thus we cannot compare the swing of BBBE from 26% to 39% as the same of PEBE swing of 41% to 54%. The level of difficulty is totally different.
The CRITICAL 10%, which is from 40% to 50%, are the most difficult group of voters for opposition to swing and win over. Dr Chee has never crossed 40% and it shows that he has been rejected by the this Critical 10% of neutrals consistently.
It may not be entirely his fault as this could be due to the successful PAP smearing but the cruel reality is, he just couldn’t get pass that barrier for all his 25 years of opposition political engagement.
To understand why, we must look at how PAP’s smearing convinced this group of voters. Don’t pass judgement on whether they are right or wrong but these are the messages that the Critical 10% accepted. PAP has portrayed Chee as untrustworthy, lack sincerity and credibility. The Chiam baggage is the biggest convincing factor. Whether we like it or not, the Critical 10% has believed in these messages and voted against Chee.
Thus, if Chee continued in what he is doing right now, without getting rid of the Chiam baggage and its impact, there is no way Chee could get higher votes or win any elections.
Listen to this Critical 10% who are mostly silent. No matter how the 39% of opposition supporters protest, shout, angry or mock at the whole thing, the fact still remains, without the endorsement of this Critical 10%, we will always be the disgruntled and dismay 39%.
If you read my earlier article carefully, I said Chee should take a back seat. Contrary to many people who jump at first sight of what I have written, I fell short of asking Chee to quit politics altogether. He could put more energy in earning and giving his family a better life but at the same time, support whoever the new leadership to bring SDP to greater heights.
In fact, if he is willing to do that, he may just dispel all those PAP smearing about him being power crazy, insincere whatsoever etc. If he chose to contest again next GE, not as the SG of SDP but as a reformed and self redeemed politician under SDP banner, he might cross that 40% or even move towards a win.
The best way to win over the Critical 10% is to listen to what PAP has been trying to tell them. Hardcore opposition supporters may sneer at these messages but we must understand that this has always been PAP’s success formula in convincing that Critical 10%.
Don’t pass judgment too quickly and understand why the Critical 10% believe in PAP’s messages.