May 26, 2011

The perfect ending to the 2011 General Elections

Original article by Lianhe Zaobao, May 25 2011. Photo taken from Pritam Singh's FB album.

The perfect ending to the 2011 General Elections

"May we take a photo with you?"

When former Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew heard the request from opposition party leader Low Thia Kiang, he gladly agreed, even exchanging a few words with him.

This was after last Saturday's Cabinet Swearing In ceremony, in which around 700 guests attended the subsequent reception at the Istana Gardens, the country's political patriarch Lee Kuan Yew and the Worker's Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, together with five other Worker's Party elected MPs and two NCMPs, were gathered together in this precious photo.

Low Thia Kiang: "I respect MM Lee's contributions to Singapore."

This photograph is not only of historic significance, it also leaves a lot to the interpretation of the imaginative viewer.

It turns out at that time, the eight Worker's Party MPs were taking a group photo near MM Lee's seat, so when Low Thia Kiang saw him, he walked over and asked if MM Lee would like to take a photo with them.

When answering questions from our reporters last night, Low Thia Kiang remarked: "MM Lee is Singapore's founding father. Although I oppose some of his policies made during his term in office, and am unhappy with the way he ran the country and some policies, including the closing of Nantah University, this also led me to join opposition politics. His achievements in bringing Singapore to where it is today is there for all to see, and I respect that. The Worker's Party MPs asked to take a photo with MM Lee before his retirement from the cabinet out of respect for him."

In the recent elections, Low took the bold step of leaving his familiar Hougang ward where he defended successfully for the past 20 years, to lead a team to contest the neighbouring Aljunied GRC, and took five steps from the PAP in one fell swoop. His successor in Hougang, Yaw Shin Leong, also successfully defended the single seat constituency.

In addition, Worker's Party candidates Yee Jenn Jong and Gerald Giam were offered Non-Constituency MP seats, as a result of being the losing opposition candidates with the most votes.

According to the Worker's Party MPs who took the photo with MM Lee, even though they only exchange a few words with him, the atmosphere was very cordial and MM Lee and Low Thia Kiang were all smiles throughout. This may reflect on the beginning of a new, sophisticated political era, making it the perfect ending to the fierce competition that was the 2011 elections.

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