At the nomination centres

Ng Eng Hen unfazed by jeers

Dr Ng Eng Hen (third from left) with his fellow PAP candidates (from left) Chee Hong Tat, Chong Kee Hiong, Josephine Teo and Saktiandi Supaat at the Raffles Institution nomination centre yesterday. Workers' Party backers were also at Poi Ching School
Dr Ng Eng Hen (third from left) with his fellow PAP candidates (from left) Chee Hong Tat, Chong Kee Hiong, Josephine Teo and Saktiandi Supaat at the Raffles Institution nomination centre yesterday. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Dr Ng Eng Hen (third from left) with his fellow PAP candidates (from left) Chee Hong Tat, Chong Kee Hiong, Josephine Teo and Saktiandi Supaat at the Raffles Institution nomination centre yesterday. Workers' Party backers were also at Poi Ching School
PAP supporters at Poi Ching School, one of the nomination centres. PHOTO: LIM YAO HUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
PAP supporters at Poi Ching School, one of the nomination centres.
Workers' Party backers were also at Poi Ching School to show their support. ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

Minister says his team will improve the lives of all Singaporeans, including WP backers who heckled them

When faced with jeers from supporters of the Workers' Party (WP) while delivering his speech yesterday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen stood firm and took them on.

"We have educated Singaporeans who behave in a way that is right, not like these supporters who are just jeering. All they can do is jeer!" said Dr Ng, who is contesting with four other People's Action Party (PAP) members in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

"Even if you jeer against us, we will improve your lives! And the more you jeer, the more we will improve even more because we believe in Singapore," he said at the Raffles Institution nomination centre.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is leading a six-man team against the Reform Party's six candidates in Ang Mo Kio GRC, was not spared the jeering from the opposition supporters.

The crowd at the nomination centre in Bishan was split into two large groups, with the WP and PAP on either side of the field and mostly keeping to themselves until the candidates came up to speak.

It was then that some party supporters would jeer at candidates they opposed.

Supporters from both parties, armed with party flags and umbrellas emblazoned with party symbols, had waited for almost two hours in the scorching sun.

Some PAP supporters also came prepared with lyric sheets and sang medleys, including the song Home.

PAP supporter Gladys Lim, 69, a retired insurance agent, said she was there to support the party because it has "contributed a lot to the nation".

Meanwhile, the WP crowd kept the atmosphere amped by chanting the party's name and "huat ah" - which means "prosper" in Hokkien - repeatedly.

Many of them, including Madam M.T. Seet, had come with friends and family. They held up blue umbrellas to shield themselves from the midday sun.

"We turned up here to soak in the atmosphere," said Madam Seet, 61, an administrator who came all the way from Yew Tee. "The Aljunied residents had the courage to vote for the opposition, coming here to support is the least I could do."

Early on, WP activists had reminded their supporters to be cordial and not to jeer or boo other candidates. They were asked instead to reserve their cheers and energy for WP candidates "in the spirit of loving Singapore".

WP supporter Christina Tan, 40, said: "We might be dressed in blue, but we are here to support both Mr Low Thia Khiang and Mr Lee Hsien Loong... this is going to be an exciting election."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2015, with the headline 'Ng Eng Hen unfazed by jeers'. Print Edition | Subscribe