Taking a leaf out of party chief Chee Soon Juan’s book, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah conducted his own version of Dr Chee’s ‘My Cake, Your Coffee’ house visit campaign at Bukit Panjang this week.
Prof Tambyah’s connection to Bukit Panjang is new. He was widely expected to lead the SDP team at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC – the ward he contested in the 2015 general election – after Dr Chee left the ward to focus on Bukit Batok in the latest election.
In one of the biggest surprises on Nomination Day, Prof Tambyah turned up at the Nomination Centre for Bukit Panjang and was nominated to contest the single member ward.
The ruling party incumbent for Bukit Panjang SMC, Teo Ho Pin, retired ahead of the election and former Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa went head to head with Prof Tambyah for the second time, under the People’s Action Party (PAP) ticket.
In one of the closest fights of the 2020 election, Prof Tambyah lost by a whisker with 46.27 per cent of votes while Mr Liang was narrowly returned to Parliament with 53.73 per cent of votes. Prof Tambyah was one of the best performing opposition candidates who failed to clinch a ward and received his personal best score through his contest at Bukit Panjang.
Prof Tambyah has been actively walking the ground at Bukit Panjang even after the election, signalling that he has plans to recontest the ward in the next polls.
On Wednesday (7 Oct), the SDP chairman revealed that he was invited to visit a Bukit Panjang resident’s home as part of his new house visit strategy in which he spends more time with residents by sharing a snack and drinks with them on top of the brief interactions he gets with residents when he knocks on doors.
Dubbing his house visit campaign ‘Your Chrysanthemum, My Cakes – Bukit Panjang Edition’, Prof Tambyah shared photos from his evening with Bukit Panjang residents on Facebook and wrote:
“Had a great time interacting with residents of Bukit Panjang, including the family of Abas Bin Kasmani, over some drinks and cakes. We enjoy our interactions with residents where we learn about the real issues in the neighbourhoods some of which are new to us.”
Prof Tambyah added that he will continue to speak up about national issues as well and that he wants to be “an alternative voice for all Singaporeans.” The opposition politician invited Singaporeans to share their suggestions on how he can be a voice for them and promised to try his best.
Prof Tambyah’s ‘Your Chrysanthemum, My Cakes’ in Bukit Panjang campaign mirrors Dr Chee’s ‘My Cake, Your Coffee’ campaign in Bukit Batok.
In mid-August, Dr Chee said that he would love to drop by and visit Bukit Batok residents if they would open their home up to him. Sharing that he will bring cake to share if his hosts can make him a cup of coffee, the veteran opposition leader invited residents to have a leisurely chat with him over the cake and coffee.
About two weeks later, Dr Chee was invited into the home of Mr and Mrs Loh as part of his ‘My Cake, Your Coffee’ campaign. He shared on Facebook: “I spent a wonderful afternoon with Mr and Mrs Loh at their residence with their neighbour Mr Muru joining us.
“We chatted over many things and had a great time over cake and coffee, which Mrs Loh provided plentifully. The company, compassionate and thoughtful residents, was a joy to be with. Thank you, my friends, for opening your home to us.”
A few days later, Dr Chee was invited to visit three brothers and enjoyed discussing an array of topics, including parenting. He shared on social media: “Visited another family over the weekend, this time the charming Chua brothers. Actually, they are four of them but one couldn’t make it.
“As young fathers (and one not so young), our conversation inevitably drifted towards our children. It was a nice leisurely afternoon, a welcome change of pace. Thank you, Bernard for your hospitality and please send my best wishes to everyone in the family.”
He added: “I can’t wait for this weekend when I’ll be visiting more of you in BB over #MyCakeYourCoffee.”
Another couple invited Dr Chee into their home, a few days later. Revealing that the conversation delved into the importance of building a community spirit, Dr Chee recounted: “I just came back from visiting Jolyn and Shawn at their lovely home at Skyline in BB. We have a lot in common in that we share the view that building a community spirit and going beyond material concerns are important aspects of life.
“Thank you for having me over, guys. I Iook forward to staying in touch with you and making BB not just an estate but truly a community of people who care – one household at a time.”
Most recently, Dr Chee’s ‘My Cake, Your Coffee’ got a twist when he was invited to share wine and a meat platter at a third couple’s home. Sharing how well he got on with his hosts, Dr Chee said:
“Visited Marie and Geovenn’s home for #MyCakeYourCoffee – with a twist. We didn’t have cake nor did we drink coffee. Instead, our delightful hosts served wine ? and a delectable platter of various cuts of meats ??.
“We could have spent an entire day talking, the two were obviously a well-traveled and adventurous couple. But as they say, all good things must end. I’ll have to invite myself back again one of these days! Thanks for a great afternoon, Marie and Geovenn. Best wishes to you and yours.”