Wow. I didn’t expect the post on Tan Kin Lian’s (TKL) post-PE press statement to generate that kind of buzz that it did. I suspect it’s largely due to atans’ post (I’m a big fan of his/her blog Thoughts of a cynical investor) and a feature in today’s The Singapore Daily (which is also part of my daily reading and I highly recommend if you’re into the Singapore social-political scene).

Anyway, that post left a series of two comments by a loyal Tan Kin Lian supporter which I reproduce in full below:

Most commenters are writing from the angle of whom they prefer as President…If TKL was indeed selfish and without values as was painted…all of us here would also be guilty as selfish human beings.

Those who wanted to see TCB as President would never talked about TCB’s mean supporters spreading rumours in chatrooms etc to “kill” TKL off in the early part of the race when Tony Tan had not even announced his candidacy, lest to say TJS.

Those who wanted to see TJS as President would never talked about him also sacrificing by pulling out so that TCB would win … they would only want to expect TKL to do so. Why? Supporters of the opposite camps only saw the value of TKL’s 104,095 supporters and votes when TCB lost by a very narrow margin. They suddenly realise they do not want a PAP endorsed President and must use TKL as a scapegoat. I doubt any TJS supporter would call on TJS to quit the race if they had known TCB was having a close fight.

TJS himself would not concede defeat when results was almost clear he would not make it. This was pride typical of any candidate entering any race. Supporters are supporting their candidates based on the the same pride … not to hope that they would be gentlemen by withdrawing.

Nobody would ask if TJS had quited the race, what sort of different outcomes it might bring? A different mix of candidates, the results would be completely different, well said by another intelligent commenter. But all would just want to see their preferred candidate win, not withdrawn from the race.

And if TCB or TJS are so confident of winning the race, and a win is so dear to them and their supporters, why would they just leave it to their supporters to write anonymous emails or letters to TKL? Will they lose their pride to approach TKL when he had said openly that he was “open” to discussions if approached.
Once the hat was thrown into the ring, there was little chance of going backward, particularly for TKL who was No.2 to enter the race. This was where the “common justice” lies, not how many votes a candidate would expect to win.

The real “sore” losers are supporters of TCB who wanted him badly to be President and the supporters of TJS who still think he could be an “opposition” endorsed President. They were proven wrong the night of Election Day and the morning after when the recounting was finished.

Not a TCB campaign committee member smiled on stage when he left again for the Election Dept for the final recount. He thought his Ayer Rajah would deliver…did it? But Sembawang voters did somebody proud. At least proud enough to make TCB’s supporters feel “sore”.

Blame that on TKL? Blame that on TJS? Can TJS’s supporters also blame TKL for the 1OOK over votes…No way … was he able to grab them and more from TCB and TT. No way…He was smart enough to dismiss and disperse his supporters early. LOL.

Come on, all the “sore” losers you know where your “problem” lies…not work hard enough or just enough? This is “sorer” than TKL conceding early defeat…at least TKL’s supporters know the true dear value of the 100K votes which they delivered loyally for TKL whatever ways sored losers want to interpret the meaning of Hi-5 or condemn it.

Wow. After reading this many times, I’m still not sure what this loyal supporter’s trying to say to me.

Did I vote for TCB? Yes. Do I support him? Well, not in the fanboy sense. After all, those who know me know that I’m not a big fan of politics. In my book, politics is highly overrated and more of an entertainment really. In this case, the Elected Presidency is even more of a joke since the position is more ceremonial than functional. After all, did the previous guy who was in that position for a good twelve years do anything that had a major impact on my life or for the bigger part of society? Nada. Zilch. Nothing I can think of.

Was I sore about TKL’s 5%? No. Obviously not, since TJS’s had an even bigger impact on the vote share. My point was simply that the great irony in the whole situation was that the supporters that were most anti-PAP were the ones who gifted the contest to the more PAP-supported candidate.

Next, disregarding vote share and whatever the outcome, TKL had the most laughable campaign strategy. While TT had one of the most laughable mandarin broadcasts ever, every single aspect of TKL’s campaign was like a block of month-old cheddar cheese. Primary school-quality lines in all four national languages, Hi-5s, insinuating that he was ‘played-out’ by TJS. If TKL had the charisma of Tony Fernandes or Richard Branson, he might have pulled it off. Sadly, TKL came across as gimmicky and flat as cardboard.

Now, don’t get me wrong. TKL must have done something right to have been CEO of NTUC income. He certainly stood up for the aggrieved holders of the ‘minibombs’. I even quote his housing affordability rule of ‘no more than 5 years of combined annual income’ to my friends. But thing is, as a candidate who stood in the recent PE, he just plain got it all wrong.

Fanboys of TKL (or insert your favourite political personality/stock/TV show here), fact is, your hero got the lowest vote share. That in itself should tell you about the quality of the campaign, the foresight and political acumen of the person you supported.

I leave all fanboys with a quote from eminent investor and economist, John Maynard  Keynes, which they would do well to heed:

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

PS: Luckily it was only a PE contest. Imagine if these TKL supporters were investing.