6ixth: A Photo Exhibition

A Photo Exhibition

Today was the opening of my friend Jeff Chouw‘s exhibition on Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir Chiam See Tong’s sixth electoral win in May this year. I have to admit that I don’t know Jeff that well, which is why I didn’t even know he had been working on this until I received an invite through a mutual friend a few weeks ago.

As Jeff explained in his opening speech, he thought it was important to document for posterity Mr Chiam’s electoral campaign and eventual win. As Mr Chiam (who was guest of honour at today’s opening) added, the win was a historic event because the dominant People’s Action Party sent its “big guns” down to campaign in Potong Pasir constitutency, dangling an $80 million housing upgrading packaging before the residents — yet 55.82% of the voters turned their noses at the “deal” and voted Chiam back in anyway.

The pictures follow Chiam on his electoral campaign and some of them are unsurprising: Chiam meeting his constituents one-on-one in a makeshift office on a HDB block void deck (which says even more about the voters’ rejection of the $80 million package), Chiam having a beer in a coffeeshop with jovial supporters, Chiam filing the paperwork on Nomination Day to officially enter himself as a political candidate.

Others are not so much surprising as just images that one would hardly encounter in the local mainstream press: Chiam being welcomed warmly among constituents young and old, the crowd at a party rally, his supporters’ ecstasy when his win was announced.

6ixth I wish there were more images of things you don’t expect to see amidst an electoral campaign. Which is why for me the clear winner is the image used in exhibition publicity flyer: of Chiam, by himself, sitting at HDB block void deck while on the cell phone. Because I believe that whatever one might think of politics in Singapore, if ultimately one is an “opposition” politician rather than a member of the dominant People’s Action Party — well, then it comes down to one guy having the guts and the determination to see it through, night after night after night.

Well done, Mr Chiam. Well done, Jeff!

Check out the exhibition at the Substation from now until next Monday, 30 October 2006 (the closing date was misprinted as 29 October on the publicity flyer). Jeff will be there on week nights and weekends to talk to visitors, too.

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