This by election is shaping up to be very interesting with SDP on the constant attack. First was the blustering over upgrading carrots, and now it’s the part-time MP attack. SDP's Dr. Chee (who has been unemployed) is now saying that he would be a Full-Time MP if elected and serve the Bukit Batok Residents full-time unlike his rival Mr. Murali. I quote Dr. Chee: "“Every morning, when Mr Murali wakes up, his first destination will be his office. When I wake up every morning, my first destination is Bukit Batok. That’s the difference.”
Actually, does he have a choice? Duh. He's unemployed! Of course he would be full-time MP if elected. But is this really an advantage? Does spending more time studying produce better grades? Or working longer hours produce better results? I think not. It really is about quality, not quantity.
But the deeper question to ask here is about motivation. A motivated person can accomplish much, and certainly both candidates do not lack motivation. Both are highly motivated to win this election. But which candidate stands to gain more, and which candidate has the purer motive? What is behind each candidate's motivation?
Only God knows a man's heart, but as a skeptic I'm more inclined to judge by seeing what each man has to gain. Certainly Dr. Chee has been very persistent, and has changed his image dramatically and in this by-election has been shrewd to stick to local bread and butter issues instead of his usual freedom-of-speech rethoric.
But lets not get distracted by the "who works full time and who doesnt argument". Let's look deeper at the motive and sincerity of each man. On one side is an accomplished partner of a very prominent law firm (Mr. Pillai is a partner at law firm Rajah & Tann), and Dr. Chee, and unemployed academic but prominent freedom of speech activist on the world stage.
Remember Uber driver Shirwin Eu? He was honest about why he would like to run for election - yes the MP gets $16,000 monthly allowance. That I believe is a pay jump for Dr. Chee, but really peanuts for Mr. Pillai - who as a partner at Rajah and Tann earns way more than that. So I believe the money isn't a probable reason or motive for Mr. Pillai to run.
Dr. Chee too doesn't seem too interested in the money saying that he will give away part of his MP allowance to fund his proposed programs, but when questioned how much exactly his response was it depends on the need.
What is certain for me is that Mr. Murali is most likely to have pure motives to serve as I definately cannot imagine myself if I'm in his shoes to leave my comfort zone to do community work. Its hard work and to Mr. Murali's credit he has been serving them for 16 years and the residents appreciate him for his sincerity. It certainly adds up to Mr. Murali's proclaimed value of community above self - something he said his late father impressed upon him.
Wow 16 years! Thats an awfully long time and speaks well of his passion, motive and sincerity. It also proves that his values of community above self is not talk only, but substantiated by blood and sweat. I quote Mr. Murali's response to Dr. Chee's allegation that "Its not possible to go to work from 9 to 5 and stay back for more meetings and then come back at 7 to 8 and tell everybody that I'm going to serve you with all my heart".
Mr. Murali's response: "That is why, I want to today unequivocally say that I would also put Bukit Batok residents' needs above my own. If there is a situation where Bukit Batok residents' needs would compete with my own, I would always put Bukit Batok residents' needs above mine. And this is shaped by my values of putting community above self - this is what my late father, a trade unionist, taught me and I have been abiding by it."
Definitely not by-election time wayang (acting) - 16 years of service prove it. We do not need blood donation or MRT breakdown wayangs. Dr. Chee is a new comer to Bukit Batok and shouldn't make such allegations of Mr. Murali not being able to serve with all his heart. Instead, I question who has the right heart. It’s easy to go on social media and do a PSA on the power trip and to turn up at 8.30am in the morning at the SMRT to put up a show - but seriously? Where were you the last 18 years?
To me the choice is clear. Vote for someone with the right heart, the right motive, track record and the passion to serve. Someone that obviously isn't in it for the money or fame as Shirwin Eu the Uber driver so infamously proclaimed :)