Say what?! GE2020’s most memorable things said by candidates

Clockwise from top left, Heng Swee Keat, Tan Cheng Bock, Jamus Lim, Masagos Zulkifli, Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah. All images taken from social media.
Clockwise from top left, Heng Swee Keat, Tan Cheng Bock, Jamus Lim, Masagos Zulkifli, Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah. All images taken from social media.

This year’s political campaigning has brought unforgettable quotes from politicians that might continue to haunt us in future elections. 

While some were impactful and made an impression, others were downright cringe- and meme-worthy.

Here are some of our favorites that have stirred the internet:

‘We also have a plan for the East Coast’ –  Heng Swee Keat

Heng Swee Keat during his speech on Nomination Day. Photo: CNA/YouTube
Heng Swee Keat during his speech on Nomination Day. Photo: CNA/YouTube

The People’s Action Party candidate Heng Swee Keat, who is also tipped to be Singapore’s future prime minister, went from surprising everyone by competing in the East Coast GRC to leaving us stunned with a miserable Nomination Day speech. 

The 59-year-old had represented Tampines since 2011 before it was revealed moments before nomination closed that he was switching constituencies. He then gave a speech that was even more shocking.  

Not only did it seem like he was stumbling over his words, Heng also kept going on about a so-called “East Coast Plan” that nobody had a clue about.  

“For our East Coast residents, we also have a plan for the East Coast. We have a East Coast Singapore we have a together at East Coast plan. We care at East Coast. So we look forward to working closely together with our residents to enable the East Coast and the whole of Singapore to emerge from this stronger,” he said.

Heng is running in the East Coast GRC with fellow PAP members Maliki Osman, Tan Kiat How, Cheryl Chan, and Jessica Tan against Workers’ Party candidates Dylan Ng, Kenneth Foo, Nicole Seah, Terence Tan, and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.

‘PAP does not have a monopoly of the best ideas’ – Jamus Lim

Jamus Lim during the political debate. Image: CNA/YouTube
Jamus Lim during the political debate. Image: CNA/YouTube

New Workers’ Party candidate Jamus Lim made a closing statement in the first televised political debate on July 1 that sent waves of praise online and captured the hearts of many netizens with his public speaking skills. 

Lim was among three opposition members who took on PAP’s Vivian Balakrishnan. Among the topics covered in the debate were labor and the economy. Highlights from the debate included Lim attempting to convince the PAP that it needed the opposition for more diverse ideas on how to run the country. 

“This is exactly why debates about ideas for how Singapore should progress should occur, and I think it’s also clear from this debate that PAP does not have a monopoly of the best ideas on how we should bring the society forward,” he said.

Lim went on to acknowledge the common truism that the PAP will always win the election, but that doesn’t mean the party can be completely free to run the country however it wants. 

“Now, the PAP has argued that this election is really about giving them a mandate to bring the country out of this crisis, and they need this mandate in order to do so. The truth is, the PAP in all likelihood will have this mandate by the end of this election, and I think what we are trying to deny the PAP isn’t a mandate. What we’re trying to deny them is a blank cheque,” he added.

Others who joined the hour-long debate were Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan and Progress Singapore Party’s Francis Yuen.

Lim is running in Sengkang GRC with He Ting Ru, Raeesah Khan and Louis Chua Kheng Wee against PAP’s Ng Chee Meng, Lam Pin Min, Amrin Amin, and Raymond Lye.

‘Lee Hsien Yang our prime minister’ – Masagos Zulkifli 

Masagos Zulkifli during the online rally. Photo: Wake Up Singapore/Facebook
Masagos Zulkifli during the online rally. Photo: Wake Up Singapore/Facebook

People’s Action Party candidate for Tampines Masagos Zulkifli had a slip of the tongue when he mistakenly named Lee Hsien Loong’s brother Lee Hsien Yang as the Prime Minister in an online rally via Facebook live on July 3.

The post was taken down hours after it was uploaded on PAP’s page but clips of the facepalm moment were already circulating online.

“Last year during the National Day Rally, Mr. Lee Hsien Yang our Prime Minister pledged one hundred billion dollars to be spent over the next decades to the end of century to build slowly and to learn how to fortify Singapore,” he said.

Lee Hsien Yang is of course the prime minister’s brother-slash-rival who sparked intense speculation he would seek office when he recently joined the Progress Singapore Party.

Zulkifli is running in Tampines GRC with Koh Poh Koon, Baey Yam Keng, Desmond Choo, and Cheng Li Hui against National Solidarity Party’s Reno Fong, Mohd Ridzwan bin Mohammad, Yeo Ren-Yuan, Choong Hon Heng and Vincent Ng.

‘Hypebeast’ – Tan Cheng Bock

Photo: Tan Cheng Bok/Instagram
Photo: Tan Cheng Bok/Instagram

Progress Singapore Party chief Tan Cheng Bock embraced the younger generation during the election campaigning by dropping some slang to boost his street cred, scrupulously using the words “hypebeast” and “woke” whenever he’s had the chance.

He frequently peppers his social media posts with those words when communicating with the youth. While it hasn’t made him any less grandfatherly, the awkward effort has been endearing.

“All of you are hypebeasts right?” he wrote July 2, referring to users commenting on his social media.

“My other friend @pardonmyfrxnch taught me a new word. It’s called WOKE. I just woke up but it’s not the same meaning. I know … if you see me at a walkabout today, say ‘Hi’ and tell me I’m WOKE. But I might forget because it’s a new word. See you at Bishan today,” the caption read.

A story about him being the “hypebeast” granddad youths never knew they needed was in featured on, you guessed it, street fashion site Hypebeast. 

Not that they need a further explanation but the term “hype beast” usually refers to an individual who frequently collects the latest clothing, shoes, and accessories that have garnered a lot of hype in order to impress others. 

“Woke” or “stay woke” have in recent years been used to describe people aware of social issues. American artiste Erykah Badu is often credited with being among the first to use the word.

Tan is running in West Coast GRC with Leong Mun Wai, Hazel Poa, Jeffrey Khoo and Nadarajah Loganathan against PAP’s Desmond Lee, S Iswaran, Foo Mee Har, Rachel Ong and Ang Wei Neng.

‘I played sports every day and perhaps that may be the reason how I ended up in normal stream in secondary school’ – Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah

Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah during the broadcast. Photo: CNA/YouTube
Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah during the broadcast. Photo: CNA/YouTube

People’s Action Party new candidate Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah raised eyebrows when he said on national television that playing sports every day had probably led him into the normal stream back in secondary school. 

That portion of his two-minute speech on Sunday’s Constituency Political Broadcast made its way online, overshadowing other portions of his biography in which he talked about his route to earning a doctorate. 

“I spent my years in the kampong I remember chasing chickens and climbing trees. In the HDB flats, I played sports every day and perhaps that may be the reason how I ended up in normal stream in secondary school,” he said.

 

Wan Rizal is running in Jalan Besar GRC alongside Josephine Teo, Heng Chee How, and Denise Phua against Peoples Voice Party candidates Lim Tean, Leong Sze Hian, Nor Azlan Sulaiman and Michael Fang Amin.

Other stories you should check out:

Xiaxue deletes racist posts, cites past sexual assault to vilify ‘Group B’
Chan Chun Sing says leaked audio on crises benefiting PAP ‘taken out of context’
GE2020: Nearly 200 candidates register to run in Singapore’s election
GE2020: Here’s what’s different about Singapore’s election this time
SG Elections: Gauging the 2020 election by internet points
Renewable energy, minorities: Singapore youths table issues for next Parliament

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