Lilian Lee of the Workers' Party was selected to be the candidate for Punggol East SMC in the 2011 General Elections. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the residents, the underdog opposition party garnered 41% of the valid votes. On 26 Jan 2013, she made history in Singapore for defeating the PAP's Dr Koh Poh Koon, a colorectal surgeon, during the Punggol East by-election.
Lee Li Lian
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It is undeniable that she has made history by winning the PAP candidate Dr Koh in the Punggol East election after the Michael Palmer extra-marital affair saga.
Well, there were probably a few obvious reasons we can point out that has led Lee to her victory. Firstly, she had more experience in the political field than Dr. Koh and plus she had been through an election before (in 2011 with Palmer). It is not surprisingly that the residents would choose someone who have already been dabbling their hands in the political arena.
Next, she was arguably more sincere than Dr Koh. His accidental (and perhaps unintentional) slip of the tongue has created an uproar, allowing the odds to be in Lee's favour. She was persuasive during the election period, assuring firmly her sincerity in serving the people which has also helped her greatly.
While I may not be a political fanatic myself, I do hope that she is able to serve the residents well, providing a constructive alternative voice in the parliament.
So how do I describe my MP? Bouncy and motherly was my first impression. For the first time, I shook hands with someone who is really down to earth, instead of merely preaching promises about world changing plans should we vote them in. The very first thing she asked me was not to vote for the Worker's Party, but instead 'Ni chi bao le ma?' (Chinese for 'Have you eaten')? Her interest in whether I had partaken my meal was so genuine and real that I felt really touched!
She was more of a quiet candidate as compared to the other 3 candidates during the by-election period. However, her actions resonate volumes. Ever since taking over Punggol East SMC, our lives as residents have improved tremendously. For example, Rivervale Plaza, long neglected with it being only halfway through renovations, was quickly finished and reopened. Moreover, my housing estate received a new lease of life through a series of refurbishments such as a new senior citizen's corner, upgraded basketball court and playgrounds as well as regular updates of the noticeboards!
A capable, effective MP indeed!
Charismatic and friendly, her feminine voice boomed over a cheering crowd as she said "Thank you" after her win for the By-election. After a strategic pause, she started her smooth speech that seemed to connect with the crowd that had now become quiet to listen to her.
Regardless, her voice came along with the oh so familiar tinge of the Singlish accent. That connected with the crowd. Here, standing before them was not another one of the PAP croonies who were raised and trained to look like, sound like, and think like an elite. Here, standing before them was a woman who was also like them - in speech, in heart, and in self. There, she stood, humble and willing to serve the people who had elected her.
Even in the silence of the crowd, the flashes of the camera was rapid and furious - the opposition had won; this was the changing of the tide. And now, would there be a chance of a fair competition and a chance of a dual party system?
There is a historical precedent for Lee's historic victory: David versus Goliath. Dr Koh Poh Koon may be her better many times over in terms of wealth, privilege, social status and education but she wiped the floor with him anyway. You go, girl!
Our Lilian (if your Chinese name was Ah Lian, you'd want to Anglicise your name too) may not be a daughter of Punggol but the girl has chutzpah by the spade-full (make that Kate Spade-full for Tin P.L.). I'm not even going to begin on her opponent's cars soundbite.
She looks like a nice girl, definitely not the type who will ever be caught with an intern visiting her down under unlike naughty Mr P.