Well played, Dr Chee, well played.

Political rallies are more than just a show of men (and sometimes women) standing around making empty promises.

Sometimes, you learn life skills. #TRUTH

Life Skill #1 – The Art of Talking about Something Without Talking about It

SDP’s Chee Soon Juan appealed to the PAP for a clean fight during the party’s rally on Labour Day yesterday. He added that he had never leveraged on comments made by a certain LH’s sister during his campaign, because he did not believe in gutter politics. Unlike the PAP.

Here is a snippet from Dr Chee’s speech:

“Up until now, I have never, never brought up the issue about what his sister, Lee Wei Ling said about him. You can search for it online or anywhere else. But you won’t find anything I said about the incident because I never made any. I had ample opportunity to attack him on this. But I did not. And it would have been a very potent attack because this is not your political opponent saying it. It is your own flesh and blood making these statements about you.

 I bring up this incident because I want to show you that even though I had the perfect opportunity I refrained from using Dr Lee Wei Ling’s dispute with her brother. Because that’s not the kind of politics I want to engage in.”

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This is also what is known as Apophasis – or a “sly debator’s trick”.

(definitely a Politics 1101)

It’s a way of bringing in an issue, while claiming not to mention it – and often used in political speeches. Simply put, it is the art of talking about something without talking about it. By the way Wikipedia and the dictionary said that – not us. Wahlao, of course we wouldn’t call Dr Chee a sly debater!

In Singapore context, this is akin to:

  1. Auntie: Girl ah, I know you’ll be upset, so I won’t mention the pimple on your nose ok? Even though it’s a bit swollen ah.
  2. Uncle: Boy boy! Your mama told me you are sad, so don’t worry, uncle won’t ask you why you got last in class. Eh but last year you got last place also ah?

 

Life Skill #2 – Admit Nothing, Blame Everyone Else

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SDP members, such as Sadasivam Veriyah, had taken turns to hit out at disgraced ex-MP David Ong during their 30 April rally. The latter is also fondly known as The Reason for the Bukit Batok By-Election. Chee later wrapped up the rally by declaring that he would not capitalise on the PAP’s weakest point.

“No, I don’t want to do that. You never kick a man when’s down. There’s no honour in that. For all I know, David Ong is a good guy, but good guys made mistakes. Who hasn’t? Let’s leave Dr Ong alone to find his life again, and let his family heal again.”

This had drawn criticism from said certain LH, who called Chee a hypocrite for making his comrades do the dirty work, in order to keep his hands clean.

Chee, however, remains convicted.

“We will not engage in below-the-belt politics. The David Ong affair is off the table. (One speaker) may have cracked a joke about it at our last rally. I’ve told our colleagues in no uncertain terms, cut it out.”

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Either that was a fine showing of tai chi, or maybe SDP just had no internal communication lor.