This is the final rally for the By Election for Hougang SMC. I completely forgot about the cooling off day restrictions until the folks from TOC told me that it would be nice if I can give them some pictures before 1130pm so they can post them before midnight. The rally ended around 1030pm and from there, it was a race against time. I was happy to get afew out to them in time. After all that madness, I just thought to myself, it’s pretty tough to be a press photographer, especially when you have to rush photos for next day publications. The appeal of being a press photographer faded overnight.

The rally was pretty charged up, much more than the previous one. The crowd seem to respond to the speakers right from the start, unlike Tuesday’s rally where they took quite awhile to warm up. I enjoyed this rally alot more than the last. As for the rain I hoped for, it came the moment the last member left the stage. While walking back, I heard a conversation between two old folks.  Loosely translated,

A: It’s raining…

B: Ya, rained right after the rally.

A: It’s like “ang huay chui” (flower water, typically used to “wash” away bad luck) for the party

B: Yes! Wishing everyone good health! Huat ah!

Hougang reminded me of my childhood here (after all, I spent a considerable number of years schooling here) and in some ways the “kampung spirit” which we’ve been desperately trying to find seems to be present here. As WP’s Low Thia Khiang said, although Hougang doesn’t have the best amenities compared to other constituencies, but it has the charm of a “cosy village” (that’s my translation:D). I often complained that Singapore does not put in much effort in preserving history, tearing down every single old building that is standing on “expensive land” and “facelifting” anything that looks aged. Hougang is probably one of the last piece of land that still looked the same 20 years ago.  Taking a walk in Hougang is like a walk down memory lane. Like fine wine, it aged gracefully.

And yes! Finally tonight I’ll be at PAP domain. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some nice pictures there. Camera set… +2 EV.

The pre-rally cheer leading.

I saw this chap in the last rally and he came empty handed. But this time, he shouted, “I came with all my “家私” (meaning, props)”!

And he found a cheer mate.

One of his many “家私”. He asked Pauline (the other TOC photographer) if he wrote everything correctly. And yes he did.

The front row folks. Most if not all of them were very nice to photographers.

So it begins…

A fiery hokkien speech to start the rally rolling!

Today, we get 2 guys blowing the trumpet. The guy in red is the apprentice.

One of the few I caught out of 50 odd attempts. It pretty much sums up this rally.

Folks watching the rally from the block. It took me a long time to get up there because the lift stops at every single level. But it was well worth it to see what the crowd was like from 12 floors above.

It’s gotta be “HUAT AH!”

One of things that WP said they agree with the government was the budget which was “inclusive”. Mr Low said they do not oppose for the sake of opposing.

click more to read on…

People were still streaming in even though you can pretty much see nothing from that distance. Because of the uneven ground, some can’t even see the stage. But they still go anyway.

I said close but under 10k, but I might be wrong. Wild guess:)

The turnout. The next time will be in 4 years time.

Mr Chen Show Mao.

The flag party.

Someone brought an massive LED lit banner with the words “VOTE” and a hammer . That got everyone’s attention for awhile.

Even Pritam Singh was impressed that he stopped for a minute and acknowledged the effort.

Pritam Singh giving candidate Png Eng Huat a hug after his speech.

Party Secretary General Mr Low Thia Khiang delivering the first of his 3 part speech (Mandarin, Teochew and English).

Huat ah! Proudly brought to you by Panasonic:D

Yes! Eye contact!:D Ok, maybe not at me, but good enough.

I have to say, he’s got a vantage point I’d love to have. Mr Chen, I’m sure you have a kickass shot there!

Mr Png Eng Huat delivering his speech. This speech was alot better than the last. I guess the rain and the rain soaked script in the last rally didn’t help.

Not the most flattering picture, but I like the contrast in their expressions.

Mr Low gets amused by shouts from the crowd sometimes. Some are really quite funny.

The closing note. He reminded everyone to pick up the litter before they leave and to watch the news on cooling off day.

Mr Png Eng Huat waving to his supporters… who probably just saw all our backsides. That’s where my height becomes an advantage for his supporters.

Mr Low addressing the supporters.

And this was the LED banner I was talking about earlier.