Mr Tan Kin Lian on Dr Tony Tan: He's my biggest rival (Dr Tony Tan replied: "He's not")

If only Dr Tony Tan humorously replied so. Hur hur.

Yeah. I'm referring to this Asiaone article titled "He's my biggest rival" - that is to say Dr Tony Tan is Mr Tan Kin Lian's biggest rival.

Mr Tan Kin Lian should perhaps elaborate further stating that he's strong. Strong enough to face him (Dr Tony Tan). He (Dr Tony Tan) ain't just his biggest rival, he's also his brother...Not!

Yeah, I know after the so much humiliating experience with the so-called tongue-in-cheek parody of Lady Gaga Bad Romance by the Singaporean playwrright Haresh Sharma which led to the horror called, Fun Pack Song (luckily YouTube has taken off the clip!), I should know better than trying to do same to avoid making fun of the great song. Guilty of such attempt for the song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".

Hur hur.

Back to the serious stuff, I'm going to list down what annoys not just me but 'many people' (I highlighted the part of the Asiaone article as well):
1. Mr Tan Kin Lian was quoted to say, "For people who wish to be heard, I think they probably would find me to be a better choice".

The keyword one must emphasize is 'probably'. Logic dictates that there are also people who believe that Dr Tony Tan or Dr Tan Cheng Bock to be a better choice for them who wish to be heard.

2. Also from Mr Tan Kin Lian: "I know Dr Tan Cheng Bock started his Facebook much earlier than me, and I think Dr Tony Tan only started recently. So the number of likes depends on who starts first."

It is not necessarily true. Just ask Nicole Seah. She started her Facebook very much later than many of the rest of politicians, but the number of likes for her FB is much more than the rest.

On the other hand, to even bother about commenting 'the likes' issue of Facebook is kind of childish, Mr Tan. There are many Singaporeans who do not even have Facebook account, so why the no of likes is even significant?!

3. The Asiaone article says that "in 2008, Mr Tan had announced that he would run for president only if he garnered 100,000 signatures from Singaporeans asking him to run."

What constantly irks me is the lack of info of how many signatures Mr Tan Kin Lian did manage to gather?!?!

4. The article also added, "Despite not meeting the 100,000 mark he set, he said that he eventually decided to stand as a candidate because many people had asked him to, so they could have the chance to vote."

The part that annoys me is 'many people'. It's so vague and can easily be abused. All candidates can use such a phrase and they too can be right. But it doesn't tell anything, really! How do you define 'many people'?

All in all, many of us do expect a great Presidential Race. We might have one soon. Let's hope it doesn't turn ugly. (And no, dammit, I'm not referring to any particular candidate despite the bad placement of this remark in the unflattering artcile of a certain Presidential hopeful!)

THEIR visits to the Elections Department yesterday overlapped, but they did not get a chance to meet each other.

Mr Tan Kin Lian, 63, the former chief executive of NTUC Income, filed his papers at 11.15am after a press conference earlier in the morning.

Former deputy prime minister Tony Tan, 71, handed in his forms at 11.40am, minutes after Mr Tan left.

Yesterday, Mr Tan told The New Paper over the phone that he sees Dr Tan as his biggest rival in the presidential race.

He said: "I think Dr Tony Tan has very good credentials, so the people have to decide. If you think about credentials, then maybe Dr Tony Tan will be a good choice.

"But if you think about someone who can speak on behalf of Singaporeans, if you wish to be heard, who is likely to hear you? Dr Tony Tan or Tan Kin Lian? "For people who wish to be heard, I think they probably would find me to be a better choice."

He said that based on the feedback he received, most people were comparing him with Dr Tan.

Mr Tan then shared an anecdote about how he was in a taxi and had asked the driver who he would vote for in the presidential election.

The cabby told him that many taxi drivers were talking about Dr Tan and him, but he did not know Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the third presidential hopeful.

Said Mr Tan: "Maybe because he's been out of the scene for quite a while. The last five years, he's not in the scene, whereas I was involved in the Minibonds (saga), Speakers' Corner and so on. Maybe that made mea little bit better known."

But doesn't Dr Tan Cheng Bock, 71, the former Member of Parliament for Ayer Rajah, have more "likes" on his Facebook page than both him and Dr Tony Tan? (As of 9pm last night, Dr Tan leads with more than 3,600 "likes", Mr Tan is next with more than 1,700 "likes" while Dr Tony Tan has over 800 "likes".)

"I know Dr Tan Cheng Bock started his Facebook much earlier than me, and I think Dr Tony Tan only started recently. So the number of likes depends on who starts first. But then I think Dr Tan Cheng Bock's team uses the Facebook much more actively than I do."

He explained that aside from Facebook, he uses his blog, which receives 4,000 visitors every day, as the primary tool for people to get in touch with him.

He also has a website with information on his candidacy for the presidential polls.

He said: "So if you add up the three, then I will be more active than Tan Cheng Bock...

"I think (it's) very hard to measure which one is better, but I think both Tan Cheng Bock and myself, we are quite well (in) reaching out to many people."

All three potential candidates have said that they are contesting as independent candidates. Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan, in particular, made it a point to distance themselves from the People's Action Party.

Given public sentiment that has carried over from the May General Election, are the candidates' move a sign that they are bowing to populist pressures just as what President SR Nathan had cautioned against?

No, said Mr Tan, who added: "As a leader, you listen to people, you understand what they are telling you.

But then you don't just bow to populist pressure.

Strong leader

"You must evaluate whether the feedback is practical or not, good for the long-term or not, and you must make your own decisions. So I'm not bowing to populist pressure.A leader has to be stronger than that."

Mr Tan had said in the press conference earlier that he came from a humble background and understood the struggle of people who found it difficult to earn enough to meet the cost of living.

He also said that he wished to run for president as a public duty and pledged to donate at least 50 per cent of the president's salary to charity and other worthy causes if he is elected into office.

So, does he see himself as someone who's out to help the needy?

"I believe that leaders don't have to be paid so much... I look at the presidents and prime ministers of other countries. They earn a salary that is quite modest, they don't earn such high salaries.

"So definitely for me, I don't think I want to take such a big salary, otherwise people will say Tan Kin Lian is after this job for a salary, and I don't want to give people that impression."

100,000 question

In 2008, Mr Tan had announced that he would run for president ONLY IF he garnered 100,000 signatures from Singaporeans asking him to run.

Despite not meeting the 100,000 mark he set, he said that he eventually decided to stand as a candidate because many people had asked him to, so they could have the chance to vote.

He said: "They said if I don't stand and there's another walkover, they will be very disappointed. I hear the call from all these people (and) I changed my mind."

On the issue of the three-cornered fight, MrTan said that he decided to contest as he felt it would be harder for the Presidential Elections Committee to reject both him and Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

This is to ensure that there will be a contest and not a walkover on Nomination Day,he said.

From Asiaone, "He's my biggest rival".

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