A little tribute to the “small” guy


My little tribute to the “small” guy whom everyone seems to be making fun of.

I don’t know Desmond Lim very well, although I did interview him for GE 2011 at his office. What I do know is that he gave 14 years of his time to the Potong Pasir Town Council (PPTC), and to the Singapore People’s Party (SPP).

At PPTC, as I understand it, he was more or less Chiam’s right-hand man. Or at least he was very much involved in the running of the TC.

“Those who know me know that over the past 14 years,” Desmond once said, “I have devoted all the time, energy and money to working for the Potong Pasir Town Council and the People’s Party. After my office hours, on public holidays and weekends, I would be working for them. I was even on call to help solve problems that happened during the wee hours of the night. All these I did without any incentives and rewards.”

14 years is a long time. Many of us would not even give 14 minutes to causes we say we believe in.

And during those 14 years, with contribution from people like Desmond, Chiam – and by extension, the SPP and the opposition – could keep their presence in Parliament.

So, don’t diss Desmond. He has every right to contest the by-election. He may not speak as well as you, or be as politically astute as you feel he should be, but it is quite evident – from his years of work – that he does want to serve and indeed he has.

And for that, he deserves encouragement, not ridicule – for he has played more of a part in keeping the opposition going than many of us who are laughing at him.


23 thoughts on “A little tribute to the “small” guy

    1. thank you for posting this…though I do not know Desmond Lim well as well but he came across to me as someone sincere and honest and ‘ felt very uneasy and unfair when netizens attack him on facebook and alway post my fair comments. Desmond is not my brother, brother in law or relative but I urge Singaporeans to kindly give him a chance. Thank you for reading…Good night

  1. What about the other opposition. Somebody hv to scarify and we all know in PE, the choices are only 2. so do not dilute them n let PAP win.

  2. I think the issue for many is not so much his passion to serve, but his insistence on fighting a losing battle which in the process will bring other oppositions down with him.

    What he should do is to try build up his party, or join a better one, before rushing recklessly into elections.

  3. Thank you, Andrew, for sane voices like yours. To some, he “is fighting a losing battle’. However, I hope more Singaporeans will come to realise that having more parties means offering more and possibly even better choices. If we are left with just the incumbent and one “opposition” party, Singapore and the people as a nation would not have progressed very far in these five decades. We would not have learned that might isn’t always right.

  4. Hi Andrew, I personally agree with your view that Desmond should be encouraged and not ridiculed.

    but calling him the “small” guy??? seriously Andrew, have u lost your mind? “small” guys don’t run for elections in sg where there are high barriers to entry. “small” guys don’t raise 16k election deposits after losing the last one.
    “small” guys are not principle engineers at M1.
    just cos he doesn’t speak standard English and his party’s not so strong doesn’t make him “small”.

    encourage Desmond by all means, I will defend his politic freedom too. but don’t confuse him for the “small” guy or even the common man.

  5. Good article Andrew. Yes Desmond should be applauded. He is humble and certainly courageous. For those who ridicule him and think you are better than him, why don’t stand in his place? For those who censure him for contesting, you think this is your grandfather’s election? As a citizen, he has every right to give voters a choice. By standing, he has done more than his duty as an ordinary citizen. I wish him all the best and hope he does better the last time. Of all the four candidates, he has put in the most work in PE before and since the last election. He deserves better.

  6. Thank You for sharing Andrew, i fully agree with you. After reading your post, i do have a new found respect for Desmond for his courage ( to enter the GE race along side with the BigBoys ) and sheer determination.

  7. Thank you Andrew for this post. I am in agreement that due respect should be given to individual who has given substantial time to better the community. His dedication and works are evidents of his passion. Yes, he might not be eloquent but that should not stop us from seeing his good effort. I appreciate any good man who puts in time to make someone else’s life better. That is how we build a gracious society. By giving, not robbing others’ rights of dignity.

  8. At some point in time, we have to stop being politically correct. This Desmond Lim said that he is contesting again despite his initial failure because he didn’t want to show his son that he is a guy who gives up. But this is a false analogy.

    If for example, his son is tone death and can’t sing for nuts, will you still encourage him to join Singapore Idol and make a fool of himself in front of national television? If you want to be encouraging, you might say, “son, you’re not ready, why don’t you go for some singing classes.

    Desmond Lim is like this hypothetical son. He has made a fool of himself on national television. He has no oratorical skills and obviously has shown little ability to strategize and plan ahead since he has practically alienated all his non-tech savvy voters by choosing not to have a proper rally.

    We got to stop saying things like “oh at least he tried his best”. This is not kindergarten. it’s an election. We are trying to put someone in parliament. It isn’t so much his grammar or diction. But he can’t even string his thoughts together coherently. I honestly do not know what point he is making during his 4min video apart from a subtle hint at the flaws of “branded” parties.

    How in the world is he going to string his thoughts “live” in parliament if he can’t do so while having ample time to prepare on camera?

    Stop trying to delude him by saying he is dedicated or determine. That is his campaign slogan and is obviously what he egoistically thinks of himself. We should be delivering to him the hard truths so that he doesn’t try to be a spoiler for the 3rd time in GE 2016.

    1. all true, except the “spoiler” part which you can’t back up with evidence.

      and how does everything else u mentioned harm you?

    2. You mean the Ah Lian has oratorical skills, ability to strategize and plan ahead, and can string her thoughts “live” in parliament?

  9. One have to know the difference between a person helping for 14 years and the calibre as a MP. You can’t be going to parliament to “help” right? If one is good at being a helper, then continue to be a helper.

    What I can gather here is that, ever since he was in SPP under the shadow of Chiam, he feel indignated and join another party so that he can be at the forefront. One must know one’s standing. There is a great difference.

    In my opinion, it is better to be an unsung hero than to rush out and be a zero. History have shown that politicians that jump ship don’t necessarily make it. In fact, there is no wisom at all.

  10. Perception is everything in politics. Everything else is secondary.

    Desmond needs to hire an image consultant if he wants to have a decent chance in politics.

  11. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions… and that’s being charitable by coining his persistence as “good”.

    Desmond Lim does not exist in a vacuum. Him and his choosen path does not impact on him alone, but how Punggol East will go from this political crossroad. To focus purely on his personal ambitions without considering the corresponding impact comes across as selfish than selfless.

  12. It is getting really tiring to hear all these WP bullies who wish to deny RP’s and SDA’s right to run because “these spoilers” will split the opposition vote. Come on lah guys, get off your high horses already! Your repeated-to-death argument is an insult to your fellow citizens’ ability to judge for themselves, decide for themselves, and use their vote for their own purpose. You think you know better? You think they are all lemmings? They should just do what you think is best? Look in the mirror, guys, you’re suffering from the “holier than thou” attitude. You are not supporting democracy, you are just wishing for a different tyranny.

  13. Come on Singaporeans…I said many times and I amgoing to say it again…Desmond Lim is not my brother or brother in law. Neither is he related to me. I came out of defence for him in the name of justice. Singaporeans…why tekan Desmond till as though he is not even worse 5 cents. He has father and mother..so do Singaporeans…I suppose if we are more polite in using our words and postings Singapore will certainly be a more gracious and kind country to live in..Those who do not agree are welcome to challenge me to a debate…Than you

    1. I completely agree, Low Chiak H. The low maturity and bully behaviour of some Singaporeans (especially those from a certain camp) is really unworthy of the ideals that they claim to be supporting. I wish more people can just “get it” that democracy is not about getting others to agree with you, it is about respecting what the majority agrees to do!

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