By: B Goode
Politicians are like Justin Bieber. You either love them or loathe them. And they need a platform to showcase their ideas, and in the case of Justin Bieber, artistry. It is all part of the game.
But some politicians are like hangers-on. They look for platforms after platforms to bathe in the limelight, absorb the atmosphere, take selfies to post on Instagram or Facebook to show the world how cool they are.
And then you have the political leeches. Someone like Goh Meng Seng who jumps from one platform to another to build on their political resume because they thought that the thicker their resume, the more awesome people would think they were.
If Justin Bieber needs the stage as his platform, politicians need political parties, obviously. One of the common trait of political leeches is party-hopping.
Take Lim Tean for example. Before the 2015 GE, not many people knew who Lim Tean was. But as fate had it, the then Sec-Gen of National Solidarity Party (NSP), Hazel Poa resigned abruptly citing irreconcilable difference with the party hierarchy. Like mana from heaven, Lim Tean took it as an opportunity to pad his political resume. He replaced Hazel Poa as the Se-Gen and duly led NSP into what would be their worst performance in a GE to date.
Then, after only 18 months, in March this year, Lim Tean resigned from NSP citing, wait for it….. irreconcilable difference. And like a true blue political leech, he is now shopping for another party.
A good politician will stay the course, fight and build the party from within, not to throw in the towel at the slightest road hump. But a political leech will find the flimsiest of excuses to jump ship in order to leech the reputation of another party.
When he was in the NSP, I was told that he didn’t do much to strengthen the party. He didn’t train the younger members but instead treated them like his general workers. He didn’t try to put in place any strategy for the party, no workable policies or plans – everything he did was out of self-interest. And I heard that he himself was too ill-disciplined. It should be noted that the reason he left NSP was because of disagreement due to him speaking at the Speakers’ Corner regarding the water price hike without getting the party endorsement.
Considering that he entered the political arena relatively late, I would like to question his motivation for entering the political arena. It couldn’t possibly be that he woke up one morning and decided to be a politician, could he? Most probably having retired from the legal profession, he wanted to have a second career as a snake oil peddler speaking at protest rallies; feeding on the crumbs thrown his way by the anti-establishment crowd hungry for some political entertainment. But to do so, he needs good credentials; something along the line of `former lawyer cum political activist cum ex-SecGen of this party, that party, Tupperware party’, you know, like that of Goh Meng Seng.
Snake oil peddlers need a resume too, you know.
But the problem with political leeches like him is that instead of strengthening their hosts, they weaken them; causing chaos to the already fragile political parties. And this inadvertent effect is very much welcomed by the leeches because in a small country like Singapore where the people are mostly apathetic towards politics, you need to kill off your competitors to stand out in the crowd. And this perhaps could be Lim Tean’s real motivation for entering the political fray; to be the Leech King.
In any case, it was good that he left the NSP before more harm could be done. After all, I heard that during the last General Elections, Lim Tean was accosted by moneylenders (!) whenever he appeared at NSP’s election rallies. And that is another trait of political leeches. On the surface, everything looks clean and shiny. But scratch it, and all sort of nasty things might ooze out; from financial problems to sexual scandals to the pilfering of party funds.
This will not be the last that you will hear of Lim Tean. As it stands, he is now busy looking for another host to suck off from.
But then again why should we bother? The reason is simple. For a true democracy to function, we need a strong credible opposition. But that is hard to achieve with political leeches slithering from one party to the next leaving a trail of anemic victims in their wake. That is why political leeches must be called out so that opposition parties can be made aware of who they are inviting to dinner.