What an exciting night! Here’s my totally unprofessional “critique” of the GE2020 political debate

By July 2, 2020Current

TL;DR – Performance ranking, Best lines, Best iconic moment, Best debate moment, and the most annoying thing!

There’s a lot of buzz about the GE2020 political debate last night!

So much love for Workers’ Party’s Dr Jamus Lim last night! And people were also talking about the interaction between Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Dr Lim, LOL!

GE2020 Political Debate: The format

Mediacorp invited the four political parties fielding the most candidates at the GE to send a candidate to each of the debates.

In the first segment, a moderator asked the four candidates a series of questions on topics including unemployment, helping businesses and social mobility.

In the second segment, candidates got to ask questions of other candidates in a structured sequence as well as answer questions posed to them by other candidates.

So here’s the Political Debate that happened last night (July 1, Tue) at 8pm.

  • PAP – Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
  • WP – Dr Jamus Lim
  • PSP – Francis Yuen
  • SDP – Dr Chee Soon Juan

I was half expecting a boring session, but nooooo… it was quite exciting!

I was following the chatter in a very big Telegram group as we watched the debate “together” in our own homes. Some of the exchanges were so funny!

  • Jamus looks like he got v broad shoulders!
  • The WP and SDP candidates english even more filly-filleh than the PAP elitists
  • Oh what irony. CSJ jobless for the longest time talking about jobs
  • I wanna know where Dr Chee bought his red shirt. Really got sell such a red shirt in shops meh
  • Am surprised VB wearing apple watch, lol
  • Issit Jamus a lil gan cheong
  • Some people asking why pap gets 4.5 mins whilst the opp gets 1.5 mins. Harlow 3 against 1 leh
  • Got one comment: Cause it’s opposition vs PAP. If there’s is only one opposition they can get their 4.5mins too. The opposition need work together here.
  • PSP unker looks like he doesnt want to be there
  • WAH VB! It’s not about how much but how we spend. I like this answer.
  • This comment: From this half hour: WP, flatter to deceive; SDP, full of complaints and short on solutions; PSP, choose a better speaker next time.
  • PSP unker exit the chat
  • OH unker still here
  • There’s an unker? HAHHAHA
  • Aiya, just put Vivi and Cheechee in a cage already!
  • WTF! CSJ sprouting the 10 million population falsehood on national TV?! POFMA!
  • Wah, VB so direct, jitao called him out.
  • SDP slogan is simi 4 yes 1 no. The ‘No’ is No to 10 mil pop
  • But DPM already clarified in march what! No 10 mil pop lah. SDP neh read news issit
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I want to address the last point.

Yes, it’s true that DPM had already addressed this back in March this year.

The Government has also released a media statement yesterday. So let’s clear this up once and for all, shall we?

During the March update, the Government said that given recent trends, Singapore’s total population is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030. This outlook remains valid today.


And now, have you seen this viral post by Samuel Myat San?

He’s apparently a debate coach and he gave a very interesting critique of the debate tonight. Go read if you haven’t!

I’m incredibly inspired and want to do my own critique piece. But note that I ain’t no debate coach, just a random member of the audience, hehe!

Hope he doesn’t mind, but I’m gonna follow his “template”!

My totally unprofessional “critique” of the GE2020 political debate

First place: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan from the PAP

Dr Vivian was as cool as a cucumber, and I love how he spoke in such measured tone and his pace must have been almost maddeningly slow for his opponents.

He appeared to be the most prepared. It’s like none of the questions fazed or threw him off, and he had answers to all of them.

As he was defending his party’s policies, he was able to do so in simple language. At the same time, he was also able to cast doubts on his opponents’ proposals.

I thought his points were articulated clearly, and he was able to cite comparisons against other countries to convince us even more.

No fumbling, no stumbling. Lots of look-you-in-the-eye, and lots of assurance and confidence in his voice.

In fact, I thought with those smiling puppy eyes of his, he’s very sly! Cos he’s so disarmingly charming Jamus probably didn’t know what hit him!

But he was also firm when he had to call out SDP Dr Chee’s falsehood.

Second place: Dr Jamus Lim from the Workers’ Party

Let me get this off my chest first.

He’s quite cute! And yea, I agree with the “v broad shoulders” comment.

OK, his accent impresses first.

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And he sounded very fluent and was able to throw in some of the more important proposals from his party’s manifesto, like the minimum wage and reduced classroom sizes. But he was probably quite nervous at the start and was unable to contain his nerves and excitement. At some points, I thought I was hearing a grown up version of Amos Yee. (So funny, one Goodyfeed writer described Dr Lim’s accent as half American, half Donald Duck! Cute!!)

At times, I thought he was speaking too quickly. So it’s like wait, I hear every word you’re saying, but dude, chill, I cannot understand your point.

It’s probably nerves, and I’m sure he’ll get better in time. Overall, am soooo glad he showed up last night. I’m pretty sure it would be a lot less enjoyable if without Dr Lim!

At his most excited, he really reminded me of Amos Yee!

But overall, he’s now, to me, one of the most memorable and impressive new candidates fielded for GE2020. I even started following him on Instagram, keke!

So, yea, like what many netizens are saying, Dr Vivian may have won the debate, but Jamus has won hearts.

Third place: Dr Chee Soon Juan from the SDP

Dr Chee was just disappointing. As expected, he’s more interested to attack the incumbent instead of talking about his own solutions. And the very negative vibes from his body language was nearly unbearable for me to watch.

When Dr Vivian asked him about the total bill of SDP’s proposed programmes, Dr Chee said $5 billion.

And when pressed about how he was going to fund them, i thought he fumbled.

He talked about $10 million savings from cutting cabinet ministers’ pay and then to save money from not building Jewel… But these don’t add up to $5 billion.

Anyway, this is one of the most exciting parts of the hour-long debate, so watch it!

Dr Vivian said, “That’s a cheap shot” twice!

And if we stop all the programmes that PAP has in place and channeled the money to SDP’ programmes, then what about transforming the businesses and upgrading workers’ skills to remain relevant?

Dr Chee said the PAP is a tax-and-spend party, but so what?

I think it’s prudent and correct to ensure that we have balanced budgets every year or term, and to ensure that all our programmes have sufficient funding.

If not tax-and-spend, then what? Obviously spend-and-spend doesnt’ work, right?

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Fourth place: Francis Yuen from the PSP

I don’t even know what to write here.

Maybe that’s the thing. While no gaffe nor mistake nor slip of tongue from Yuen, he was also not memorable.

I don’t remember a single proposal or idea that he’d mentioned from the PSP manifesto. And I also don’t quite get what his party stands for.

For WP, it’s clear they’re PAP-lite. For SDP, they’re social-liberal.

What about PSP? My impression of them remains at “Tan Cheng Bock’s party”.

Or maybe after tonight’s political debate, PSP is now, to me, a party with just slogans but no details in their heads. #Youdeservebetter, OK, but what’s the better?

Best lines:

Winner: “We needed the foreign workers as additional wind in our sails when the weather is good.” 

If you only want to zoom in on this line, start watching from the 2-min mark.

But I highly recommend you watch his entire wrap-up. The beginning’s quite exciting cos he, again, reminded SDP’s Dr Chee not to sprout falsehood.

Runner up: “I have read your manifesto. To be honest with you, we could have written the same manifesto. And that’s why people have called The Workers’ Party PAP-lite.”

Best ironic moment:

2 ACS boys and 2 RI boys talking about neighbourhood schools and education. (Lifted this from Samuel’s viral post, cos there’s no way to find a more ironic mo!)

Most eye-popping fashion accessory:

Can Dr Chee’s shirt be redder?? (But personally, my eyes kept drifting to Dr Vivian’s Apple watch, LOL!)

Most annoying thing:

Francis Yuen “slamming” his hands on the table repeatedly during his wrap-up.

Best debate moment:

When Dr Vivian nonsense-d Dr Chee and called Dr Chee out for making a cheap shot. Twice.


I learnt something new today:

Min Vivian said, “Our SMEs are crucial. They account for 70% of jobs, 50% of our GDP.”

Saddest thing about the Chinese debate:

The Chinese political debate happened at 9pm last night.

The saddest thing? It’s when the Workers’ Party was a no-show.

via Whatsapp

I “critiqued” the GE2020 political debate, and someone called me names and told me to F-off


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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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