Independent candidate Han Hui Hui drew a sizeable crowd, many of them filled with curiosity about the 24-year-old blogger, to her maiden election rally last night at Delta Hockey Pitch in Tiong Bahru.
Known for speaking out against the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme at Hong Lim Park, she shared the stage with Mr Ng Teck Siong, 75, a veteran opposition politician and former Reform Party chairman, and Mr Leong Sze Hian, 61, an activist and financial adviser.
Each spoke twice, criticising Singapore's housing policies and healthcare costs as well as the CPF interest rates, which they argued should be higher.
Ms Han, who made speeches in English, Mandarin and Hokkien, said: "Yes, you can shout, you can scream, you can chant during the election rally, you can even have a full-packed field, but that is no point if you don't get the vote, that is of no use if you don't enter Parliament.
"We need people who will speak up, we don't need paper tigers."
After her first speech, about half of the crowd left.
And as she rounded up the 90-minute rally, a few heckled her by calling out "Sam Tan", the name of the Minister of State who is the People's Action Party candidate for the constituency.
Sales manager Eric Lee, 42, a Radin Mas resident of more than 15 years who attended the rally with his wife and son, said: "She's very new to us, so we want to listen to what she has to say."
Said second-year arts undergraduate Nicole T., 21, who came because she was "just curious": "I don't agree with her rhetoric but I just want to see what attracts people to her."
One of those who stayed until the end was part-time salesman John Loh, 65, who attends protest rallies at Hong Lim Park regularly. He liked everything she said, saying: "She has a good chance. I won't say she will win but she won't lose her deposit, that's for sure."
Mr Ng told the rally that if elected, Ms Han would join the Socialist Front, of which he is the chairman.
After the rally, Ms Han told reporters she would elaborate on how she would run a town council in one of the two more rallies she is planning.
About 40 volunteers are helping her to campaign, including a security guard who works at night.
She would not disclose how she funds her campaign, saying: "I don't think it's important who is funding the campaign as long as I follow the laws and regulations."
She has been seeking donations online, and listed a breakdown of projected and incurred expenses totalling nearly $25,200, including $15,000 for the rally's stage and sound system.
Her blog indicates she is short of about $14,400, as of Sept 1.
This article was first published on September 4, 2015.
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