May 26, 2017

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Yusof Najeer

Yusof Najeer
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Friends and relatives of Habibullah Sefer, who was killed in Tuesday's attack at Istanbul airport, carry his flag-draped coffin during his funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2J0XE

by Najeer Yusof

THE suicide bombing in Karrada shopping district in Baghdad, Iraq is the latest incident in a recent string of violent terror attacks to occur in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attack that took place this past weekend has claimed the lives of at least 125 people.

Other terror attacks have taken place recently in Bangladesh, Turkey, the USA, Afghanistan and others.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, some 20 hostages were taken when six terrorists attacked a cafe in an exclusive neighbourhood on 2 July. The attack left 20 people dead, including two police officers and six terrorists. While the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, these claims have been refuted by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan. He attributes the attacks to local militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB); JMB has claimed to represent IS, but no links have been found between the two thus far.

The gun and bomb spree on June 28 at the Atatürk airport in Istanbul, Turkey left 41 people dead.

Here are the scenes from the aftermaths of these terror attacks:

Mourners react during a funeral of a victim who was killed in a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTX2JINK
Mourners react during a funeral of a victim who was killed in a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

 

A man lights a candle at the site after a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTX2JIN0
A man lights a candle at the site after a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

 

Students hold placard and candles as they pray to show solidarity with the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant at Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a vigil in Agartala, India July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey - RTX2JGM4
Students hold placard and candles as they pray to show solidarity with the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O’Kitchen Restaurant at Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a vigil in Agartala, India July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

 

A man places a sign as others light candles during a vigil in Kolkata, India, to show solidarity with the victims of the attack at Holey Artisan restaurant after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri - RTX2JDEJ
A man places a sign as others light candles during a vigil in Kolkata, India, to show solidarity with the victims of the attack at Holey Artisan after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

 

A relative of Gulsen Bahadir, a victim of Tuesday's attack on Ataturk airport, mourns at her flag-draped coffin during her funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2IVPI
A relative of Gulsen Bahadir, a victim of Tuesday’s attack on Ataturk airport, mourns at her flag-draped coffin during her funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

 

Airport employees mourn for their friends, who were killed in Tuesday's attack at the airport, during a ceremony at the international departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2J1I0
Airport employees mourn for their friends, who were killed in Tuesday’s attack at the airport, during a ceremony at the international departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

 

Featured image and images by REUTERS.

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by Najeer Yusof

HOW do you plan a feast for thousands of people every Sunday? Well, ask the Indian Muslim Social Service Association (IMSSA). The non-profit organisation, which was formed in July 2004, has been doing it for the past 10 Ramadans. Iftar is the evening meal that Muslims consume when it is time to break their fast. It had a crowd of between 500 and 1,000 people at the Masjid Darul Makmur in Yishun in 2006. The turnout has since swelled to as many as 5,000 attendees this year.

The first two iftars for this year were held at the Masjid An-Nahdhah mosque in Bishan and Marsiling community centre. The third one was held yesterday (June 26) at the sheltered hard court beside Block 165, in Yishun. The final iftar, will be held this Sunday, three days before Hari Raya Puasa, at MacPherson Community Centre.

Each iftar costs about $35,000 to $40,000 and is covered by donations from the families of the students from As-Soabereen madrasah that IMSSA runs, as well as from residents who live near the iftar venue. Many also turn volunteers, split into teams to handle logistics, washing and packing, for example.  Each location has an organising team, responsible for the overall planning and execution.

The mass iftars are usually held in huge spaces such as sheltered hard courts in neighbourhoods, mosques and community centres. The planning and reservation of the areas begin nearly a year before the actual iftar. The organising teams of the various locations have to approach Members of Parliament in the relevant districts to ask for the venue. Other teams will then move in.

Curious about how the execution of iftar on such a scale occurs, we headed down to Yishun yesterday, to observe IMSSA’s third mass iftar for this year. Here is what we saw:

 

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PREPARATION PLANS: A day before the actual iftar, the logistics team will unload all the necessary equipment and groceries for the various teams to organise them. They are responsible for accounting for the equipment and transporting them to and fro, from a volunteer’s warehouse storage to the iftar venues. The logistics team has three lorries to transport the large volume of equipment. These lorries are borrowed from fellow volunteers.

 

 

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SLICE AND DICE: The cooking team will sort out the cooking pots and utensils and prepare the ingredients for cooking the next day. The female volunteers then proceed with washing and slicing vegetables such as onions and ginger. It is crucial that these ingredients are prepared a day ahead so that cooking the next day can be done smoothly.

 

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WHAT’S COOKING: The porridge is an iconic dish served during iftar. Cooking of the porridge starts at around 6am after the pre-dawn meal. The volunteers’ tasks are assigned by gender: The women prepare the ingredients, the man cook the porridge. Huge pots are used to prepare the porridge. An average of 10 to 15 such pots of porridge are made for each iftar. About a third however, are packed separately and sent to other mosques, as donation. Besides cooking the porridge, this team also cooks meals for iftar and the pre-dawn meal, for those who attend the event.

 

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STIR, STIR, STIR: Stirring the porridge can be an arduous task due to its sheer volume. Hence a pair of volunteers are assigned per pot and they take turns to stir with wooden oars while the ingredients are added. When cooking porridge in large pots like this, it is crucial that the porridge is being stirred continuously so that the bottom portion does not get burnt and the porridge is cooked evenly. Interestingly, the colour of porridge differs across cultures. Due to the use of traditional Indian spices such as cardamom and clove, the porridge made by Indian Muslims tends to be light brown in colour, while those made by Malay Muslims are white.

 

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SCRUB DOWN: The washing team then takes over. The cooking utensils and pots are rentals. They are in limited supply and so have to be reused throughout the day. Armed with water hoses, dish soap and scrubs, the washing team of about 20 to 25 student volunteers attack the task with gusto, only pausing for an hour for rest and prayers at 1pm and 4pm.

 

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LAYING THEM OUT: The food prepared is packed into bento boxes by the volunteers of the packing team. Subsequently, the canvas is laid on the ground. Rows of plastic sheets are attached for ease in clearing up post event. Then, the younger student volunteers of the team in-charge of laying out the food, proceed to arrange the food and drinks for iftar, under the guidance of the older youth volunteers.

 

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MEAL SET: This is a typical food spread that one person receives. The bento box contains food for iftar, including dates. The food in the red plastic bag is for the next day’s pre-dawn meal that the people attending the iftar can bring home.

 

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TURNOUT: IMSSA organises an iftar at different locations every Sunday throughout the month of Ramadan. This initiative first started in 2006. The usual turnout for each iftar ranges from 3000 to 4000 people. The needy families and residents around the area are also invited to join the event – regardless of religion. The iftars are usually held in huge spaces such as neighbourhood hard courts and community centres.  Yesterday’s iftar was held at the hard court beside block 165, along Yishun Ring Road and the turnout was about 3000 people. This week’s iftar will be held at MacPherson Community Centre.

 

Images by Najeer Yusof.

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

IT WAS her talent and potential that impressed her current coach, Mr Arvind Lalwani, 36. He first saw her in 2008 when she fought and defeated one of his fighters in an amateur level fight. Back then, Ms Nurshahidah Roslie was from a different gym and trained under Mr Sunny Pang, an acquaintance of Arvind. In that same year, her previous gym closed and she was introduced to Arvind and began training under him. Since then, the 28-year-old has been on the national amateur boxing team and fought in local and international amateur fights. With 10 years of boxing experience under her belt, she turned professional with Juggernaut Fight Club in February this year, just before her professional debut fight in the second edition of the Singapore Fighting Championships (SFC).

Yesterday, the recently-turned-professional fighter fought her third professional fight in the third edition of the SFC and became Singapore’s first female professional boxing champion. Winning the Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) Female Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title, the 28-year-old scored a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round, defeating her Thai opponent Ms Sithsaithong.

Being a professional boxer and working for Juggernaut Fight Club gym as an Operations Manager, Shahidah has a packed schedule, but still manages to juggle all her responsibilities well. Here is a peek into her routine:

 

THE SNIPER: Nicknamed "The Sniper", Shahidah uses her long arms for long range powerful shots against her opponents. Adopting the orthodox fighting stance, as she is right-handed, she paces her fight, waiting for the right moment before sniping her opponent with a well-timed heavy blow.
THE SNIPER: Nicknamed “The Sniper”, Shahidah uses her long arms to deliver powerful long range shots against her opponents. Adopting the orthodox fighting stance, as she is right-handed, she paces her fight, waiting for the right moment before sniping her opponent with a well-timed heavy blow. Shahidah’s passion for fighting sports was inspired by P. Ramlee’s black and white movie that featured a brother protecting his sister using Silat, a traditional Malay martial art. When she was younger, she would role play the television series Power Rangers, with her younger sister and she would always assume the role of the ‘Green Ranger’. She picked up Taekwondo when she was in Secondary Two and years later she was introduced to kick boxing as part of a class module on how to assess coaches. That was when she trained under Mr Sunny Pang who conducted fighting lessons at void decks. Soon after, she realised that her strength was more suited for boxing as she found that she had stronger hands than legs, and she also had a greater passion for boxing. She made the switch to Boxing although she still keeps in touch with Kick boxing occasionally to coach others.

 

THE COACH: Mr Aravind has been coaching Ms Shahidah since 2008, when she first joined his previous gym, Fightworks Asia. He guides her through her technical training on weekdays and is a strong source of motivation for her. When she couldn't find a job after her degree, he encouraged her to turn into a professional boxer and hired her as a operational manager for Juggernaut Fight Gym. "I was concerned about not getting enough fights and whether turning professional was a good idea. Initially when Aravind hinted that I should, I thought he was joking, so I jokingly agreed. One week later he got me my first professional fight in SFC 2," said Ms Nurshahidah. Mr Aravind first noticed her potential and was impressed with her when she fought and defeated one of his girl's in an amateur level fight. Back then, Ms Nurshahidah was from a different gym and trained under an acquaintance of Mr Aravind. When her previous gym closed, she was introduced to Mr Aravind and began training under him. Although she had a lot of hidden potential, Mr Aravind found that she lacked in confidence. "She can be headstrong and responds more to harsh words. So I tend to push her to her limits and it does make her slightly angry. But I give her the space for self-reflection so she can cool down," says Mr Aravind.
THE COACH: Arvind has been coaching Shahidah since 2008 when she first joined his previous gym, Fightworks Asia. He guides her through her technical training on weekdays and is a strong source of motivation for her. When she couldn’t find a job after her degree, he encouraged her to turn into a professional boxer and hired her as an Operational Manager for Juggernaut Fight Gym. “I was concerned about not getting enough fights and whether turning professional was a good idea. Initially, when Arvind hinted that I should, I thought he was joking, so I jokingly agreed. One week later he got me my first professional fight in SFC 2,” said Shahidah. Although she had a lot of hidden potential, Arvind found that she lacked confidence. “She can be headstrong and responds more to harsh words. So I tend to push her to her limits and it does make her slightly angry. But I give her the space for self-reflection so she can cool down,” says Arvind. Shahidah admits that the worst fight she had was the one in Taiwan when she felt like giving up after the first round. “I was wondering: will anyone throw in the towel? But no one did. Instead, Arvind was the one who was motivating me to keep on going and not to give up. Although I continued to not perform well for the subsequent rounds and I ended up losing the fight, Arvind felt that I did better for the final round,” said Shahidah.

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE: Technical trainings are held on weekdays from 3pm to about 4pm. On Tuesdays and Thursday's it is sparring day and Ms Nurshahidah spars with her teammates. Closer to the fight, her sparring session intensifies as she spars with different teammates, for each round. The sparring rounds are timed according to the length of usual fight rounds, with a timer. On the other days of the week, Nurshahidah has technical trainings, which involve pad work and shadow boxing. These are aimed at improving her fighting techniques.
TRAINING SCHEDULE: Technical training involves pad work and shadow boxing, and is held on weekdays at the Juggernaut Fight Club Gym from 3pm to about 4pm to improve her fighting techniques. She spars with her teammates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as they each take one round in the ring against her to push her stamina and focus to the limit. As the gym’s Operational Manager, Shahidah ends up spending most of her time at the gym as her she usually comes in at 9.30am and leaves only at 9.30pm. She has to handle responsibilities at the gym, manage her own training and also conduct training for other members of the gym.

 

MAINTAINING PHYSICAL STAMINA: Ms Nurshahidah also factors in her daily running routine, either at 10am, just after she arrives at Juggernaut Fight Gym, or at 2pm, before her daily fight trainings. Although she usually runs alone, sometimes she runs with her teammates. She runs for a duration of 30 minutes, regardless of the distance. Her usual route is one that starts from Juggernaut Fight Gym, taking her through Boat Quay, Clark Quay and finally finishing at her start point. If she happens to reach the gym before the 30 minutes are up, she runs a couple more rounds around the location of the gym.
MAINTAINING PHYSICAL STAMINA: Shahidah also factors in her daily running routine, either at 10am, just after she arrives at Juggernaut Fight Gym, or at 2pm, before her daily fight training. Although she usually runs alone, sometimes she runs with her teammates. She runs for 30 minutes, regardless of the distance. Her usual route starts from Juggernaut Fight Gym, through Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and finally finishes at her start point. If she happens to end the route before the 30 minutes are up, she runs around the location of the gym.

 

SHIELDING FROM INJURIES: Besides her fight trainings at Juggernaut Fight Gym, Ms Nurshahidah also goes Genesis Gym for strength training twice a week. It was common of her to experience sprains at her neck muscles, from the vigorous fight trainings. However, with the strengthening and conditioning of her muscles through her visits to Genesis gym, her is able to endure these trainings. "Prior to doing strength training, I used to get injured quite often. However, ever since I began strength trainings, I realised that I am no longer prone to as much injuries," says Nurshahidah. A personal trainer helps her to plan her workout schedule and alters it according to her body's condition, when she comes in for a workout.
SHIELDING FROM INJURIES: Besides her fight training at Juggernaut Fight Gym, Shahidah also goes to Genesis Gym for strength training twice a week. It was common for her to experience sprains at her neck from the vigorous fight training. However, her strengthening and conditioning at Genesis Gym has helped her to endure the training. “Prior to doing strength training, I used to get injured quite often. However, ever since I began strength training, I realised that I am no longer prone to as [many] injuries,” says Shahidah. A personal trainer helps her to plan her workout schedule and alters it according to her body’s condition when she comes in for a workout.
SALSA SUNDAY: On Sundays, Ms Nurshahidah goes for Salsa classes at Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts, along Chander Road. Having a passion for Salsa dancing and Salsa music, she used to learn the female steps. Ever since, she became a professional boxer, she started learning the male steps. The male dancer is responsible for leading the female through the various moves, while keeping track of the beat, despite the physical exhaustion from dancing. This helps in training the mind to be sharp and alert. Therefore, Ms Nurshahidah learns the male roles, to keep her mind active, as she is required to do the same during a fight.
SALSA SUNDAY: Shahidah loves Salsa dancing and Salsa music so on Sundays, she goes for Salsa classes at Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts, along Chander Road. She used to learn the female steps but ever since she became a professional boxer, she started learning the male steps. The male dancer is responsible for leading the female through the various moves while keeping track of the beat, despite the physical exhaustion from dancing. This helps with training the mind to be sharp and alert. Shahidah learns the male roles to keep her mind active as she is required to do the same during a fight.

 

MAKING THE CUT: Ms Nurshahidah managed to meet the weight requirement of the Super Featherweight category, which is 58.9 kg, on Thursday, June 9. Before preparing for the fight, she weighed 63 kg and has to lose weight in order to make the cut. She maintained a low-carbohydrate diet while counting her macronutrients, on a daily basis. Keeping to about 3 meals a day, she snacks on fruits and drinks chocolate milk before and after her trainings. She monitored her weight daily, as the weigh-in day approached and on the day of the weigh in, like the other fighters, she went on a weight-cut. During a weight-cut fighters stay away from eating huge meals and drinking water, except for occassional sips. Since it is the month of Ramadan, Ms Nurshahidah, chose to leverage on the month of Ramadan and fast.
MAKING THE CUT: Shahidah managed to meet the weight requirement of the Super Featherweight category, which is 58.9 kg, on Thursday, June 9. Before preparing for the fight, she weighed 63 kg and had to lose weight in order to make the cut. She maintained a low-carbohydrate diet while counting her macronutrients on a daily basis. Keeping to about three meals a day, she snacks on fruits and drinks chocolate milk before and after her training. She monitored her weight daily as the weigh-in day approached and on the day of the weigh-in, like the other fighters, she went on a weight-cut. During a weight-cut, fighters stay away from eating huge meals and drinking water, except for occasional sips. Since it is the month of Ramadan, Shahidah chose to leverage on the month of Ramadan and fast.

 

KEEPING IT TIGHT: During the day of the fight, Ms Nurshahidah usually gets her hair done. She tends to sport a Cornrow hairstyle as it keeps her hair close and tight to her head. This prevents a wavy and loose hair from entering her eye and injuring her during a fight. She usually heads to her friend's place to get her hair styled for her, when she has local fights. However, when she is overseas, she goes to a hair salon.
KEEPING IT TIGHT: During the day of the fight, Shahidah usually gets her hair done. She tends to sport a Cornrow style as it keeps her hair close and tight to her head. This prevents her wavy and loose hair from entering her eye and injuring her during a fight. She usually heads to her friend’s place to get her hair done for local fights but when she is overseas, she goes to a hair salon.

 

LEFT HAND FIRST: Mr Aravind usually wraps the hands for Ms Nurshahidah before her fights. "I don't know why but it is just my habit to wrap the left hand of my fighters first. Even when they hand me their right hand, I would say no hand me your left," says Mr Aravind. Fighters wrap their hands before a fight, so as to protect their wrists and knuckles, which endure the most impact from boxing.
LEFT HAND FIRST: Arvind usually wraps Shahidah’s hands before her fights. “I don’t know why but it is just my habit to wrap the left hand of my fighters first. Even when they hand me their right hand, I would say no hand me your left,” says Arvind. Fighters wrap their hands before a fight to protect their wrists and knuckles, which suffer the greatest impact from boxing.

 

THE CHAMPION: Yesterday Ms Nurhahidah became Singapore’s first female professional boxing champion, as she beat her Thai opponent Ms Sithsaithong. Fighting in the main event of the third edition of the Singapore Fighting Championship, she scored a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round, to clench the UBO Female Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. This came after she landed a devastating blow, causing the 12-fight veteran, Ms Sithsaithong, to crumple to the ground, ending the fight.
THE CHAMPION: Despite having a fever the night before, Shahidah became Singapore’s first female professional boxing champion on fight night, June 10, as she beat her Thai opponent Ms Sithsaithong. Fighting in the main event of the third edition of the Singapore Fighting Championship, she scored a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round to clinch the UBO Female Inter-Continental Super Featherweight title. She landed a devastating blow, causing the 12-fight veteran Ms Sithsaithong, to crumble to the ground, ending the fight. Despite the constant advice from her coach and teammates to take her time with the fight, she went all out right from the start. The reverse psychology seemed to have worked. “He can’t pressure me to go for a knockout. But as soon as he went soft on me, that was when I got the fire. It was not in his game plan for me to get a knockout in two rounds. He actually told me to take my time and [that] I have got eight rounds. That strategy works and I hope the next time he is not going to pressure me and the strategy will continue to work,” said Shahidah after the fight. Going into yesterday’s fight with just two professional fights under her belt, she scored her first ever knockout, and extended her fighting record to 3-0-0, (win-draw-lose).

Featured image & images by Najeer Yusof. 

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by Najeer Yusof

VESAK, is the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha, by Buddhists all over the world. To capture the customary Buddhist practices conducted on this significant day, we headed down to Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore, located along Sin Ming avenue.

Here are some of the processions we noticed:

3 step, 1 bow at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
THREE-STEPS, ONE-BOW: Several Buddhist devotees gathered at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery yesterday to embark on the “three-steps, one-bow” ceremony. The abbot of the monastery, Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng, kicked off the ceremony with prayers and offerings to Buddha. Accompanied by mantras played over speakers, the devotees meditatively circumambulate the perimeter of the temple, starting from the road outside the Hall of Compassion. They bowed once every three steps, of course, and chanted mantras or the name of the Buddha. Each prostration by the devotee symbolises their respect toward Buddha. Taking on this practice helps with purifying the mind, humbling the ego and lessening obstacles along the spiritual path. It also enables repentance from past misdeeds.

 

WAVE AFTER WAVE: The three steps, one bow ceremony began slightly after 5pm yesterday and lasted till 9am today, with some still continuing the procession on their own. Devotees were organized in waves and they were guided by marshals throughout the night. The first wave was led by the monks from the monastery, dressed in orange robes. This colour of robes is iconic to the Theravada Buddhist followers in Southeast Asia.
OVERNIGHT CEREMONY: The “three-steps, one-bow” ceremony began slightly after 5pm yesterday and lasted till 9am today, with some still continuing the procession on their own. Devotees were organized in waves and they were guided by marshals throughout the night. The first wave was led by the monks from the monastery, dressed in orange robes. This colour of robes is iconic to the Theravada Buddhist followers in Southeast Asia.

 

bathing Prince Siddhartha
BATHING PRINCE SIDDHARTHA: There were other events that took place simultaneously at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. One of which was the bathing of Prince Siddhartha, or Siddhartha Gautama. His teachings founded Buddhism and he is believed to have mostly lived and taught in the eastern portion of the Indian subcontinent. This ceremony symbolises inner purification and assists with purgation of sins. Devotees gathered at the Hall of Compassion, as the monks led prayers, before the bathing ceremony took place. Two altars, shaped like bowls, surrounded by a flower garden and filled with fragrant water, were set up near the entrance of the hall. Each altar had a statue of infant Prince Siddhartha. The monks were the first to pay their respects, as they prostrated in front of the statue. Subsequently, they proceeded to scoop the water from the bowl, using the ladles that volunteers handed them, and poured water onto the statue. After which, other devotees lined up to have their turn at bathing Prince Siddhartha.

 

A monk splashing holy water onto the heads of the prostrating devotees
FINISH LINE: As soon as devotees reached the entrance of the Hall of Compassion, the ceremony of the “three-steps, one-bow” concludes for them. It took about two hours for the first wave to complete the ceremony. To mark their successful completion, the devotees prostrated in front of a statue of Buddha that sits on a bowl of holy water. A monk then uses a bunch of flowers to splash the holy water onto the heads of the prostrating devotees as an act of blessing them for their achievement.

 

Aspiration Floating Lanterns at the Dragon Pond.
COLOURFUL FLOATING LANTERNS: For a small donation, Aspiration Floating Lanterns – powered by Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), and in the shape of lotus flowers – were made available at a booth near the Dragon Pond. Some devotees wrote down their prayers and placed them in a bowl at the booth. They then released the floating lanterns into the pond, in hopes that their prayers may be fulfilled. Some lanterns were overturned by the ripples in the pond. One volunteer stood by with a long pole, to turn these lanterns the right side up.

 

Devotees participating in prayers.
PRAYERS AND CHANTS: There were special prayers held in the different halls on Vesak Day. Volunteers placed cushions on the floor and handed out booklets containing the chants, to devotees who participated in the prayers. Many devotees also turned up at the temple to pay their respects and lit joss sticks before seeking solace in their prayers.

 

Devotees doing the 3 step, 1 bow ceremony
WET WEATHER PLANS: Due to the heavy rain past midnight, the temple arranged for the “three-steps, one-bow” ceremony to continue indoors, on the fourth floor of Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall. The devotees circumambulated the huge statue of Buddha while mantras were played over the stereo speakers. Despite the indoor arrangements, some devotees could still be seen doing the “three-steps, one-bow” procession outdoors, when the rain had slightly subsided.

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All images by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

DRIVE BY: Mr Murali embarked on his victory parade at around 11am, this morning. He was accompanied by team of PAP members, as they were driven around Bukit Batok in a lorry, while they waved at the residents and thanked them for voting for Murali. The lorry also played a recorded message by Mr Murali, thanking the residents for voting for him and promising to work together with them. They started from block 148, along Bukit Batok street 11, and drove by portions of Bukit Batok West Avenue 1, 3, 6 and 8. They also covered parts of Bukit Batok Central and Bukit Batok street 21.
DRIVE BY: Mr Murali embarked on his victory parade at around 11am this morning. He was accompanied by a team of PAP members, and they were driven around Bukit Batok in a lorry. They waved at residents and thanked them for voting for Mr Murali. The lorry also played a recorded message by Mr Murali, thanking the residents for voting for him and promising to work together with them. They started from Block 148, along Bukit Batok street 11, and drove by portions of Bukit Batok West Avenue 1, 3, 6 and 8. They also covered parts of Bukit Batok Central and Bukit Batok Street 21.

 

SELFIE TIME: As some residents saw Mr Murali approaching in the lorry, they took the opportunity to grab a quick selfie as he passed by. Others simply waved back at him and some even congratulated him.
SELFIE TIME: As some residents saw Mr Murali approaching in the lorry, they took the opportunity to grab a quick selfie as he passed by. Others simply waved back at him and some even congratulated him.

 

MAIN MAN: After his victory parade, Mr Murali was dropped off at the market place near block 153, along Bukit Batok West Avenue 8. He was welcomed by residents and PAP members, as they proceeded to garland him.
MAIN MAN: After his victory parade, Mr Murali was dropped off at the market near Block 153, Bukit Batok West Avenue 8. He was welcomed by residents and PAP members, and they proceeded to garland him.

 

GARLAND FOR ME, FLOWER FOR YOU: After being garlanded, Mr Murali proceeded to meet and greet the residents who were awaitiNg his arrival. Since it is Mother's Day today, PAP members were carrying boxes of flowers and passed a couple of stalks to Mr Murali so he could hand them out to the mothers and wish them a Happy Mother's Day.
GARLAND FOR ME, FLOWER FOR YOU: Mr Murali then proceeded to meet and greet residents who were awaiting his arrival. Since it is Mother’s Day today, PAP members were carrying boxes of flowers and passed a couple of stalks to Mr Murali so he could hand them out to the mothers and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

 

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT: "Are you a mother? Here's a flower", said Mr Murali as he mingled with the residents. He wished mothers a Happy Mother's Day, in English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay, as he passed them flowers. Some residents then posed for a photo with him, holding the flower that he handed them.
MOTHER’S DAY GIFT: “Are you a mother? Here’s a flower”, said Mr Murali as he mingled with the residents. He wished mothers a Happy Mother’s Day, in English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay, as he passed them flowers. Some residents then posed for a photo with him.


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TEAMMATES: Mr Murali was accompanied by five other teammates today. They were, from left, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Ms Low Yen Ling, Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Dr Tan Wu Meng and Mr Chan Chun Sing. They stood around together backstage, while waiting for the emcee to introduce them.
TEAMMATES: Mr Murali was accompanied by five other teammates today. They were, from left, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Ms Low Yen Ling, Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Dr Tan Wu Meng and Mr Chan Chun Sing. They stood around together backstage, while waiting for the emcee to introduce them.

 

THE LINE UP: Ms Low Yen Ling was the first speaker at tonight's rally, followed by, Ms Rahayu, Mr Ang Wei Neng Mahzam, Mr Chan Chun Sing and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. They all emphasied on the qualities of Mr Murali and garnered support for him.
THE LINE UP: Ms Low Yen Ling was the first speaker at tonight’s rally, followed by, Ms Rahayu, Mr Ang Wei Neng Mahzam, Mr Chan Chun Sing and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. They all emphasised on the qualities of Mr Murali and garnered support for him.

 

POSTER BOY: The PAP volunteers handed out seven handed the posters of Mr Murali Pillai and four of them were taken by these aunties. When the crowd was cheering during the rally, the two aunties on the right got up to wave the posters at the crowd behind them. They also clapped while balancing the posters on their feet.
POSTER BOY: The PAP volunteers handed out seven posters of Mr Murali Pillai and four of them were taken by these aunties. When the crowd was cheering during the rally, the two aunties on the right got up to wave the posters at the crowd behind them. They also clapped while balancing the posters on their feet.

 

A WEARY EYE ON THE FINISH LINE: As cooling of day approaches, Dr Chee Soon Juan told the crowd at the rally that after tonight's rally, his campaigning will come to an end. He also warned them that the PAP might still break the rules of cooling off day. Hence, urging them to not be influenced by the PAP and to continue to support him.
A WEARY EYE ON THE FINISH LINE: As Cooling-Off Day approaches, Dr Chee Soon Juan told the crowd at the rally that after tonight’s rally, his campaigning will come to an end. He also warned them that the PAP might still break the rules of Cooling-Off Day. Hence, urging them to not be influenced by the PAP and to continue to support him.

 

FANFARE: Some supporters bought Dr Chee's books before the rally. They waved it along with the party flag, while cheering for him.
FANFARE: Some supporters bought Dr Chee’s books before the rally. They waved it along with the party flag, while cheering for him.

 

OF NOISY AND QUIET ONES: Armed with whistles, lightsticks and party flags, the crowd at the SDP rally cheered for Mr Chee Soon Juan and his party members who spoke tonight. They also booed when Dr Chee mentioned PAP MP, Ms Grace Fu's name and when he criticised the PAP. However, a number of rally attenders were merely just listening and remained quiet during the entire rally.
OF NOISY AND QUIET ONES: Armed with whistles, lightsticks, and party flags, the crowd at the SDP rally cheered for Mr Chee Soon Juan and his party members who spoke tonight. They also booed when Dr Chee mentioned PAP MP, Ms Grace Fu’s name and when he criticised the PAP. However, a number of rally attendees were merely just listening and remained quiet during the entire rally.

 

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CYCLING AROUND: Dr Chee was accompanied by seven volunteers, as they cycled around Bukit Batok, passing his brochure and garnering support from the residents. He started cycling from block 217 and stopped at block 154. Subsequently, he continued his walkabout on foot.

CYCLING AROUND: Dr Chee was accompanied by seven volunteers, as they cycled around Bukit Batok this morning (May 5), handing out the SDP brochure and garnering support from the residents. He started cycling from Block 217 and stopped at Block 154, before continuing on foot.

 

GOING PLACES: Dr Chee cycled through two parks this morning and meet a number of elderly residents. Some were exercising at the fitness corners, while others were sitting on park benches and reading newspapers.
GOING PLACES: Dr Chee cycled through two parks this morning and met a number of elderly residents. Some were exercising at the fitness corners, while others were sitting on park benches and reading newspapers.

 

FAMILIAR FACE: Some residents recognised him and brightened up. They approached him to wish him all the best on his campaign and assured him their support.
FAMILIAR FACE: Some residents recognised him and brightened up. They approached him to wish him all the best on his campaign and assured him their support.

 

TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY: Even when Dr Chee was waiting to cross the road, he interacted with residents. He passed them the party brochures, as they walked by him.
TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY: Even when Dr Chee was waiting to cross the road, he interacted with residents. He passed them the party brochures, as they walked by him.

 

HYDRATION PLAN: Dr Chee carried a 250 milliliters bottle of water with him, on his bicycle. After he stopped to interact with the residents, he would hydrate himself, before cycling off.
HYDRATION PLAN: Dr Chee carried a 250 milliliters bottle of water with him, on his bicycle. After he stopped to interact with residents, he would hydrate himself, before cycling off.

 

CAN I HAVE A PICTURE WITH YOU: Some residents were able to recognise Mr Murali and approached him to wish him luck. They even asked him to pose for a photo with them. As Mr Murali posed with them, one of his volunteer would take the picture.
CAN I HAVE A PICTURE WITH YOU: Some residents were able to recognise Mr Murali, during his walkabout on Monday, and approached him to wish him luck. They even asked him to pose for a photo with them. As Mr Murali posed with them, one of his volunteers would photograph them.

 

LEAVING NO STONE UNTURNED: Even when Mr Murali reached the Macdonalds outlet along Bukit Batok Avenue 6, he did not walk by but entered the outlet to speak to the residents. He greeted them before introducing himself and garnered their support on Saturday's Polling Day.
LEAVING NO STONE UNTURNED: When Mr Murali reached the McDonald’s outlet along Bukit Batok Avenue 6, he did not walk by, but entered the outlet to speak to residents. He greeted them before introducing himself.

 

GUESS MY NAME: While the residents were having their breakfast at Macdonalds, Mr Murali sat beside some of them to introduce himself. He even interacted with the children, asking them to guess his name.
GUESS MY NAME: While the residents were having breakfast at McDonald’s, Mr Murali sat beside some of them to introduce himself. He interacted with the children, asking them to guess his name.

 

FRIENDLY INTERACTION: Mr Murali began his walkabout on Monday at the market place along Bukit Batok Avenue 6. He engaged both the young and old residents. He introduced himself as "Ah Mu" to the Chinese elderly, to form acquaintances and also spoke with shop owners.
FRIENDLY INTERACTION: Mr Murali began his walkabout on Monday at the market place along Bukit Batok Avenue 6. He engaged with residents, both young and elderly. He introduced himself as “Ah Mu” to the Chinese elderly and spoke with shop owners.

 

INTRODUCING HIS PLANS: Mr Murali did his walkabout on Monday morning, from 8.30 till 10. Towards the end of his walkabout, he was joined by Geriatrician and fellow PAP member Dr Carol Tan. Speaking at the press conference after the walkabout, Mr Murali introduced a health cooperative, which will be in partnership with The Good Life Cooperative, run by Dr Carol Tan. As part of the health cooperative Mr Murali aims to provide affordable healthcare and health education for the sandwich-class elderly.
INTRODUCING HIS PLANS: Mr Murali went for a walkabout on Monday morning, from 8.30am till 10am. Towards the end of the walkabout, he was joined by geriatrician and fellow PAP member Dr Carol Tan. At a press conference after the walkabout, Mr Murali introduced plans to provide affordable healthcare and health education for the sandwiched class and elderly. These plans will be implemented in partnership with The Good Life Cooperative, which has Dr Tan is its chairman.

 

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DARK SKIES: Just before the rally started, the skies turned grey, signalling a potential downpour. The field was empty except for the merchandise stalls and those who turned up, stood by the walkway instead of making their way to the field. It was not until the emcees confirmed that the rally will still take place even under bad weather, did the crowd move onto the field. The emcees also took this opportunity to promote the SDP merchandises by telling the people to purchase the SDP umbrellas in case it rains. Although the crowd was still slowly trickling in past 7pm, by 8.30pm the turnout had increased significantly.
DARK SKIES: Just before the rally started, the skies turned grey, signalling a potential downpour. The field was empty except for the merchandise stalls. Those who turned up stood by the walkway instead of making their way to the field. It was not until the emcees confirmed that the rally would still take place, did the crowd move onto the field, ever so slowly. The emcees also took this opportunity to promote Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) merchandise by telling the people to purchase the SDP umbrellas in case it rained. “If it rains,” said former candidate for Yuhua Single Member Constituency (SMC) Jaslyn Go, “SDP will stand with you.” Although the crowd was still trickling in for most of the first half of the rally, from 8.30pm onwards the turnout had increased significantly.

 

MERCHANDISE SALE: There were eight tents in total, that sold both merchandises such as party flags, SDP's Danny the Democracy Bear and styrofoam lightsticks. Dr Chee Soon Juan's books were also being sold. All profits from the merchandise and drinks sales alone, went to the SDP party funds. They also accepted donations.
MERCHANDISE FOR SALE: There were eight tents in total, that sold merchandise such as party flags, SDP’s Danny the Democracy Bear, and styrofoam lightsticks. Dr Chee Soon Juan’s books were also being sold. All profits from the merchandise and drinks sales went to the SDP party funds. The party, naturally, also accepted donations.

 

NOT ACTING, BUT SPEAKING: Actress Neo Swee Lin took the stage to lend her support to Dr Chee, as she touched on the issue that politics is meant for everyone and not just politicians. She later went on to speak about Dr Chee's genuine qualities and rally further support for him.
DON’T PLAY PLAY WITH AH MA: Actress Neo Swee Lin, who is famous for playing Ah Ma in the popular television series Phua Chu Kang, took the stage to lend her support to Dr Chee. She had firstly publicly done so during the Life Theatre Awards when she asked Singaporeans to give Dr Chee a chance. This time she came out against the PAP’s barbs against Dr Chee. She read a letter called “Singaporeans Against Gutter Politics”, which was signed off by other personalities like former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Siew Kum Hong and poet Alfian Saát.

 

"They fined me, sued me and jailed me
DR CHEE SAID: “They fined me, sued me, and jailed me. But I am still standing.” Turning solemn at one point, Dr Chee addressed his family. The crowd fell silent as he told his children at home that it is important to help others and not put someone down to get ahead in life.

 

WHO ARE THEY EXACTLY: The crowd at the rally did cheer from time to time as the speakers made their speeches. The loudest was definitely when Dr Chee was concluding his speech. However, not many from the crowd were actually from voters from Bukit Batok. Many were actually from other constituencies. In a quick poll of 100 rally attenders, we only found (insert figure) Bukit Batok voters.
WHO ARE THEY EXACTLY: The crowd at the rally cheered from time to time as the speakers made their speeches. The loudest cheers, unsurprisingly, were for Dr Chee. The noise reached a crescendo when he concluded his speech. However, the sound of approval may not say everything. Based on our poll, many seemed to have come to the rally from areas outside the Bukit Batok constituency. Out of 100 rally attendees, we only found 34 Bukit Batok voters.

 

QUEUING TIME: After the rally was over, some supporters queued up, to the their copies Dr Chee Soon Juan's books signed. Some requested him to pen their names down on the book, while others just wanted his signature. Subsequently, they posed with Dr Chee while SDP volunteers helped them to take a photo using their phones.
QUEUING TIME: After the rally was over, some supporters queued up, to get their copies of Dr Chee Soon Juan’s books signed. Some requested him to pen their names down on the book; others just wanted his signature. Subsequently, they posed with Dr Chee while SDP volunteers helped them to take photos using their phones.

 

TEAM EFFORT: Once the rally was over, and the sales of merchandises ended, the SDP volunteers proceeded to pack up. All the volunteers who were helping out at the merchandise tents, did their part to pack up and clear out from the rally site. Some helped with clearing the trash, while others packed the logistic equipments such as remaining merchandises. Usually, a team of 40 volunteers are present at the merchandise tents to help set them up and handle sales.
TEAM EFFORT: Once the rally was over, it was time for volunteers at the merchandise booth to close shop. All of them did their part to pack up. Some helped with clearing the trash; others carried away the the remaining merchandise and equipment. According to an SDP representative, usually, a team of 40 volunteers are present to help set up the booth and handle sales.

 

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GETTING COMFY: While most of the crowd on the field decided to stand, this group of aunties brought along plastic ground sheets to sit on. They arrived on time to find a decent spot to lay their mats. While some brought along field chairs and plastic stools, others resorted to spreading newspapers on the field to sit on.
GETTING COMFY: While most of the crowd on the field decided to stand, this group of aunties brought along plastic ground sheets to sit on. They arrived on time to find a decent spot to lay their mats. While some brought along field chairs and plastic stools, others resorted to spreading newspapers on the field to sit on.

 

DO NOT ATTACK THE MAN: SDP CEC member Paul Tambyah, was one of the speakers in tonight's rally. Taking the stage, he stressed that the by-election should be about the issues that the candidates bring up rather than focusing on the personality of the candidates. He said: "We feel you can criticise the speech, the action, the policy, and the values they represent, but do not attack the man." He went on to elaborate on how he made a pact with DPM Tharman on nomination day, to keep this by-election a clean one but according to him, the PAP have not kept to their word. He also emphasised that although the SDP could have capitalised on Dr Lee's (Dr Lee Wei Ling, sister of Prime Minister Lee) published allegations to expose the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister's statements on character, they will not be doing that as that is not who they are nor is it keeping to what they had promised.
DO NOT ATTACK THE MAN: SDP CEC member Paul Tambyah, was one of the speakers in tonight’s rally. Taking the stage, he stressed that the by-election should be about the issues that the candidates bring up rather than focusing on the personality of the candidates. He said: “We feel you can criticise the speech, the action, the policy, and the values they represent, but do not attack the man.” He went on to elaborate on how he made a pact with DPM Tharman on nomination day, to keep this by-election a clean one but according to him, the PAP have not kept to their word. He also emphasised that although the SDP could have capitalised on Dr Lee’s (Dr Lee Wei Ling, sister of Prime Minister Lee) published allegations to expose the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister’s statements on character, they will not be doing that as that is not who they are nor is it keeping to what they had promised.

 

NEAR OR FAR, I'M STILL HERE: Not everyone wanted to get close to the action. Some sat on the stadium stands, while others at on the track. No matter where they stood, they were listening intently and cheering along with the majority.
NEAR OR FAR, I’M STILL HERE: Not everyone wanted to get close to the action. Some sat on the stadium stands, while others at on the track. No matter where they stood, they were listening intently and cheering along with the majority.

 

LIVELY ATMOSPHERE: The crowd was cheering for every speaker who was introduced. They turned the loudest as Dr Chee Soon Juan took the stand. Some parents brought along their children and they too cheered for the speakers, while brandishing the SDP party flag.
LIVELY ATMOSPHERE: The crowd was cheering for every speaker who was introduced. They turned the loudest as Dr Chee Soon Juan took the stand. Some parents brought along their children and they too cheered for the speakers, while brandishing the SDP party flag.

 

STANDING BY HIS WORDS: Although Dr Chee Soon Juan promised that he would not be commenting on ex-PAP MP Mr David Ong's affair, at last Friday's rally, some of his colleagues had mentioned it. This was highlighted by Prime Minister Lee, a day before, as he called it "completely hypocritical". Speaking at the rally today, Dr Chee said that he had informed his colleagues to stop doing so and quoted that none of his party member who spoke today, mentioned the issue. He went on to emphasize that this is not the kind of politics that he wants to engage in.
STANDING BY HIS WORDS: Although Dr Chee Soon Juan promised that he would not be commenting on ex-PAP MP Mr David Ong’s affair, at last Friday’s rally, some of his colleagues had mentioned it. This was highlighted by Prime Minister Lee, a day before, as he called it “completely hypocritical”. Speaking at the rally today, Dr Chee said that he had informed his colleagues to stop doing so and quoted that none of his party member who spoke today, mentioned the issue. He went on to emphasize that this is not the kind of politics that he wants to engage in.

 

BALLS OF JOY: At the end of the rally, two red inflatable balls, barring the logo of SDP, were released into the crowd at the field. Many decided to get in on the action of keeping the ball the air. Young and old, darted forward to get their hands on the balls and push them upwards.
BALLS OF JOY: At the end of the rally, two red inflatable balls, barring the logo of SDP, were released into the crowd at the field. Many decided to get in on the action of keeping the ball the air. Young and old, darted forward to get their hands on the balls and push them upwards.

 

 

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MAN WITH A MISSION: Speaking in Malay, Tamil, a mixture of Mandarin and Teochew and lastly in English, Dr Chee mentioned that he would be working as a full time MP and criticised Mr Murali and PAP for only having part-time MPs as they outsource the job of running the town councils. Dr Chee said: ""Running the town council is just one part of the job. The other part is making sure that your points, your views, are heard in Parliament!" and do both effectively.
MAN ON A MISSION: Speaking in Malay, Tamil, a mixture of Mandarin and Teochew, and lastly in English, Dr Chee mentioned that he would be working as a full time Member of Parliament (MP) and criticised Mr Murali and the People’s Action Party for only having part-time MPs, as they outsource the job of running the town councils. Dr Chee said: “Running the town council is just one part of the job. The other part is making sure that your points, your views, are heard in Parliament!” – he talked about doing both effectively. He also touched on the topic of productivity and emphasised the need for a productive and innovative economy – necessary for Singapore’s sustenance .

 

 

CROWD SITUATION: The crowd at the SDP rally were armed with party flags and whistles as they cheered for Dr Chee during his speech.Although there quite a number of silent and keen listerners at the rally, the majority of the crowd did cheer for Dr Chee, as he was garnering support, before wrapping up his rally speech for the night.
CROWD SITUATION: The crowd at the SDP rally were armed with party flags and whistles, as they cheered for Dr Chee during his speech. Although there quite a number of silent and keen listeners at the rally, the majority of the crowd cheered for Dr Chee, as he was garnering support, before wrapping up his rally speech for the night.

 

BOOKS FOR SALE: After the rally, some proceeded to the merchandise tents to purchase Dr Chee Soon Juan's books. Some of the books that were being sold were: The Power of Courage: Effecting Political Change in Singapore Through Nonviolence (2005), A Nation Cheated (2008) and Democratically Speaking (2012). The most recent book, Democratically Speaking was available in both hard and soft-copy. They were sold at $50 and $30 respectively. Some who purchased Dr Chee's books proceeded to the obtain his autograph too.
BOOKS FOR SALE: After the rally, some proceeded to the merchandise tents to purchase Dr Chee Soon Juan’s books. Some of the books that were being sold: The Power of Courage: Effecting Political Change in Singapore Through Nonviolence (2005), A Nation Cheated (2008), and Democratically Speaking (2012). The most recent book, Democratically Speaking, was available in both hard and soft cover. They were sold at $50 and $30 respectively. Some who purchased Dr Chee’s books proceeded to the obtain his autograph too.

 

TURNOUT: This was the turnout at the PAP rally at Bukit Gombak Stadium at 8.20pm. PAP volunteers placed whites chairs on the track, closer to the stage for some of the supporters to sit closer to the stage. Although, some of them still chose to seat on the stadium stands and observe the action from a distance. The crowd had packed their dinner along and some consumed them during the earlier portions of the rally.
TURNOUT: This was the turnout at the PAP rally at Bukit Gombak Stadium, 8.20pm. PAP volunteers placed white chairs on the track, closer to the stage for supporters who wanted to be nearer to the speakers. Others chose to sit on the stadium stands and observe the action from a distance. The crowd had packed their dinner along and some consumed them during the earlier segments of the rally.

 

GETTING CLOSE TO THE ACTION: The more livelier crowd at the PAP rally were seated on the white plastic chairs closer to the stage. They stood up and cheered as Dr Murali first entered the rally site. They shook his hands and wished him luck, before he made his way to the stage.
GETTING CLOSE TO THE ACTION: The livelier crowd at the PAP rally were seated on the white plastic chairs closer to the stage. They stood up and cheered as Dr Murali first entered the rally site. They shook his hands and wished him luck, before he made his way to the stage.

 

HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY: Mr Murali was the thrid speaker of the night. He paid tribute to three of his mentors, his dad, Dr Ong Chit Chung, an MP who served in Bukit Batok and Mr Lim Boon Heng, a former MP in Jurong GRC and explained what he had learnt form them respectively. Mr Murali then promised that based on lessons learnt from his mentors, he will serve Bukit Batok to his best, as he said: "My pledge to Bukit Batok residents, I come with a lifetime of experience and lessons learnt from my mentors and my friends. I will work for you with all my heart. He also emphasised that: "When there is a clash between my personal interests and Bukit Batok residents' interest, I will always put Bukit Batok first."
HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY: Mr Murali was the third speaker of the night. He paid tribute to his dad; Dr Ong Chit Chung, an MP who served in Bukit Batok; and Mr Lim Boon Heng, a former MP in Jurong GRC. Mr Murali explained what he had learnt from each of them, before promising to do his best to serve residents of Bukit Batok. He said: “My pledge to Bukit Batok residents, I come with a lifetime of experience and lessons learnt from my mentors and my friends. I will work for you with all my heart.”

 

 

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