Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock is a 20 year veteran of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). He is also someone on the out with the PAP leadership for contesting in the Presidential Election against the official candidate of the PAP.
As a 20 year veteran of the PAP, most of which were sent in Parliament as a PAP backbencher, it was no surprise when the PA (People’s Association) invited Dr. Tan to the PA Chinese New Year garden party at the Istana. Just as it was no surprise when he was “uninvited” from the garden party shortly after.
So far so good as I personally can’t see how any of this came as a surprise to anyone. Yes, it’s pretty to uninvited Dr. Tan but you have to be realistic about such matters. The PA leadership is not going to go against the PAP leadership especially when Dr. Tan came within a whisker of embarrassing the PAP; after all he lost the 2011 Presidential Election in 2011 to the official PAP candidate, Dr Tony Tan, by just 0.35%.
What is surprising to me was the “surprise” of the PAP and PA. People's Association (PA) deputy chairman Lim Swee Say, who is also an MP and a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, has been quoted as saying he is "surprised" that Dr. Tan has made public his “uninvitation” as he had accepted the reason he was uninvited was because the PA sent the invitation to him wrongly.
Two things about this;
1) No one in their right mind is going to believe Mr. Lim’s excuse that the PA sent the invitation wrongly. This is a dinner at the Istana, the residency of the President of the Republic of Singapore, no one is going to make suck a mistake.
2) Anyone who think Dr. Tan is going to take this “uninvitation” laying down has not paid any attention to his political career at all.
This is a man who publicly showed the Singapore public the spilt within the PAP, and against the odds came close to winning in 2011. He is also the man who refused to bow to pressure to withdraw from the race after throwing his hat in. Yet it sounded as if Mr. Lim and the PAP expected Dr. Tan to accept their jab quietly.
Now that I find surprising and a little laughable. I’m not saying he did the right thing in making this public, washing dirty linen in public is also never a good thing, but Dr. Tan's actions should come as no surprise to anyone. It's very much in line with his personality.