It had to happen after all. Despite all the friendly handshakes, all the calls for dignified campaigning, the big AIM bonfire has been lit; it is like that pent-up pee finally gushing over and every one of us in the online world put our hands up in glee.
Such a devilishly Machiavellian tactic, to hit the AIM button looks like an election tactic right out from the good ol LKY days. Bu this time, surprisingly, it came from the men in blue, and for that matter, that woman in blue, Sylvia Lim.
Before we all start popping our champagnes and seeing visions of an unraveling of the PAP government in Punggol East, let me sound a word of caution, because hopes held too high means a harder fall and bump into reality.
This AIM issue is fundamentally a political card. It is a pretty damn useful card. And with all useful cards, you only play it when it is necessary. Sometimes you play it with a flourish, as the final climax to secure your win. Other times you use it, because if not, you are assured of defeat.
So what scenario was it that prompted Sylvia to use the AIM card last night? To win with a flourish or to avoid a sure defeat? My guess is inclined towards the more pessimistic scenario. The WP must have sensed that the ground is not moving their way fast enough. A by-election is not like a GE, it is easier to sense the mood of the constituency, all eyes and ears are zoomed into one small finite space. Within the first few days of campaigning, the instincts can tell you whether you stand a chance. And it appears that the vibes for the WP is not too good; hence the decision to use this card. Pure politics as it is supposed to be.
So while we all go into the now almost ritualistic online adulation for WP and derision of the PAP, let us not get maimed by this false euphoria because the Punggol East resident is not the cyberspace. They want covered walkways, more neighbourhood shopping centres, better LRT connections and so forth. This is a by-election after all.