You gave the PAP a passing grade earlier this week. But you also mentioned that they can be more tolerant. In what areas would you like to see more tolerance?
They can be more tolerant towards political activities by political parties, such as when we wanted to apply to cycle at East Coast Park, the permit was not granted. I'm sure that isn't going to threaten public security.
So I believe there is room where the Government can look into allowing more political space, to a have more open and consultative kind of environment, where they allow some activities like peaceful demonstrations in an area. Currently, they may allow you to do so at the Speakers' Corner. But I'm sure we can afford to have more than one Speakers' Corner here.
How is your party's recruitment efforts? Do people reject you now because of fear?
No. People do come forward to join us. The challenge really is whether people who join us will remain and be actively involved in the party activities because I think everybody is hard- pressed for time. We are all volunteers.
We do have young people joining us. But I believe we don't have a sufficient number yet to have the critical mass of manpower that we want.
You have said that you might one day contest in a GRC. How serious are you about that?
Well, my answer, as I have said before, is that I do not rule out the possibility that one day I might contest in a GRC. Many people are very interested to know when it would happen. My answer is you would know on Nomination Day.
But what is the likelihood of that happening?
Well, I don't want to speculate because there is still some time before the next election.
Some wonder if you might be just like Mr Chiam See Tong and stay in Hougang like he is staying in Potong Pasir?
You will know when the time comes.
But wouldn't your younger members very much love you to join them and contest a GRC?
Then perhaps you can ask my younger members whether they like me or they think I am lao-kok-kok (old and stuttering) already - 'You join us, you may spoil the chance'.
But by keeping the option open that you may one day join them in a GRC, is that one way that you encourage them, to sustain their passion in WP?
Well, I think the passion has to be their own. And they must have the political passion to serve. They can't depend on whether I would join them one day or not. That is hypothetical.
The PAP is only three years older than the WP. Why do you think the two parties are so different in what they've accomplished?
You cannot compare at all because one is a ruling party, monopolising the power and the resources since 1959. The Workers' Party has been the opposition since 1959.
And you know what the PAP has done after becoming government. They have moved to capture the ground in terms of grassroots, in terms of regulation, restriction and all that, curtailing the development of the whole political process.
I think it is no mean feat that the Workers' Party has survived until now. And you look at the other political parties at the point in time, where are they? What happened? Why? I think people must ask these questions.
Over the last few months, quite a few netizens online wonder why the Workers' Party has been very quiet, especially in the wake of the CPF changes. What is your response?
First of all, the Workers' Party is a responsible party and I do not believe in just making statements, just making comments for the sake of making noise, or of being labelled or afraid of being labelled inactive or quiet, in particular for the CPF issue.
When the PM spoke at the National Day Rally, not all details were out. It is imprudent for a responsible political party to start jumping up and down without even knowing what are the details, what is the concrete plan.
We have made an informed statement and we can properly represent the public and tell the public what is our stand. I know this is the Internet age but I think we can't just respond because people want us to respond.
But what if that is precisely what some people want now - speed, fast, instant?
I don't know, but I think, I'm a bit slow, I have to admit that. I have to admit that I am slow. And people who want it faster should perhaps consider joining the Workers' Party.
I'm old, maybe slower. The younger ones will be faster, so we have more younger ones, perhaps maybe the Workers' Party will move faster. So those people who think that we are slower, well, come and join the Workers' Party to make it faster.
PEH SHING HUEI