It has been a month since the electoral boundaries were redrawn – essentially opening the floodgates for elections reporting – and I can’t decide if the experience has been fun or tough.
In this span of time, I’ve already been chided by more than one politician, whether online or on walkabouts.
I had to chase one down the stairs, across the road and into a carpark – just to get those few quotes for a story.
Colleagues and editors have told me that’s just a sneak preview of what to expect for the General Election – widely expected to be held end-April or early-May.
One editor, citing his past experience of trying to catch whiffs of politicians’ conversations behind closed doors, said something to the effect of “GE happens only once every five years. Now’s the time to pull out all the stops and be creative in getting what you need.”
I must say, heeding such advice – with the aid of some luck – paid off when I covered the first opposition pow-wow at the PKMS building at Joo Chiat.
After the release of the electoral boundaries report, this traditional meeting between Opposition parties to avoid three-cornered fights was the next most anticipated event.
While most journalists left the scene after the session concluded, I stayed behind to file my story and, when I was done, was offered dinner by PKMS members.
Hungry after a long night, I went into a room for food, only to stumble upon a Singapore Democratic Alliance meeting in progress, attended by members I had not managed to reach in the immediate media scrum after the pow-wow session.
After some cajoling, one member finally told the few remaining reporters there was a possibility that all 87 constituencies might be contested, news we covered on the same day.
But what startled me was the possibility flagged by SDA that Potong Pasir might end up a three-cornered electoral battleground.
Since then, of course, the SDA has ceded ground to the Singapore People’s Party’s Lina Chiam on a “goodwill basis”.
When I subsequently covered an SPP walkabout, I could practically see the eyes of some Potong Pasir residents light up when they were told of the resolution reached between SDA and SPP.
Yes, it’s every journalist’s dream to uncover exciting stories, (and we all know disputes and personality squabbles make for more exciting reads), but another part of me hopes that the upcoming GE can be fought more on cold, hard issues affecting lives of citizens.
Not to say the latter is not fun, or tough, to cover.
Either way, here’s to more fun and tough times ahead.