Sunday 1 May 2016

In defence of non-candidate Shirwin Eu: He could've been our Donald Trump

Haters gonna hate.

No one took Mr Donald Trump seriously at first too.

But now people around the globe are preparing for the apocalypse (and I don’t mean X-Men: Apocalypse) as the US billionaire looks set to be the Republican Party nominee for the most powerful office in the world.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about Mr Trump actually being elected President of the United States.

The former star of The Apprentice TV show is about as likely to beat Mrs Hillary Clinton as a football team that barely escaped relegation last season is to win the English Premier League.

What? Leicester City? Oh.

Maybe I better start building that bomb shelter.

So if Leicester and Mr Trump can make it, why not Mr Shirwin Eu (#SureWinYou)?

Like Leicester, Mr Eu is an underdog. Like Mr Trump last year when he first announced his intention to run for president, Mr Eu is considered a political joke.

So much so that his wife had to go on Facebook to explain why she didn't stop him from becoming a “laughing stock”.

Hey, through sickness and health and two abortive attempts to run for election, right?

It’s deja vu all over again.

On Wednesday, Mr Eu failed in his bid to be an independent candidate in the May 7 Bukit Batok by-election.

He didn’t have the $13,500 election deposit, possibly because he spent too much money on hats to wear to the nomination centre.

The Uber driver also didn’t have the required signatures to support his nomination.

This is similar to what happened in his previous attempt to run for office in Bukit Panjang in the General Election last year.

Mr Eu had the signatures then, but according to his Facebook post, “my wife told me all my existing signatures are invalid”.

He told The New Paper: “I didn’t read the election handbook.”

The signatures he got were not from Bukit Panjang residents. As he explained on Facebook: “My friendship too limited in west, no friends in bp smc.”

To salvage his nomination, Mr Eu posted on Facebook:
“To only bukit panjang smc voters, I will be reimbursing your transport/meal allowance tomorrow at $50 (neg) if you are willing to sign for me (limited to first 10 signatures) and be present at nomination centre tmrw.”
But his offer was not taken up and Dr Teo Ho Pin is now the Member of Parliament for Bukit Panjang SMC.

Unfortunately for Mr Eu again, Bukit Batok is also in the west, where his “friendship” is “too limited”.

If only instead of Mr David Ong, it was, say, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, the MP of Mountbatten SMC, who had resigned over a “personal indiscretion”.

Then the by-election would be held in the east, where one assumes Mr Eu has at least 10 friends.

Last week, he didn’t even bother making the $50 offer.

Instead, he showed up at the nomination centre hoping that “someone would be willing to help me in the paperwork process”.

“If not,” he said, “then maybe I should just appeal to the Elections Department for such a waiver.”

Someone on Twitter posted: “Whatever this Shirwin Eu is drinking, I would like to have a cup of it too. #confidenceiskey”

Another tweeted: “Shirwin Eu might be the biggest troll to have ever graced Singapore.”

In the end, the Election Department said Mr Eu left without filing any nomination papers.

Frustrated by the requirements, he said: “The rule of this game should be abolished, if sincerely we want a true democratic society that individuals are able to express themselves.”

His would-be rivals, Mr Murali Pillai of the People’s Action Party and Dr Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party, must have heaved a collective sigh of relief that they didn’t have to face such a formidable opponent as Mr Eu.

What makes him such a formidable opponent?

As Mr Eu said himself: “I would like to think I’m a more attractive candidate… maybe because I’m young and honest.”

He’s not wrong. At 32, he is much younger than both Mr Murali, 48, and Dr Chee, 53.

And Mr Eu is so honest that when he was asked why he wanted to take part in the by-election, he said: “I like to be elected. I like to enjoy the fame and wealth of this job prospect.”

Can you imagine any politician saying that?

And this honesty is another thing he has in common with Mr Trump.

As someone on Facebook wrote:
“Donald Trump and Shirwin Eu have shown that we’re all so tired of our politicians and leaders always lying to us that we readily like political candidates that are honest, even if the thing they’re being honest about is that they’re absolute morons.”
But look at where Mr Trump is now. This “absolute moron” could be the next leader of the free world.

Luckily for him, he didn’t have to run for election in Bukit Batok.

Like Mr Eu, Mr Trump probably doesn’t have many friends there too.

Although he could probably come up with the $13,500.

Hate the game, man. Don't hate the playa.

- Published in The New Paper, 1 May 2016

EARLIER: Wanna be a candidate? Fill up the form correctly & speak Hokkien