May 20, 2012

Hougang SMC Shape Like Lightning?

It was only last night while reading my facebook feeds that I realized election rallies for Hougang by-election has started. Honestly, my interest in the by-election waned after it was announced polling day would not be a public holiday; furthermore the government has clarified this by-election would be on local issues in the ward, not national ones, so that is no need for non-Hougang voters to be overly excited. Still I clicked on the link, which brought me to a YouTube video on the WP rally, uploaded by Today Media (the last point is to assure everybody the video is nothing subversive).

Among the speakers I watched, I thought WP Chairman (Chairwoman?) Sylvia Lim gave the best speech, one that was rousing, educational and fresh, one that did not give the impression of flogging a dead horse. Let me elaborate on the educational part. If you fast-forward to 0:20 in the above video, this is roughly what she said:

Hougang is a very special constituency ... what shape is it? It's not square, it's not round, it's not even a trapezium or a parallelogram ... it is shaped like a flash of lightning.

Now, this tidbit is something new to me. As part of my hobby and writing this blog, I deal with maps pretty often; well, I mean historical maps, street directories from different years, even cadastral ones, just not electoral boundary maps. So her observation did not strike a chord with me as I could not even remember the shape of Hougang SMC on the electoral boundary map. Was it not a red dot just like Singapore on the world map?

All of a sudden, the shape of Hougang SMC aroused my curiosity. That the constituency is shaped like a lighting, a claim made not by the ruling party our government, but by an opposition MP the Member of Aljunied GRC. What does the lightning represent? We all know the answer to this one. But what of its symbolism to Hougang SMC? Watch the video and see how the astute politician turned the symbol to her advantage.

Is the SMC shaped like a lightning? The claim can be easily verified and I shall do it today. Compare the next three images and form your own conclusion!

Hougang SMC Boundary 2011
Hougang SMC in the 2011 Electoral Boundary Map magnified. The same boundary is used for this by-election. Does the shape look like lightning to you?

The most lightning-like boundary shape of Hougang that I could find on the web. This is from a 2010 newspaper article on the history of boundary changes. The map shows electoral boundaries in 2006 GE (note Yio Chu Kang SMC does not exist today). I do not think Hougang boundary has changed much, if any, from 2006 to 2011.

This image (source: Mediacorp) is not an endorsement of the PAP candidate though my choice of it is deliberate. Form your own conclusion on whether Hougang boundary looks like one particular brand of lightning...