Hougang: The Origins of a “Safe” Alternative Constituency in Singapore
研究論文 Research Paper
This article is a historical inquiry into the making of a safe seat in Singaporean politics. Since 1991, the Hougang Single Member Constituency (Hougang SMC) has been a Workers’ Party (WP) stranglehold. Despite the efforts of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to win it back in subsequent elections, the WP has managed to retain a firm hold on the constituency—a remarkable feat, given the decades-long dominance of the PAP in Singapore. The article suggests that the history of Hougang as a rural, somewhat backward Teochew enclave, as well as a fortuitous mix of personalities, provincial issues, and policy reactions, ultimately resulted in Low Thia Khiang’s electoral victory in 1991. The WP has been able to maintain its grip on Hougang primarily because it has convinced its residents to conflate local and national concerns. It has fortified its Chinese-educated, working-class constituents with a “Hougang spirit” that has become a rallying cry for democratic progress.