Merchandise paradise — GE 2011 memorabilia


This year's Singapore General Election has set a number of records -- and one of them may well be in the amount of paraphernalia produced to promote support for the participating political parties.

Voters are likely to remember for some time the umbrellas, flags, badges, stickers, whistles, tissue packs and even mascots that have been ubiquitous sights at campaign rallies.

Danny the Democracy bear, at an SDP rally in Woodlands. (Yahoo! photo / Delia Quek)

Danny the Democracy bear, the image-softening icon of the Singapore Democratic Party, and Sinpo, the Singapore Democratic Alliance mascot (pictured below), have made waves among attendees of the parties' respective rallies, and miniature plush toy versions have sold out almost every time.

Two versions of Sinpo, the SDA mascot, pose with a group of young boys at an SDA rally. (Yahoo! photo)

Images of these mascots have also made their way onto stickers, fans and brochures, all endorsing their respective political parties' candidates and platforms in a friendly and engaging way.

The front and back of the NSP promotional tissue pack, distributed for free at NSP rallies to attendees. (Yahoo! photo / Jeffrey Oon)

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) capitalised on the Singaporean symbol of the tissue pack, commonly used to 'stake out' or 'chope' seats and tables at public eateries. A witty slogan, "Help Us CHOPE Your Seats In Parliament", combined with the photos of the NSP team for Marine Parade GRC, including Facebook star Nicole Seah, made this a highly popular marketing tool for the opposition party.

A number of supporters were seen donning shirts bearing the image of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Nomination Day, 27th April 2011. (AP photo)

As early as Nomination Day on 27 April, fans of the ruling People's Action Party donned T-shirts displaying a picture of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew as a way to show their support.

Some of the merchandise promoting Foreign Minister George Yeo and his PAP team standing for Aljunied GRC. (Yahoo! photo / Fann Sim)

To drum up some fervor for Foreign Minister George Yeo and his team of PAP candidates who were standing for the Aljunied group representation constituency (GRC), postcards and badges bearing the slogan "In George We Trust" were distributed at events involving the candidates.

The Workers' Party was certainly not short of its merchandise. With its signature blue umbrellas (below, top left) that have even made appearances at other opposition parties' gatherings, the opposition group's very heavily-attended rallies were often a sea of blue  miniature flags, inflatable hammers, umbrellas and clappers.

Pictures of various Workers' Party paraphernalia-- clockwise from top left: WP umbrellas, a toddler with WP flags, WP clappers and a fan's WP hammer. (Yahoo! photos / Aeron Chew)

The Reform Party and the Singapore People's Party also stationed at their rallies multiple merchandise booths carrying umbrellas, books, badges, flyers and stickers in their party colours--yellow and white, respectively.

The merchandise booths at Reform Party and Singapore People's Party rallies. (Yahoo! photos / Ignatius Chay, Marianne Tan)

Some of the most creative signs of support for the various candidates, however, proved to come from individuals.

Expressions of from-the-heart support from parties' fans came in a variety of forms, from handmade banners and placards to large-scale contraptions assembled from party-produced merchandise.

What was by far the most unique of these, however, was a large mock-up of a turquoise Kate Spade box by way of a foam board and complete with black ribbon, bow and the words "Kate Spade" on it.

Reno Tan, a Marine Parade resident, made this Kate Spade board to make a statement at the rallies he attended. Here, he poses with it at an SPP rally. (Yahoo! photo / Jeanette Tan)

Spotted at rallies of various opposition parties, the "Kate Spade" board was designed in mockery of PAP Marine Parade GRC candidate Tin Pei Ling, who was previously revealed to be posing in a photograph with a box from the bag brand, which she received as a present.

Its maker, 40-year-old Reno Tan, a Marine Parade resident, said it is a universal symbol that he could take with him to different rallies.

"It's how I make sense of the times," he said. "If Tay Ping Hui could do it, I thought I could do it too."

At the top right-hand corner, Tan would stick a mini flag onto his board, which is interchangeable, depending on the party whose rally he happened to be attending.

Joking that he initially intended to pick up girls, Tan said he ultimately intended to use the board to make a statement across the rallies he attended throughout the campaign period.

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