Danny the Democracy Bear speaks out

Danny the Democracy Bear speaks out

The elections are over: CNNGo catches up with the Singapore Democratic Party's oh-so-cuddly mascot to get his views on politics, democracy and his availability for children’s birthday parties

Danny the Democracy Bear for president? The Singapore General Elections earlier this month saw a rejuvenated Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) headed by Dr Chee Soon Juan take a greater share of the limelight.

Fielding some of the more impressive candidates, the party impressed rally crowds night after night with fiery speeches and sharp intellect.

Although they did not win a seat in parliament, the party saw its votes increase by the highest margin amongst all the political parties.

And working the crowd for the SDP was another, rather large, party member.

You may have seen him posing for pictures, handing out sweets or simply being his smiling, cheery self -- Danny the Democracy Bear.

CNNGo sat down with the furry one to pick his brains about Singapore politics and his other rival on the Cute Index.

CNNGo: Are you Singaporean?

Danny the Democracy Bear: I was born at Kandang Kerbau Hospital, in the Zoology Department, and I have my birth certificate to show for it. So I’m Singaporean down to my very fluffy insides.

You can't tell, meh? I am as Singaporean as MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol Dr Janil Puthucheary ... oops, not a good example.

I mean Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan ... (What? He's not either?) Okay, okay, MP for West Coast, Foo Mee Har? No? MP for Tampines, Irene Ng? ... oh well. Are you trying to say that I am an import from the PAP’s Foreign Talent Policy?

CNNGo: Did you do national service?

Danny the Democracy Bear: I served in the 3rd Infantry Bear Brigade.

Basic Military Training was interesting, although I think the rest of national service was dragged out too long. We should cut NS down to two years. Still, I had a great time with by buddies.

CNNGo: Why did you join SDP?

Danny the Democracy Bear: These people have a great vision for Singapore and they back it up with a manifesto that spells out clear-cut policies and workable solutions.

And they have a Shadow Budget, which talks about how they are going to fund the programs they propose.

They’re professional and their online stuff is second-to-none.

But the real reason I joined the SDP is because … the folks there are so cuddly. I mean have you tried Dr Ang Yong Guan's bear hug? That guy's a natural. I'll have to get him into the party's Bear Wing.

Singapore Democratic PartyCampaigning is thirsty business. CNNGo: What did you enjoy most about the elections?

Danny the Democracy Bear: PM Lee saying “sorry.” I hope he means it and will show it.

CNNGo: What was the greatest challenge you faced during the campaigning period?

Danny the Democracy Bear: That night when it rained at our Bukit Panjang rally and my underwear got wet.

You don't know what it's like for us bears to change out of our briefs with only four fingers.

And have you thought about how I put on and take off my T-shirt?

CNNGo: Do you think Singapore is ready for more democracy?

Danny the Democracy Bear: We've been ready since Day Zero. How do you think we got rid of the British? But then someone got to the top and pulled up the ladder.

CNNGo: Do you think it’s fair that you didn’t get to vote?

Danny the Democracy Bear: What do you mean? I was at Mandai Secondary School polling station to cast my vote.

I had a little trouble convincing the presiding officer at first that I was a hundred percent legitimate, dyed-in-the-wool -- literally -- as-Singaporean-as-rojak voter.

In the end, after a bit of persuasion, the presiding officer did let me through to vote -- my basket of candy came in very handy.

CNNGo: If Returning Officer Yam Ah Mee became the People's Action Party (PAP) mascot, would he give you a run for your money?

Danny the Democracy Bear: I don't want a rival on the Cute Index but I hate to admit it -- Yam Ah Mee is pretty damn adorable.

Singapore Democratic PartyForget about kissing babies, the SDP's way is to dish out high fives. CNNGo: Any words for the ruling PAP?

Danny the Democracy Bear: I love SDP. You should too.

CNNGo: Will we see you again at the next general election?

Danny the Democracy Bear: I wouldn't miss it for the world. By then, I'll be a grand six-years-old. In bear time, that's prime.

And the next time, my best buddies at the party will be even stronger; they're starting their groundwork already.

CNNGo: Will you be making appearances at events between now and then?

Danny the Democracy Bear: Justin Bieber has asked me to go on the tour with him. It's going to be one helluva schedule. Next month's stop -- Bieber and Bear in Beijing.

CNNGo: Are you available for hire for children’s birthday parties?

Danny the Democracy Bear: You know the right buttons to push, don't you? Just give me a shout on my Facebook page and I'll be there.

But I'm not into this money thing. You cannot lure me with money. I refuse to degrade my work in exchange for money.

Oh ... you said “honey?” I'm sorry, I though you said “money.” Now that's a different proposition altogether.

Danny the Democracy Bear can be contacted via this Facebook page.

Elaine Ee writes about Singapore, the city she lives in, covering the arts, events, personalities and social issues. Her stories have appeared in Time Out SingaporeTatler HomesFood & Travel and Jetstar Asia. She’s also an editor at publichouse.sg, a Singapore community-driven website run by socially conscious denizens. When she’s not at her laptop, she practises Bikram yoga, spends time with her three kids and makes it a point to keep trying something new. 

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