What legacy? You decide:
1979: Runs as independent against Howe Yoon Chong in by-election; polls 33%. At least he had balls to run against a strong defence minister!
1980: Forms SDP, again loses to Howe in GE, but with 41%.
1984: Elected MP for Potong Pasir, defeating Mah Bow Tan (another minister wannabe!)
1988 Retains PP seat.
1991: By-Election Strategy nets SDP three seats; Becomes Leader of the Opposition
1993: Proudly shows off articulate protege CSJ, but within months the two are embroiled in spats. Disagreements over Chee’s tactics eventually causes Chiam to leave SDP in 1996.
1997: SDP loses both its seats; Chiam retains Potong Pasir under SPP
2001: Forms SDA, hoping to unify opposition. Unity has yet to happen.
2006: Retains Potong Pasir with much reduced majority. NSP leaves SDA, citing a need for “space” to develop.
2010: Tries to forge alliance with RP without consulting SDA council; Miscalculation leads to public spats and eventual SPP departure from SDA.
2011: Announces bid to run for GRC in one last shot for glory, but unable to find enough candidates within party. Proposal for wife to run for Potong Pasir further underscores lack of talent in SPP.
2011 GE: ???
To me, the only inspiration for opp politicians is how a bright-eyed lawyer with no pedigree was able to take on a strong PAP defence minister and defeat its wannabe ministers and all comers for six elections. Kind of like Rocky Balboa.
But like Rocky, Chiam too is just a lone fighter and his legacy could well be marred if he pushes it for a seventh time. Better to learn from the samurai.