Yes to evolution, no to revolution

By Joy Fang

THE new candidates fielded by the People's Action Party are here to be team players and take part in an evolution of the nation's system and policies, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said yesterday.

"We don't bring new people here to conduct a revolution," he said, adding that while a revolution might have its place in other countries, it is not suitable for Singapore.

"I think Singaporeans, too, will not welcome a revolution that will shake up everything and get them completely disrupted," Mr Wong said in response a reporter's query on how the new PAP candidates can make a difference.

He was speaking at the PAP's headquarters where the party's second batch of three fresh candidates were unveiled.

They are Mr Steve Tan, 38, the executive secretary of Young NTUC; Mr Desmond Lee, 35, a former deputy director in the Ministry of Law's legacy policy division and who is now Temasek Holdings' in-house counsel; and Ms Foo Mee Har, 45, Standard Chartered's global head of premium banking.

For Mr Tan, joining politics is his way of contributing "to this meritocratic society, which has done a lot for me".

Growing up, his parents had to work double shifts to raise three children. The son of a PUB technician and a nurse, Mr Tan took on multiple jobs, including singing in bars, to support himself as an undergraduate.

He graduated from university with only $300 in his bank account, he said.

As for Mr Lee, whose father is former Cabinet minister Lee Yock Suan, his father's political career made him reflect long and hard about joining politics, as he knew the sacrifices to be made in one's personal life and family time.

When Mr Lee told his father that the PAP had invited him to a tea session, his father's advice was: "Think very carefully. Are you able to serve? Do you have a heart for the people? It is 100 per cent or more of your energy and time."

He decided to take on the challenge as he "cannot refuse to give back" to a society which has given him ample opportunities - a decision his dad fully supports, he said.

Ms Foo, the first new PAP woman candidate unveiled so far, said her overseas experience was a key factor in her decision to join the PAP.

The Ipoh-born bank executive, who became a citizen in 2008, said her company had posted her to China and Thailand, where she lived with her family from 2003 to early 2008.

"I had the opportunity to reflect on Singapore's governance, systems and processes. I learnt to really appreciate our unique strengths," she said.

Mr Wong said yesterday that the election is not about the ambitions of political parties or individuals looking to create a legacy, but about Singapore's future.

So, Singaporeans should think carefully and "choose the group who is strong and who will deliver for you", he said.

Second batch of PAP candidates


Occupation: Executive secretary of Young NTUC and grassroots volunteer in Tampines East.

Spotted in: Tampines GRC

Background: Became a marketer after he graduated in 1997 from Nanyang Business School. He joined NTUC in 2001 as a senior marketing executive, while pursuing a master's degree in mass communications.

As an undergraduate, he worked multiple jobs to support himself.

On potentially running in a GRC with Minister Mah Bow Tan: "Ever since I've been attached to Minister Mah, I've been completely inspired by him. He has taken criticisms in his stride and has done his best to explain (issues raised), sometimes repeatedly. He's always patient."


Occupation: Associate director in the legal and regulations department of Temasek Holdings

Spotted in: Jurong GRC

Background: He was a legalservice officer in the Government's employ for the past 10 years, and was last deputy director in the legacy policy division of the Ministry of Law, before joining Temasek Holdings this month. His father, Mr Lee Yock Suan, 64, was a former Cabinet minister and MP.

On whether the death penalty will be abolished in his lifetime: The death penalty serves an important purpose, keeping Singapore safe from hardened criminals and those who commit the most serious offences.


Occupation: Global head of premium banking at Standard Chartered Bank

Spotted in: Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Background: Born in Ipoh, she went to boarding school in Australia at age 15. She settled here in 1989 at age 23 and became a citizen in January 2008.

She had been appointed to overseas positions in Shanghai and Bangkok, in 2003 and 2006, respectively.

On representing the man in the street as opposed to her rich clients: Human-to-human relations are universally the same. I don't see anything different, regardless of where they come from. It is my job to earn their trust and to meet their needs.

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