A tale of two women

I have a lot of respect for Mr Goh Chok Tong. He makes mistakes and shows that he is human after all (unlike his predecessor and successor).

But this comment attributed to him:

Mr Goh explained: “Fatimah will partner Pei Ling to give good services to MacPherson and Geylang Serai. So they work as a buddy which means they have to do cross MPS (Meet-the-People sessions). Once in a month, Fatimah would have to go to MacPherson and likewise Pei Ling has got to go to Geylang Serai. This way, we have a buddy. Likewise Seah Kian Peng and Tan Chuan-Jin work as a pair. Myself, they all help me.

suggests that Ms Tin Pei Ling needs a buddy to get the job of a MP done. Yes, Ms Tin, when elected, is a newbie. Getting help is natural. But to ward off the far-less-than-positive comments about Ms Tin belies the real problem that PAP is stuck with – they cannot get people who have in their hearts of hearts the gumption and drive to serve Singapore. The PAP is reaching out to princelings, relatives of incumbents/supporters and the SAF/NTUC/some academics to run on the PAP ticket. The pool from which they can get people is very small (contrary to what LHL claims).

So, when you compare Ms Tin of the PAP with Ms Nicole Seah of the NSP, the younger woman, Ms Seah, is heads and shoulders above the older Ms Tin in terms of credibility and confidence. Both the ladies are graduates of the National University of Singapore and yet, Ms Seah is way ahead of Ms Tin in terms of maturity, confidence and being articulate. Ms Seah clearly has what it takes to become a good MP. I am sure Ms Tin has that as well, but given an either-or-choice, I’ll vote for Ms Seah. [I am sure, secretly, the PAP’s Ng Eng Heng has been taken to task for not recruiting Ms Seah (and Mr Chen Show Mao) and choose Ms Tin.] If Ms Seah’s team wins the Marine Parade GRC, I am she and the rest of her team will have to have buddies as well for they will all be newbies as MPs.  But at least, we know that.

Looking at the buddy system, is having one more acceptable for a whole group of newbie GRC MPs or for only one newbie MP in a GRC team? While, logically, it would seem that a newbie MP in a veteran group would be a the lesser of two evils, the bigger picture is that, as Singaporeans, we will be continuing to deny the growth and nourishment of a group of leaders who are NOT from the PAP. I rather pay the price of inducting a group of newbies who will be able to be guided and molded by the wishes of the people, than with a cast-in-stone attitudes of incumbents for more of the same. Yes, it is a bitter pill, but as in any form of decision making and picking choices, the perceived harder choices are usually the ones that give long term benefits. As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address:

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

So, citizens of Singapore living in the Marine Parade GRC: Please give this country a ray of hope. Do not ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. While I will be saddened to see Mr Goh lose his seat, but it is for the longer term good of this country of ours and I am sure Mr Goh will agree.


  1. Well said harish. As a resident of the marine parade grc, what use are two MP’s to me when i won’t even get the undivided attention. It’s time we move on. Hopefully the other resodents are half as aware and not politically blunted by the numerous walkovers.

    • An important consideration that you mention – attention – is what will be missing if the Marine Parade residents vote in the incumbent party. Do you think the competing party, if they win, will neglect the GRC? Only if they want to lose the next time. Heck, I will be happy to help them out so that they will not fail.Voting in the incumbent party will mean more of the same. Yes, I am aware that the incumbents have conveniently launched their “upgrade plans”. I think it is a corrupt behaviour (see http://harishpillay.wordpress.com/?s=transparency+international for the definition of corruption) to win votes.

    • On behalf of Singaporeans who care, thank you. Now please go and convince others in Marine Parade GRC. BTW, I’m in West Coast GRC so I can look forward to voting for the RP.

  2. Respect is earned, not given.

    I think that’s the difference between Tin Pei Ling and Nicole Seah. By being honest, forward and sincere, and by not putting on a false front or not saying what your party wants you to say, Nicole Seah has earned the respect of the Singaporean people.

    Tin Pei Ling, on the other had, chooses to hide behind her political party. She hasn’t spoken up much for herself, leaving it to the “bigger dogs” to speak up for her. How can you gain the respect of the people if you can’t even speak up for yourself?

    To be honest I think that if she had spoken up to dispel the rumours and ill will, she would clearly be in a much better position that she is now.

    • It’s call authenticity. Ms Seah has that. Ms Tin, none. Ms Tin, as you say as well, is repeating from the PAP songsheet. She has yet to show that she knows or cares about issues.

      • form, content & substance

        tin palin first got hit on form, then went on to show everybody whole lot of content without substance

        nicole is moving on from form to substance. we will have to wait to see if she could add more content in the rallies

      • interesting three step process.

        all things considered, i think people will have to make the hard choices. is it more of the same, or a fresh start and keep them on their toes?

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