Ko Siew Huey /
The final four are : top corporate lawyer Chen Show Mao, 50; entrepreneur Yee Jenn Jong, 46; businesswoman Glenda Han, 35; and founder of online commentary syndicate opinionasia.com Pritam Singh, 34
WP Secretary General Low Thia Khiang began the press conference by commenting on the episode on Sunday, when WP candidate Watson Chong broke down while relating how his family had strong objections to him joining the opposition.
Mr Low said that he considers himself lucky in that when he entered politics 30 years ago, his family supported his decision. However, he noted that this climate of fear that deters people from offering themselves as opposition candidates has persisted through the years.
“This is a legacy of the previous PAP government,” he said. “This is also the price, my friends, we have paid for our economic development, for a strong government. You want this to continue? You think moving forward this is going to be positive, going to be good for the country, for Singapore?”
WP candidate Mr Chen also made the point that this election is about the future of Singapore. “Do you give all of the power that affects your future to one party and hope for the best? Or do you keep that power for yourself and give yourself a choice. A choice of capable parties competing to give you a better future.
“But in order to have that choice tomorrow, you would need to support the opposition in Singapore today so that we will have the opportunity, the time and the means to grow and develop and become more seasoned in matters of government.”
During the press conference, much of the attention was focused on Mr Chen. Looking relaxed, he fielded questions with candour and humour.
Giving a glimpse into his family life, he revealed that he has three children, a 10-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. His middle child, a girl, passed away before her fourth birthday. His wife, a homemaker, was born in Taiwan but grew up in Indonesia and is now a US citizen.
Addressing concerns that he may not be able to relate well to the concerns of Singaporeans after having lived overseas for many years, Mr Chen said, “I spent all this time abroad, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped being Singaporean.”
He went on to explain that after completing his national service, his choice of university, the availability of financial aid and scholarship and later, the professional opportunities that presented themselves, were factors that impacted his decision to base himself overseas.
He said that while abroad, he continued to keep in touch with what was happening in Singapore through his personal networks, regular home visits, local news publications as well as the internet.
As a parting shot, Mr Chen called for a refocusing of perspective “Don’t forget. I’m not standing for election on my own. I’m standing to be elected as a Worker’s Party candidate. We have a team. We have a party to serve the residents of our constituencies. And more importantly, this election is not about me only. It’s about us. It’s about our future. It’s about the direction in which we would like Singapore to go. And here I am, imperfect as I am, I offer myself to you so that you have a choice. You have a say in your future.”
Editor’s note: In the article, we had said Mr Chen’s second child passed away one and a half years ago. This is incorrect and we have removed that note. We apologise for the mistake.
Photos of the media conference by Boris Chan.
Video of the press con by Patrick Chng.
Question & Answer Session: