After returning to Singapore in 2010, having spent almost a decade traversing the world being a successful entrepreneur, Mr Terence Tan found that things had changed.
Terence Tan had spent almost a decade abroad, traversing the world – from Spain to Indonesia – as a successful entrepreneur.
“I got back to Singapore in or about 2010, having spent nearly a decade abroad working,” he told The Online Citizen (TOC).
Besides having owned and operated a series of successful food and beverage groups in Singapore, Bali and Bangkok, he had also been head of business development in Thailand for Pacific Star, Managing Director Asset Management for Six Senses Resorts & Spas (based out of Thailand), Head of Investments and Development for Landmarks Berhad in Malaysia (a listed Malaysian hotel and property company).
“I started out in 1997 as a young litigation lawyer,” Mr Tan said.
His “pupil master” was the current Law Mininster, K Shanmugam.
“When I left Singapore in or about 2000, Singapore had a burgeoning middle class, the highest rate of savings per capita ex Japan and income inequality was relatively narrow. In short, our people were optimistic about their futures,” he told TOC.
“When I got back, the landscape was much changed,” he said.
“People are highly stressed and not so optimistic for themselves or their children. It is more crowded, infrastructural issues abound, the gini coefficient was, and likely still is, amongst the highest in the developed world. The poor are getting poorer and the middle class are squeezed, without a sufficient lift in real incomes.
“I am dismayed to find a constant stream of older Singaporeans rooting through my garbage bins in the middle of the night. I don’t think it is for exercise.”
All these prompted him to get more involved – and he now sits on the advocacy, criminal practice and criminal legal aid scheme committees of the Law Society; and he is also an assigned counsel on the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences, and currently represent two accused persons on death row for drug trafficking.
He also finds time to volunteer at the Hougang Community Legal Clinic, and a board member of the Workers’ Party Charitable Fund where he is also its secretary.
And now, Mr Tan is taking his community involvement and public service to the next level – Parliament.
He is a candidate with the Workers’ Party’s team contesting Marine Parade GRC in the elections.
TOC sat down with Mr Tan for a short chat about two weeks ago at the famous Dunman Food Centre in Marine Parade, where Mr Tan also lives.