Brad Bowyer, the new politician on the block’s journey into politics wasn’t a planned one. After arriving to Singapore in 1985 from the United Kingdom, Bowyer spent his first two years studying in Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC). Soon after that, he left the country to return back to the UK to follow his dream of becoming a Commando, but that was short-lived due to an injury.
After returning back to Singapore in 1991 (and stayed here ever since then), Bowyer got involved in local theatre. As someone who has always been fond of theatre, Bowyer was on stage since he was six years old, although he preferred being in the backstage rather than the front stage.
As such, that interest evolved into all sorts of different things from art and design to animation, and finally television production.
“I’ve had quite a career in film and television – either producing, teaching or as a consultant. I’ve also ran my own business several times in film and television production. My most recent business is a special-effect company which is still in existence and is doing very well. I was just forced to leave it because I had some health issues, which I’m recovering from it now,” explained Bowyer in an interview with TOC.
In order to recover from his health problems, the 52-year-old Singaporean citizen took a sabbatical for the whole of last year, but since October 2018 he has been working full-time on everything required to prepare for his political career like conducting research, being active on Facebook, writing articles, doing diagrams and more.
As the member of People’s Voice Party – the 11th political party in Singapore set up by Lim Tean, a lawyer and Singaporean opposition politician – Bowyer journey into politics didn’t actually start in an opposition party but rather with the ruling party, People’s Action Party (PAP).
“After the 2011 election, I saw that we did have a lot of problems, and I had a discussion with my wife and said that I can help out..so I wanted to work from the inside and to see what I can do to improve things. This is what got me to get involved in politics and I joined PAP,” he noted.
Started off as a volunteer, Bowyer did a lot of meet-the people (MPS) sessions where he was one of the party’s letter writers. This means that he would basically meet citizens who come in, listen to their problems, decide which ministry the concerns had to be directed to and write the draft letter which will then be passed over to the MP.
After doing that for a while, he was then asked to take part in the election of the Central District Community which is one of the five districts that PAP oversees.
“I was put forward as their branch candidate for CDC and I got internally elected for that…We also had the national conversation going on and I was involved in facilitating the national conversation. So I was at PAP headquarters with different group of citizens and we were talking about different group of questioning, collating their thoughts and putting together the final report that came out of the national conversation,” he told.
When asked on why he decided to leave PAP and join People’s Voice Party, Bowyer said that there were two main reasons. The first was Singapore’s involvement in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which he saw as “a corporate sell-out of the country”. The second was the selected presidency and the whole “joking around Madam President when she was still the Speaker of the house”.
Although he planned to just step away from PAP, but his journey took a different turn after he had some discussion with Lim Tean. As such, he got involved with National Solidarity Party (NSP), which he jokingly called Not Serious Party. After that, he left and joined the party that Lim Tean founded.
Over the years, Bowyer has been the victim of Internet Brigades (IBs) where they attack and troll him on numerous occasions. Even recently, he was slammed by them in regards to his Facebook post on Central Provident Fund (CPF).
When questioned if IBs have put him off from participating in politics, he said, “Words mean nothing. If you meet face-to-face and try to do something, then we will have a discussion.”
Being a new citizen of Singapore, Bowyer always thought the country can be a world leader and be a role model for other countries. However, the country needs to find a balance between social extremist (where they want everything for nothing), and capital extremist (where everything belongs to one person and others fail to succeed).
“Unfortunately, we are way too far to the right. I think we can be somewhere be in the middle where we take care of all the members of the society, but at the same time give the opportunity to those who wants to work harder to contribute more to do better in the society,” he concluded.