On Wednesday (16 October), Jose Raymond of Singapore People’s Party (SPP) took to his Facebook to share the beautiful memories that he had with the party’s former Secretary-General Chiam See Tong.
After hinting leadership renewal in SPP last month, Mr Chiam announced on Wednesday that he has stepped down as the Secretary-General of SPP after holding the position for 23 years. His decision comes after the election of the party’s Central Executive Committee yesterday.
“Mr Chiam has given to politics for 40 years already. It’s time for him to have a rest,” said Mrs Lina Chiam, wife of Mr Chiam and the party’s Chairman.
She added, “I think he has given all what he can for Singaporeans, what he can do to his ability.”
SPP also wrote a tribute in a Facebook post on Thursday (17 October) for its outgoing leader. “The Party would like to send its best wishes to our founding Secretary General Mr Chiam See Tong for his decades of services to the party and to Singapore.”
Mr Raymond, who has a high possibility of taking over the leadership of the party, said in his post that he remembers being in the counting centre in the 1984 General Elections when Mr Chiam was elected as a Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir for the first time.
“I was at the Westlake Secondary School counting centre on my 13th birthday on 22 December 1984 with my father when Mr Chiam See Tong was elected as Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir,” he wrote.
He continued, “In that General Elections, my father brought me to Potong Pasir twice to listen to Mr Chiam’s rallies during the hustings. We watched one of his rallies from the fifth floor corridor of Block 142 overlooking the open field. There was no community centre there then.”
Mr Raymond went on to explain that after his father became a volunteer for Mr Chiam during the 1988 General Elections, Mr Raymond tagged along with his dad to distribute manifestos in the area. “As we drove around in a blue pickup around Sennett Estate, we were greeted with the waves and thumbs up signals from so many people,” he said, regarded it as memories that he will never forget in his life.
Additionally, Mr Raymond also noted that he was with his father in 1990 when Mr Chiam gave a cheque to them so they would be able to pay the deposit for their flat. “Mr Chiam helped us keep a roof over our heads,” he said.
Since Mr Chiam was with him during his difficult times, Mr Raymond expressed that he had done similar as he has devoted his time in the last two years to help the people of Potong Pasir.
“Just like how the Chiams were there for us when we needed them most, I devoted my time over the last two years to helping people in Potong Pasir, hoping to give them some measure of hope and help whenever I could, in addition to all my other commitments, including completing my Masters programme at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,” he said.
Setting Mr Chiam as an example, Mr Raymond said that people “must always pay it forward” and it has become his duty now to help others
“Politics is a personal choice and I am involved to help as many people as I can, just so I put smiles on their faces. We don’t need to be in positions of power to help others. There are leaders in all of us. So stand up, and be counted. You can be one too,” he wrote.