Source: Carrie Tan Facebook

Recently elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC in General Election 2020, Carrie Tan uploaded a series of images where she picked up litter around coffeeshops as part of a cleaning exercise and stated that she will be doing so every month. 

Holding a pick-up stick in her right hand and a plastic bag in the other, the images showed Ms Tan picking up “tissue paper and other trash” on Sunday (2 Aug) morning. 

The People’s Action Party MP explained how “used tissues carry germs and when tissues fly around, germs spread too”. 

“I promised to support the Public Hygiene Council and our coffeeshops with community education so that all users of communal premises will also do their part to keep Nee Soon South clean and green and healthy!” 

Further along in her post, she encouraged Singaporeans to observe their citizenry duties to “keep (their) used tissues in (their) pockets or throw them in the bin” so as to ease the burdens on the cleaning aunties and uncles. 

“Don’t make them work so hard,” she implored. 

In ending, Ms Tan hopes her exemplary actions will encourage others to follow in her footsteps. 

I hope that by being an example, I will also cultivate this good habit along with everyone else,” she remarked. 

This is not the first time she has spoken out against littering and public hygiene. 

On 23 July, she commended Dr Lee Bee Wah’s initiative with PHC to keep coffeeshops clean in Nee Soon South. 

Dr Lee who retired in the GE2020, first started out as an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC in 2006 until her constituency was carved out to form Nee Soon GRC where she served as an MP from 2011 onwards.

Health of one is health for all in these pandemic times. For a start, we can all bin our own used tissue paper,” Ms Tan urged the public in the post. 

Public questions intention of pictures; Ms Tan explains the side benefits of “this simple job”

In an update of her post on 2 August, she remarked that by posting these images, “a lot of people will say this litter picking (is) very wayang”. 

Wayang is a Malay word which colloquially means “fake or acting for show” in Singlish. 

She acknowledged these judgments but stressed that her “purpose (was) to show that if we treat our neighbourhoods like our own home, we will pick up litter after ourselves”. 

However the bulk of her update was focusing on the side benefits of litter-picking. 

“At the same time that I pick litter, residents come to share their problems with me. I also get a close and first-hand understanding of the littering habits and problem hotspots that need to be addressed.”

Ms Tan elaborated that “40% of all emails (she gets) every day are related to municipal cleanliness and littering problems”. 

Therefore without a first-hand assessment on the ground, she finds it challenging to think of a solution and cultivate behavioral change in people.

She affirmed that her deed was indeed for show, saying: “To show by example that no matter what role or title we hold, we should pick up after ourselves and I don’t mind picking up after others. Hope we can all 自动自发 (be the change I wish to see)!” 


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