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Bread-and-butter issues drive PAP's Tin Pei Ling
WHEN her father had to be hospitalised while she was a student in university, Tin Pei Ling had no choice but to immediately take over the running of his coffee shop for several months, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate recalled at a rally on Wednesday evening.
That experience taught her the importance of bread-and-butter issues and how difficult it was to make a living, she said in Mandarin at her first and only rally speech at MacPherson in this year's general election (GE). It also led her to realise that the point of government was to improve lives, and she subsequently decided to enter politics to help the needy, she told the crowd at a field along Paya Lebar Road.
No party heavyweights showed up to stump for Ms Tin, who is defending her seat in the single-member constituency (SMC) in a three-cornered contest against Bernard Chen from the Workers' Party (WP) and Cheo Chai Chen from the National Solidarity Party (NSP).
Instead, her speech was preceded by five PAP members, described by the emcee as MacPherson residents, who spoke in Malay, Cantonese, Teochew, Tamil and English about how she had improved lives in the community as their Member of Parliament after GE 2011.
Starting off with greetings in multiple languages, Ms Tin laid out her plans for MacPherson and her vision for Singapore over the course of 45 minutes, saying that she wants Singapore to be a country that is conducive for young families, has a world-class education system and lets people retire without worry.
She criticised opposition party policy proposals, though without naming specifics, suggesting that they essentially wanted the government to spend more but had not sufficiently considered the resulting burden on the next generation.
For MacPherson SMC, Ms Tin said she planned to improve infrastructure further to help the elderly and provide more support for low-income families and children. Noting that medical fees were a major source of worry for the aged, she pledged to continue raising donations for a fund to take care of the elderly. She also drew cheers when she announced plans to install lifts at three overhead bridges and set up a new childcare centre.
Switching to English in the final 10 minutes, Ms Tin also spoke out for mothers, saying she believed mothers could still contribute in the workplace and that Singapore needs more flexi-work arrangements and "fair appraisal systems that do not mark down mothers simply because they have been out of action for a few months".
"We should improve the situation in Singapore so that women are not forced to choose between motherhood and career," she said, adding: "I would like to assure Mr Cheo from NSP that mothers will not give any less of ourselves at work compared with our colleagues. I would also like to remind Mr Cheo that this is no joking matter." She left it at that.
Mr Cheo had drawn flak when he said last week that Ms Tin's new status as a mother was a "weakness". He later said he was joking.
WP's Mr Chen complimented Ms Tin at a separate WP rally at Bedok Stadium on Wednesday evening, saying: "I would like to thank Ms Tin for running a clean campaign."
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