New Paper: WP’s new faces

Eye on election
Question time

The Workers’ Party unveiled three likely candidates. DAWN CHIA and LOW CHING LING find out what makes them tick?

Potential candidate 1:
Mr Brandon Siow Wei Min, 30, married, no children. Sales manager with Singapore Airlines Cargo. Honours degree in Political Science from NUS. Joined WP in 2005, treasurer of the Eastern Area Committee.

Potential candidate 2:
Mr Abdul Salim Harun, 24, single. Sales co-ordinator with Wing Tai Holdings. NTC-2 certificate in wafer fabrication. Joined WP in 2005, member of North Eastern Area Committee.

Potential candidate 3:
Miss Glenda Han Su May, 30, single. Entrepreneur with a degree in Economics and Japanese Studies from NUS. Joined WP in 2004, deputy secretary of the Youth Wing


Q Why do you think the Opposition has not revealed any new candidates until now?

Mr Siow: I don’t think that we’re not prepared. We’ve actually been walking the ground in the constituencies for some time now. It’s just that we have not officially announced our candidacy in the media. The party will announce the official candidates when they feel it’s the right time.

Q Why did you join the Opposition and not the PAP?

Miss Han: All of us generally have a consensus that you do need thoughts and rationales that represent the flip side of the coin. You can’t have ideas, laws and rules coming from one angle. There has to be reasonable debate coming from another angle.

Mr Abdul Salim: If everyone decides to join the PAP, then why have elections in the first place? Everyone should have a choice. I believe in a two-party system – to check and balance.

Q If you had a choice, who would you want from the PAP to join your, say, GRC team? Why?

Mr Siow: Maybe Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. I think he’s more open to new ideas, more receptive to criticism, more willing to hear out alternative ideas.

Miss Han: I can’t answer that because I don’t have a personal preference or dislike for any particular member.

Q Is it important to have a track record like a PAP candidate to be a credible Opposition candidate? Why?

Miss Han: I’m not all for that, because you do have to go through and experience things first-hand to really understand what people actually feel. If you’re brought up in a comfortable environment all the time, you won’t really understand what hardship means to some people.

Mr Abdul Salim: The most important thing is to have the passion to serve the people. Qualifications, in the Singapore context, do matter. But if you have the qualifications, and not the passion, dedication and sincerity to serve the people, then there’s no point.

Q What’s your favourite makan place and favourite hangout? What do you do in your free time?

Mr Siow: Changi Village, because it’s near to my office. Borders because it closes quite late and it’s always nice to spend some time browsing.

Mr Abdul Salim: KFC. Every time, I order a two-piece chicken meal, crispy, I’ll request specially for both to be thighs. Because thighs are meatier. Esplanade. It’s very peaceful. Sit by the waves and look at the stars. It’s very beautiful and calming. I like to ‘jalan jalan’. I like nature and greenery.

Miss Han: Home – I prefer home-cooked food. My favourite hangout is my cocktail bar, Les Chameaux – it means camels. In my free time, I like to go out for coffee with friends.

Q What do you wish you could change about your current life or past?

Mr Abdul Salim: Because my qualification is NTC-2, I wish I had worked harder in the past. But I have no regrets. Currently, I’m also looking into my future and planning to further my studies. I realise that to live in Singapore, you need qualifications. So I’m planning ahead and now I’m looking at my choices to take up studies in the near future.

Mr Siow: I wish I could have spent more time brushing up my Mandarin. I went to Catholic High and did CL1, and I had a difficult time because we spoke English at home. The only Mandarin I spoke was in school and with the tuition teacher. Now, it’s important to converse not just in English, but also in Mandarin, so I wish I had used it more in my younger days.

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