Eye on election
She mixes a mean drink, but minces no words. Workers’ Party’s Glenda Han answers our questions – straight
pictures | alvin toh, choo chwee hua
Party people: Caption: Ms Han (far right) with fellow WP Youth Wing exco members (from left) Melvin Tan, Chia Ti Lik, Tan Wui Hua, Goh Meng Seng and Ng Swee Bee.
POLITICS is a tough number.
Once you decide to stand, there is no way to run, ever, from legitimately probing questions, among which are: What is your mother’s maiden name? Do you have a pet? Where do you cut your hair? And, of late, tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.
Miss Glenda Han is 30 and single, and pretty cool in the way some men would describe as “hot”.
If one of the Dove shampoo ad girls ran for election, she’d be Glenda Han.
The deputy secretary of the youth wing of the Workers’ Party is No 2 of four sisters. One sells cars, another is in the garment industry and the youngest is entering NUS.
Miss Han used to have a stake in Ig’s Heaven, a shop stocked with quirky lifestyle objects.
She cashed in her quirky chips, took off to see the world (except South America), went to roost in Montmartre, the artists’ colony in Paris, loved it and stayed two years.
“My arty-farty side,” she said, with a flick of her lustrous black hair. No, she was not a Dove shampoo girl…
“I like to paint. Still life, portraits mostly, in oils.”
When she is not flaring.
Flaring is what double-jointed bartenders do with liquor orders when they have an audience, you know, make a Cirque du Soleil juggle just to serve a Bloody Mary.
“Sure I can do flaring,” said Miss Han, a shareholder in Les Chameaux, a cocktail bar in Robertson Quay. But she does stop at bartop dancing.
Les Chameaux is “camels” in French for her sojourn in France, and camels because she wanted “something Middle Eastern”. She said: “We have shisha.” (Scented smokes.)
Miss Han can mix 30 cocktails, and her favourite drink is the Cosmopolitan; but of course, it’s Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sex and the City) preferred tipple.
If you had to concoct a WP cocktail what would be the mix?
“Vodka base with citron for zest,” she said without a comma, exuding confidence.
Why am I not suprised that the slim urbanely dressed Miss Han shares an apartment with three single girls, but has no love life to speak of.
Her day job is in money brokerage, nights at the bar counter, and all the in-between time is given over to family and her pet cat.
“At first they were apprehensive, at the idea of my going into politics,” she said. “But they did not dissuade me. Now they are supportive.”
CHILD OF THE REVOLUTION?
It was her years in the French capital that fired her political sensibilities. Home of the Revolution, the Rights of Man, the 1968 student riots heard around the world.
“In France, they debate over every single thing. The culture of politics is strong. Here, all people care about is the pursuit of wealth, bigger house, bigger car. They forget the small things.”
Like taking time out to chill rather than climb the corporate ladder? Like having the passion and the energy not to be apathetic?
“Many people don’t dare (to take risks), because they think of what they have to lose. I follow my gut.”
And when her gut feels bloated – from one Cosmopolitan too many, she heads to the gym.
And the one thing no one knows…?
“Well, I bought a violin when I was in Europe. I should learn to play it.”