Time for women to rise to new heights

The unhappiness expressed over Madam Halimah Yacob's walkover win in the reserved presidential election is understandable (No let-up in online criticism of uncontested election; Sept 14).

However, now that she has been inaugurated, let us give our first female President the space to concentrate on the heavy responsibilities she has to shoulder.

Madam Halimah must be commended for her bravery in accepting the arduous challenges of the office of the President. She won her spurs by meeting the eligibility criteria.

In the Government, she has broken the glass ceiling and is leading the way. She is a role model and an inspiration, especially to our women.

This is a momentous new chapter in our history. Never before have we had a woman as the unifying force of our multiracial and multi-religious society, and to champion our cause here and abroad.

It makes little Singapore the equal of territories and countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany and Britain.

Is this the prelude to the rise of woman power in Singapore? The talent undoubtedly exists.

Two Cabinet ministers, several ministers of state and numerous MPs are women. There are also women helming multibillion-dollar corporations in the private sector.

The talent pool will surely widen over time.

The big question is whether those capable and eligible are willing to answer the call of duty to do great deeds for the people and country.

I hope the day will come when thinking about having a female prime minister is not building castles in the air.

Until then, I wish President Halimah success in fulfilling her role for the public good, under her slogan of "Do Good, Do Together".

Anthony Oei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2017, with the headline 'Time for women to rise to new heights'. Print Edition | Subscribe