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PM Lee on late MP Dixie Tan: 'She fulfilled her public as well as family duties amply'

Published on Apr 24, 2014 7:32 PM
 
Dr Dixie Tan, 48, is the People's Action Party (PAP) first woman candidate to stand in the general election in 14 years - since the late Madam Chan Choy Siong stepped down in 1970. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other political leaders paid tribute to the late Dr Dixie Tan on Thursday, pointing to her dedication as a Member of Parliament and her role in promoting special education. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other political leaders paid tribute to the late Dr Dixie Tan on Thursday, pointing to her dedication as a Member of Parliament and her role in promoting special education.

Mr Lee noted that she had entered politics at the same time as he did, in 1984, where for more than a decade the MPs were all men. Together with Dr Aline Wong and Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, the three of them were the only women MPs elected in that year.

"Far from being intimidated by their male colleagues, all three more than held their own, and stood out in the House," Mr Lee said in a condolence letter to her husband, Dr Tan Ngoh Chuan, 83.

Dr Dixie Tan had died of brain cancer on Wednesday. She was 78. She left behind her husband, a son, two daughters and a grandson.

 
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Background story

Full text of Prime Minister Lee's condolence letter:

Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of Dixie. 

I knew Dixie as MP for Ulu Pandan. She was elected in the 1984 general election, in the same batch as me. For many years before that all the MPs had been men. Dixie, together with Dr Aline Wong and Mdm Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, were the only female MPs elected in 1984. Far from being intimidated by their male colleagues, all three more than held their own, and stood out in the House.

Dixie was a hardworking MP, who cared for her residents and spoke up for their interests in Parliament. She retired in 1991 to pursue a second career as a family and marriage therapist, a role she performed with distinction. 

Outside Parliament, Dixie was an active volunteer. She founded the Association for Educationally Subnormal Children (later renamed the Association for Persons with Special Needs) in 1975 and was Adviser to the Singapore Bank Employees' Union (1989). For her contributions to the community, she was conferred the Public Service Star in 1984.

Dixie impressed me, and many others, with her quiet self confidence, good sense, and gentle resolve. She knew her mind and spoke softly but with conviction. She pressed for what she believed in and felt passionately about, and ministers took her points and requests seriously. She also had a natural warmth and concern for others, which made people feel at ease with her. She entered politics even though her own sons Russell and Kenneth had special needs, and required her care and attention. She fulfilled her public as well as family duties amply. Her passing is a sad loss to us all.

My thoughts are with you and your family during this sorrowful time.

With my deepest sympathies

LEE HSIEN LOONG

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