Opening for Parliament

Business as usual for CEO and mum of toddler

Ms Sun reading and signing off on documents (above) during a meeting with her colleagues in her office yesterday morning. She then spent some time with her daughter Sera at an indoor playground in Parkway Parade (top), before leaving to prepare for h
Ms Sun reading and signing off on documents (above) during a meeting with her colleagues in her office yesterday morning.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Sun reading and signing off on documents (above) during a meeting with her colleagues in her office yesterday morning. She then spent some time with her daughter Sera at an indoor playground in Parkway Parade (top), before leaving to prepare for h
She then spent some time with her daughter Sera at an indoor playground in Parkway Parade (above), before leaving to prepare for her swearing-in at Parliament House.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Even an occasion like the swearing-in of Members of Parliament yesterday afternoon did not faze first-time MP Sun Xueling.

The 36-year-old spent the morning doing what she does every work day: attending to business at non-profit organisation Business China, where she became chief executive officer last November after about a decade in finance.

"We are planning for our first quarter," she said when The Straits Times arrived at 10am at her office in the Chinese Development Assistance Council building in Tanjong Katong.

"We usually speak a mishmash of English and Mandarin, so please excuse us!" she added, giving a quick glance at the line-up of events for the next three months.

As a new MP in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, she was due to take an oath of allegiance to the country, with 90 others, in Parliament to mark the start of a new term of government. But her mind was focused on her busy schedule for the coming months: She is set to make at least two business trips - to Hangzhou and Guangzhou.

A pile of letters sat on her desk waiting to be read. There were telltale signs of her new life as a politician - a copy of a speech that the President gave in Parliament previously, cards from community centres and newsletters of her group representation constituency.

She read the speech to get a sense of what the event would be like later in the day, when President Tony Tan Keng Yam was to address the House. MPs will debate his address a week later.

During a meeting, a colleague asked: "Later, you'll have to swear, right?" Ms Sun corrected her laughingly: "Take an oath, take an oath!"

As the meeting drew to a close at noon, Ms Sun dashed off to see her 2 1/2-year-old daughter Sera, who was at an indoor playground in Parkway Parade with her maid.

"I won't get to see her in the evening, so I'm going to check on her for a short while," she said.

Her work, coupled with her MP duties, has reduced her time spent with Sera, who is usually asleep by 8pm. Her 37-year-old IT entrepreneur husband is based in Hong Kong but spends half his time in Singapore each month.

But Ms Sun makes it a point to stick to a morning routine. "I'll wake up when (Sera) wakes up at about 6am. We'll have breakfast... Then I'll pack her bag, wave her goodbye and my helper will walk her to her nursery school."

Mother and child played a ball game at the mall's playground for about 15 minutes. Then it was off for lunch before she headed home to get changed for the swearing-in ceremony at Parliament House.

Life just got even more hectic for this MP, businesswoman and mother of a toddler.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2016, with the headline 'Business as usual for CEO and mum of toddler'. Print Edition | Subscribe