WORKERS' PARTY RALLY

Rookies speak of overcoming fears to join WP

WP candidates (from far left), Dylan Ng, Bernard Chen, Ron Tan, He Ting Ru, Terence Tan and Leon Perera at the WP rally in Boon Keng Road. Ms He described how she overcame initial fears to join an opposition party.
WP candidates (from far left), Dylan Ng, Bernard Chen, Ron Tan, He Ting Ru, Terence Tan and Leon Perera at the WP rally in Boon Keng Road. Ms He described how she overcame initial fears to join an opposition party.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Her decision to join an opposition party had her friends and family worried that she might get "fixed" by the People's Action Party (PAP), said Workers' Party (WP) rookie candidate He Ting Ru.

The corporate lawyer, 32, had the same fears initially but decided to run after asking herself three questions: First, whether it would be healthy for Singapore to have a handful of people from one party to decide what is best for the country.

Second, do Singaporeans want a future for their country where their children are not disagreeing with the Government in a responsible way because they are afraid of being "fixed"?

Third, do Singaporeans think the current policies are perfect and nothing more needs to be done for vulnerable Singaporeans?

"The answer for each one of these questions is no. As a young Singaporean, I have my ideas about what should be my nation's path," said Ms He.

She was one of nine rookie candidates who spoke for the first time at the WP's rally in Boon Keng Road yesterday.

Four revealed how they overcame initial fears in joining the WP, as they urged voters to overcome their own fears and to vote for the opposition, to underscore the party's election slogan Empower Your Future. The others are Singapore Cancer Society community manager Kenneth Foo, 38; lawyer Terence Tan, 44; and former associate librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

Mr Tan, who is in the same Marine Parade GRC team as Ms He, thanked WP supporters as he took the stage last night, as they were his "source of strength".

"All of you are our source of strength. You are our reason why we have cast away our fears and stepped up to offer ourselves as WP candidates in this general election," he said.

He said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had previously said that "if there were 10, 15 or 20 opposition MPs in Parliament, he would spend all his time to fix the opposition".

"Never mind that. The WP is committed to seeing through positive, meaningful, and long overdue change in the way the PAP currently treats you," he said.

Mr Foo, who will stand in Nee Soon GRC, said when he first joined WP in 2006, many had asked him why he had done so, and if he was not afraid of the PAP: "My answer is: I have the backing of all the WP supporters. What am I scared of?"

It was a similar story for Mr Fairoz, who said many had advised him against his involvement in opposition politics, and to just focus on his career and family, when he joined WP in 2004. "We are living in a Singapore where involvement in opposition politics is sometimes frowned upon," he said.

It was his first child, who is now seven, who helped Mr Fairoz affirm his decision to be more involved in WP. "I asked myself: What kind of Singapore will I be giving to my children? Where this country is headed will not only affect me, but my children as well."

He urged voters to put more WP members in Parliament. "We need you to vote more of us into Parliament so that we can look into the eyes of our children with hope."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2015, with the headline 'Rookies speak of overcoming fears to join WP'. Print Edition | Subscribe