Ex-MP Chiam See Tong recovering from hip injury

Dr Tan Cheng Bock posted a photo of himself with Mr Chiam See Tong (seated) and his wife, NCMP Lina Chiam, on Facebook.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock posted a photo of himself with Mr Chiam See Tong (seated) and his wife, NCMP Lina Chiam, on Facebook.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Former Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong has been recovering from a hip injury at a rehabilitation hospital and will be discharged today.

In a Facebook post last Saturday night, the Singapore People's Party (SPP) said the opposition veteran "thanks all well-wishers and looks forward to meeting them at the coffee shops again, over his favourite cup of kopi-O".

Among those who visited him was former People's Action Party MP and presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock, who posted a photo of himself with Mr Chiam and his wife, Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, on his Facebook page last Saturday.

Both Facebook posts drew an outpouring of well wishes on social media for Singapore's longest-serving opposition MP.

Dr Tan's post had more than 270,000 views, 14,000 "likes" and over 800 comments in just one day, while the SPP post received close to 400 "likes".

Dr Tan, 73, told The Straits Times that he visited Mr Chiam, 78, last Thursday after hearing of his injury from a mutual friend. The two veterans, who each served six terms - over 25 years - in Parliament, chatted about the old days when they met.

"We were on opposite sides but respected each other," said Dr Tan on Facebook. "He kept saying I was a better debater than him but I said that was nothing compared to his voice representing the opposition in the House."

He paid tribute to Mr Chiam's determination, recalling the early days when the Chiams campaigned in their iconic Volkswagen Beetle and when Mr Chiam won his parliamentary seat in 1984 "against all odds".

The two also spoke of young people's aspirations for Singapore's future and what can be done going forward, said the SPP.

The party did not reveal the causes of Mr Chiam's injury or when it happened. But Dr Tan said Mr Chiam had been sitting up in bed and could walk with assistance.

"His speech was audible and measured... His thoughts were clear," he said of Mr Chiam, who suffered a stroke in 2008.

In fact, said Dr Tan, he noticed a "great improvement" in Mr Chiam since the two last met during the 2011 presidential election.

"I could sense that he still has a lot of fire in him despite his physical condition," he added.

andreao@sph.com.sg