Q Why did you decide to contest the presidential election?
A I served 40 years in public service, in different capacities. My driving consideration has always been: What can I do? How can I contribute?
When the presidential election issue came about, a lot of people approached me to say: Why don't you consider running?
I gave it serious thought: Is there something I can do for Singapore and Singaporeans? And that is why I decided to take part in the presidential election.
Q What if you do not win?
A I don't have a Plan B. I just retire and spend more time with my family, do social work, champion the causes I have always been championing, especially disadvantaged children.
When you go into an election, you have got to also think of the possibility of losing.
Q What sort of support do you have?
A This morning, I spoke to Sister Theresa Seow from the Canossian Sisters. She sent me SMSes even before I said I am standing for election. I have had people from all walks of life, different religions, races, all coming to me and saying: "We will support you."
Singaporeans are fair-minded and open-minded. They want to look at the person who is going to stand for the position, what is the track record of that person, how can that person contribute.
I have great faith and confidence in their fair-mindedness... to look beyond the tudung, to look beyond religion, to look beyond race, to look beyond the gender, because that is what our system is all about.
Q Why did you refuse the suggestion to consider running for the director-general post at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)?
A ILO jobs are very well-paying. They provide pension, they pay for your family benefits and so on, housing, everything, medical.
They give very good terms and we get to live in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a wonderful country.
But it is very different because you do the work there, you don't get the same sense of fulfilment compared to working here: You are contributing something to your own people, your own country.
Q What will you miss most from life as a politician?
A I will miss the people. I am in the constituency almost seven days a week, I go for house visits... I will miss that a great deal, talking to them, listening to them.
I go down to the hawker centre to eat, people are used to seeing me, they come and talk to me.
Q How did you feel when Minister Chan Chun Sing addressed you as "Madam President" in Parliament earlier this year?
A I thought I heard it wrong the first time, so I didn't say anything. Then it was mentioned the second time. I almost fell off the chair. I felt very stressed out.
After the sitting, he told me it was unintended, it was a slip. I accepted his explanation.