Learn from Chiam's never-say-die attitude

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong greeting Mr Chiam See Tong at last night's Chiam See Tong Sports Fund gala dinner. Mr Chiam made a surprise appearance midway through the event when he was wheeled in by his wife Lina.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong greeting Mr Chiam See Tong at last night's Chiam See Tong Sports Fund gala dinner. Mr Chiam made a surprise appearance midway through the event when he was wheeled in by his wife Lina.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

I am heartened to see two veterans across the political divide coming together for a worthy cause (Chiam helped set tone for civil parliamentary debate: ESM Goh, Aug 23).

The fact that Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong accepted Mr Chiam See Tong's invitation to be the guest of honour at the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund gala dinner testifies to the importance of getting along as one community regardless of political affiliation.

Mr Goh's description could not have been more accurate - he described Mr Chiam as a decent and honest politician and Member of Parliament.

It is true that a person should enter politics not for selfish reasons, and Mr Chiam has struck me as someone who worked selflessly to improve the well-being of his Potong Pasir constituents when he was MP from 1984 until 2011. His dedication and commitment to his ward were so great that he shut his law firm in 2002 to become a full-time MP.

As an opposition MP, Mr Chiam added value to Parliament, where his voice carried weight because he believed in constructive criticism, especially when government policies were hotly debated.

One invaluable lesson which we can learn from Mr Chiam is his never-say-die attitude, and this is how he succeeded in winning the Potong Pasir seat in 1984 after having lost twice in his election bids.

Had he gone into hibernation after falling short, he would not have gained the support base he had enjoyed over the years.

He can take comfort in knowing that a majority of Singaporeans are supportive and appreciative of his contribution to the country.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng