80-year-old gets crowd cheering at PAP rally

AT AGE 80, Madam Seleha Mohd Shah was the oldest among the nine speakers at last night's PAP rally. But her speech in Malay was the most energetic, drawing boisterous cheers from the crowd.

She said although Dr Koh Poh Koon is now a successful surgeon, he has not been shy to reveal his roots and the difficulties his family faced when he was young.

"He is not sombong (Malay for proud). He is no yaya-papaya," she said, using a colloquial term for a person who is full of himself.

"He is very caring of the old, and touches old people's hearts."

Madam Seleha later told The Straits Times she ran as an opposition candidate in an election in 1964. However, she declined to disclose her political party then.

"But I've seen how the PAP policies benefit Singapore. I've benefited as well," she said, explaining her change of heart. She now does grassroots volunteer work, aside from being a copywriter.

After her speech, Dr Koh stood up to shake her hand and helped her back to her seat. Despite the rain, she declined repeated offers to be led off the stage to a shelter.

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