GE2015: Motherhood a motivation - not a weakness - for election candidates

Election candidates (from left) Tin Pei Ling, Lee Li Lian and Kevryn Lim say motherhood is a motivation rather than a stumbling block to their work. PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG, WORKERS' PARTY , ST FILE

SINGAPORE - For several election candidates, motherhood is motivation to help build a better Singapore, rather than a stumbling block to their work.

People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Tin Pei Ling, 31, hit back at comments from the National Solidarity Party's Cheo Chai Chen, 64, on Friday, after the latter commented that her new role as a mother is a "weakness".

Asserting her confidence in juggling both motherhood and work as an MP for MacPherson, she also said in her Facebook post: "...I want to build a Singapore in which more women can successfully manage family and work responsibilities at the same time. What this needs are government and employer support, strong family ties with husbands playing active roles, and societal understanding and accommodation. I believe that together we can build such a Singapore."

When the PAP launched its election manifesto, Ms Tin had also expressed concern for the future of Singapore when she thinks about her newborn son Kee Hau, who will be 50 by the time Singapore commemorates SG100.

Earlier on in the campaign, Workers' Party candidate Lee Li Lian, 37, explained that her one-year-old daughter played a crucial part in why she chose to enter politics.

Ms Lee, who is defending her seat in Punggol East SMC, said in a Facebook post: "I'm responsible for bringing Karys into this world. I should have the responsibility to play a part in helping to shape the country's future where she will be growing up in."

Ms Tin's response to Mr Cheo earned the support of NSP candidate Kevryn Lim. The 26-year-old is a single mother of a two-year-old boy.

Ms Lim said on Facebook: "We value all mothers and parents! I believe, Miss Tin, like all mothers and myself can also be a career woman of their own and manage their time respectively without neglecting anyone in the family."

Mr Cheo, a former Nee Soon Central MP, was reported by the Today newspaper to have said: "The PAP's Tin Pei Ling has been working very hard. But she has just given birth, so voters should let her go home and rest, and take care of her child.

"In general, mothers love their children, so they spend a lot of time with them. If voters choose her, she might focus more on her child than on her voters. This is her weakness." He later referred to his comments as a "joke".

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