Singapore GE2020: Red Dot United introduces team to contest Jurong GRC

(Clockwise from top left) Ms Michelle Lee, Mr Ravi Philemon, Mr Nicholas Tang, Ms Liyana Dhamirah and Mr Alec Tok.
(Clockwise from top left) Ms Michelle Lee, Mr Ravi Philemon, Mr Nicholas Tang, Ms Liyana Dhamirah and Mr Alec Tok.PHOTOS: RED DOT UNITED

SINGAPORE - Red Dot United (RDU), Singapore's newest political party, introduced the last member of its team to contest the five-seat Jurong GRC on Friday (June 26).

Theatre director Alec Tok Kim Yam joins entrepreneur and author Liyana Dhamirah and legal engineer Nicholas Tang, both of whom were introduced on Wednesday.

Mr Tok, a 55-year-old Yale University graduate and father of two, directed Singapore's first Chinese musical, December Rains, and lived in the United States for 15 years where he worked as a theatre director.

In the party's press statement, Mr Tok, who is married, said: “The government’s method of ‘ownself check ownself’ is neither effective nor accountable. It is our collective responsibility as Singaporeans to check on our government.”

Ms Liyana, a 33-year-old mother of four, had experienced life as a homeless person.

She wrote about this in a book and later received the "Woman of Resilience" award from the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

Ms Liyana, who is married, plans to champion the needs of families, entrepreneurs and the marginalised both in Parliament and at her constituency if elected, the party said.

Mr Tang, who is single, is entering politics to better understand the problems faced by his peers and to help improve the lives of future generations, said RDU.

"As a society, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and seek first to resolve our problems, instead of routinely handing over the reins to the government to manage our society," said the 28-year-old.

 
 
 
 

Party chairman Michelle Lee said in the statement that the team will put the people of Singapore at the centre of all it does.

"We are also so pleased that we have (been) able to include a range of ages in our team, as well as field two female candidates to serve the residents and citizens to the best of our ability."

The three join former Progress Singapore Party members Ravi Philemon, 52, and Michelle Lee, 43.

RDU was registered as a political party on June 15 after submitting its application on May 26.

Its entry means that a record 11 opposition parties could contest the general election.

Jurong GRC was the best performing ward of the People's Action Party in the 2015 General Election.

The team, led by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, won more than 79 per cent of the vote - defeating the Singaporeans First party, which was dissolved on Thursday.

MR ALEC TOK KIM YAM, 55, THEATRE DIRECTOR

Mr Tok first contested in 2011 as a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the single-seat ward of Bukit Panjang, where he lost.
The Yale University graduate, who holds a Master of Fine Arts, previously worked with the Singapore Armed Force’s Music and Drama company.
Mr Tok wrote and directed his first film ‘A Big Road in Shanghai’, which was nominated for the Best Film Award when it premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival. 
In 2015, he was commissioned and invited back by the Singapore International Festival of Arts to write and direct Nanyang: The Musical. He has been living here since.
“I believe in Singapore and Singaporeans. We have come this far because different ideas were allowed to contest and compete to shape our economic, social and security landscape. 
“We should retain and protect this strength.”

MS LIYANA DHAMIRAH, 33, ENTREPRENEUR AND AUTHOR

Ms Liyana was homeless at 22 and lived in a tent on Sembawang Beach while pregnant with her third child.

She wrote about her experience in a book titled – Homeless: The Untold Story of a Mother’s Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore.
The mother of four now lives in a four-room Housing Board flat. 
She said she has not forgotten her struggles and if elected, will champion the needs of marginalised families and entrepreneurs. 
“I am concerned about the care and growth of current and future generations. Helping them live with dignity, respect and motivation is important for me,” she added.

MR NICHOLAS TANG, 28, LEGAL ENGINEER

The youngest face in RDU’s Jurong GRC slate, Mr Tang said Singapore needs a shift in policy and thinking in order to help those who are less fortunate.
“From the manicured gardens and spotless streets built on the backs of cheap migrant labour, to the banning of PMDs (personal mobility devices) – all this hides an underlying issue: that we need more empathy for the problems faced by some of the least well-off residents of our population,” said Mr Tang.
“This empathy must be reflected in both our policies and mindset.”
The law graduate from King’s College in London is a legal engineer with law firm Pinsent Masons MPillay, where he develops technological solutions to help clients.