Hri Kumar Nair: My wife's illness made me refocus my priorities

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Mr Nair, 49, joined politics in 2006 and helms the Thomson-Toa Payoh ward of Bishan- Toa Payoh GRC. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair said on Wednesday (Aug 12) that he decided to leave politics because his wife was ill, speaking publicly for the first time about her battle with lymphoma.

"I have had to refocus my priorities because my wife is ill," he said during the press conference where the People's Action Party (PAP) unveiled its three new candidates for the GRC - Mr Chee Hong Tat, Mr Chong Kee Hiong and Mr Saktiandi Supaat.

"She's doing well, but that has sort of propelled me to rethink how I spend my time."

He later told reporters that his wife's condition had been discovered in 2012.

"She's okay now," he added, but said that the condition "is not the sort of thing that really goes away".

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells that are part of the body's immune system.

Mr Nair, 49, joined politics in 2006 and helms the Thomson-Toa Payoh ward of the GRC. He has also been chairman of the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council since 2011, a position he will relinquish when Parliament dissolves before the next general election.

Mr Nair said that his wife had been very stoic and supportive through it all, adding: "She has all my admiration and love."

He added that he will continue his job as a litigation lawyer with the Drew and Napier law firm after he leaves politics.

But he will look forward to spending more time with his wife and eight-year-old daughter, who is an only child.

"I hardly ever get to see my daughter when I get back home. By the time I'm home she's usually asleep. So, you know, it will be great to spend more time with them and especially with my daughter. She's growing up so fast," said Mr Nair.

"She's a great little girl. I'm looking forward to spending more time at home annoying her, which is what she accuses me of doing all the time. And so I'm looking forward to that," he added.

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