Keen to shape a bright future for children

Workers' Party candidates (from left) Terence Tan Li-Chern, Firuz Khan, Cheryl Denise Loh Xiu Wen and Luke Koh Tiong Yee were introduced yesterday. The party has introduced eight candidates so far, leaving another 11 candidates to be formally introduced. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Terence Tan Li-Chern, 44

Occupation: Lawyer at Peter Low LLC

Family: Single

Education: Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from University of Kent (1994)

Hobbies: I really enjoy cycling in our park connectors. I used to surf and wakeboard in my younger days, but I'm older now and mainly do walking and cycling.

Why politics?

I've been volunteering with the WP since late 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam previously said a strong opposition will be good for Singapore. I believe there is a strong desire by Singaporeans for a rational, reasonable and responsible check and balance in Parliament.

Why you?

When I was 27, I didn't think that a few years later I would be going out into business, or even in Indonesia or Bangkok. What I'd like to think is that I bring a little bit of commercial acumen in addition to legal skills - the experience that I've had in representing various individuals in court. I'd like to think that it's made me slightly more well-rounded.

What issues will you focus on?

I want to see a bright future for Singapore's children where they are nurtured and encouraged to take on challenges, live in a dynamic, inclusive and cohesive society and not be seen merely as economic digits, and are really encouraged to think innovatively and out of the box.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

The East Coast Park, because it's very close to my house. I live in Kembangan-Chai Chee, and some

days, I take my bike and ride to the East Coast Park. These days, you can go all the way to Marina Bay and Changi Village.

Moved by cases of abuse and poverty

Firuz Khan, 48

Occupation: Owner of Wales-based chocolate factory Chocolate Xcellence

Family: Married with a son, a third-year undergraduate in a British university

Education: Master of Business Administration from the University of Birmingham

Hobbies: Football. I represented the Singapore youth team in 1984 in Japan.

Why politics?

In 1999, I was asked by a friend to manage the Pertapis Children's Home. I took a pay cut from my banking career to take up the challenge because I wanted to understand the social issues engulfing our community. It was also my way of contributing to Singapore and especially to my own Malay-Muslim community.

I was exposed to so many cases of abuse, children who were vulnerable, family violence and poverty...

It compelled me to want to change things. It led me to believe I could do more as well by helping others outside of the home.

Why you?

I joined WP in 2006 as I saw it as an avenue to make a difference to the local community. I have always wanted to help my countrymen and to make my country proud... I enjoy listening to and trying my best to help residents.

What issues will you focus on?

Those regarding income inequality, healthcare, housing and education. These are the issues that generally affect Singaporeans.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

I like Changi Village. It looks like the old Singapore. There's a beach where you can walk after eating at the hawker centre.

A soft spot for the elderly

Cheryl Denise Loh Xiu Wen, 31

Occupation: Sales consultant in a global services company

Family: Single

Education: Diploma in law and management from Temasek Polytechnic; Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) from SIM-RMIT

Hobbies: I enjoy endurance running. I have also recently taken up golf.

Why politics?

When I was growing up, I would hear my relatives or parents of friends complain about not being happy in Singapore, and I wondered why that was the case. As I grew older, I started thinking for myself: What's so bad about Singapore?

We live in a pretty good and stable economy, in a very safe place, and yet there are still so many issues. It made me realise that something must be done. There are certainly issues to be talked about.

Why you?

If I am elected, I bring with me honesty, integrity and a genuine heart to serve the people of Singapore. I am passionate about doing that and I would be willing to dedicate my life to public service.

What issues will you focus on?

Education to me is most basic and of foremost importance to young Singaporeans as it forms a solid foundation.

I've always had a soft spot for the elderly. They've contributed a lot to shaping Singapore into what it is today and I believe more can be done to thank and support them in their golden years. My late grandmother was the source of my strength. She taught me compassion and gratitude.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

It has to be the Botanic Gardens in the early evenings. I love the manicured lawns and wide, open spaces.

Inspired by life and work of David Marshall

Luke Koh Tiong Yee, 41

Occupation: Managing partner of a private investment business

Family: Married with two childrenEducation: Bachelor of Business (Finance) from Nanyang Technological University

Hobbies: Tennis, and reading and learning about history, current affairs, business and technology

Why politics?

Mr David Marshall dedicated his life to freeing Singapore from British rule. He became Singapore's first chief minister. Mr Marshall founded the WP more than 50 years ago. He loved Singapore. I, too, love Singapore.

Why you?

I hope to serve Singaporeans in Parliament. The concerns and aspirations of Singaporeans should be heard in Parliament. Policies have to be scrutinised for the benefit of Singaporeans, and better solutions put forward.

What issues will you focus on?

One of the issues I mentioned is population. We have an ageing crisis because of misguided population policies many decades ago. The 6.9 million population policy is only going to make it worse...

I think the focus should be investing in our own people and investing in our own children. My feeling is that compulsory education should be extended to kindergarten and even earlier.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

East Coast Park. It's where I grew up, hanging out with my old friends. If there's such a thing as comfort food, then I guess East Coast Park is my comfort place.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2015, with the headline Keen to shape a bright future for children. Subscribe