PAP veterans urged to continue helping residents

While waiting to see their MPs at weekly Meet-the-People sessions, residents often do nothing more than "twiddle their thumbs".

That is why veteran People's Action Party (PAP) activist Vincent Teo came up with an idea to educate them about government policies such as MediShield Life and the Pioneer Generation Package while they wait.

Last October, the 71-year-old set up a "service booth" at the PAP's Buona Vista branch in Tanjong Pagar GRC, where volunteers are on hand to explain these policies and help residents apply for help if they qualify. Mr Teo and project co-lead and fellow activist Betty Kwek, 66, are now helping to roll out these booths to other constituencies.

"We wanted to make the (residents') stay more comfortable, find out what other problems they have, and if we can help them," said Mr Teo, who joined the party in 1983.

The project was one initiative by the PAP's Seniors Group (PAP.SG) cited by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday as an example of how the party's senior activists are serving the community well after retirement age.

He was speaking to more than 300 senior party activists at the launch of a PAP.SG initiative aimed at encouraging these activists to stay active in the party and serve the community, at a time when more Singaporeans are living longer.

PM Lee paid tribute to the party's senior activists, noting that the PAP has come a long way since its founding in 1954, thanks to the hard work and dedication of party pioneers.

"They have given us a strong foundation to build on, and now it is our challenge, our responsibility and our calling to carry on the work," said PM Lee, who is also the PAP's secretary-general.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who chairs PAP.SG, also said yesterday: "Our seniors are such a valuable resource, and we want to ensure that we are able to extract as much wisdom and lessons from them, because we have much to learn from them."

She pointed to several projects by PAP.SG, including one in the Henderson-Dawson branch, also in Tanjong Pagar GRC, where mattresses and beds were given to needy families.

"This kind of work really leaves a mark, people will remember and they appreciate it," said Madam Halimah in her speech at the tea reception at the One Farrer Hotel and Spa. Today, 76 out of 89 PAP branches have PAP.SG chapters.

Madam Halimah also said there was much to learn from the experiences of senior party activists, and that the PAP's history and "stories of the battles fought by our founding leaders" should not be relegated to the history books.

"Our history contains many valuable insights and experiences that we can continue to learn from as we chart our future," she said.

Values key to the PAP - incorruptibility, transparency, meritocracy, multiracialism, the rule of law and compassion - must continue to guide the party and its members, she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'PAP veterans urged to continue helping residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe