By The Way

Doughnuts, lost love and lifting weights: What politicians are talking about

Sembawang GRC MP Mariam Jaafar posted about a donut giveaway, while Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam provided an update on his goal to lift 120kg worth of weights.
Sembawang GRC MP Mariam Jaafar posted about a donut giveaway, while Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam provided an update on his goal to lift 120kg worth of weights.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK

The Straits Times reporters look at what politicians, and the politically-related, are up to, in the first edition of this series.

Doughnut worry, be healthy

It seems doughnuts are a go-to for some MPs around here.

Over the past week, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Yeo Wan Ling and MP for Sembawang GRC Mariam Jaafar both took to Facebook to post about a doughnut giveaway they and their teams are organising.

Ms Mariam said on Tuesday that 18,000 free doughnuts will be given out to people in Woodlands, starting off with front liners and schoolchildren.

"Then, look (or listen) out for the mobile vans going around Woodlands this weekend to give you FREE DONUTS for your HOLE family, and to raise awareness on mental health. We're in the midst of planning our route so if you want our Donut Van to stop by your carpark, let us know!" she said.

In the same vein, Ms Yeo and her team will also be giving out doughnuts to shine the spotlight on mental health. She said on Oct 19 that her Punggol Shore residents can receive a free bag of six "How are You" doughnuts, which she hopes will start conversations among them to check in on one another.

"Sometimes, a nice chat over coffee and donuts can be a life saver!" she said.

Heartbreaks and scheduled breaks

About a week ago on Oct 14, Workers' Party MP Jamus Lim recounted on Facebook one of the "darkest moments" in his life when he and a girlfriend of five years split - just as he had wrapped up a series of big exams. Mr Lim went into detail about the mental haze he was in, which involved long walks in the woods, listening to breakup songs, and nursing drinks at bars till they were closed.

But it was through all this that Mr Lim managed to move on after about six months. "I learned to be comfortable in solitude, rather than sad. I found the release that allowed me to enjoy solo hikes, rainy day jazz, and lonely drinks. The failed relationship taught me how to find myself again," he said.

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, as well as Trade and Industry Alvin Tan also touched on mental health this week, sharing on Facebook an interview he did with the Singapore National Cooperative Federation about his self-care tips.

In the interview, done in light of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Mr Tan shared how he wears an eye shade to sleep better, and how he adds gaps in his calendar so that he can take mini breaks between appointments throughout his day.

He said: "I'm now trying not to pack my calendar if possible, so I can rest between engagements and meetings."

Heavyweight Law and Home Affairs Minister

Not many people know this but Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam is a heavy lifter - of weights, that is.

A post he put up on Facebook in August showed that he was lifting 80kg of weights, and that he had added weight training to his exercise routine for slightly more than a year now. The 62-year-old minister also outlined a goal for himself: He wanted to try and lift 120kg in the next few months.

So that is how he exercises the strong arm of the law, quipped one commenter.

Mr Shanmugam provided an update to this on Oct 20 in another Facebook post, where he talked about how he attended the Singapore Powerlifting Open 2021 with Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth as well as Social and Family Development Eric Chua last weekend.

"My aim to lift 120kg has stalled a bit - haven't been regular with my training. Will try," he said.

In his post, he also took the opportunity to highlight how encouraged he was to see athletes of all ages, both male and female, competing.

"Exercising regularly not only makes you stronger but also helps with overall well-being. Important for everyone. Regardless of age," he said.