Good evening, residents of Jalan Besar and fellow Singaporeans.
My name is He Ting Ru, and I am a Workers’ Party candidate for Marine Parade GRC.
First, a bit about myself: I grew up in Singapore before moving to England for university, where I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge. I stayed in England to attend law school in London, before training and working in an international law firm in both London and Frankfurt, Germany.
In 2011, after living overseas for almost a decade, I felt my roots tugging me, and came home to Singapore.
2011, as we all know, was a year of change for Singapore. I joined many Singaporeans who attended the rallies. I followed the election through the internet. Like many of us, I rejoiced at the Workers’ Party winning the first GRC in Aljunied. It was a positive sign that our country’s political system was maturing even as we approached our Golden Jubilee.
As someone who just returned home, I was also struck by how much my country had changed, by how crowded it had become, by how expensive everything suddenly was. I was struck by the worries, hopes and dreams that Singaporeans had for their future, the future of their children. And I was deeply moved by the love for their country that Singaporeans had, both PAP and opposition supporters alike.
Spurred on by the message that each one of us can contribute to our community and country, I decided to volunteer with the Workers’ Party, and started helping residents weekly at the Meet-the-People sessions in Paya Lebar.
In the past four years and three months, I found myself learning about my country anew, about the concerns and problems faced by my fellow Singaporeans. It has been a deeply humbling experience, and I have learnt so much from fellow volunteers and residents. I watched residents sharing makeshift shelters from cardboard cartons with complete strangers when hit by a sudden thunderstorm during a Hougang by-election rally. I saw the enthusiastic hard work by fellow volunteers stepping forward to organise a successful food distribution session.
Most importantly, I also learnt that there is much for us Singaporeans to be proud of despite of the worries we sometimes feel about our future.
When I decided to run for Member of Parliament, many of my friends and family were extremely worried. They asked me about the impact it will have on my family, my career, whether I will get ‘fixed’.
I understood their concerns. In fact, I had the exact same thoughts myself. But then I asked myself three questions:
- One, do I believe that it is healthy for Singapore to have a handful of people from the same political party deciding what is best for the country?
- Two, do I want a future for my country where my children dare not responsibly disagree with the Government and speak their mind because they are afraid of being ‘fixed’?
- Three, do I think that our current policies and policy-making processes are perfect and there is no need for improvement, that no more needs to be done for Singaporeans, especially vulnerable ones?
The answer, for each one of them, was No.
As a young Singaporean, I have my ideas about what should be my nation’s path. I do not want a future where our leaders tell us what to do and think, where our people spend so much time worrying about how much the CPF Minimum Sum will increase this year, worrying about whether the trains will break down on our way to a crucial job interview, worrying if we will have to end up waiting for hours or days in a hospital corridor for a bed to be available for us or our loved ones.
Instead, I want a future where we see more citizens involved in deciding our future, a future where we pay close attention to vulnerable groups, and a destiny where we promote access to opportunities for all.
There is no more direct way of effecting that change for Singapore than running for parliament. As my colleague Daniel Goh said last night, life is too short to be kiasu, kiasi and kiagui. We must overcome that fear. We may be up against an impressive machinery in the PAP, but I believe that together, we can build a Singapore for a future we can be proud of, that our children can be proud of.
The Government’s job is NOT to fix the opposition. It is to do its job well. And I decided to run for parliament, because I think the Government can do better, and all of us can, and must, help them do so. With your support, the Workers’ Party will help them do so.
Having made that decision, it is an honour and a privilege to be standing here today. With your continued support, I am confident that we in the WP will be able to serve our fellow Singaporeans and residents well.
So, when in that polling booth come 11 September, I would like each one of us to ask ourselves these questions:
One, do we want more different voices to be heard in Parliament, voices representing what you have to say.
Two, do we want our children to be able to speak out responsibly without fear because they disagree with the Government?
Three, do we want to live in a country which empowers our citizens to create a society which looks out for the vulnerable, where our elders are active, healthy, and our children are not weighed down by the pressure to succeed at all costs?
I hope the answer is Yes, to all of these questions, and that you would want more voices, no more fear of speaking out, and a compassionate society for all Singaporeans. Play your part, by voting for us, because we believe that together, we can achieve a better future for Singapore.
Vote for the Workers’ Party, to Empower the Future of Our Children. Vote for the Workers’ Party, to Empower Your Future.