Launching a political career isn’t for the faint of heart. In recent weeks, several young and bright female professionals contesting in the upcoming General Elections 2015 have captured the public’s imagination with their spunk and heart. Read our short Brave Heart series of profiles for a snapshot of the candidates and what they stand for. Here is the second, on The People’s Action Party candidate Tin Pei Ling.
“There is one group of children whom we should pay more attention to. These are children born to single mothers. While benefits tied to the child are the same across the board, benefits tied to the mother are not. Hence, children of single mothers struggle more as they can only rely on the resources of one parent alone. I still firmly believe in the importance of having a complete family, but in this case, our primary focus should be in ensuring that these children of Singapore receive the support they need to fulfil their aspirations and grow into good citizens of Singapore. The principle here is still the same, and that is to ensure all children of Singapore can have a good starting point in life.”
– Excerpt of Tin Pei Ling’s speech on Aug 29, 2015 at the PAP 2015 General Election Manifesto rally
TIN PEI LING, 32
Former/Current Political Roles: Former MP of Marine Parade GRC; grassroots adviser to MacPherson Grassroots Organisations; advisor to Young PAP; and member of the executive committee of the PAP Women’s Wing.
Background: She is an alumnus of Crescent Girls’ School, Hwa Chong Junior College, and National University of Singapore, where she was in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and the University Scholars Programme. She worked at Ernst & Young Advisory as a business consultant for four years before the previous General Elections in May 2011. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.
Political Party: People’s Action Party (PAP)
Contesting In: MacPherson SMC
How She Started: She was involved in grassroots, community and youth volunteer work for more than 7 years before entering politics. She had started as a volunteer in 2004 at Ulu Pandan’s weekly Meet-the-People Session. Some of her other key projects included chairing the organising committee of the National Youth Forum 2006, and organising the 5th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Youth in 2007. After elected MP, she also served on the Youth Olympic Games 2010 Youth Engagement Committee.
Pet Issues: She’s championing greater support for working mothers, saying she wants to build a Singapore in which more women can successfully manage work and family responsibilities at the same time. She is also pushing for equal benefits for single mums and their children: “Single mums… should be given equal maternity leave so that their kid, like any other Singaporean child, will have the best chance in life.”
In her recent rally speech, she also emphasised the importance of imbuing the right values and skills set in the next generation: “This means addressing worries about our stressful schooling system, yet ensuring that our education system continues to prepare young Singaporeans well for the challenges of the future. This means we need to focus on teaching smart, building the whole person, and building individual confidence. We should not try to teach a lifetime of skills but life skills that can serve them a lifetime. We should nurture a deep interest in learning. We should teach collaboration more than competition. More importantly, we should teach values that will anchor us in a dynamic and challenging world.”
Her Experiences So Far: She went back to work two weeks after delivering her son on Aug 5, and was doing her walkabouts in MacPherson a day after the boy turned one month old. While she admitted she might be missing out on time spent with her child, she said she would look at his photos to make herself feel better. “But this [her work] is important… It’s about Singapore and it’s also about me building a future for him and his generation. So to me, there’s a sense of mission.
Interesting Facts: Pei Ling was PAP’s youngest-ever MP over the last term, while her husband is currently the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Law. During her secondary school days, she regularly helped out at her father’s coffeeshop in Ghim Moh. In her third year of university, after her dad suffered a heart attack, she even took over the running of the business and left school for six months to become the family’s breadwinner.
Information and quotes derived from Todayonline.com; Asiaone.com; The Straits Times; the People’s Action Party website; and Tin Pei Ling’s Facebook public profile. Images taken from the People’s Action Party website and Tin Pei Ling’s Facebook public profile.