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 first, on The Workers’ Party candidate He Ting Ru.
“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.”
– Excerpt from He Ting Ru’s speech on Sep 3, 2015 at the Jalan Besar Rally
HE TING RU, 32
Occupation: Corporate Lawyer (Head of Legal of a listed company since 2013)
Background: She spent 9 years studying and working in England and Frankfurt before coming home in 2011. Her alma maters are CHIJ – St. Nicholas Girls, Raffles Junior College, and University of Cambridge.
Political Party: The Workers’ Party (WP)
Party Designation: Secretary of The Workers’ Party Youth Wing
Contesting In: Marine Parade GRC
Why She Entered Politics: “I was leaving my grandmother’s wake [in Sims Drive] and I heard a noise. When I turned, I saw some old people rummaging through the rubbish. It’s etched in my memory – the look, that snapshot – here is an old couple rummaging through the bins at my grandmother’s wake. You know, maybe they are someone’s grandparents. My grandmother once said to me that if you are in a position to help others, it is your good fortune. That has really stayed with me.”
How She Started: She started volunteering with WP in 2011. She helped out at then-MP Chen Show Mao’s Paya Lebar ward, specifically the weekly Meet-the-People Sessions.
Why WP: “I listened to the WP’s rally speeches, heard their message, and I thought that they sounded responsible. I think they have something to add to Singapore. WP went from one seat to six. It’s common knowledge that they are not as well-resourced as the PAP, so I thought I should go down and see how I could offer my help.”
Pet Issues: The current young working generation’s concerns such as housing and child-rearing costs, and the financial burden of caring for parents and grandparents. “They are also concerned about the dilution of the Singapore core and the impact that large scale immigration has on the fabric of our society.” Also, she cites the lack of involvement from today’s youths in policy-making: “Unlike earlier generations, some young Singaporeans no longer think to dream of a better life and a future for themselves and their children.”
Her Experiences So Far: “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.”
Interesting Facts: She’s a cat lover and lives in the Holland-Bukit Timah area with her family, which includes eight rescued cats. Her past times include Kendo, travelling, reading, and learning new musical instruments.
Information and quotes derived from Asiaone.com; The Straits Times; and The Workers’ Party website. Images taken from He Ting Ru’s Facebook public profile.