The Story of The Singapore Girl

The Story of The Singapore Girl

Born on the 23rd August in 1954, she endured a tough childhood. She lost her father at the age of 8.  When she was in Secondary two in Singapore Chinese Girls' School, she was nearly kicked out from school for missing too many classes. She had skived her classes to help her mother at a relative's food stall to support the family. She attended the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, thereafter proceeding to the then University of Singapore.

Despite graduating with a law degree in 1978 and being called to the bar in 1981, her first job was with NTUC. Coming from a disadvantaged background, she made it her mission to fight for the worker's rights. She rose through the ranks to be director of the women’s development secretariat and of its legal services before becoming NTUC deputy secretary-general. 

As a unionist, she has also been a strong advocate for women's rights, has raised the importance of Medishield insurance coverage especially for women, housewives in particular. Her capabilities are not just limited to domestic duties. She has served as a member of the International Labour Organisation for 12 years and was the first Singaporean to be elected to the governing body of the organization. 

She has served on various boards including the Housing and Development Board, Tripartite Alliance on Fair Employment Practices, Tripartite Workgroup on Enhancing Employment Choices for Women and Mendaki Sense.  

In 2001, she completed a Master of Law degree at NUS and was the first female Malay MP to be elected to Parliament in 45 years.  She was Berita Harian/McDonalds “Achiever of the Year” in 2001 and Her World Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 2004.She subsequently served as minister of state in the Ministry of Social and Family Development. She is on PAP's central executive committee.
She was vocal on social issues ranging from training for older and less skilled workers to care for the elderly and mentally ill. She supported flexible working arrangements and family care leave to improve work-life balance. She also fought successfully for equal medical benefits for women civil servant.
On 23 January 2013, the National Council of Social Services named her its first adviser to tap into her “extensive and deep understanding of ground concerns, together with her practical ways”.She became the first female Speaker of Singapore’s Parliament in January 2013. In 2016, NUS conferred the Honorary Doctor of Laws on her for her outstanding contributions to Singapore and the community

On 14 September 2017, she will be sworn in  as the first female President of The Republic of Singapore. Her name is Halimah Yacob.


The Strategy that failed

In my opinion, the ruling Party's strategy has been solitary since its inception. It will eliminate an opposition before the latter even arrives and it will do so in a clinical fashion. You can ask the following for their experience in going against the machinery; JBJ, Devan Nair, Cheng San. Oh wait, they do not exist anymore. As much as the people at the top can rap their, this-is-all-about-multi-racialism-and-nothing-to-do-with-TanChengBok,  I find it extremely difficult to digest this. In fact, nobody actually believes it. Nobody wants to admit that they would prefer a President who is in line with the Government and not against it. 

Every time, someone tries to make sense of the issue to appease the people, they end up saying something stupid.

Malay Representation in Politics

I have spoken at length to every Malay person I have gotten the opportunity to. Nobody feels left out because of under-representation. With  14 Malays in Parliament (Amrin Amin, Azmoon Ahmad, AP Fatimah Lateef, Dr Intan, Dr Janil, Masagos Zulkifli, Dr Md Maliki, Md Faisal, AP Dr Mohd Faishal, Rahayu, Saktiandi, AP Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Zainal Sapari and Mr Zaqy Mohd), nobody is complaining. Perhaps, the real problem is that despite having 14 people representing a minority race, the tudung issue is too sensitive to be discussed in Parliament. 

The President's REAL challenge

I am not referring to the annual fundraiser. Nobody can deny that Mdm Halimah Yacob is more than worthy to be our President. She is the Singapore Story. If you ask me the financial requirements placed on a private sector candidate is complete bollocks. The President of Singapore cannot be a person who is a CEO calibre. With our current policies and framework pretty much focused on Singapore being a global city, we need the president, now more than ever to be the heart and soul of the nation. 

Who better to lead this Nation than a lady who has dedicated her entire life to the people. Regrettably, the Government has used the "Race Card" to get what they wanted.  The social fabric of the nation has been tested enough. The timing of her presidency could not have been any better. With Islam being the most misunderstood religion and the president of the US being dangerously Islamophobic, a tudung wearing practicing Muslim as the head of State is exactly who we need in these dangerous times. 

I hope Mdm Yacob rises to the challenge. Unfortunately, she is not the most popular person in Singapore with no fault on her part..But, if she can rally the people of Singapore to understand and accept each other's  religion and have a singular Singaporean vision, she would have left behind an important legacy.

On a side note, Every time Hari Raya is around the corner, I get excited because of the exciting spread of food at the various Open Houses. Next year, let's have that open house at the Istana.

For those using #notmypresident

Firstly, it is my humble opinion that you are an absolute idiot. If you had had half a brain, you would not have used the same hashtag tt was popularised after Donald Trump won the presidential elections. 

Now, let's be honest with ourselves. Let's not pretend that we have this long entrenched history and culture of voting and elections. SR Nathan had 2 terms uncontested. You live in a system where you do not actually vote the real leader ( The Prime Minister ) of the Country. 

So, stop this nonsense and get in line. The fact of the matter is that she got arrowed to this. If anything at all, we should be lending her our support. The fact that she prefers to stay in HDB flat in Yishun speaks volumes about her character.

For those who are still hung up on Tan Cheng Bok (TCB),  I am sorry for you. It is over. It's the fairy tale that never meant to be. Just think of it as another Rajinikanth tease. Reality is that, if you weren't from Ayer Rajah, you would not have heard TCB until he made known his differences with Ruling Party. It could have been anyone. All people want is a credible alternative voice to the People in Power just to check on them.

The results in the last election speak for themselves. We may have disagreements with the Ruling Party, but we still think they are the only ones who are worthy of leadership.

To: President Halimah Yacob,

Congratulations. We hope that you will continue to serve as you have done your entire life. We can only hope that you realise that this time, you will be serving the Republic of Singapore. Despite what people may say, it is not the equivalent of the Peoples Action Party, from which, you have resigned. We hope that you will use your position to foster a greater understanding and acceptance of our races and religions. We wish you nothing but the best. 

Thinesh Kurunathan

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