Business & Economy How 29-year old pilot Terence Soon became a PSP candidate

How 29-year old pilot Terence Soon became a PSP candidate

“This generation of people really can make a significant difference, and what is required is for good people to stand up in order to be seen as credible,” said Mr Soon

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SINGAPORE – In an interview with CNA’s Matthew Mohan, pilot turned Progress Singapore Party (PSP) candidate, Terence Soon, explains how he went from flying airplanes to politics.

According to the 29-year old Singapore Airlines pilot, it was back in 2011 during one of the country’s General Elections when he found himself intrigued with politics. He was only 21-years old at the time when Nicole Seah – a then 24-year old National Solidarity Party’s candidate – influenced his future electoral run.

Source: Screenshot from YouTube / Progress Singapore Party

Mr Soon told CNA, “I think she inspired many young people to take up politics – I was one of them. Up to that point, I had not seen another young person who could orate well, be able to connect with both the young and old.”

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“When you watch her campaigning videos, her rallies, she was not only able to get young people to join in, all the old people (as well) were cheering for her. And after she came down from the stage, people were hugging her, shaking her hands and all that,” he added.

According to the article, it was when Mr Soon concluded that certain policies ‘were leaving Singaporeans behind,’ that led him to take a keener interest in local politics.

He iterated, “Over the years, of course, you start learning more about how the different policies are, (and) start learning more about the lack and the people who fall through the cracks.”

He went on to reveal, “If things are really not working well now, I think that they are only going to get worse in the future, especially for the next generation.”

It was only about a year ago when Mr Soon had decided to join the PSP with Dr Tan Cheng Bock. His original plan had just been one of “support,” but eventually Dr Tan managed to convince him to run as a candidate instead.

Source: Screenshot from Instagram / @tanchengbock

As explained in the CNA report, a large reason why he chose the PSP is because Dr Tan’s “values” and “principles” spoke to him. “I would never have joined a political party if not for Dr Tan Cheng Bock.”

To add to that, Mr Soon said, “There are always detractors out there, but I think you can’t fake integrity, you can’t fake sincerity. And when you see these kinds of things, and you say that, you know what, I have to support this person – then why would I join another party?”

He also cited, “Naturally, I think people would say, he’s so old, what’s going to happen in the future? I think him leading the party, the ethos of it, the value system of it – it will remain because people who take the mantle and run with it, they will continue sharing with the next generation of leaders, the next generation of politicians, exactly what they stood for.”

But anyone that follows the highly popular “hypebeast,” Dr Tan, on Instagram knows that this 80-year old doctor and politician has gained loads of followers precisely because of how he’s been interacting with the youth, especially during these last few weeks.

Also during his talk with CNA, Mr Soon shared how he was met with a number of reactions from family and friends when he told them about his plans to run in the next general elections. He said, “My colleagues were joking about it, they said: ‘Oh when you are an MP (Member of Parliament), take care of me!’”

He also revealed, “Different people say different things – either you will lose your job, or you will never get promoted. So there’s this very strong notion that being in an alternative party, you paint a bull’s-eye on your back, on your face and everywhere.”

He even said that when he would share posts on his personal Facebook page about the PSP, many would warn him about being so “public in his support for the party.”

“It’s unfortunately very ingrained in people right now that if you want to be public about support, you can only publicly support the incumbent. I don’t agree with that. I really think this is a democracy, we have our own rights, and we can choose to believe who we want to support,” he said.

Thankfully, the reaction wasn’t the same when it came to his own family. The pilot expressed that if his wife didn’t support his idea to run, then he would have respected her wishes and declined.

He shared, “I told my myself, I told certain people in the party, if I have my wife’s support, I can do it. If my wife doesn’t support, I will never run.” And although his wife prefers to be out of the spotlight herself, he told CNA, “she really understands the reason why I do what I do.”

Considering that he and his wife just had a baby, the transition from pilot, to candidate, to new father has not been easy. In fact, he says that it has been “really very tiring,” and it takes him away from his family, leaving his wife to take care of their infant daughter on her own.

Dr Tan shared with the younger candidate that “time management” is key, and that no matter how busy things get, he should always make it a point to have dinner with his family every night, a rule the doctor lived by from the start of his political career.

At the end of the day, Mr Soon claims that the vision of the PSP is that “The citizens must always win.” He explains, “What we want to do in PSP – and I’m very certain in most of the other alternative parties – is we want to ensure not just to check the Government, but to ensure that the citizens are served, well, and that Singapore must always win at the end of the day.”

And as for those citizens that are concerned over his age, Mr Soon believes that his generation can make “a real impact.” He shared, “This generation of people really can make a significant difference, and what is required is for good people to stand up in order to be seen as credible.”

See a video of PSP’s candidate Mr Soon here. /TISG

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