Singapore—As the next General Election (GE) draws nearer, more and more new faces are emerging as potential candidates under different parties. One such newbie to the political arena is former general Gan Siow Huang, who served with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Ms Gan was seen on Sunday morning (March 22) in the company of Members of Parliament from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, leaving the public guessing as to whether or not she will be contesting in the upcoming GE.
Together with Ng Eng Hen, the country’s Minister of Defense, the ex-RSAF general went to a coffee shop at Bishan North Shopping Mall, according to straitstimes.com (ST), which also reported that for the past few months Ms Gan has been a volunteer at Bishan North, the ward headed by Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Manpower Minister.
The Bishan-Toa Payoh has been shifted to a 4-member GRC, and a new Single Member Constituency (SMC), Marymount, was created from the former Bishan North area.
According to ST, the Manpower Minister may lead the Jalan Besar GRC in the upcoming GE. And for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, PAP may then field Dr Ng and Ms Gan, Saktiandi Supaat and Chee Hong Tat or Chong Kee Hiong. Moreover, either Messrs Chee or Chong could contest for the Marymount SMC.
Gan Siow Huang: A woman of firsts
Perhaps Ms Gan’s highest accolade is that she was the SAF’s first female Brigadier-General, the highest ranking female officer the Armed Forces has ever had, in 2015 at the age of 40. Leading up to this is another “string of firsts,” as indicated in her biography when she was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.
Ms Gan was among the four women awarded the SAF Merit Scholarship the first year it was given to women, in 1993.
Ten years later she earned the highest marks in the New Zealand Defence Force Senior Command and Staff Course and became the first female commander of Air Surveillance and Control Group.
In 2010, she became the first female military officer to be sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and then six years later was given leadership over Air Power Generation Command, “the largest formation in the Republic of Singapore Air Force.”
Prior to her resignation from her role as Chief of Staff-Air Staff last week, Ms Gan ran all the military airbases in the country and made sure RSAF aircraft were prepared for daily missions.
At the height of her career, Ms Gan described what one day looked like for her: “I spend most of my time looking after readiness of our airbases, training of personnel, and ensuring sustainability of airbase systems and infrastructure. I allocate resources, assign tasks to my units, and work with other operational commands to meet the RSAF’s mission requirements. On top of this, I also coach my team members and provide mentorship to young officers in the SAF.”
Additionally, the former Brigadier-General also volunteered as a mentor with the Young Women’s Leadership Connection.
Ms Gan, who was born in 1975, was called “one notable example who smashed the ‘brass ceiling’ to become the first female general in the SAF,” by MP Low Yen Ling. -/TISG