Singapore — A heart-rending encounter with an elderly resident during the recent Bukit Batok election campaign was the subject of a Facebook post published on Thursday (July 30) by the Singapore Democratic Party chief, Dr Chee Soon Juan.
The veteran opposition politician was on one of his many walkabouts in the Single-Member Constituency when he met a 78-year-old resident, who lamented that he had to work cleaning tables even in his old age.
Dr Chee said the senior citizen teared up after a member of his team took a photo of the pair.
Sharing the photo on social media, Dr Chee said: “One of our main projects is to ensure that those left behind, like this elderly man who tells me he is 78-years-old and still cleaning tables, are cared for. Soon after this pic was taken (during the GE), his eyes welled up with tears.”
Dr Chee is launching a grassroots campaign for people like the 78-year-old. He narrowly lost in Bukit Batok SMC with 45.20 per cent of the vote, in one of the closest fights in the recent elections, and has promised to stay involved in the community.
Dr Chee said that one of the aims of his Bukit Batok grassroots project is to ensure that those who are left behind, like the 78-year-old, are cared for.
He wrote: “We can’t deaden our souls and harden our hearts, Singapore. We can’t let this continue being part of our social fabric. We may not be able to do everything at once but, starting with Bukit Batok, I’m determined to rid ourselves of this national shame by adopting some of these elderly poor.”
Besides helping the elderly, Dr Chee plans to reach out to underprivileged children and families “to provide them with the necessary skills and assistance to make intelligent choices so that they escape the grip of poverty”.
In a separate Facebook post, Dr Chee shed more light on how he plans to help youths. Sharing that his aim is to “provide our youth an educational opportunity that goes beyond exams and open new vistas for them”, he said:
“Whether it’s critical thinking, public speaking, arts/music education, sports excellence, confidence building, dealing with mental health issues, etc. many of these activities are often beyond the reach of children in the lower-income households and neighbourhood schools.
“Society is pregnant with possibilities — and if we do it right, hope — if we can give our youths a leg up in the world and equip them with skills that will help them cope with life’s challenges.”
Dr Chee is raising funds for his Bukit Batok grassroots project. More details can be found here.