By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
Speaking at the PAP’s first rally for the Bukit Batok by-election, Minister Grace Fu, told the rally attendants that she doubts the ability of SDP and its secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan to run a town council, should he be elected in Bukit Batok (
Furthermore, she commented that Dr Chee does not have a steady job for many years.
Ms Fu said, “Dr Chee hopes to be a full-time MP. But you should note he’s not actually giving up a full-time job. As far as I know, he hasn’t held a steady job for many years.”
“Let me be clear. I’m not criticising his position to not hold a full-time job for so long. That is his personal choice. But the work experience, or the lack of it, is a relevant fact when we consider the credentials of the candidate,” she added.
“Dear residents, you’re now considering two candidates for the job of an MP. If you’re recruiting one person for the job with two candidates, what do you do? You look at their work experience. What have they done? Is their experience relevant to the job?”
Dr Chee used to have a job at the NUS until he was sacked by his boss, Dr S Vasoo, a PAP MP of Tanjong Pagar (1991-2001). He was sacked from the university three months after he first entered politics to contest in the 1992 Marine Parade by-election on a SDP ticket.
The alleged offence was that Dr Chee had used research funds assigned to him to express mail his wife’s doctoral thesis to her academic adviser in the United States. Dr Chee responded by saying the university had authorised the mailing and that he was the victim of a political vendetta. Dr Vasoo promptly sued him for defamation, thereafter.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela also had no steady job
It may be of interest for Ms Fu to know that Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, also did not have a steady job for many years. That did not stop him from running for president to govern a country of 50 million.
In fact, Mr Mandela was put in prison for some 30 years, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. He was later released by the white apartheid government of South Africa in 1990.
During his imprisonment, he would be assigned to break rocks into gravel and work in a lime quarry, while constantly enduring the abuses from prison guards. The glare from the lime would eventually damage his eyesight.
After his release in 1990, he went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. And in 1994, he led his ANC party to victory and became South Africa’s first black president. His inauguration was estimated to have been watched by a billion TV viewers globally. The event was attended by 4000 guests, including world leaders from disparate backgrounds. No world leaders shunned him because he was a prisoner or he had no job.
Without any experience in governing a country, Mr Mandela went on to introduce measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services after he became president. Internationally, he acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, oversaw military intervention in Lesotho, and served as Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998–99.
Ms Fu should not look down upon people who have no jobs. If given opportunities, many Singaporeans will and can excel in their job, just like what Mr Mandela did after he came out of prison. In fact, Mr Mandela was considered such a great man that in November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day”.

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