Disclaimer: This article is authored by a staff writer from The Independent Singapore. The opinions expressed herein are solely her own and do not reflect the viewpoints of TISG.
I must admit that I was not impressed when Ng Kok Song first emerged as a hopeful for the Elected Presidency. He had a partner thirty years younger than him and was not married to her. As a woman who strongly believes in the institution of marriage, the optics were just not right for me.
In the lead-up to Nomination Day, my negative impression of him was reinforced. He kept insisting that he was the man who built up our reserves, but I don’t believe a single person can claim credit for building them – our reserves were shaped by the sweat and blood of generations of Singaporeans.
When he belittled chief information officers to prove a point to his potential rival in the Presidential Election (PE), he came across as elitist and out of touch with the common man. His distribution of 4D numbers, which incidentally went viral and became the talk of the town in a bemused manner, made him appear unserious and frivolous.
His repeated claims of being the sole non-partisan candidate for the PE were unconvincing. Choosing not to display any campaign posters after nomination made him seem like a man set up by the establishment just to provide competition for Tharman, legitimizing his election.
However, he seems to have learned and changed course to hit all the right notes since then. His tearful revisit to his childhood home indicated a man rooted in his beginnings. Singing to a crowd suggested a desire to connect with the average Singaporean.
His comment about those resigning from a party just before the PE not being truly independent was clearly aimed at Mr Tharman. I was compelled to reevaluate my impressions of him, asking myself, “How can he be a planted man?”
Most importantly for me, my views of NKS took a 180-degree turn after I read that Mr Ng took time off from work to care for his terminally ill wife until she passed away from cancer. His loving-kindness toward his wife deeply touched me, forcing me to acknowledge that he is a man who truly cares.
He cared enough to enter the contest despite knowing that he (and his fiancée) would face scrutiny from the public, not necessarily in a positive manner. He also invested financially, out of his own pocket.
He put up over $40,000 as an election deposit, which he would forfeit if he failed to secure 12.5% of the votes cast in the PE. On top of this, he spent over $60,000 on his campaign. How can you not take a man who has invested over $100,000 in a campaign where he’s the clear underdog seriously?
I realized that his earlier missteps on the campaign trail were a consequence of a man who had never previously contested a public office. He doesn’t seem to have a well-oiled machinery to offer crucial guidance and advice. Yet, he appears to be a quick learner and is now striking the right notes.
To me, he comes across as a man capable of uniting all Singaporeans, a crucial role of a President. Of course, there are no doubts about his qualifications to manage our reserves and serve as a Chief Diplomat representing our country internationally.
Why am I writing this note? Because if anyone could forfeit their deposit in this PE, it would be Mr Ng. We cannot allow that to happen. If it does, good, independent men and women may think twice about participating in any public office contest.
So, taking everything into consideration and for what it’s worth, I endorse Mr Ng for this PE. My vote is for him!
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