Singapore – Opposition Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament Jamus Lim expressed his willingness to write a signed letter of encouragement to Sengkang residents, given that Opposition MPs don’t have the opportunity to hand out Edusave awards to exemplary students.
In a Facebook post, the Sengkang GRC MP and Associate Professor of Economics at ESSEC Business School said that parents have reached out to him regarding the Edusave awards, which are grants typically given to students in the top 10 per cent of a school’s cohort.
“It’s Edusave awards season, and – in addition to my social media feed being flooded with pictures of PAP (People’s Action Party) MPs handing out awards to proud recipients—I’m also receiving a number of email queries about why we aren’t doing the same at Sengkang GRC, especially now that Covid-19 restrictions have been slightly loosened,” said Assoc Prof Lim on Friday (Jan 28).
He said that a parent “expressed dismay” as their child was looking forward to interacting and taking a photo with their MP and losing the opportunity to do so because the awards were mailed out instead.
Prof Lim explained to residents in their constituency that “opposition MPs do not, unfortunately, have the pleasure of distributing Edusave awards.”
The awards are handed out by the Grassroots Advisers (GRAs), which are appointed by the People’s Association.
However, PAP wards represented by PAP MPs take on the role of the GRA; hence they can distribute the Edusave awards personally. The same goes for unelected PAP candidates in the opposition wards where they contested.
Prof Lim then offered a signed letter of encouragement which he would “happily write” and hand out in an “informal mini-ceremony” during his weekly meet-the-people sessions.
“Most importantly, please don’t feel that the only way you can meet and take a selfie with your MP is by studying hard and doing well!” he noted.
Edusave season or not, Prof Lim said he was always available for his residents, whether virtually or physically.
This is not the first time he highlighted the politically contentious issue and held a similar mini ceremony in February last year following a resident’s request.
“Nevertheless, I penned a brief letter—encouraging her to keep up the good work and to keep striving to exceed her own prior success—and we had a brief ceremony at the end of our meet-the-people session, where I handed her the letter,” he said in a Facebook post.
As someone who also received a most-improved-student award for Introductory Economics, Prof Lim said he understood the validation and encouragement from “seemingly simple gestures.”
Sengkang GRC is currently represented by a WP team consisting of He Ting Ru (Buangkok), Jamus Lim (Anchorvale) and Louis Chua (Rivervale)./TISG
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Why is Lam Pin Min (and not the MP of that GRC) giving out bursaries at Sengkang West?
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