SINGAPORE: Veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock shared a photo of “the three dragons” on his social media pages recently. And lest we think that the chairman of the Progress Singapore Party has joined the Game of Thrones universe, Dr Tan was just putting on his proud grandpa hat, showing off a creation from his youngest granddaughter.

The young girl had given Dr Tan, who turned 84 on 26 Apr, a little blue dragon that she had crocheted herself. And because she and he were both born in the year of the dragon, the two of them plus her gift to him make three dragons in all.

“So a crocheted dragon from a little dragon to a big dragon. l am feeling very happy and blessed,” wrote Dr Tan, who gave a grateful shoutout to those who sent birthday greetings.

“Thank you to all who remembered my birthday and for your heartfelt birthday wishes. I had a wonderful celebration together with family and friends,” he added.

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Born on 26 Apr 1940, Dr Tan practiced medicine for five decades, starting his professional life as a village doctor in Lim Chu Kang, and then opening up Ama Keng Clinic in 1971 at the age of 31.

He retired from medicine in December 2018, announcing this in a social media post and writing with fondness about his early days, when took care of more than people’s medical needs, being called upon to assist the villagers in other aspects as well. This, undoubtedly, prepared him for government service.

“I opened my clinic Ama Keng Clinic in 1971 in a village of attap and zinc roof houses. Its villagers grew vegetables in small plots and reared pigs in their backyards. Water came from wells and standpipes. Lighting was poor as most homes did not have electricity. Only a single main road was lit. But the villagers managed with kerosene lamps – and I once even delivered a baby in the dim kerosene lamplight.

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“The villagers were simple, honest people – many struggling to make ends meet. So I became more than a doctor, by helping them in family feuds, land disputes and writing letters to government departments. Those were such interesting times!”

From 1980 to 2006, Dr Tan served as a Member of Parliament (Ayer Rajah SMC) under the PAP.  Lately, rumours have been circulating that he may contest yet again in the next General Election. /TISG

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