Macpherson SMC Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling has won praise after she rescued a baby bird that she found on a grass patch on her way home.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday (2 Aug), the ruling party politician recounted that she stumbled upon the young creature that was terrified and crying that evening. Posting photos of the baby bird, she wrote: “Found a baby bird on a grass patch as we walked back from dinner. It was crying out and I couldn’t locate any nest around.”
Ms Tin sought the advice of netizens on what she should do since she was not sure how to best help the bird. She wondered whether it was correct to leave the bird there or take it and ultimately decided to bring it home with plans to take the bird to a vet. She asked:
“I’m not sure if the mummy bird would look for it but neither am I sure if I should risk it and leave the baby there. So, we decided to bring it back home and check with the vet tmr.
“The poor bird looked terrified (easily startled by noise) and was nestled in my hand along the way. Now, it’s sleeping in a makeshift nest we made…. any advice anyone?”
Ms Tin’s post drew over a thousand likes on social media and netizens chipped in with their suggestions on what she could do. Others thanked her for rescuing the bird and praised the parliamentarian for her compassion and big heart.
Later that evening, Ms Tin updated that she had found a bird expert to take the baby bird in and that she would be caring for the bird until the expert could collect it. Thanking those who contributed their suggestions, she wrote in a comment:
“Thank you everyone for chipping in!! I managed to find a bird expert to take the little one in. Meanwhile, I will just watch over it and feed it (“recipe” found online and verified with friends that it’s ok). Thank you! ??”
Found a baby bird on a grass patch as we walked back from dinner. It was crying out and I couldn’t locate any nest…
Ms Tin – the wife of top civil servant and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s former principal private secretary Ng How Yue – first stood as a PAP candidate in the 2011 general election as a new face in the ruling party’s Marine Parade team, which was anchored by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Having been a member of the Ulu Pandan branch of the Young PAP for seven years, she was fielded by the PAP as a candidate to attract the “unpredictable” youth vote but, instead, her candidature resulted in a large online backlash especially amongst the young Singaporeans she was expected to appeal to.
Throughout the campaign, Ms Tin garnered negative attention due to her perceived immaturity to become an MP, and speculation that her husband’s position had opened doors for her into politics. A widely circulated Facebook photo of Ms Tin posing with a Kate Spade-branded gift from her husband, also led to widespread accusations online of ignorance, materialism and privilege.
When asked if there was a policy she would change, she replied that there were no policy that she felt strongly against. When asked what her “greatest regret” was, she said it was not having brought her (still living) parents to Universal Studios Singapore. The public’s online hostility towards Tin was so great that Goh Chok Tong defended her in the press.
The ruling party ultimately took Marine Parade GRC with 56.65 per cent of the vote and Mr Goh admitted after the election that Ms Tin’s youth and negative image perceived by the public was a “factor” for their team’s weaker performance this election compared to their 72.9% win in 1992.
Despite the intense backlash she received, Ms Tin pledged to work hard and resigned from her Senior Associate position in Ernst & Young right after the election in order to focus on her responsibilities as full-time MP in her MacPherson ward and the Marine Parade GRC.
Over the years, Ms Tin grew to be known as a dependable and beloved grassroots MP. From facing backlash that she was an “undeserving [candidate]” who piggybacked to Parliament in the 2011 election because of the more senior members at Marine Parade GRC, Ms Tin was fielded in a single member Macpherson ward in the 2015 election and was returned to Parliament with a resounding 65.58% of the vote in a three-cornered fight.
In the latest 2020 election, the PAP drew its second-worst electoral result and saw hefty swings in nearly all wards. Ms Tin’s Macpherson ward, however, was an anomaly. She went up against opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng and was re-elected with a stronger mandate of 71.74 per cent of the vote.
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