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Walkabout Exclusive: Dr Tan Cheng Bock leads PSP members to Kebun Baru constituency

Party chief shares hope that the country's youths will be more involved in politics

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By: Misaki Tan and A J Jennevieve

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) conducted its first walkabout at the Mayflower Market and Sembawang Hills Food Centre, which are part of Kebun Baru Single-Member Constituency, on Friday (June 19), the first day of Phase 2 of the relaxation of circuit breaker measures.

The PSP members were led by Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock. They included Mr Kumaran Pillai, a businessman.

Photo: Dr Tan, with Mr Kumaran, meeting another customer at the Sembawang Hills Food Centre.

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During the walkabout, Dr Tan and the PSP team met and chatted with stallholders and customers, many whom live in the area.

When the party sat down for a rest later, Dr Tan shared some of his hopes for today’s youths. He stressed the importance of Singaporeans, especially youths, taking an interest in politics. “It’s your future,” he said, as a reason for them to be more involved. 

While many youths were not interested in the political scene, Dr Tan felt there are signs that, due to the media, they are starting to get more involved. He felt that a lowering of the voting age to 18 would make young people more motivated to learn about the Singapore political landscape.

Dr Tan also felt that, since the Government is managing the finances of the nation, it is imperative that the citizens are aware of what is being done with their money. Thus, he said, there was a need for the Government to be more transparent with the funds it is  managing. 

The PSP leader emphasised that there is a responsibility for the people to think actively and notice discrepancies. This, according to Dr Tan, is one of the reasons why active political participation is important.

Dr Tan said he himself was walking the talk. He justified his re-entry into politics because he saw what was going on and decided it was “not right”. There was no way he could close his eyes and walk away.

As for Covid-19, he shared that he was worried for the future of students and adults who will have to find jobs in a post-pandemic job market. “Things will be very different,” he said, and the Government thus has a great responsibility in aiding the large group of people who will be looking for jobs.

Dr Tan also shared his views on education in a rapidly-changing world. With the world’s focus being on STEM-related jobs, he stressed the importance of an education in the arts. An education in the arts, he felt, broadens the mind in ways that traditional science-based education does not. 

Speaking from personal experience, he discussed how his own son pursued a foreign-based education in philosophy over medicine in Singapore despite his aptitude for the sciences. Initially, like any other parent, Dr Tan questioned his son’s choices but eventually came around to supporting him. He commended his son for “developing an independent mind” and for identifying his strengths and passions. The conversations he has now with his son, he said, feel very different. /TISG

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