Singapore—For the men and women who contest in the General Election, making the decision to become a candidate is a hard one. The physical, mental and emotional toll must be staggering, and candidates face intense scrutiny from the public side by side with the sacrifices that they make.
The Workers’ Party’s Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim wrote about the heavy price that candidates pay in a Facebook post on early Tuesday morning (July 7).
Yesterday, during my house visits, a gentleman I met shared that he read reports about us “playing games with voters”. I…
His post was partly in response to remarks made by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat that the Workers’ Party needs to say if it will accept Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats, instead of “playing games with voters.”
Mr Shariff wrote that he had been asked about the WP “playing games with voters” while he had been on a house visit on Monday (July 6).
He first reassured the resident that none of WP’s candidates had been sent to any constituency at the last minute, and that they had all done on-ground work. “In my case, I was covering the East Coast area with Nicole Seah,” Mr Shariff wrote.
The candidate then went on to reflect on the decision he made to contest in this year’s GE, and how it affected his family.
“When I first told my wife about my wish to contest in this General Elections, for some time, she became quiet, worried about what will happen to me and our family. To compound the problem, I had to give up my job to stand as a candidate. It took a while before she finally told me to go ahead and give my absolute best so that I will look back at my life with no regrets.”
Mr Shariff added, “No one joins the opposition to play games.”
He emphasised that providing an alternative voice to Singaporeans is a “serious business.”
“The opposition is an integral part of any democratic structure and is instrumental in ensuring good governance. Our focus has always been on the proposals outlined in our manifesto, which we are trying to advance. We do not play games with voters. We offer voters alternatives.”
The first-time candidate has been one of WP’s standouts for this GE, with the public impressed with his humble beginnings and how hard he has worked to get to where he is today.
Mr Shariff, a now researcher, once disrupted his secondary studies and did factory work, and has also been employed as market shop assistant, security guard, dispatch rider and undertaker, among other jobs. His biography on the WP website also says “Throughout his tertiary studies, he worked as a NightRider bus driver part-time and also a relief taxi driver to pay his expenses.”
His background even inspired its own Reddit thread, with many Redditors contrasting his blue-collar work experience with that of politicians who “parachute” into Singapore’s political arena, with a different definition of “successful” written on their report cards.
One comment said that his wide range of experience gives him an upper hand when it comes to understanding the community perspective, writing: “His various experience(s) in the different jobs will really help him with a wider range of perspectives of the community. Not many people get to have such experience unless they’re being put in a hard circumstance or (are) very willing to take on all (that) work.” —/TISG
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