‘The Future of Singapore: Political Leaders of the Future’, a webinar organised by NUSS on 25 June, saw a good turnout of 150 participants. The speaker, Ms Tin Pei Ling is People’s Action Party’s (PAP) representative at the MacPherson SMC in the General Election, a mother of two, CEO of Business China as well as an alumnus of NUS.
The webinar was moderated by Mr Soh Yi Da, NUSS Management Committee member and Deputy Chairperson of the Intellectual Pursuit Sub-Committee.
Ms Tin kick-started the session by sharing her experiences in politics over the last decade. She shared that she had grown a lot, juggling many hats, and had learned to communicate effectively. “Clear and succinct communication is necessary to convey your message. Besides that, public health and mental health issues specially related to the seniors have been salient to me. The sense of fulfilment I get by supporting them gets me going; my firm values motivate me to help others,” said Ms Tin.
On the toughest decisions she has had to make, Ms Tin remarked that quitting her job at Ernst & Young in 2011 and stepping into politics was tough for her. “I had a big responsibility contesting elections and I wanted to make it big. Then in 2017, when my first son joined school, I jumped full time into work. I also wanted to develop myself as a better MP, in terms of resources and contributing to the community’s cause. Then, I joined Business China – a platform where we cultivate bi-cultural and bilingual intellect in Singapore and China. These two were hard decisions as they had consequences.”
Ideal qualities of political leaders
In a poll conducted on the qualities of political leaders, the participants chose integrity as the top quality, followed by visionary and empathy. The attendees reflected that they would vote for a candidate who had walked the ground sufficiently, how he or she performed in Parliament and represented Singapore on the international stage.
Sharing her thoughts on this, Ms Tin said being compassionate was the core quality for her. “Amidst the changing world situation, a strong visionary and decision-maker could lead well. The focus should be on inducing hope amongst people and continuing to have a voice and space in the international arena. When we pass a policy or law in Parliament we have to walk the ground to see the real impact of it.”
Her vision for Singapore was to leave a world full of opportunities for the children and embrace diverse talents. She shared, “All should have access to education and an evolving curriculum should imbue kids with a sense of international perspective. We should work towards forming sound fundamentals of economy, bringing people together sincerely and creating a happy future. As a society we need to believe in each other.”
Asked by the participants if she aspires to become a future Prime Minister, she replied that she’d be willing to handle more responsibilities when called for. “People are the nation’s strength and standing with each other and behind Singapore – this will help us succeed and transform,” said Ms Tin in her closing remarks.