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Photo credit: LAWRENCE WONG'S INSTAGRAM PAGE

Four things we thought when we saw the people tipped to be our next prime minister

Who are these guys anyway?

Camillia Dass
Camillia Dass

Published: 13 September 2016, 3:41 PM

Last weekend, The Straits Times released the names of six men tipped to be the front runners for the office of prime minister when PM Lee Hsien Loong steps down.

Here are four things that went through our minds when we saw their faces.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: FINANCE MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT, MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE CHAN CHUN SING,
ACTING MINISTER FOR EDUCATION ONG YE KUNG, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT TAN CHUAN-JIN,
ACTING MINISTER FOR EDUCATION NG CHEE MENG AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER LAWRENCE WONG.
PHOTO CREDIT: THE STRAITS TIMES

1. Wait…Who are these people?

I CAN SIT ON A SWING AND LOOK HAPPY TOO, JUST SAYING.
PHOTO CREDIT: LAWRENCE WONG’S INSTAGRAM PAGE

Only two of the 20 youths we polled recognised some faces from the list.

I read the news every day, yet I only recognised two faces. I couldn’t place names to faces for the others at first glance, and it terrified me to think that one of them could be our next PM.

Excuse me if I think that that’s just ridiculous.

2. Where on earth is Tharman?

THE INDEPENDENT REPORTED THAT 80 PER CENT OF POLLED SINGAPOREANS WANT TO SEE THARMAN AS THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER.
PHOTO CREDIT: DPM THARMAN’S FACEBOOK PAGE

There has been a lot of talk lately about electing a minority president. Why can’t our prime minister be from a minority race?

Although I’m from a minority race, I honestly don’t care about the race of our next prime minister as long as I know that he can lead our country.

What I am concerned about is that there is one person in the cabinet who I and many Singaporeans think is suitable for the role, yet he is not in the line-up.

That makes us assume that the government just doesn’t want an Indian prime minister. I mean, why else is he not a candidate? He is capable, he has proven himself and a good number of people (including people from the majority race) adore him.

So can someone please tell me why we are not considering Tharman? I know people are concerned about his age but come on, he’s perfectly healthy.

3. We know sincerity when we see it.

MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE NAMED ALL HAVE ROWS UPON ROWS OF PICTURES OF THEMSELVES POSING WHILE
DOING SOME COMMUNITY WORK. THIS LEAVES US TO WONDER WHO THEY ARE WHEN THE DSLR IS OFF.
PHOTO CREDITS: MINISTERS’ SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

Behind the trained smiles and multi-racial costumes they don from time to time, what do these people really stand for? The biggest problem is that no one I spoke to knows who most of these people really are. We cannot relate to them and we don’t know what they are capable (or incapable) of.

And before you say young people are ‘oblivious’, we are not. These people just have not stood out to us. We want to know what they are really like, beyond their carefully scripted speeches and edited Instagram captions.

I mean, if I know that a minister is an animal-lover and that he does a lot for animals because he genuinely cares for them, that tells me something about his character and personality. When I see pictures online of a minister’s own kids and family instead of endless posed photos with random citizens, I would actually feel a connection to them.

4. They are so young and inexperienced

DID YOU KNOW THAT PM LEE HSIEN LOONG ENTERED POLITICS IN 1984, WORKED HIS
WAY UP THE RANKS AND ONLY BECAME OUR PM AFTER 20 YEARS? ENOUGH SAID.
PHOTO CREDIT: THE STRAITS TIMES

While having a younger prime minister means new and possibly improved ways of doing things, I think some roles require people who have accumulated a certain amount of experience in their lives.

The line-up is made of people who are fairly new politicians. Four of them have been in politics for six years, while two have only been around for a year. Let me say that again. A year!

So there you go. We are the generation who will be voting at the next election and we are the generation these people will lead. And I think we deserve to know who these people are first, before we can trust them to take charge.


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