“This country needs to have an alternative, such that it can take over the government when required. Without which, the day the current ruling party falls, the country will break into anarchy. Singapore is a small country. We cannot afford this.” – Clarence Ong
When did you start volunteering with the Workers’ Party?
“My name is Clarence Ong. I started volunteering in early 2013. At the time, I was introduced to Leandra and Kong Soon, who actively engaged with the volunteers and kept us updated on the party’s activities.”
Tell us more about the events which you had helped out as a volunteer.
“Since 2013, I have been helping out at the MPS and house visits by the MP. During our routine house visits by the MP, we will pen down our residents’ concerns and note down any defects spotted in the neighbourhood. Besides highlighting their concerns, we are honoured to be given kind words and encouragement by our residents. More than this, we are often invited into our residents’ home. Residents have also generously offered us drinks and snacks, as our house visits do go late into the evening. The trust given to us by our residents motivates us to serve them better.
I am also helping out with the distribution of flyers. I vividly remember the days when Morris [a fellow volunteer] and I were distributing flyers around the neighbourhood. Despite being older, Morris was almost twice as fast as I was in climbing up the block. I also enjoy participating in festive celebrations, such as Mid Autumn Festival and Christmas. It feels great seeing residents coming together, participating in the activities and enjoying themselves.
During the recent campaigning period, I accompanied the candidates for their walk-about, and manned the polling and counting stations.”
How does volunteering with us help to shape your character?
“I would like to share an incident which highlights the trust and bond that we have developed with our residents. It is this trust and bond that makes what we are doing meaningful, and keeps us going stronger.
There are a few occasions where the MP and volunteers are invited to functions such as temple dinners and Seventh Month celebrations. Once, we were invited to a unique dinner at Defu Industrial Park – the birthday celebration of a 1-year-old boy. This family had previously turned up at the MPS and was grateful that their issue was resolved. The family expressed their gratitude by inviting us to their private family event. It touches me that such bonds can be developed beyond an official relationship, and that respect can be earned at an individual basis.”
How do you feel as a Singaporean who is volunteering with a political party?
“Thus far, I feel it is more of helping my fellow Singaporeans than of volunteering with a political party, aside from the blue polo T-shirt that volunteers wear. Unlike other volunteering work, ours cover a wider range of issues – public amenities, health screening, employment, housing and more. It provides a real sense of the issues happening around us, cultivates citizenry responsibility, and definitely gives me a strong sense of satisfaction.”
Your final thoughts?
“Singapore has enjoyed much success in the early years of nation building. In the years ahead, to build on our earlier successes, we need to develop a strong political system, and not only strong political parties. We need to have a strong and wealthy population, and not only strong and wealthy government. In SG100, it is up to everyone’s imagination how Singapore will turn out to be.”
Clarence is working in the banking industry. During his free time, he enjoys reading, listening to music and playing soccer. He is happily married to Ms Lina Lin. They have a beautiful 1-year-old girl, with another coming along soon.