I started volunteering with WP during GE2011. At that time I was assigned to Punggol East SMC, helping Lee Lilian with her campaign. The hours were long – traveling from Bedok (where I lived) to Punggol was no joke – we would start as early as 7am with outreach, flyer distribution, market and house visits. Then we would have to report to the rallies to help in various duties. The days were long and tiring, but the fulfilment was worth it, and I kept coming back since then.
The reason I volunteer with WP is because I believe that the only way for change to happen is to act on it. Prior to 2011 there was already a sense that the government was beginning to show signs of ignorance (and arrogance) to Singaporeans and their concerns. Short of just complaining, I felt the next best thing to do was to go to where the action was and be part of it. The WP is a credible, rational and responsible party, helmed by humble leaders and held up by passionate and fearless volunteers – whom I truly enjoy working together with.
My most memorable WP moment so far is the first ever One-Day Malaysia tour I helped out with at Bedok Reservoir-Punggol. I was assigned as one of the bus leaders, and as it was my first time in such a role, I was quite nervous. The residents could probably tell, and they were nice enough to be easy-going and gentle with me. At the end of the tour, when I was relieved that everything was finally over, a resident comes up to me and presses a big packet of crackers in my hands – he probably queued for quite a while at the shop in Malaysia for it – and tells me, “Thank you for your hard work, we appreciate it.” Now, whenever the going gets tough, I just have to recall that moment and the tough doesn’t seem that tough anymore.
Now that WP turns 60, my wish for the party is to remain resilient, clear-headed, and have the grit to overcome the challenges ahead. Politics has many heads; ugly is one of them, but there are beautiful moments as well; grand is one of them, but there are many quiet, humbling moments as well. I hope that we will remember that the challenges don’t last forever, and persevering is always a better choice than giving up.
The MP that I admire the most is Low Thia Khiang. After all, it takes a lot of strength, passion and courage to be one of the longest-serving opposition MPs in Singapore’s political environment. But increasingly, there are also more WP leaders stepping up, and I look forward to the party’s future with them.