At the age of 23, apart from setting career goals, what do you aspire? Maybe buying a gaming console from your little savings that you have managed from the pocket money or a part-time job to purchase something for your loved one. But not for Choo Shaun Ming.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) student is Singapore's youngest candidate in the upcoming July 10 General Election for the newly formed Progress Singapore Party. The former student leader in Raffles Institution believes his age won't be an issue. He takes inspiration from United Arab Emirates' Shamma Al Mazrui, who joined the cabinet at just 22 and United Kingdom's Mhairi Black. The latter was elected to the U.K. House of Commons at the age of just 20.
"Dr Tan Cheng Bock has proven age is just a number. If he can do it at his age, I believe I have something to contribute to the country," he said at the PSP press conference on June 23.
Voice of The Younger Generation
For the NUS law undergrad, the motivation is to be the voice of the younger generation. He feels the voice of the young generation of Singapore is often ignored as the current government's policies have a negative impact on him and his peers. Even an extra job is not sufficient to start a business or own housing as per Choo. Thus, he felt the need to take a step ahead and try to change things.
"I felt the need to represent them, and to voice their concerns in parliament. To show that there is someone out there that understands their concerns, their present struggles and their fear for the future and will speak out for them in parliament," Choo explained.
"I hope to represent all Singaporeans because the challenges that we face as a nation as felt like the young as much as the old," he added.
However, he will still need to finish his law degree and juggling between college and political duties, if elected. But he disagrees. He said, if needed, he would take a leave of absence and NUS had been supportive in his endeavour.
But it must feel weird that he is the only candidate of his age group. Other members of the PSP are much older than him. Not for him. Choo said he had already skipped a grade in school and thus interacting with older people wasn't a problem.
His other party members value his contribution as Choo brings youth to the party line. PSP chief Dr Tan is a huge admirer of him and he promised to support him. "I know his heart is in the right place and that he wants to serve Singapore. He is your future," Dr Tan said.
PM Lees's Brother Joins PSP
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, who had earlier backed PSP, has joined the party. The announcement was made on Wednesday, June 24. According to Dr Tan, PSP chief, Lee had joined the party a while ago but due to Coronavirus pandemic, the official announcement wasn't made.
"This morning, I have great pleasure in giving this, our Progress party membership card, to Lee Hsien Yang who has joined us quite some time ago, but because of COVID-19, we couldn't communicate," Dr Tan said.
While PSP didn't reveal whether Lee will contest in the upcoming general election, he said that he would contribute to the party in any way he could, including financial contribution and campaigning for other PSP candidates.
"I think it's not difficult to guess what ways there are. It's quite possible if you think it is a good idea, and if the people think it is a good idea, I might think about it (financial contribution), and you'll hear about it quite quickly if I do," said Lee.
PAP Unveils Four New Faces
The People's Action Party (PAP) on June 24 also introduced four new faces, who will contest elections on July 10. TSMP Law Corporation associate director Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Timbre Group co-founder Edward Chia, former chief executive of the People's Association Desmond Tan and Keppel Offshore and Marine general manager Ivan Lim were formally introduced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
But he didn't announce which constituency they will fight from. He said it will be announced in a few days' time.
"Of course, we have been putting our candidates on the ground now. I noticed that the media have also been speculating as to who is going where and so on. In a few days' time, you will know," said Heng, who is also the assistant secretary-general of the PAP.
At 30, Nadia is the youngest of the four. A lawyer by profession, she has served as a panel adviser at the Youth Courts and has been a member of the National Youth Council and Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board.