Singapore PE 2023: In my heart, it’s Tharman!


You all know right that we’re having presidential campaign fever? In case you still blur sotong, there are 3 candidates to choose from- former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, former GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song, and former NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian.


I’m such a big fangirl of Mr Tharman! His kampong spirit is stronger than chilli padi, and his vision is sweeter than Teh Tarik. Let me give you the lowdown on why I am such a fan and trust me, and I am cheering him on…louder than a karaoke session at Geylang Serai!

He’s all about changing habits.

In his speech at the Clean and Green Carnival in 2017, he said, “Today, we are reliant on 50,000 cleaners… We also have our community initiatives, teams of volunteers who go around and help pick up the litter. But that isn’t going to solve the problem. The only way to solve the problem is habits – habits have to change, and being mindful of our neighbours, being mindful of our fellow citizens, and being public-spirited, is what Singapore has to be all about.” Wah, power lah! Got to give him credit for pushing us to be more ‘kiasi’ and look out for one another.

He’s all about trampolines and balance.

Don’t play play, Tharman also believes in safety nets, but he’s not talking about those hammocks, la. When asked at the 25th St Gallen Symposium in 2015 whether he believes in the concept of a safety net, he said, “I believe in the notion of a trampoline.”

Like, facts lah. We cannot just lepak on the net but must imagine the trampoline helping us bounce back when times are tough.

Then he’s also about balancing the Budget for Singapore’s future, not just to win elections. In a forum on Budget in 2015, he said, “We don’t shape Budgets to win elections. We shape Budgets that are in the interest of Singapore’s future, and we have to find the right balance.”

Wah, really got “jia you” spirit!

He fights for the right things.

And check this out; he’s not just all talk talk. He put his money where his mouth is by making the Progressive Wage Model mandatory in cleaning and security services. But don’t confuse it with ‘kiam siap’ thinking. He’s all about targeted initiatives. In his 2014 e2i Best Sourcing Symposium speech, he said, “It is a targeted approach, not a national minimum wage. We are using licensing rules to ensure progressive wages in these industries because of the prevalence of cheap sourcing in the two industries. Cheap-sourcing practices discourage wages, skills and quality from moving up the way they do in most other industries,” he once explained. Seriously sia, he’s fighting for fair wages!

He’s got the kampong spirit.

He’s all about building an inclusive society. In his 2012 Budget speech, he said, “But we all know that building an inclusive culture is not just about Government redistributing resources to help the poor. It is about creating a society where at its heart, people retain a deep sense of responsibility for their families and seek every opportunity to improve themselves and do better.
Where employers treat workers with respect, value their contributions and reward them fairly. Where the more successful step forward to help others in the community because they feel for their fellow citizens.
And where Singaporeans actively participate in causes that will make this a better society. An inclusive society will only blossom if we grow this spirit of responsibility and community.”,

You see, he wants us all to work together and believes in a future where we all can move up together, and I totally support that, don’t you?

And I really, really like what he said during the interview with CNN host Fareez Zakaria at the SG50+ Conference by the Institute of Policy Studies in 2015.

Mr Tharman said, “A Singapore of the future… [is] when you’ve got a deep core of the Singaporean identity that comes from respect, for each other’s cultures, [and] respect for each other as individuals, that’s not de-culturalized. It’s having the love for diversity. And that, to my mind, is the Singapore of the future.”

So, why do I think Tharman is a good pick for President?

Number one, he’s not just about talking big but takes real action to improve things. Number two, he cares about fairness and inclusivity, ensuring no one is left behind. And number three, he’s got the experience and the heart to lead Singapore into a better future.



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