Raymond’s article on The Malayan Chronicles: An outstanding and courageous Member of Parliament in Mr Chiam See Tong
Mr Chiam has always been a humble and caring Member of Parliament (MP) and had served all his residents very well. Until this very day, residents in Potong Pasir still speak fondly of Mr Chiam. As MP, he served the residents of Potong Pasir for 27 long years. Truly outstanding!
Despite being outnumbered by the ruling party – The People’s Action Party, Mr Chiam spoke passionately about the plight of our less fortunate Singaporeans.
In a report “Chiam, Peng Siong team up for new charity foundation” published in TODAY newspaper on January 18, 2017, Mr Chiam See Tong and former star swimmer Mr Ang Peng Siong, have come together to set up a foundation that will provide financial aid to people who need it to pursue their goals, but fall outside the current systems that provide such help.
And I share the sentiments expressed by a regular forum writer Geoffrey Kung Kuo Woo on the kindness and compassion shown by this former Member of Parliament (MP) in Kung’s letter to TODAY newspaper “Efforts to help those who fall through the cracks laudable” (Jan 31).
Most certainly Mr Chiam is a true-blue Singaporean. Humble, he is a very approachable man.
Many of our seniors who hit 60 are worried sick that if they fall ill with poor supporting systems, they will face a tragic end.
In Japan, a report published on 18th January 2017 in the Business Insider (Singapore) it revealed a worrying trend: 20 percent of the country’s elderly who commit crimes prefer to stay in prison as they see it as nursing homes where meals, lodging and medical and other forms of nursing care is guaranteed. In these prisons, the prison officers will help bathe the elderly inmates, get them changed, and clean them up. It is such a sad state of affairs that citizens who once contributed to the economy have to end up in such dire straits.
There are so many elderly Singaporeans who live all alone and have lost key social support. Isolation does a lot of damage. Moreover, ageism is still is a stumbling block for those who cross 50 in securing less stressful and physically demanding jobs. In many cases, the elderly in this age bracket will either be offered jobs as security guards, carpark attendants and even cleaners, despite having administrative experience or other useful skills. Carrying out a 12-hour shift duty at security places can be overwhelming for seniors whose health can be adversely affected.
On two occasions when I met Mr Chiam, he showed remarkable concern for those with special needs, including those who grapple with mental illness and their dedicated caregivers.
During his term as an MP, he spoke out courageously in Parliament on the needy and so did his wife, Lina when she served as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament.
When my wife was alive, Lina came by to our home with a friend and spoke to Doris and myself to learn more about mental illness. My wife was deeply touched that Lina was understanding to her struggles with schizophrenia, her mobility problems with her arthritis condition and my multiple difficulties in taking of her.
Let’s see Singapore have more caring, humble and courageous parliamentarians like Mr Chiam See Tongs and Lena Chiam.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO