New PAP candidates: This 'small brother' wants to pay it back
Name: Chee Hong Tat
Ward contesting: Thomson-Toa Payoh
He was a high flyer within the civil service.
The former Principal Private Secretary to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Chee recently left his post as Second Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry to contest the elections.
The career civil servant - he joined after graduating with two degrees, one in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, another in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Adelaide, Australia - is the son of Chinese-educated parents.
He was brought up to recognise the source of his success and to "pay it back", he said earnestly in Mandarin.
Speaking in Hokkien, he drew smiles when he referred to himself as a "small brother" at the introductory session yesterday.
"If you want to do it, then you should do it well. This is what I believe in. This 'small brother' here hopes to have an opportunity to serve the residents," he said.
PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
The father of four admits he had a late start with grassroots work. In 2013, he helped out at Marine Parade, assisting Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to set up the WeCare@Marine Parade initiative, which aims to help vulnerable residents in the area.
He is also a volunteer with Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises' training committee, which focuses on skills training for inmates and helping them to find jobs after they are released.
The decision to enter politics was not easy, he conceded, as both he and his wife were concerned that their four children, aged between four and 15, will be affected.
"But I was driven by a firm belief that Singapore needs a strong government at this crucial stage of its development...
"So I persuaded my wife to support my decision. If I am able to contribute to my country through politics, I should step forward to serve and do my part to improve the lives of Singaporeans," he said.
MAIN CONCERN NOW
"One of my priorities is to meet as many residents as I can, to hear from our residents how we can enhance their living environment.
"So this includes looking at improving the infrastructure...We have quite a significant elderly population in Bishan-Toa Payoh, and residents would like to have exercise corners for the elderly.
"Residents have also told me that they would like to see walkways to make it more convenient for them, and green spaces for them to enjoy their estates..."
If I am able to contribute to my country through politics, I should step forward to serve and do my part to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
- Mr Chee Hong Tat
WATCH: NEW PAP CANDIDATES IN BISHAN-TOA PAYOH TALK ABOUT THE BEST SPOTS IN THE AREA
Youngest of 11 kids wants to help needy
Name: Chong Kee Hiong
Ward Contesting: Bishan East
Mr Chong grew up as the youngest of 11 siblings, squeezing with them, his grandmother and parents in a three-room flat.
Today, he has four children of his own - unplanned, he admitted with a laugh, but absolutely manageable, considering his brood of brothers and sisters.
Dad sold shoes in a market at Bendemeer, while mum was a housewife, so money was very tight growing up.
Through bursaries and scholarships, he obtained a degree in accountancy from the National University of Singapore after studying at Raffles Institution and then-Raffles Junior College.
With siblings in diverse backgrounds, he noted that his family is pretty much a microcosm of Singapore - his elder sister has taken over the shoe stall from their late father.
A beneficiary of meritocracy, the chief executive officer of OUE Hospitality Reit Management said he will champion for more bursaries and scholarships.
Mr Chong lives in a landed property at Bishan East, the ward he will contest in the coming GE.
The decision to enter politics was discussed with his children, who are aged between nine and 17 years old.
He said: "You lose privacy by being in the public eye. But if an opportunity comes by to serve the people, which is an honour, we should step up to it, and deal with the privacy issues later."
Although he mentally prepared himself for unfair criticism, Mr Chong admitted that he still feels a little hurt by some comments.
"But it is inevitable. It's all part of a package of entering politics," he said.
MAIN CONCERN NOW
"One thing I really have a conviction about, that gets stronger each day, is to proactively look out for people who are in need of assistance (and) how best to engage them."
'Andi' wants to help vulnerable families
Name: Saktiandi Supaat
Ward contesting: Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
He is a strong believer in the Singapore system.
"You work hard and study hard. There may be sidetracks, you may face difficulties, but at the end of it all, us Singaporeans will actually still do very well," he said.
He grew up in a kampung near Sixth Avenue, Bukit Timah, and now lives in a Housing Board flat at Pasir Ris with his wife and three kids.
An ex-Rafflesian, he went on to study in Catholic Junior College and got a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne. He started his career at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Today, Mr Saktiandi - "Call me Andi," he says - is a head honcho at Maybank, where he helms the foreign exchange unit.
On par with his work commitments is his community involvement, which started a decade ago.
He first joined the youth wing of the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) when it was formed in 2004. He was the president of the Young AMP from 2010 to 2013.
He is the chairman of the Malay/Muslim Community Leaders' Forum Labs Steering Committee, which focuses on providing seed funding for youth-driven community social enterprise activities.
He also has some grassroots credentials, helping out at the Kolam Ayer branch in 2009 before moving to Bishan North, then Toa Payoh East, where he has been a vice-chairman for a Citizens' Consultative Committee.
MAIN CONCERN NOW
"Helping out at the branch visits and house visits showed me that there are residents out there who have fallen through the cracks, such as vulnerable families... (and) single breadwinners with children to fend for... Some of them have very young children...
"What is important is that they need assistance, how we can help them, and how they can actually find assistance..."