Yesterday, when we went on our walkabout at Ang Mo Kio Central, we met with a father who is a supporter of the Reform Party.
He is European and has been living in Singapore for more than 30 years. The father told us that he supports us because he is concerned for his daughter. He wants to see a good future for her.
He told us that when he came to Singapore more than 30 years ago, he felt that Singapore was a more equal country. Even if a person was poor then, they could at least make ends meet. He became a citizen about 20 years ago.
However, over the past many years, he said that he saw how Singapore was becoming worse off. He spoke about how the train breakdowns are happening more frequently, and how public housing has become too unaffordable.
The father is concerned for his daughter because he has already made a home for his family in Singapore and is worried about the way things are going under the PAP.
He hopes that we will be able to get into parliament to speak up and change policies to put Singapore back on track.
I also met with a two young Singaporeans. One of them told me that he has just left NS and is working. He also shared how he is worried for his own future.
He spoke about how wages today are too low, and how he is competing with cheap foreign labour which depresses his wages. He also spoke about his fears of having to buy a flat in future, and whether he will be able to earn enough to afford one.
I shared with him that the Reform Party would like to implement minimum wage to increase the wages for low- and middle-income Singaporeans. On how this can be done, I explained that the government has a responsibility to look into how much Singaporeans need to earn to be able to have enough to buy basic necessities, and then peg the minimum wage to this level.
From estimates by Singaporeans and economists, the minimum that is needed could be as high as $1,500 to $2,000. I told him that the minimum wage could be phased in gradually and at the start, the government should also increase health and education expenditure, so that Singaporeans can pay lesser for health and education, and not be as burdened.
He agreed and shared that he plans to go to university after a few years of working but is concerned that university fees are too expensive. I told him that I understood how he was feeling because that was the same concern I had when I was studying. I also shared that I believe that we need to make education much cheaper for Singaporeans, from childcare to university, so that all Singaporeans would have access to education, and be able to further themselves.
But even if not, I said, workers who have lower educational qualifications should not earn such unequal wages. They should also be able to earn higher and fairer wages, I shared.
I also explained that our education system in Singapore segregates our students and decides for them very early on in life where they should be. I feel that this is unfair for our citizens. People should not be judged based on their academic abilities. In fact, people have different aptitudes and are able to contribute back to society differently, and each individual should be respected and valued.
To that, his friend jumped in and said that as an ITE graduate, he knows what the discrimination feels like and agrees with what I say.
He also highlighted how the allowance given to our NSF is not enough. He gave me a break down of his calculations and explained how the allowance would not even be enough to pay for basic needs.
I immediately told him that I agree. I shared that as a Singaporean who had to go through NS, I know how it feels. Going through NS is 2 years of our lives (during my time, 2 1/2 years), and this is actually time that can be considered as time spent working. We should be remunerated accordingly. It doesn’t make sense for Singaporeans to have to go through 2 years of NS but be paid only an allowance that is so low, that causes some of our NSF to have difficulties.
At the end of the day, I told them that I am just like them, an ordinary Singaporean who goes through exactly what they go through and I understand how they feel, because I have gone through what they have before, and still am.
And this is why I have decided to speak up, and this is why I have decided to join the election and fight. If we have a chance to go into parliament, we would be able to speak up on the issues that matter to Singaporeans, and to debate on policies, and create better policies to protect Singaporeans.
After having spoken to many Singaporeans, you know, many of us feel very much the same as one another. We have the same concerns, stresses and worries, about our future, our jobs, our homes and the young, and our children.
Perhaps many of us feel that the PAP has lost touch and become disconnected because most of them live very different lives from us ordinary Singaporeans. They do not understand the hardship that some of us have to go through. They do not understand our concerns about the expensive HDB flats and the train breakdowns.
But we Singaporeans do. This is why I think we should give ourselves a chance to go into government, so that we will be able to implement policies to protect ourselves.
If we want to get things done, then we have to be the ones to do it. If the PAP no longer cares for Singaporeans, then it is time to let them go, so that we put into government people who understand us and who know what we are going through, and who have the confidence and political will to make the necessary changes to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
This is why I am standing to fight in the General Election 2015. This is why I hope to get into parliament, so that we can be a voice for Singaporeans, and so that we have a chance for change.
Please vote for us at the Ang Mo Kio GRC. Vote for Reform Party.