What motivated them to join Women's Wing

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Petir speaks to 3 activists from different age groups on what motivated them to join the Women's Wing.

PAP's pragmatic policies appeal to her

Madam Elaine Ho
32, lawyer

"As women deal with challenges of today, it is heartening to see an organisation like WW walking alongside us in these efforts."

Lawyer Elaine Ho, 32, joined WW and took on the role of chairman of Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng branch because it gave her the platform to speak up for fellow women.

She also believed in the party's ideology, for instance, its core values of honesty, meritocracy and self-reliance.

"These are what gave me the opportunity to be who I am today so I would like to see these values being carried on," said the mother of a three-year-old girl with another on the way. She is married to an equities analyst.

One key attribute that appealed to her was the party's pragmatic policies. "However noble policies, suggestions or ideals are, the most important thing is for them to be workable, or else everything is just talk," she said.

She started actively volunteering at the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng neighbourhood in 2011. Madam Ho now accompanies her MP, Dr Lily Neo, on house visits and follows up on feedback received during those visits. She also helps to edit 60 to 80 appeal letters drafted by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng team during the weekly meet-the-people sessions.

She believes more can be done for young mothers like herself, who want to develop their career while not neglecting their children. "As women deal with challenges of today, it is heartening to see an organisation like WW walking alongside us in these efforts."

She wants to volunteer for as long as possible

Ms Sa'adiah Abdul
46, social work assistant

"This is my passion. As long as I am healthy, I will always volunteer. I will have more time to volunteer when I retire!"

PAP activists in Kaki Bukit ward are keeping as busy as ever serving its residents, even though it is under the opposition.

This is especially so after its weekly meet-the-people sessions re-started this year after a more than two-year hiatus, said Ms Sa'adiah Abdul, 46, a social work assistant who is the WW chairman of Kaki Bukit branch.

She sees her role as helping to disseminate accurate information on government policies. "Residents are able to understand policies better rather than hearing from kopitiam talk that may be interpreted differently," she said.

She has been helping at the branch since 2003 and became a PAP WW member seven years ago. She also writes petitions for residents for their appeals.

Married to Mr Abdullah Affandi, 49 and a driver, the couple has three children aged 17 to 23.

Ms Sa'adiah, whose volunteering efforts date back to her school days, intends to continue for as long as she can: "This is my passion. As long as I am healthy, I will always volunteer. I will have more time to volunteer when I retire!"

Influenced by father to volunteer

Madam Sheila Tan
66, retiree

"I feel happy when I help people. It could be helping to write appeal letters, giving advice to needy families or explaining policies to senior citizens. I also help to guide new volunteers. It is very satisfying when I manage to help them."

Madam Sheila Tan's father was an activist for 50 years until he died of heart problems at the beginning of this year. He was 88.

"My dad was very active in PAP, and would want to go to the branch to help every week until I stopped him because he was getting weaker in the last two years," she said.

So it was a natural step for Madam Tan to follow in his footsteps and volunteer. She started doing so 20 years ago, but became more actively involved in the Women's Wing of Teck Ghee branch about 10 years ago. Madam Tan, 66, lives in Serangoon Gardens.

As a WW member, she feels strongly about helping women from low income families, to either educate them about the help schemes available or guide their children in reading and in life skills.

Today, she spends at least two days a week helping at the branch during meet-the-people sessions and a kids' reading and life-skills programme. Her husband, Richard Lim, who is a retired finance manager, joins her for the volunteer work. They have a daughter in her mid-30s.

"I feel happy when I help people. It could be helping to write appeal letters, giving advice to needy families or explaining policies to senior citizens. I also help to guide new volunteers. It is very satisfying when I manage to help them," said Madam Tan, who hopes to volunteer for as long as she can, "like my father".

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of Petir Magazine.

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