Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David uses the analogy of juggling balls to describe how he copes with the many hats he wears.
He sees the most important things such as his family, his role as an MP and his work as glass balls.
"You can't drop glass balls because they will break but it is okay to drop rubber balls because they will bounce up again," he explained.
Rubber balls include his free time and exercise.
The Deputy Director of the School of Design at Temasek Polytechnic and father of two said he is able to manage his various portfolios because of strong support from his family, colleagues and grassroots leaders.
1) When communications experience helps
In my previous work, I had to put people at ease before interviewing them on camera, so I'm able to build a connection with people quickly. That's what I have to do as an MP too.
If a resident comes to my meet-the-people session (MPS) wearing a Manchester United jersey, I may have a quick chat with him about football. With an elderly person, I may talk about my grandmother. When they come to MPS, they need help and may be anxious. If they are less emotional, it is easier to work through a solution together.
Another thing is teamwork. In the media industry, you may see one guy on camera but there is a team behind that person. I used to help my camera crew carry equipment. Likewise, I often help my grassroots leaders and branch volunteers at events and MPS.
2) Opportunities for children from low income families
I hope to create more opportunities for children from lower income homes so that they have exposure to activities outside school. We launched a reading programme in our branch for children where youth volunteers read to pre-schoolers on Saturdays. I hope to give them opportunities that they may not otherwise have.
3) Different paths to success
I wish more parents would understand that there are different paths to success. I've seen students enrol in the polytechnic from the normal stream or the Institute of Technical Education. They don't have stellar PSLE scores but at the polytechnic, they hit the sweet spot, maybe because of the course or method of teaching and they end up doing very well. They go on to secure good jobs or attend top universities.
Their parents would not have expected this when they were in the normal stream.
So if your kid doesn't do well in PSLE, don't lose hope. I've seen many who do very well later in life.
4) Contributing in any form
There are more Chinese and elderly residents in my ward than the national average, so it helps that I'm half Chinese, I speak Hokkien and Mandarin. I'm also half Indian so I'm able to connect well with the minorities.
One concern of the elderly is infrastructure and accessibility. We have upgraded all the lifts in the estate. The medical and social facilities are also conveniently located.
We have four new blocks of flats so there may be younger families moving into the ward. We are planning activities like parenting talks to cater to them.
I believe in doing whatever you can, whenever you can, wherever you are. You don't need a grand scheme or do things with a big bang to contribute.
This article was first published in the December 2016 issue of Petir Magazine.