Honouring our activists
A total of 373 party members who have made outstanding contributions to the party and nation were recognised at the 34th PAP Party Conference and Awards Ceremony held on Dec 4, 2016. Petir talks to some of them on their motivations.
Ang Kim Ling
Nee Soon South Branch, Nee Soon GRC
Dedicated Service Star*
Mr Ang Kim Ling, 77, (on the left in photo above) is among the five Dedicated Service Star* recipients who were recognised for their enthusiasm, diligence and perseverance in serving their branches for 50 years or more. He has been a familiar face in his Yishun constituency until he fell ill in early 2016. For more than a half century, Mr Ang had helped in community activities, no matter how humble or small, so long as they benefitted the people.
Replying to Petir on his behalf, daughter Ms Alice Ang, said: "My father feels honoured to have received this recognition. It comes as a great consolation during his illness."
Mr Ang is best known for his love for gardening. When he was active, Mr Ang, together with a group of volunteers, using their green fingers, nurtured the rooftop garden of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital to become a sanctuary for the body and soul.
He lives with his wife and is being taken care of by their two daughters who describe him as a loving father, a loyal and compassionate man with a big heart for others.
Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Branch, Tanjong Pagar GRC
"I remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said: 'Whatever you have planned and set out for the benefit of the constituency, you must finish it. And you must also care for the residents' welfare," recalls Mr Freddy Ang (on the right in photo above), branch secretary of Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Branch.
Mr Ang takes the words of the founding Prime Minister of Singapore to heart and always bear in mind the residents' interests in his 28 years of community service. He finds house visits most enjoyable as it is from these visits that he gets a first-hand understanding of the residents' real needs.
His first encounter with the party occurred during the 1988 general elections, when he was roped in by a friend to help with the distribution of PAP pamphlets in Tanjong Pagar. Three years later, he joined the PAP.
Over the decades, Mr Ang, 57, has witnessed Tanjong Pagar's transformation from a rundown district into today's business and commercial hub.
He has also forged deep friendships with a group of die-hard activists with whom he discusses community issues.
K S Bhaskar
Gambas Branch, Sembawang GRC
"My motivation comes from knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of people around me," said Mr K S Bhaskar, whose father was a community leader in India.
Mr Bhaskar, 49, has spent close to 20 years serving the community. A PAP member since 2000, he is currently serving at the Gambas Branch.
Always looking out for the needy and less fortunate residents, he added: "The happy faces of residents and co-volunteers always motivate me to do further."
Despite a busy schedule - Mr Bhaskar operates three contracting firms - he finds time to do his community work. "Community service is a way to destress myself from the hectic schedule of my business appointments. It is also a way to communicate with people from different walks of life or backgrounds,'' said the father of an 18-year-old son.
"Serving the party is also a way to serve the community as well as the residents,'' said Mr Bhaskar who wants to engage the younger generation and mentor them to contribute back to society.
William Mok Chan Mun
Changi-Simei Branch, East Coast GRC
For Mr William Mok Chan Mun, his journey as an activist began around 2005 during the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in his Changi-Simei estate. Given his career with a Japanese construction company, former grassroots adviser Mr Lee Yock Suan recruited him to help during the LUP construction period.
From then, he became heavily involved in serving the residents. He went on to set up interest groups for them, such as gardening and brisk walk. He also helps residents to resolve some of their concerns with community partners like HDB, LTA, NParks, the Police Force and Town Council.
Mr Mok, who became a PAP member in 2006, assists in various tasks at the branch, such as meet-the-people sessions, house visits and attends dialogues at PAP HQ. During general elections, he is the go-to person for all logistics matters.
Currently the assistant branch secretary of Changi-Simei Branch, Mr Mok said: "What keeps me going to serve the residents? I think it is passion. Everyone has his or her own passion, to give, to help and to guide," he said.
Taman Jurong Branch, Jurong GRC
Through the introduction of a family friend, Mr Huang Zixiang, known to many as George, began his volunteering journey with the grassroots at Taman Jurong Branch when he was 19.
Now 31 years old, Mr Huang returned from his tertiary studies in Australia in 2010 and he picked up from where he left off. This time round, he was given the opportunity to be more involved at Taman Jurong, and joined the PAP after GE2011.
Currently, Mr Huang is Youth PAP chairman of Taman Jurong Branch where he is engaged with various responsibilities, such as assisting in membership matters, upgrading the branch's IT infrastructure, and arranging social and financial assistance for needy residents.
"I find joy in helping people. Also, by accomplishing the goals set by our leaders it teaches us to be more versatile, personally and at work," said Mr Huang, who is due to begin a job in the property and capital markets industry.
"It is never too late to join and support the PAP. Keeping an open mind to suggestions is key to success,'' he added.
Wong Min Tsui
Limbang Branch, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC
She is one of the regular faces you see at the meet-the-people sessions at Limbang Branch where she writes letters to put residents' cases to the relevant ministries and government agencies, as well as lend a listening ear to them.
As chairperson of Limbang Branch, Women's Wing, Ms Wong Min Tsui attends meetings and dialogue sessions where she gets an in-depth understanding of government policies which she shares with residents.
Ms Wong, a programme coordinator for senior citizens, joined the PAP in 2003 as a result of two men's influence. "My late father, although he was not a PAP member, was supportive of the PAP. He always encouraged us children to be grateful to the governing party and to contribute back to society should our schedules allow it."
"I was also inspired by senior activist Mr Lim Tai San,'' she added.
What keeps Ms Wong going all these years is to "set an example to inspire her children (aged 20 and 12) and friends to serve the community."
This article was first published in the December 2016 issue of Petir magazine