The Chiams, Tan Jee Say and mooncakes

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Tan Jee Say
Tan Jee Say

By Kumaran Pillai

Tan Jee Say
Tan Jee Say

Former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say has been invited to eat mooncakes with the Chiams. But “it is no ordinary mooncake,” said one SPP member, “it is a political mooncake that is going to define politics in Singapore.”

Tan in a phone interview this morning has confirmed that he will be attending the function at the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Chiam but would not say anything more about his membership.

But party members had more to offer:  One SPP member said that he had seen Tan at the SPP office on a few occasions. Tan will be joining the party in a leadership capacity and may be contesting in the general elections in 2016, he added.

The other prominent politician on the guest list is Dr Ang Yong Guan, who contested on the SDP ticket in GE 2011.

It turns out that the Chiams have been actively recruiting members into their party. Former RP Treasurer Kumar Appavoo joined the SPP late last year.

Prominent statistician and political activist Leong Sze Hian is also an active volunteer with the SPP since GE 2011. There are other new members who are going to be introduced at the party event tomorrow.

SPP has also reinvented itself after the electoral setback in GE 2011 and an unsuccessful coup led by political newcomer  Benjamin Pwee at the party conference in 2012.

Pwee has since taken over the Democratic Progressive Party and is the secretary general of the party. Several ex-SPP members who contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh have joined him there. He plans to stand from Bishan-Toa Payoh in the next general election.

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Lina Chiam has also been speaking up more actively than her peers in parliament. She has championed several issues and not afraid to ask the hard questions. She has also been conducting her weekly walkabouts in Potong Pasir and Bishan-Toa Payoh.

I have personally met the Chiams on a few occasions and I must say that they are a determined lot: Mr. Chiam is still very jovial and charming despite his poor health and Mrs. Chiam, his faithful companion who stood by him against all odds, wants to preserve his legacy.