Some two weeks after her personal life was picked apart online, the People's Action Party's (PAP) youngest candidate for the coming General Election (GE), Tin Pei Ling, has finally broken her silence.
The man in the pictures circulated online is not her boyfriend. The Kate Spade handbag was a birthday present from her husband. Her spouse did not influence her interest in grassroots work.
She made the clarifications in an interview with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, and which was later carried in The New Paper.
People started questioning her marriage, her involvement in politics and her maturity to handle the job of a Member of Parliament (MP). An online petition for her to contest in a single-seat ward was created.
Some PAP leaders have stepped forward to defend her. Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Tin is a "good grassroots leader" who understands what it is "to be poor and to work hard".
On the photos that were circulated, Tin said, "The person in the photo is just my friend. He works for a community club. We took that photo during one of the grassroots leaders' wedding."
"He was never my boyfriend. I find the episode extremely funny," she said, pointing out that netizens had even made up a name for him.
Tin also explained that the photo of her carrying a Kate Spade box and striking a "kawaii" (cute) pose was a keepsake from a few years ago.
"I took the photo for (a) keepsake when my husband gave me the handbag for my birthday two or three years ago."
"He liked the photo very much, and so I decided to upload the photo online (on her Facebook account)."
Tin remains calm in the face of such online attacks. "The most important thing is that my conscience is clear. I have read what people are saying about me online," she said.
"I have also tried to see where they are coming from and why they say certain things about me," she added.
Acknowledging that her young age might be a reason for such online attacks, she said "I just hope that Singaporeans can have confidence in me and give me the opportunity to prove myself."
Tin stressed that she has been involved in grassroots activities even before she met her husband, Ng How Yue, 40. He is the principal private secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
She is, however, grateful for her husband's support. "I want to serve society. He agrees with my views and has been giving me a lot of emotional support."
Tin has been volunteering at Ulu Pandan with MP Christopher de Souza. Her work has covered four areas -- encouraging the youth to participate in politics, helping needy families and children, helping the young to communicate better with seniors and helping social workers look after the residents.
"I like participating in things and I thoroughly enjoyed my seven years as a grassroots activist," she said.