SingaporeScene

MacPherson residents willing to give Tin Pei Ling a chance

Residents queue to consult new MP Tin Pei Ling at her Meet-the-People session. (Yahoo! photo)Residents queue to consult new MP Tin Pei Ling at her Meet-the-People session. (Yahoo! photo)

Even though they have not seen much change in their estate, residents in the MacPherson ward in southeastern Singapore appear to be more receptive to their newly-minted Member of Parliament, Tin Pei Ling.

Of the area's 20 residents that Yahoo! Singapore spoke to, the majority said they are now "neutral" toward their 27-year-old MP compared to how they felt about her during the General Election in early May.

Acknowledging their earlier reservations toward Tin, partly because of the negative press about her, many of the residents are now waiting to see what improvements she brings to their estate before making any judgments.

When the full-time MP was first introduced as a candidate in the General Election, she was widely criticised online for her personal photos found on Facebook, links to the People's Action Party (PAP) through her husband and a video clip which caught her in a show of petulance.

After the PAP's Marine Parade GRC team won the majority of votes in the GE, netizens petitioned for her resignation.

Consultant K S Chong, 43, said he thought he would not be able to accept her as an MP when she was first introduced, but his opinions have changed since Tin took the initiative to "say hi" to Chong and his daughter during the election period.

However, Chong added, it is still early days and he will need to "see more evidence" of her capability as an MP.

Several said their impression of her had improved after they saw her effort in helping them.

Their reactions concur with Tin's earlier comments that the people of MacPherson are warming up to her. She told reporters on Sunday that residents appeared more at ease talking to her.

Housewife Chua Siang Kheng, 62, said, "She puts in effort. She speaks well."

Tin wrote a letter to a government agency to help Chua's husband with a boating licence problem, and even though the appeal was unsuccessful, the important thing was that Tin tried to help, the housewife said. "Now, we see that she is hardworking."

When Yahoo! Singapore visited Tin's Meet-the-People session on Monday night, residents filled the centre where she held her consultations.

Some residents said they decided to seek her help -- even after their appeals through their previous MP Matthias Yao failed -- because they heard her message about wanting to help the needy.

Teacher aide Siti Nashima, 42, who wanted help with housing problems, was the last resident to see Tin at 2.30 am on Monday. She said, "I thought as a youngster, what can she do. But after (the consult), I witnessed her patience and strong concern."

Siti also praised Tin for her "pleasant smile" and good attitude even after the long hours at the MPS.

Others said Tin was "okay". She was friendly and appeared to know the ropes when they met with her, they said.

But Tin will still have some way to go to turn the tide of opinion in her favour.

Several residents, who had not personally spoken with Tin, said they still felt she was too young for the job and a few felt her behaviour during the GE walkabouts left them with a negative impression.

Thirty-seven year-old Clare Lim, who met Tin on Monday, noted that Tin did not seem familiar with certain rules.

Retiree Tan Ah Tee, 74, said he hopes to see Tin bring about improvements such as more exercise machines for seniors.

Tin, who quit her job to focus on her MP duties, now spends her days meeting residents, government agencies and the town council. She declined to comment when contacted.

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