There are 4o female candidates contesting this year’s Singapore General Elections, all ranging from new faces to political veterans. In this article, we shine a light on mum candidates who are not only active in their professional endeavours but also wear many hats in the family.
From single mums, mums with special needs children, and those who grew up in challenging backgrounds yet emerged triumphantly, we get to know some of them here.
While not all mums that are contesting in the 2020 Singapore General Elections are featured here, we wish every single one of them the best!
Mums Contesting In This GE2020
Gan Siow Huang, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing from: Marymount SMC
46-year-old Gan Siow Huang is the first woman to attain the rank of brigadier-general in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
The mum of three daughters also shared that she was almost given away as a baby due to the family’s financial situation. “I know the importance of bread and butter [issues] and the importance of having a job, to be able to protect one’s lives, and their families.”
Nicole Seah, Workers’ Party (WP)
Standing from: East Coast GRC
While said to be a new face as a candidate contesting for the Worker’s Party this GE2020, 33-year-old Nicole Seah is not a new kid on the block when it comes to politics and serving the people.
The former National Solidarity Party (NSP) member previously contested in the 2011 General Election for Marine Parade GRC.
Back this year and stronger than ever, Nicole shares that she does it for her two-year-old daughter “because she’s the next generation of Singaporeans (sic)”.
“I want to leave behind a legacy for her where she would feel comfortable regardless of her political inclinations or the kinds of views she’s expressing.”
Liyana Dhamirah, Red Dot United (RDU)
Standing from: Jurong GRC
An entrepreneur and author, Ms Liyana Dhamirah had previously experienced life as a homeless person when she was 22, having lived in a tent on Sembawang Beach while pregnant with her third child. She even wrote a book on it.
“I spent several years in a rental flat and I know what it is like for families who live there. That’s why the flame in me keeps on burning to help them,” the 33-year-old mother of four shared. Her 4th child was born in December 2019.
Hany Soh Hui Bin, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing from: Marsiling Yew-Tee GRC
Photo: Facebook/Hany Soh
33-year-old Hany Soh who first became a lawyer in 2013 is now a Director of a law firm.
Despite having to take a longer route from the Normal Academic stream in a neighbourhood school to eventually becoming a lawyer, she said that her teachers never once told her it was an impossible dream.
The mum who has a daughter said her secondary school teacher told her that she “must remember to serve the lost, the least and the last”, if she was to become a lawyer one day.
He Ting Ru, Workers’ Party (WP)
Standing from: Sengkang GRC
The 2020 General Elections will be the first election as a married couple and parents for He Ting Ru and her husband Terence Tan. They first met through running for the 2015 General Elections. This year, Ru and Terence will be standing from Sengkang GRC and East Coast GRC respectively. They have two children, aged two and three.
The 37-year-old shared that balancing mother and full-time work has given her new insight and perspective on the issues and difficulties that hardworking families face.
Rahayu Mahzam, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing from: Jurong GRC
Photo: Facebook/Rahayu Mahzam
It is a challenge for some, if not most mums, to juggle motherhood and work commitments. 40-year-old Ms Rahayu Mahzam has served in Jurong GRC as MP since 2015 and has introduced many social programmes in Bukit Batok East, to help families, support students and uplift women.
She has a 3-year-old son diagnosed with Down Syndrome and stressed that inclusive education—and a compassionate society—remains something that is close to her heart, and something she will continue to speak out about.
Raeesah Begum Bte Farid Khan, Workers’ Party (WP)
Standing from: Sengkang GRC
Apart from huge weight on her shoulders from professional commitments to her work and the society, 26-year-old Raeesah is also a young mum to an infant son. She has been politically active and aware for almost a decade.
As Founder and Director of social enterprise Reyna Movement, an organisation operating in Singapore and Johor, Raeesah aims to empower marginalised women and children through upskilling programs and community engagement. In Singapore, she works through her organisation with women’s shelters, people without homes, at-risk children and low-income families.
Tin Pei Ling, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing for: MacPherson SMC
It is Ms Tin Pei Ling’s third time contesting in a General Election. Not only is the 36-year-old a Member of Parliament of MacPherson SMC, she is also the CEO of non-profit organisation Business China.
Tin is a mother to two boys, aged four and one. She grew up living with her paternal grandmother—and observed how her parents took meticulous care of her.
Her father’s generosity towards vulnerable neighbours was another source of inspiration in showing respect and compassion: “In ways big or small, we can choose to help others in need.”
Michelle Lee, Red Dot United (RDU)
Standing from: JURONG GRC
Throwback of Michelle Lee and her three daughters in 2012. Photo: Facebook/Michelle Lee
While Ms Michelle Lee now stands as chairman of Red Dot United, she was formerly a member of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)—and contested for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC during the 2011 General Election.
The 43-year-old who is a mother to three daughters previously worked in the financial sector. She later switched to the education sector and taught at government schools such as New Town Secondary and Bukit View Secondary, before becoming a private teacher.
Sun Xueling, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing from: Punggol-west SMC
Photo of Ms Sun Xueling and her elder daughter in 2017. Photo: Instagram/sun_xueling
Ms Sun Xueling has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Punggol West since 2015, when it was part of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
She joined the PAP grassroots at the age of 22, and was raised by her grandmother who she says, encouraged her to volunteer and help the needy.
Sun, who turns 41 on polling day, is also a mother to two girls. Like many mums who experience “working mother’s guilt”, it is the same for her who lamented feeling guilty for being a working mother who cannot always spend time with her children.
Kala Manickam, Progress Singapore Party (PSP)
Standing from: Nee Soon GRC
Born in Singapore, 52-year-old Ms Kala Manickam is an Adult educator for 15 years who now runs her own Learning & Development Education. She also has a master’s degree in lifelong learning.
As a single mother of a daughter who is in primary 5 this year, education is an issue close to her heart. She calls for less administrative work for teachers, smaller class sizes and a more balanced education system.
Kala said that there are so many things that “actually we have in Singapore but everything is all about academics (sic)”. The mum said that she discovered that her daughter loves art, drawing and even Chinese Calligraphy—and is supportive of her pursuits.
Tan Chen Chen, Workers’ Party (WP)
Standing from: Punggol-West SMC
Photo: Facebook/Tan Chen Chen 陈貞貞
38-year-old Ms Tan Chen Chen is a contract administrator working on energy and chemical projects. She has volunteered for the Workers’ Party since 2015 and engaged in Grassroots work at Aljunied GRC.
The new mum who will be contesting at Punggol-West SMC, has a three-month-old baby. She said that she looks forward to what this life-changing event will bring, but is determined that her child should be independent from an early age.
Denise Phua Lay Peng, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing for: Jalan Besar GRC
Ms Denise Phua is a Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency and Mayor of Central Singapore District. She also actively works in the Community, Disability and Education sectors as a volunteer.
As president of the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and co-founder of Pathlight School, the 60-year-old also have two children, one of whom has autism.
Kayla Low Shu Yu, Progress Singapore Party (PSP)
Standing from: Yio Chu Kang SMC
Photo: Facebook/Kayla Low 罗舒玉
Ms Kayla Low has three children who are aged between 13 and 20. She is also a chartered accountant that runs a group of 11 Singapore and four overseas companies spanning retail, manufacturing, transportation and travel.
Previously, she held the position of officer at the Singapore Prison Services.
The 43-year-old recounted during a virtual press conference that growing up, her impoverished family often stressed over making ends meet, such as their next meal. But because of those experiences, Low is motivated to volunteer and help out other poor families.
Ng Ling Ling, People’s Action Party (PAP)
Standing from: Ang Mo Kio GRC
Photo: Facebook/Ng Ling Ling 黄玲玲
One of the new candidates under PAP during this 2020 General Election is none other than 48-year-old, Ng Ling Ling. The mother of one was awarded Her World’s Woman of the Year in 2018, which recognises women with outstanding achievements, after a secret nomination by her colleagues at ComChest.
According to Her World Woman of the Year, Ng were aware of others’ circumstances even at a young age, where she lived in an estate largely made up of two and three-room flats.
Ng’s own personal circumstances fuelled her desire to make the lives of others better: “I was very sensitive to the brokenness I saw in the families in my immediate community due to drugs, gambling, abuse and other social problems.”
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