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PAP Grassroots Activist: “Why I Serve…”

ALLAN LIM: I am an activist for the People’s Action Party, I joined when I was 35 years old – that was a time when Singapore was going through a transition and people were starting to come to grips with a new era of Singapore.

I started my journey with PAP when I emailed to enquire about how I can know more about the party and was directed a week later to a branch near my place and i attended my first MPS subsequently. My first experience was most remarkable sitting behind the desk at my first session of MPS, it made me (a big burly man) want to cry when the family sitting in front of me seem hopeless and is ready to give up. My branch MP Ser Luck Teo sensed my helplessness, came and sat down with the family and offered the solutions in small and very clear steps to them out of the rut – i followed through with the drafting of a few letters to different agencies and family support centre. That night was apparently a typical night with more than 20 activist helped looked at more than 60 cases , with each case taking up 15-30 mins you can imagine what time the session ended.

A few weeks later, the family I saw came back and and the situation seem to have improved, basic utility turned on, kids are back in school, HDB agreed to relook into the arrears in instalment payment. They needed some other support and i gladly help with the filling up of the forms and getting my branch leaders to help with advice. The resident smiled and thanked me and before went about their way their young son gave me a sweet. I decided that night that i want to sign up and be counted.

I started serving at the MPS session weekly and after 2 years at the branch meeting people from all walks of life wanting all sorts of help (Parking offence to family violence) I got involve in preparing for GE2011 – the comrades (yes we still call each other that) started the engines of a well oiled and rehearsed system and went into competition mode. Flags was prepared, flyers printed and block visits intensified. The pace for was relentless and we gave it everything we got.

As we got about our business of winning votes, I saw that many Singaporean were unhappy and they were voicing out against foreign workers, transport, housing , medical and cost of living. The Worker’s Party held rallies thats more like a rock concert while our PM got trolled by thousands on Facebook. We lost Aljunied GRC that year and it got me thinking – what have i missed out, was PAP really leading Singaporean’s to shambles, have we lost touch with the ground?

Post GE2011, I decided to take time off from PAP because I want space to think and to see Singapore without political lens. In the year succeeding , I worked in MTI for to cut red tapes for business, serves in Mindef committee to strengthen National Service, represented Singapore in International Light festival and organised community engagements events for SEA Games. I got what I wanted, to serve Singapore without the influence of party politics.

In many of these engagement , I get to work alongside senior Public Servants, Ministers and top management of agencies and i get to see the problems of a different magnitude and flavour – defence of our home, keeping our economy going, creating a great image of our little red dot and making Singapore a home for everyone. I enjoyed the work as a volunteer in these areas and gradually understood that Singapore now is more complex than we have ever been. What was most inspiring to me was the each time we come to a problem, there is strong sense of duty to Singapore and a conviction to seeing the hardest problems through despite it being unpopular to certain sector of the public. I am convinced that indeed Singapore will continue to thrive because leaders behind every challenge works with dedication, intergrity and heart for our community.

It is again time for us to vote for the next lap of Singapore, and this time round, it is refreshing to see that the opposition parties have introduced candidates that are very qualified and they have identified key issues that they want to champion for Singaporean. This is a good start to building the next lap, and i am sure i am not alone in wanting a country that is special to my family and friends and the voices from the opposition does seem to pave the way for that.

Ultimately, it is what we stand for that defines us, and I see where my party stand – for Singaporeans and for Singapore. I have learnt so much from the leaders and everyone in the branch that I am convinced that not only will we succeed in this election, we will leave no one behind in our journey to the next peak.

I am unwavered in my support for The People’s Action Party. So to all my comrades and friend giving your best to campaign in the coming days – keep going, keep walking and chin up!

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”

This commentary was written by Allan Lim and first published on his Facebook page.
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