There is a children’s book that I often read with my 2-year old daughter, Hannah, in the morning before leaving for work. It is titled I’m Thankful Each Day by P. K. Hallinan. I love that book (and so does Hannah) because I feel it aptly sums up my sentiments about the year 2010.
I can say without a doubt that 2010 was the most eventful and exciting–not to mention the busiest–year of my life so far. On the personal front, my wife Elena and I welcomed the arrival of our second child, Asher, in this world. (Yes he was one of just 17,238 babies born to Singaporean parents between January and October 2010.) Elena and I also celebrated seven years of blissful marriage last week.
In July last year, I published my first book, Singapore version 2.0: Alternative proposals for a better Singapore. I will be organising a book launch for in late-January. (Better late than never!)
On the political front, I was one of the four newbies elected to the Workers’ Party CEC (Central Executive Council). I got “arrowed” soon after that to be involved in the Party’s manifesto review, a task which involved many nights and weekends of research, consultations, writing, and long discussions with fellow party members to arrive at an agreement on the final text. Nevertheless, the policy wonk in me relished every moment of it.
All this was on top of weekly house visits with my WP area committee colleagues. When I first started house visits in 2009 after I joined the party, I felt a lot of apprehension about having to “disturb” residents in their homes to explain to them WP’s messages. However, almost two years later, I look forward to each opportunity I have to speak to ordinary Singaporeans; to listen to their hopes, fears and frustrations about their life in Singapore. I’m always reminded of my purpose whenever a resident shares with us their frustrations with the way Singapore is governed, and tells us that they need a voice to speak up for them.
I have so much to be thankful for in 2010.
I’m thankful to my wife, Elena, for her unwavering support and encouragement through my victories and disappointments. She has put on hold a successful accounting career to be a stay-at-home mum to our two beautiful children. It’s not easy to be the wife of a politician, particularly an opposition politician in an “unfree” country like Singapore. I’m thankful to my parents for their strong support and assistance to me, despite their disagreement with me going into politics–much less opposition politics–in the first place.
I’m grateful to my church pastors, mentors and friends, who have been praying hard for wisdom and protection for me from the “fiery darts of the enemy”. I have benefited from their encouragement and sound advice–and sometimes gentle rebuke when my rhetoric gets too cynical or negative.
I’m grateful to my employers, who have chosen to judge me solely on my performance at work, and not my political affiliations. If more employers in Singapore were like mine, I think the fear factor of joining opposition politics will be greatly reduced, and there will be many more capable men and women stepping forward to serve in alternative parties.
I thank my friends, supporters and readers who have offered their support for my cause, through their words of encouragement, their time spent helping us to reach out to more of the ‘unconverted’, and for buying my book.
I am thankful for my friends and colleagues in the Workers’ Party. King Solomon once said that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. This is truly the case in our party. Our diversity is our strength, because we are unified by a common purpose.
Lastly and most important of all, I am thankful to God, for answering prayers (even when I was too lazy to pray), and giving me a plan and purpose for my life.
Happy New Year everyone! May the year 2011 bring about the change for the better that Singaporeans desire!