SINGAPORE: While she has been campaigning at a ward with many elderly people, age has not been an issue, said Nadia Samdin, the youngest of the People’s Action Party’s candidates in this General Election.
The 30-year-old is one of the new faces running alongside Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Ang Mo Kio GRC. If elected, she will oversee the Cheng San-Seletar ward, which is home to many elderly residents.
“Ultimately residents look for experience and what kind of attributes you bring to the table,” she said.
“Regardless of how old you are, it’s about how you connect with the residents.”
Ms Nadia was speaking in a doorstop interview after an hour-long walkabout with PM Lee and Madam Ho Ching at the Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre.
The trio distributed party flyers and mingled with patrons at the food centre, and at shops and coffeehouses in the neighbouring blocks.
When some elderly residents stood up from their seats to greet the candidates, Ms Nadia was heard saying “you don’t need to stand up” in Mandarin.
As she went from table to table, she greeted residents in their mother tongue, something she said has helped her "to connect with the residents, especially elderly ones”.
“I think it’s always nice to be able to hear someone connect with you in your mother tongue, in a way that’s familiar. They’ve also been very patient with my hanyu pinyin.”
“I will improve slowly,” she said in Mandarin.
On being fielded in Ang Mo Kio GRC, Ms Nadia said it has been a “privilege”. Having PM Lee as a fellow candidate, she said, means there is “added responsibility somewhat to do right (by the) residents”.
But she does not worry about being overshadowed by the Prime Minister. “The PM is very well loved. I, of course, as a new candidate try to bring my own value and contributions to the table.”
“It’s been really nice to be welcomed by our residents here, especially some of the elderly ones who have treated me in a very endearing way,” she added.
The lawyer and associate director at TSMP Law Corporation has been pounding the ground daily from 8am since Nomination Day, visiting both private estates and HDB flats in the ward.
One of the issues brought to her attention was job security. “In the middle of this month, we’re going to be holding a job fair, as well as hopefully set up a small career centre so as to be able to help upskill people and improve their CV,” she said.
After the hour-long walkabout, PM Lee stopped to record a video thanking unionists who have been campaigning for the People’s Action Party on the ground.
“Between the PAP and the NTUC, we have a very close relationship. It’s a symbiotic one,” Mr Lee said. “The PAP is fighting to win this election so that we can look after workers and look after your families and make sure that everybody is safe as well. Thank you for your support.”
Mr Lee leads a team comprising Mr Darryl David, Mr Gan Thiam Poh as well as new faces Ms Nadia and Ms Ng Ling Ling. They are up against a Reform Party team led by secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
Editor’s note: Following publication of this article, Ms Nadia told CNA she meant to say “value” instead of “values” in the following line: “The PM is very well loved. I, of course, as a new candidate try to bring my own values and contributions to the table.” The article has been amended accordingly.