One of the most amazing things I have experienced since entering politics in 2011 is the wonderful commitment of volunteers. I am reminded of that again yesterday with Livia and her daughter Qiqi.
Livia first signed up to help WP in 2011 through our website. She was assigned to help in the Joo Chiat SMC campaign. I remember her asking for permission to allow her daughter Qiqi, then in primary 2 to tag along because there was no one to look after her. I agreed and Livia joined us on several visits with Qiqi, a very obedient girl who could follow us on our tiring visits without any fuss.
Since GE2011, Livia went on to help in WP’s grassroots activities, first in Kaki Bukit and now in Punggol East, with her daughter following along on many occasions. Qiqi has become a darling amongst our grassroots volunteers.
Today, Livia and Qiqi turned up in bicycles at the start of our evening house visits. They had cycled from a relative’s shop in Hougang and after a tiring evening of visits, they had to cycle for about an hour to their home in Pasir Ris. I was concerned if it would be too strenuous on them, but Livia said they are used to such long cycling. Qiqi is in primary 6 this year, with her PSLE starting next month. Livia assured me that Qiqi is doing ok in school.
Livia’s dad had brought her to WP rallies when she was young and she felt her daughter should also have a similar exposure. Livia is a busy professional who has to also look after her daughter.
I am constantly humbled by the commitment of those who volunteer their time to help in our political work. Grassroots and campaigning activities are time consuming and require dedication. We are not able to provide big titles like BBM and PBM to them, nor offer privileges for primary school registration or free parking within the wards they are serving in. Yet many continued to help silently, committed to the cause of helping residents.
I was reminded yesterday again of how I had started my GE2011 campaign with just one Party member assigned to be my Election Agent. I was then relatively new to the Party and did not know who else in the Party to recruit to help in campaigning. Campaigning for Joo Chiat SMC seemed like an impossible mission. I had committed to the leadership that I would cover every house that was publicly accessible and will write to all the major condominiums for permission to visit. The campaigning time was short and I was desperately short on manpower.
Family members and friends joined in along the way. Volunteers signed up. Some residents of the SMC were so enthusiastic that they immediately became volunteers after we had met them. An amazing story is that it turned out that two of the residents whom we had met and recruited separately turned out to be great-great grandchildren of Mr Chew Joo Chiat, which Joo Chiat is named after. They continue to help with the Party till today.
The sincerity and dedication of the volunteers had spurred me to make the GE2011 impossible mission into a possible mission. Now, two weeks after the EBRC report was published, with an ever larger mountain to climb, I am once more encouraged by the enthusiasm of supporters who are again coming alongside to help in the mission. Thank you!
* story and photo shared with Livia’s permission