Colonel Sanders… I mean Tony Tan, has served his Presidential term and is preparing to step down.
So what’s next? Well, it looks like we have our next President already, and coincidentally she happens to be our first female President.
Halimah Yacob, being the only one eligible for the Presidential election, would automatically take up the reputable post, and could start work as early as 14 September, one day after Nomination Day.
So what should we Singapore citizens do now? For starters, perhaps we should know more about our new President?
If you’ve got that burning question in mind, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
1. She’s 63 Years Old
Okay, this isn’t important but I thought it’ll be interesting to put it in.
I mean, at this age, most Singaporeans would’ve been working on a contract basis with their companies because, #MinimumRetirementAge, yeah?
Halimah was born on 23 Aug 1954 and she happens to be the youngest of five children
2. She didn’t have the most luxurious of childhoods
Her father, a watchman, passed when she was eight, and her mother sold Nasi Padang for a living. Her mother operated from a pushcart on Shenton Way but switched to a stall once she got a hawker stall license.
Mdm Halimah would assist at the stall, helping with the cleaning, washing, clearing tables and serving of customers.
She attended the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in the late 1960s and was one of the few Malay pupils there. After graduating, she went to Tanjong Katong Girls’ School before eventually studying at the University of Singapore, where she attained a degree in Law.
Nice smile there, Mdm President.
4. Joining the workforce
Mdm Halimah started work as a legal officer for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and she stayed there for more than 30 years.
All that hard work and loyalty did not go to waste, however, and she was appointed Deputy Secretary General.
5. Love life
In 1980, she wedded her University sweetheart, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, a businessman. They went on to have five children, who are now aged between 26 and 35.
Aw, looks like the lovebirds are still very much in tandem after all these years!
6. She’s no Political newbie
In 2001, Halimah entered the Political scene at the urging of then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong. She has participated and won in four general elections since then.
That’s some wicked record right there.
Among the seats she contested for, Jurong GRC and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC were posts she held before.
In 2011, she took up the position of Minister of State at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sport.
And it looks like this isn’t the first time she broke a ‘first’ record in Singapore, either.
In 2013, she became Singapore’s first female Speaker of Parliament.
Mdm Halimah’s one hell of a person, huh?
8. Saddest moment of her life
Halimah’s mother, aged 90, passed away on September 11, 2015, which is also coincidentally Polling Day of the 2015 General election.
This moment was described as the saddest moment of her life.
9. History in the making
On September 11, 2017, it was announced that she will be Singapore’s first female President, after being the only Presidential candidate to attain a Certificate of Eligibility.
Two other prominent Presidential candidates, Marine services firm Chairman Farid Khan and property company chief executive Salleh Marican, were disqualified from the election because they did not meet the required criteria of “helming a company with $500 million in shareholder equity for the most recent three years”.
As private sector applicants, it was a must for them to meet that requirement. Either that or they had to have “comparable experience and ability”.
Mdm Halimah, on the other hand, is a public sector applicant, and she managed to meet the public sector criteria by holding office as Speaker for at least three years.
On September 13, Halimah will walk into the People’s Association headquarters in King George’s Avenue to submit her nomination papers.
If they are in order, the returning officer will announce her President elect, and she will commence her term on September 14.
10. She’s unfazed by the negative reactions
Public reactions and sentiments to Halimah’s reserved victory haven’t been exactly positive, but she’s not fazed by it. Instead, she chooses to focus on what lies ahead of her.
When she stepped out from the Elections Department on 11 September, having appeared to receive the certificate of Eligibility, she encountered troves of reporters camping outside.
One of them asked her,”Given that there are many dividing views regarding the reserved election, how do you plan to unite the nation given your coming role as the President?
“Obviously there’s work that I have to do. But the most important thing is that I would like to encourage Singaporeans to work together with me so that we can work together for a united Singapore and a much stronger Singapore.
“This is a journey we must take together. And I want to invite all Singaporeans to come together with me, to build a stronger Singapore, a better Singapore for future generations,” she said.
Well said, Mdm.
Well, there’s one thing you can’t deny about Mdm Halimah. She’s one hell of a person.
Aside from her impressive portfolio and achievements, her ability to craft such a well-thought answer in front of twenty bloodthirsty reporters deserves merit in itself.
However, whether she can stick to her words and fulfil our expectations, remains to be seen.
Good luck, Mdm President! Let’s see what you can do in these next few years!
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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Feature Image: straitstimes.com
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