Hope: 5 Quotes by Chiam See Tong From The Early Years

Chiam See Tong

Epipgram’s “Let The People Have Him” (which was hopefully just Part 1), gave insight into the man that most of us missed while growing up. I always knew that Chiam, together with his friends and brother, started SDP – but never knew that he left on such acrimonious terms.

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While it may eventually be covered in “The Latter Years” edition of the book, we went to look for his earlier speeches in Parliament on the issue.

Here were five of our favorite quotes by Chiam See Tong from the early 1990s

One: SDP must have broke his heart in more ways than we would know 

I am not in any way running down the SDP. In fact, that is the party I founded. I am against those who are now in charge of the SDP. They are turning the SDP upside down and making it beyond recognition.

Two: To Mr Chiam, it was Singapore First, Party (SDP) Second

To me, above all, in the Opposition, we must be good and patriotic Singaporeans. We must not go around the world denouncing Singapore.

Three: Mr Chiam, was probably the first to have foresight on what was to come

It saddens me that the SDP is now run by a megalomaniac. This man wants the centre-stage. He wants the centre-stage all the time. I think it is this character which sends him to Williamstown.He thought he could get centre-stage there and he could get some publicity and score some political points.

Mr Speaker, Sir, but what is more important that has happened in Williamstown is that there are certain people there who would like to see Singapore being run down and attacked Singapore. The issue here is not just about people like Chee Soon Juan who come and go in any event but about the survival of Singapore. Singapore’s survival is at stake because there is an attack on the basic institution of Singapore and on the system of Singapore. And it is the duty of loyal Opposition to defend Singapore.

Four: Integrity 

A lot of talk has been made about the free air ticket. Apparently, it was paid for by students. But if I were asked for my view on this air ticket, I would say that they should not have accepted it. It is given by students who are not working. If I have already started work, I should pay for my own ticket. Why get it from the poor students? I think, in principle, it is just not honourable. It is not right to get students who are not working to pay for you when you are working and you have an income. What does it show? It just reflects the character of the man. Whatever he [Chee] can get, he gets, whether it is $100 or $200!

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Five: Hope

“When there is life there is hope, when there is hope, there will be change.”

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