10 Things You Need To Know About Pritam Singh, The Workers’ Party New Secretary-General
When Mr Pritam Singh burst onto the political scene in 2010, he was a fresh-faced lawyer relatively unknown to the electorate.
Fast forward 8 years and oh, how things have changed.
Now a 2-term MP — and in hotly-contested Aljunied GRC, no less — Mr Singh, 41, is one of the Workers’ Party (WP)’s most prominent faces.
On Sunday (8 Apr), he swept to victory at the party’s internal elections, winning the post of Secretary-General.
That effectively makes him the leader of Singapore’s Opposition, ending Mr Low Thia Khiang’s nearly 2-decade tenure. Mr Low remains a member of WP’s Central Executive Committee.
Speaker of the House and the classiest guy in politics Mr Tan Chuan-Jin reached out to Mr Singh to congratulate him on his victory:
20 years younger than his predecssor, Mr Singh represents new blood for Singapore’s most successful Opposition party.
All eyes will be on him as he leads the WP into a possible third victory in Aljunied GRC in the next General Election, which must be called by 2021.
As we wait for that day, MustShareNews trawled Mr Singh’s social media pages to bring you 10 facts you might not have known about him.
1. His wife and him are #RelationshipGoals
There are fewer things that humanise politicians like their relationships.
The United States might have Barack and Michelle, but Aljunied has Pritam Singh and Loveleen Kaur.
Ms Loveleen Kaur, a theatre practitioner, married Mr Singh in 2012 in a colourful ceremony at Fort Canning
More than five years on, the couple are as lovey-dovey as ever; just take a look at this love-laced comment thread on Instagram:
Can we get an aww?
2. He reads with his daughter
The importance of reading early is not on lost on Mr Singh, who shares his love for the library and books in this post on 20 Jan.
Good to know that our local politicians #golocal in their literature choices too.
3. He’s a Mustafa-holic
Like the rest of us, Mr Singh knows the one place to go if you need, well, anything.
In this Instagram post on 27 Jan, the MP describes how trips to the megastore are a family outing.
Later in the comments, he sums up his love for Mustafa with this:
4. He’s a history and war geek
Mr Singh’s relationship with the military didn’t end with his service in the Singapore Army, where he’s known as MAJ (NS) Pritam Singh.
Battleships, tanks and war strategy still excite the Aljunied GRC MP, who left regular service in 2002.
In fact, Mr Singh is a walking war otaku, having completed a Master of Arts degree in war studies from King’s College in London.
Nowadays, he gets his fix of war trivia from Osprey’s series of books about the Second World War.
5. He’s a quick change master
Politicians wear many hats — and Mr Singh is no different.
To spread the festive cheer to Aljunied residents during Chinese New Year 2018, the MP donned a Cai Shen (God of Prosperity) costume.
He even did a quick change into it on Instagram. Obviously, hilarity ensues.
6. He manages time like a boss
In 2015, Mr Singh ran for his second term as an MP while finishing up his final year in Singapore Management University’s law school on the side.
Now that’s what you call a balancing act.
7. His wife and him once named a bird Benson
Ever woken up to a loud “cooooo” similar to this one?
Then you, my friend, are familiar with the Asian koel.
The bird’s loud calls have irritated some Singaporeans and delighted others, as Mr Singh pointed out on Facebook.
But one can guess how Mr Singh and his wife feel about the issue, since they once “adopted” an Asian koel.
A couple of years back, my wife and I had a koel nest in the tree right near our window too – we called the koel Benson (he started becoming a part of the community I guess!) and we were reminded of his presence each morning. He’s long flown away since.
8. He actively fights fake news
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, seeing as Mr Singh sits on the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, which tackles matters related to fake news.
But it’s not just through legislation that Mr Singh is attempting to combat fake news. He does this regularly through social media as well.
In this edition of “Pritam Singh v Fake News”, the Aljunied MP disputed Facebook posts that alleged that he called for greater scrutiny into the taxable income of taxi drivers and hawkers.
As Mr Singh explained on Facebook, he was merely explaining how technology would have a positive impact on tax revenues by fighting under-declaration of income.
9. He runs to bond with residents
Being an MP in a marginal seat like Aljunied means that Mr Singh and his team can’t take a single vote for granted.
As part of outreach efforts in his Eunos ward, Mr Singh initiated the Run-to-Bond community exercise programme a few years ago.
Mr Singh isn’t the only MP to pound the pavement to get to know his residents better.
Tampines GRC MP Mr Baey Yam Keng runs his own Run With Baey programme. Or as we like to call it, Run With Bae.
10. He’s a kopitiam boy at heart
MPs may receive an allowance of $192,500 a year, but that doesn’t mean fine dining and fancy china every night.
Mr Singh’s Instagram proves this point; his feed is peppered with shots of him enjoying Eunos’ delectable fare in down-to-earth and unpretentious settings.
Whether he’s tucking into Char Kway Teow (mai hum, naturally) or beer and chicken curry, Mr Singh’s heartland appeal shines through.
It’s no wonder then that he’s the new face of a party that has long-prioritised affability and humility over academic prestige and career highs.
But only time will tell if Mr Singh’s heartland charms can translate into success at the ballot box.
Featured image from Facebook.