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A peek into the life of Chiam See Tong

HAVING A BALL: Mr Chiam, who was Singapore's longest-serving opposition MP, playing catchball with his wife, Lina, to help improve his reflexes. He suffered two strokes.
A peek into the life of Chiam See Tong

STORYTELLERS: (From left) Ms Chiang, Mr Wong, Mr Teo and Mr Daud are a group of final-year communications undergraduates who completed a multimedia project on Potong Pasir and its former MP, Mr Chiam.


    Apr 17, 2014

    A peek into the life of Chiam See Tong

    IT IS not every day that one gets to see opposition stalwart Chiam See Tong play catchball at home with his wife, Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam.

    But that was what four final-year communications undergraduates from Nanyang Technological University found themselves privy to while chronicling his story for their final-year project.

    Their multimedia feature on Potong Pasir and Mr Chiam, the constituency's MP for 27 years, features the voices of residents, academics, politicians and Mr Chiam himself. It can be viewed at

    During their interviews, Mr Chiam was "always lucid and has clear thoughts, even though he tires easily, given his condition now", said 24-year-old Edward Teo, who was the team's photographer.

    The 79-year-old, who was Singapore's longest-serving opposition MP, had suffered two strokes and, just last year, a hip injury.

    Despite his ailing health, Mr Chiam "smiles a lot", noted Mr Teo, adding that he was always willing to engage the team in conversation.

    The team also includes Ms Cara Chiang, 23, Mr Sulaiman Daud, 26, and Mr Wong Kar Weng, 24.

    They chose Mr Chiam because he is "a key figure in Singapore's political history, and he has been a first-hand witness to a lot of important events", said Mr Daud.

    He pointed out that Mr Chiam, unlike other political veterans such as the late Goh Keng Swee, has yet to have his contributions and stories inked in books or documentaries. "It would be a shame to let all these stories go unrecorded," he said.

    To uncover stories of Mr Chiam from the people he had served, the team spent time building rapport with residents in the estate - including helping an 83-year-old woman collect cardboard boxes.

    Added Ms Chiang: "Besides sharing Mr Chiam's legacy of service with the younger generation through our online platform, our hope is to inspire others to do a project like this - one that would help tell and re-tell stories that deserve to be remembered."