Saturday, April 23, 2011

GE2011 - Don't discount Mr Chiam for his appearance

At first glance of the Straits Times below, the writer might seem to be publicising his "poor" health condition and appearance. But read in depth to find out that his condition isnt a big deal and the mind of the man is still sharp even in TV interviews that I have seen

He may talk slower, but don't discount him, because of his frail appearance. Judge him, and what his team, some of whom have pretty decent credentials can offer.

Bishan need a change after 24 years perhaps under DPM Wong Kan Seng? Surely 5 years w/o upgrading isnt much a BIG DEAL there?

Prime News
Home > Prime News > Story
ST, Apr 19, 2011
I'm fit to run, says Chiam

Opposition veteran Chiam See Tong, 76, says doctors have given him the go-ahead to stand for elections. Since a stroke in 2008, his posture is stooped and his movement slower but, in an interview yesterday, he said he exercises regularly, goes for walkabouts at least weekly and is ready for campaign action.

Chiam: I can still contribute like any ordinary person
Veteran MP had stroke but keeping fit through exercise and medication
By Jeremy Au Yong

Mr Chiam (centre) on a walkabout last Saturday with fellow Singapore People's Party candidates (from left) Wilfred Leung, Benjamin Pwee, Jimmy Lee and Mohamad Hamim Aliyas. The veteran MP, who had a stroke in 2008, says he has what it takes to go one more round. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

VETERAN opposition leader Chiam See Tong has been given the green light by his doctors to do battle at the next general election.

But the 76-year-old, a stroke victim, accepts that he could face another medical condition in the coming years: Parkinson's syndrome.

He revealed yesterday that he is fending it off by exercising regularly and taking medication to delay its onset.

Once a week, a fitness trainer comes to his home in Bukit Timah to strengthen his muscles. He rides an exercise bike for half an hour each day and swims regularly.

Said his wife Lina Chiam, 62: 'Strokes lead to Parkinson's. But how do you go about it? Do you wait for it?

'At the moment, he doesn't have Parkinson's or his hands would be shaking. But you have to exercise to defer it.'

Then, in reference to his plodding pace, she added: 'His movement is slower but after a stroke, people also have this kind of movement.'

The couple spoke candidly to The Straits Times about his health, showing no signs of being dispirited.

Indeed, Mr Chiam is optimistic about his health, saying he has kept going because of his confidence in his own body.

'I have a feeling I will get well, this is something which is a passing phase. So I didn't bother to stop doing politics,' he said.

A person with Parkinson's syndrome displays the symptoms of someone with Parkinson's disease but does not have the nerve disorder.

The symptoms include having a stooped posture and slower movements.

Doctors The Straits Times spoke to said a stroke in the same area of the brain that is affected by Parkinson's disease can cause the syndrome.

During the near two-hour interview, the Chiams stressed that the long-serving MP who suffered a stroke in 2008 has what it takes to go one more round.

'He went to see doctors. Doctors did not advise him not to stand for election, they just leave it to him,' said Mrs Chiam.

Added Mr Chiam: 'I feel fit. I don't feel sickly, but you must remember I led a very active life when I was young.'

He was a school swimmer while at Anglo-Chinese School and an avid badminton player in university.

As Mr Chiam steps up his public appearances as election fewer heats up, his frail physique and hunched posture have come under the media spotlight, prompting questions on whether he is fit enough to mount a proper election bid.

Others have suggested that he should have stepped away from politics on a high, after winning in single-seat Potong Pasir at the 2006 polls.

Mr Chiam plans to lead a five-member team to contest the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC while his wife is taking over the reins in Potong Pasir.

In shrugging off the doubters' comments, Mr Chiam showed a mind that was still sharp and lucid.

He did not stop after his stroke in 2008 because 'I seriously think I can contribute like any ordinary person'.

He added: 'I don't feel like I'm in a disadvantaged position. In fact, I still contribute as an MP quite fully. I still attend my Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS). I still go to Parliament. I still speak in Parliament.'

In fact, two weeks after the stroke, he was on his feet again, seeing to the needs of his constituents at his MPS.

He acknowledged his health has affected his work, 'but I don't let it bother me'.

In recent weeks, Mr Chiam has been showing just how much fight he still has in him.

During a walkabout in Thomson a month ago, he walked up a flight of about 30 steps unassisted. Since then, he has gone on walkabouts at least once a week, often staying on his feet for up to three hours.

'I do politics because I like it,' he said. 'It comes naturally to me. I enjoy meeting people. And I like competition. That is also part of my nature.'

When conversation turned to the topic of his political plans and how far ahead he was planning, Mr Chiam simply smiled and offered a cryptic answer: 'I'm thinking of the fine time I could have, the last few years of my life.'



'I don't feel like I'm in a disadvantaged position. In fact, I still contribute as an MP quite fully. I still attend my Meet-the-People Sessions. I still go to Parliament. I still speak in Parliament.'

Mr Chiam

1 comment:

  1. Hey, not the usual soccer post... nice for a change.