Nicole Seah

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Nicole Rebecca Seah Xue Ling
佘雪玲
Nicole Seah 2011.JPG
Nicole Seah during her rally speech at Tampines Stadium as a candidate of the National Solidarity Party
National Solidarity Party candidate for
Marine Parade GRC
Opponent(s) Goh Chok Tong, Seah Kian Peng, Fatimah Lateef, Tan Chuan-Jin, Tin Pei Ling
Personal details
Born (1986-10-17) 17 October 1986 (age 27)
Singapore
Nationality Singaporean
Political party National Solidarity Party
Alma mater Tanjong Katong Secondary School
Victoria Junior College
National University of Singapore
Profession Advertising
Website www.facebook.com/nicoleseahnsp
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Seah.
Nicole Seah
Traditional Chinese 佘雪玲
Simplified Chinese 佘雪玲

Nicole Rebecca Seah Xue Ling[1] (born 17 October 1986) is a Singaporean politician. She was a National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate for the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (Marine Parade GRC) in the 2011 Singaporean general election.[2] At 24 she was the youngest female candidate standing in the election[3] and immediately became a target of media attention, which became increasingly pronounced as her speeches began to go viral on YouTube. During the election, she was described as the second most popular politician online, after Lee Kuan Yew.[4]

Background[edit]

Seah studied at CHIJ Katong Convent, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College.[1] She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) degree from the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she was also part of the University Scholars' Programme. She works as an executive at Starcom MediaVest Group, a brand communications company.[5]

Seah has been involved in community activities and volunteering since secondary school. Her interest in politics was sparked by a meeting with a destitute woman, who – despite having a roof over her head – had no money for food, and was completely dependent on handouts from charity. While in NUS, she was the managing editor of an online publication called the Campus Observer.[6]

Before the 2011 general election, Seah was involved with the Reform Party since 2009, but left in early February 2011 along with many other party members. She was invited to join the NSP by Goh Meng Seng, then the NSP's secretary-general.[7]

2011 general election[edit]

Seah was announced as a member of the five-person NSP team contesting in the Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 Singaporean general election on 21 April 2011. This was the first time an opposition party had contested this GRC since 1992. This was several weeks after the PAP announced that their five-person team contesting Marine Parade GRC would include 27-year old Tin Pei Ling, leading to immediate media attention to the contest of two young women, both contesting parliament seats for the first time.[2] Tin had been facing online criticism since her candidature was announced, and – partially in response to Tin's positioning – Seah's popularity has grown tremendously, according to Jon Russell of Asia Sentinel, who added that "her popularity [is] testament to many choosing her as their preferred 'youth' candidate in the election".[8] Her popularity has been referred to as "rockstar"-like by The Straits Times.[9]

People[who?] have commented that Seah appears to upstage other members of the NSP and of her constituency team. On 27 April, Goh Chok Tong, former prime minister and Seah's opponent from the People's Action Party (PAP) team, complained that "I look at NSP and they appear to have only one person in charge and the four men are leaving it to the young lady to campaign and say all the things".[10] The party is also referred to as the "Nicole Seah Party". Seah responded, "The NSP is all about teamwork. There are many different areas that everyone can contribute and that's how we synergise and bring our talents together to the table."[11]

Despite national popularity, Seah's team captured only 43.35% of the vote and did not manage to wrest Marine Parade GRC from the PAP in the 2011 election. Nevertheless, this was seen as a huge achievement as the incumbent PAP had won 72.9% of the vote in the last election, which was the 1992 by-election. Also, the PAP team was helmed by a popular former Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. Indeed the PAP's winning percentage was lower than the national PAP average. Goh later gave his thoughts on the election result in an interview with the Straits Times in which he stated that he had expected better results and cited Seah as a factor for the NSP's good showing.[12]

Controversy[edit]

Seah lodged a police report against PAP candidate Tin Pei Ling for breach of the state-mandated cooling-off period 24 hours before polls.[13] It was subsequently revealed that she had also allegedly committed the same offence.[14] The police issued a stern warning to Tin and Seah for the offense.[15] Under the Singapore Parliamentary Elections Act,[16] canvassing on Polling Day and Cooling Off Day is prohibited and the offence carries a fine or imprisonment or both.

After the election, Seah made an online appeal for donations for her campaign on her Facebook account, sparking off a debate on whether it is appropriate.[17] On 23 May 2011, the NSP issued a public clarification statement and supported her actions.[18]

Work and life[edit]

In a status update she posted on her public Facebook page, she called it “a difficult decision”, but said she will be going there to further her career in advertising.

The move, reported Mumbrella Asia, will be from her employer IPG Mediabrands’s Singapore branch to its Thai office, where she will take a role as a digital manager in Bangkok. In Singapore, she has held the position of senior account manager at the agency since November last year. Her mother, Patricia Lim, holds the position of Managing Director at the company's Singapore office.

Explaining her move in her statement, the 27-year-old said the larger scale of work, managerial duties and budgets involved will be her “training for the challenges of public service”.

“ASEAN as a region has much diversity to offer,” she wrote. “I am constantly humbled by the grace, and creativity of the Thais. As a single person living in a new country alone, I am excited to integrate with the locals, make new friends and learn more from a different culture.”

Seah is still the second assistant secretary-general at the National Solidarity Party, a position she says she will retain, and promised she will stand for election in 2016.

She added that she will return to Singapore once a month for the party’s Saturday morning programme and house visits, and that the Macpherson Tuition Project, which she started, “will continue without disruption, with the help of steadfast volunteers”.

Seah’s announcement was greeted with mostly warm responses and encouraging comments from her supporters, with more than 2,800 likes and 94 shares by Wednesday morning, 10 hours after she posted it.

In a comment on her post, she added, “I will never forget Singapore. Singapore is home, and I will be back to contribute on an even stronger level, as many of you are already contributing.”

The popular opposition politician last made headlines when she posted a lengthy reflection on her personal Facebook page in November last year, revealing that she suffered a meltdown over a series of events that unfolded in her life.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Marine Parade". National Solidarity Party. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "NSP unveils 24-year-old candidate for Marine Parade GRC team". Today Singapore. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "General Election 2011: All candidates". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Seah is S'pore's 2nd most popular politician online, Straits Times, 26 April 2011, accessed on 15 May 2012
  5. ^ Soh, Alvina (20 April 2011). "GE: NSP unveils five new candidates for Marine Parade GRC". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Fresh-faced Nicole Seah generates buzz". 21 April 2011. The Straits Times Razor TV. http://www.razor.tv/site/servlet/segment/main/specials/General_Election/62734.html.
  7. ^ Tay Shi'An (24 April 2011). "Do looks matter in elections?". The New Paper. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Russell, Jon (27 April 2011). "Singapore Election Upset?". Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Ong, Andrea (25 April 2011). "NSP's Nicole Seah gets 'rockstar' treatment". The Straits Times. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Osman, Shamir (27 April 2011). "NSP 'leaving things to Nicole Seah'". Today Singapore. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Cheney, Satish (2 May 2011). "NSP defends defence cuts proposals". Today Singapore. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Ouyang, Timothy (8 May 2011). "GE: Tin Pei Ling "a factor" for weak results, says SM Goh". Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  13. ^ New Paper, The (7 May 2011). "Nichole Seah files complaint against Tin Pei Ling". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Yahoo, The (10 Aug 2011). "No Police Action against Tin Pei Ling, Nicole". Retrieved 10 Aug 2011. 
  15. ^ "No police action against Tin Pei Ling, Nicole Seah". Yahoo. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2007 Rev. Ed.)
  17. ^ New Paper, The (23 May 2011). "Nicole Seah asks for donations online". Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  18. ^ http://nsp.sg/2011/05/23/nsp-statement-on-donations/