The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has unveiled the youngest candidate of this General Elections — 24 year-old advertising executive Nicole Seah, who graduated from The National University of Singapore (NUS) with honors majoring in Communications and New Media. She was also part of the University Scholar’s Programme (USP) during her university tenure.
The NSP’s 24 year-old Ms. Seah was immediately compared to the 26 year-old Ms. Tin from the PAP, who had been the subject of a barrage of criticisms online ever since she was introduced as a candidate running for the General Elections. The heap of criticisms centered on Ms. Tin’s poor and seemingly trivial answers to television interviews, her lack of political nuance and also controversial political viewpoints such as her belief that the government had no responsibility to help the poor bridge the widening income gap.
The scrutiny even went personal — many questioned her motivations behind joining the ruling party, and placed her private life under an intense spotlight.
According to a Facebook poll that compared the two individuals, users overwhelmingly voted for Ms. Seah ahead of Ms. Tin.
While Ms. Tin’s name was thrust into the media spotlight like a fish out of water when her candidature was announced, for many it was a natural progression for the young Nicole Seah to be running in the coming General Elections.
Nicole Seah as a genuine individual
The young Ms. Seah had cultivated a strongly independent, critical and informed perspective of Singapore’s affairs ever since she was in the University.
Together with Belmont Lay, another Communications and New Media major, she was an editor at The Campus Observer — an independent student-run, student-led news publication on the NUS campus that even preceded The Kent Ridge Common.
The Campus Observer became the first publication on the NUS Kent Ridge campus to engage the student body on a wide variety of socio-political issues, providing an independent and critical alternative to the establishment-run NUS’ student union (NUSSU) The Ridge magazine.
While at The Campus Observer, Ms. Seah contributed critical perspectives on issues affecting the student population, such as the disconnect between Singaporeans and foreign students at NUS and the lack of suitable accommodation for foreign students living in Singapore.
Ms. Seah’s passion for engagement through her stint as the editor of The Campus Observer was telling — the publication was completely self-funded, and students were working out of a genuine interest to critically contribute to socio-political domain pertinent to the NUS population, and perhaps to affect a change or make a difference, rather than for purposes of personal gain or profit.
Her honors thesis was merely a reflection of her interest and passion for the issues confronting Singapore — for her final year in school, she wrote on how the hegemony could be strengthened without censorship. The title of her thesis was “Strengthening the hegemony without censorship: A study of the lack of censorship towards alternative online media in Singapore”.
Representing Gen-Y voters
A crucial body of voters whose support many political parties have sought to obtain are the Generation Y or Gen-Y Singaporeans. This coming election marks an ever greater increase in the number of post-75 voters who will be casting their support at the ballot boxes for the very first time. Gen-Y voters are known to be better educated and are more exposed to a spectrum of alternative viewpoints, owing to technological advancements such as the Internet that have been widely leveraged in Singapore’s political domain.
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