Huang Chihmei: The man I married

Singapore Democrats

Dr Huang Chihmei wrote the introduction to the book Teacher, Thinker, Rebel, Why? Portraits Of Chee Soon Juan. Below is an excerpt:$CUT$

For someone who has done a lot of talking and writing on various sociopolitical issues, Soon Juan has said very little about himself. I’ve read countless comments about his character in the more than 20 years of his involvement in opposition politics, many of which were, shall we say, less-than-flattering.

The most distressing part is that for a long time it was close to impossible to tell people that this is not who he is, it is not the man I am married to.

Through all these years, we were like living our lives inside a protective bubble, later joined by our three children, to shield ourselves from all the negativity that his political involvement attracted and not let his work drag us down. It worked to a degree because as arduous as things were, we were not unhappy as a family. In fact, we have found contentment in living a simple yet meaningful life.

I met Soon Juan when we were doing our graduate studies at the University of Georgia in the United States. When I was offered a scholarship to do my PhD at Pennsylvania State University in the north, I wanted to think it over. Having just met, we naturally wanted to be closer together, but Soon Juan encouraged me to pursue my doctorate. I still remember him saying, “You’ve got to have dreams in your life.”

“You’ve got to have dreams in your life.” It’s the kind of things we write for the composition class in school – a cliché that we seldom actually believe in. It turns out that for Soon Juan, he meant it.

And it’s not just the big dreams that he has for Singapore but the little ones that I’ve shared with him as we went through life’s journey together – our children, our home and our lifetime of memories. It’s a journey I’m glad to have taken, experiencing a world of new ideas as well as humanitarian values – and, in the process, become a better person…

It is this hope of a better Singapore, a more humane and compassionate Singapore, that drives Soon Juan on. I can only hope that we’ve turned the corner and that Singaporeans, through this book, will come to know the person he really is…


The book will be launched on 11 April 2015, Saturday. To pre-order a copy, please click here or email us at:

The book is retailed at $20 and proceeds from the sales will go to the SDP’s GE campaign. So get your copy and let’s get Dr Chee and SDP into Parliament!



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