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Sisters in democracy – that’s how they described themselves. More than 20 Women Democrats and associates got together over the weekend to discuss politics.
The subject? Accountability and transparency of the PAP Government and its autocratic rule.
They also talked about how to advance women’s role in politics in Singapore and laid plans for the SDP women’s wing. One project: to host a regional women’s conference for democratic politics in Asia.
The session started off informally over coffee, tea and chicken curry. Many talked about how they overcame, or are getting over, their fear of getting involved in opposition politics and standing up for their rights. Several admitted that until recently they believed everything that the PAP said.
Others were more gung-ho and had voted for the opposition at every election. And then there were a few who confessed that although they support the SDP, they were still afraid of doing it openly.
But the afternoon changed that. These women said after the gathering that they were glad that they had the opportunity to meet other like-minded women who cared about justice and political rights, and that they now feel less isolated. One of them related how she had bumped into Ms Chee Siok Chin on the bus.
“I’ve always been fearful about getting involved with the opposition,” she said, “but I summoned enough courage and struck up a conversation with Siok Chin. I’m glad I did.” Since then she has been actively involved in the SDP’s activities and has even involved another friend of hers.
Among some of the topics raised during the discussion were CPF savings and why they were withheld from retirees, HDB flats and how their prices have escalated, and ministers and why they are paid so exorbitantly while our elderly are made to clean tables and toilets.
Ms Chee, Head of the Women Democrats, said: “It was refreshing to see so many SDP women taking part in the discussion. Women engaged in in-depth political debate in Singapore is all too rare.”
The Women Democrats of the SDP are looking to change this as they get more involved in the party’s activities and plan for an exciting agenda in 2012. If you’d like to join the WD at our next get-together, please email us at [email protected]