My entire news feed was flooded with news about Singapore’s finance minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat’s sudden stroke and like many Singaporeans, I was floored. Slightly worried too, even though I am overseas.
As a former reporter in Singapore, I had many opportunities to rub shoulders with Singapore’s politicians and Heng Swee Keat was one of the few. I’ve always had a good impression of Heng Swee Keat, and he is one of my favourite politician from the fourth generation of leaders.
I think this is because he exudes a hardworking, sincere and slightly dorky vibe. The slightly nerdy and dorky vibe is really what that nailed it for me, cos such people are usually not fake, as they are not polished enough.
One thing about politicians is that they like to make conversation with reporters , and some can really engage in great small talk, making the reporter feel flattered and happy. But I’ve never really been one to care a lot about politicians chatting with me, because I don’t genuinely think the politician will be interested in me haha. I am very realistic. So I actually prefer people who cannot make small talk to people who can make small talk very well. And Heng Swee Keat is one such example.
Actually I do remember seeing Heng Swee Keat make small talk with reporters too, and it was quite unsuccessful. LOL. Because I can tell that he is not really such a person. He is probably more of a serious, hardworking, sincere, behind-the-scene person. And I like such people. Such politicians make me trust them more.
I remember there was once when I attended an event and Heng Swee Keat waved to me from a short distance away but I never responded as I never saw it. Then he walked closer to wave right in front of my face. I thought it was a cute gesture. Slightly dorky but cute.
This time round, when I read news that he suffered from a stroke, I felt quite worried. Worried not cos I know him personally, but because I read about his heavy workload and I think it is really saddening if Singapore loses a capable leader because he was overworked and suffered a stroke!
Most importantly, stroke often causes physical impairment and I really do not wish to see a sincere and capable leader lose bodily functions. Somehow leaders are not supposed to look weak in front of the citizens and I can’t quite bear the thought of seeing a leader looking vulnerable and weak. Not just so, he is just in his 50s, considered to be in his prime, and slated for big things in the future. He still has a wife and two children depending on him. I can imagine how big a shock it must be for his family.
From the news reports, it appears that his stroke is quite serious. I really hope that he can make a full or near-full recovery within one year, and just concentrate on getting better. Health is always more important than work.