Women behind the men

By Chai Hung Yin

The woman behind one of the presidential candidates, Dr Tony Tan, remains elusive.

Not much has been written publicly about Dr Tan's wife, Madam Mary Chee Bee Kiang, 70 (right, with Dr Tan).

And Dr Tan's office declined this paper's request to interview her, with a spokesman replying via e-mail: "We will not be participating in this project as we believe before Singaporeans is the election of a President..."

What is known:

In a televised speech last Thursday night, Dr Tan revealed that they both met in university. In 1964, they tied the knot.

But deadly race riots that year caused curfews to be imposed and they could not hold their wedding dinner.

A year later, in 1965, Madam Chee gave birth to their first child, a boy, two weeks before Singapore became independent.

Madam Chee was reportedly a teacher then.

After she gave birth to their second son in 1969, she became a full-time housewife. They went on to have a daughter and another son.

Their sons are now aged 46, 42 and 35, while their daughter is 38 years old.

Dr Tan and Madam Chee are reported to have five grandchildren.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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