Do looks matter in elections?

By Tay Shi'An

SHE had lovely flowing hair, make-up and her good side showing. That was the picture her party sent out to the media.

But National Solidarity Party's (NSP) Nicole Seah, 24, turned up at yesterday's press conference looking, well, different.

The make-up was light and her hair was pulled back tightly.

Someone asked, are you just another pretty face?

Female candidates to watch
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP, ZB, BH, PAP, NSP)

In short, she wants to be taken seriously.

Miss Seah shot back without hesitation: "If you think I'm just another pretty face, read my Facebook updates, read my articles, read the interviews I've done and judge for yourself."

It's inevitable that she's compared with the People's Action Party's (PAP) Tin Pei Ling, 27.

Both are good-looking young women, their respective party's youngest candidates and standing as part of aGRC team in Marine Parade.

At the NSP press conference yesterday announcing its five candidates for Marine Parade, Ms Seah, who was on the right of secretary- general Goh Meng Seng, was the obvious star.

The media fired questions comparing the two women from every angle. Even such cheeky ones as: "What is your greatest regret?" and "What bag do you carry?"

But the advertising executive, an NUS graduate, refused to be drawn into comparisons.

She said: "Sorry, I'm not interested in that kind of question... There are more pressing national issues to address at hand."

But the Tin Pei Ling questions just kept coming.

Question: Like "the other young candidate", do you have the experience and ability to relate, especially to older residents?

Another reporter was more blunt. Why become a candidate now? We did not hear about you before Ms Tin was announced.

Ms Seah's response: She has been involved in opposition politics for two years.

She was part of the exodus from the Reform Party in February.

It was at a joint opposition event two years ago that she first met NSP's Mr Goh.

After the exodus - but before Ms Tin was introduced as a candidate - he messaged Ms Seah on Facebook, inviting her to join NSP.

Ms Seah said her "first political awakening" came in 2003, when she was a 17-year-old junior college student.

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