PAP member Josephus Tan debunks talk of him running for elections

Lawyer Josephus Tan, 36, looks more like a metal rocker than a political candidate.

Yet social media has been abuzz with talk of him being a potential candidate for the ruling party.

But Mr Tan stressed that "it's pure speculation".

He told The New Paper that the buzz was triggered by his "participation in some of the grassroots activities at Choa Chu Kang".

"I was distributing the SG Funpacks with Mr Gan Kim Yong and also attended the chit-chat and 'makan' sessions," he said.

He has been taking part in the activities in Choa Chu Kang constituency over the last seven weeks, just as he did in Chong Pang constituency over the last 2½ years.

"I help out at the Meet-the-People Sessions, giving pro bono legal advice to residents," said Mr Tan, who was called to the Bar in May 2009.

He has clocked over 5,000 hours of pro bono work over six years.

The pro bono cases he takes up are often to help juvenile offenders - something that Mr Tan knows well.

He was a teen gangster, his bad drinking habits often landing him in trouble. His life-changing moment came when he was 22, after he flew into an alcoholic rage.

"I nearly threw my girlfriend off the balcony but my father wrestled me to the ground and slapped me twice," he said.

"That woke me up. It was my best of times, also my worst of times."

His father died of multiple cancers two years ago.

"I went to Phuket to grieve soon after he died," said Mr Tan.

"That was where I tattooed two line from his favourite song, Nella Fantasia, on my forearms.

"'Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere' which is Italian for 'I dream of souls that are always free' and 'Pien' d'umanità in fondo all'anima' which means 'Full of humanity in the depths of the soul'."

For his help in Chong Pang, Mr Tan was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who is also a Member of Parliament for the ward.

And last month, Mr Tan received the Singapore Youth Award for his significant contributions to society.

Since moving to Choa Chu Kang, Mr Tan has been documenting his "adventures" on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

"I think, by doing so, it has also generated a lot of speculation that perhaps I might be a potential candidate for the ruling party," he said, adding that he is a member of the People's Action Party.

"But I would like to put on record that I have not been formally invited to run for the upcoming general election, so the news that I might be doing so is purely speculative."

This article was first published on August 7, 2015.
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