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'You are going to blow my private life apart': Ng Kok Song opens up about fiancee Sybil's concerns over his presidential bid

'You are going to blow my private life apart': Ng Kok Song opens up about fiancee Sybil's concerns over his presidential bid
Ng Kok Song and his fiancee, Sybil Lau, posing with supporters at Chong Pang Market and Food Centre on Saturday (Aug 26) morning.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Since announcing his bid for the presidency, the lives of former GIC investment chief Ng Kok Song and his fiancee, Sybil Lau, have come under much public scrutiny.

It seems that Lau had already anticipated this. 

Earlier on, she raised the possibility of her quiet life being upended and thrust into the glaring spotlight when Ng, 75, told her that he was going to run for public office. 

Ng revealed this during a dialogue session organised by the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) on Friday (Aug 25) evening, where he shared his considerations before making the decision to throw his name into the ring. 

After consulting his friends and contemporaries about the matter, the final person he spoke to was the 45-year-old Lau. 

Lau turned "quiet for quite a while" upon hearing the news, he recounted.

"And she said, 'Do you know that if you were to stand for president, you are going to blow my private life apart? You realise that you and I are going to undergo considerable scrutiny.'" 

She added: "Our private life is really nobody's business, but when you are standing for the presidency everybody makes it their business." 

'Prepared to endure': Lau

Despite her concerns, Lau eventually told Ng that if he felt "strongly" about contesting the election, she would be "prepared to endure" what they would have to go through. 

"I will support you fully if you decide to stand for the presidency," she said. 

Replying to the moderator's comment about how Lau was the last person that Ng approached instead of the first, Ng said jokingly: "Your wife always has the last say." 

Ng also spoke more about his fiancee during his walkabout at Chong Pang Market and Food Centre on Saturday morning. 

When asked during a doorstop interview if he was helping Lau to "build a good impression", Ng confidently said: "I don't have to help Sybil build up a good impression. Sybil is here today. You can meet her. You can talk to her. You can take photographs with her and find out the person she is." 

He further elaborated: "When you say you build a good impression, it means 'look good'. We don't have to look good, we want to be good."

Ng also fielded a question regarding fellow candidate Tan Kin Lian's comment about how voters would 'prefer a chance to have' a Singapore-born President and spouse. 

Tan, 75, said this during his walkabout at Senja Food Centre on Thursday, and brought up the topic again during his visit to Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre the following day.

"Of course, we respect other people from other countries who come to Singapore to become citizens," Tan said then. 

“But I think deep down, our locals would prefer at least a chance to have the President and the 'first lady' to be true Singaporeans from birth." 

Lau gave up her Canadian citizenship

Responding to Tan's comments, Ng said today that several of Singapore's former office holders including former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee and former Finance Minister Hon Sui Sen were in fact born in Malaysia. 

"Singapore is very fortunate. We have Singaporeans, but we have people who have come from outside Singapore who admire Singapore, and who want to be citizens of Singapore. That is good," he said. 

He continued: "I think if you look at the history of our leaders in Singapore, we should welcome people from other nationalities who want to come and live in Singapore to take up citizenship and contribute to the welfare of Singapore, either in political office, in presidential office or as citizens." 

Lau was born in Canada, and moved to Asia 20 years ago. She lived in Malaysia and China, and moved to Singapore 18 years ago. 

Deciding that she wanted to live in Singapore "for the rest of her life", she gave up her Canadian citizenship and became a Singaporean. 

Former Senior Minister Tharman Shanugaratnam's wife, Jane Ittogi, was born to a Japanese father and a Singaporean mother. She has lived in Singapore since she was three. 

READ ALSO: Presidential candidate Ng Kok Song hopes to win over voters with trust and sincerity

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