FARMER WANTS TO START WOMEN-ONLY POLITICAL PARTY

The men don't get it.
 
Farm owner Ivy Singh-Lim wants to start a political group called the Gentlewarrior's Party and only women need apply.
 
Citing the dearth of female leaders in the Cabinet and various industries, she told The New Paper: "(My party) will comprise all women. "I believe women are all honest and that's why very few of them can go into politics."
 
Her campaign is to "get rid of dishonest people, (including) the evil men and stupid women" who compromise principles and make excuses for their actions.
 
"When the rich don't love the country but love the pursuit of money, then we have a problem," she said.
 
"I'm worried that our country is heading in that direction.
 
"If you love your country, you'll speak up, no matter what."
 
The 65-year-old is counting on intelligent women to aid her quest, "not to overtake the Government but to add good values (such as courage and fairness) to the system".
 
"I'm not saying the entire system is bad," she added.
 
"But we need more younger people with good values to go into the system so that we can have a more honest leadership…
 
"People like us would dare to tell the ministers to read between the lines, listen to what we're trying to tell you."
 
Hence her proposal to author Catherine Lim to join her party, in July last year.
 
Ms Lim turned down the idea, citing an unsuitable temperament for entering political office.
 
She had told TNP previously: "If I join a party, they would boot me out in two months because I'm so opinionated, I won't go by consensus."
 
Dr Kanwaljit Soin, whom Mrs Singh-Lim named as another possibility, said: "I believe in being an active citizen, but entering a political party is not the way to do it."
 
Instead, Dr Soin, a former Nominated MP, preferred to work with civil organisations, write to the press and speak at conferences – spaces that "I can engage in and continue my passion, which is being a doctor".
 
At 40, Mrs Singh-Lim wanted to "make a difference to the country".
 
"I wanted to join the People's Action Party (PAP) then," she said. "I've always respected the PAP when I was young."
 
But her father died. She had to run the family business instead of running for office.
 
At 50, she planned to retire in Perth, but returned to Singapore after the death of her best friend's husband.
 
That was when she started Bollywood Veggies.
 
She called herself a gentlewoman farmer then.
 
Gentlewarrior
 
A friend suggested gentlewarrior as Mrs Singh-Lim's father was a Rajput warrior.
 
At 60, she thought again about political life, but a lower energy level meant she chose to concentrate on the farm.
 
She said: "I thought I was going to die at 60, but at 65, I'm still here and damn fit. So I thought it's time I start a party…and do something to rally the people."
 
When told about her plans, her husband, Mr Lim Ho Seng, 71, was convinced "I'll be the first woman to be caned in this country", she deadpanned.
 
"My husband knows that I'm fearless, not frightened of God, government or ghosts, which are all invented by men.
 
"I'm the fourth G, gentlewarrior."
 
Who is Ivy Singh-Lim
 
She is the owner of organic farm Bollywood Veggies in Lim Chu Kang.
 
The 65-year-old started the venture in 2001 with her husband, Mr Lim Ho Seng, former CEO of NTUC FairPrice supermarket chain.
 
They were married in 1982, less than a year after they first met.
 
The couple have no children. She has a stepdaughter from Mr Lim's previous relationship.
 
Born into a family of landowners, she is the only girl and "the most fiery" among four children.
 
On the Bollywood Veggies website, she said her morals were "infused from a blend of religions and philosophies handed down from her father", two Chinese mothers and a convent school upbringing.
 
A former president of Netball Singapore, she stepped down in 2005 after 13 years at the helm.
 
'Women may not vote for them'
 
One risk that a women's-only party faces is that it might alienate people.
 
Said Singapore Management University's law don Eugene Tan: "If they're looking at women's-only issues or have only women, they are likely to have very limited electorate appeal."
 
Dr Wong Wee Nam, who contested in the 1997 General Election under the National Solidarity Party line-up, added that "women may not necessarily vote for them".
 
Even so, Prof Tan said: "The nascent group may not seek to win seats, but it can certainly raise the profile of the issues it champions and generate awareness.
 
"The main parties are then compelled to look at these issues more closely."
 
Dr Wong said that while the political atmosphere is "better now", fledgling parties could end up as "guerillas".
 
"Their leadership may be unable to come together and form an alternative platform to provide contest to the ruling party," he said.
 
"With few ideological differences separating the various political parties now, the newer groups are also not distinct enough to stand out."
 
"If you want to make a difference, why not join a current party, improve on it and make changes from within?"
 
Q&A
 
Will you run as an independent if you can't get 10 people to register a political party?
 
It's very tough to get nine others who share exactly the same values. If I can register myself, Ivy Singh, as a political party, I would. So I'll be a one-woman political party.
 
What do you do now if you see something you don't like?
 
When I see something that I don't think is correct and something should be done, I'll write a letter to the ministry and the papers. I'll write to the ministers non-stop, help them and improve the system by giving them feedback first…
 
I'll write to the ministers gently but honestly.
 
What will you change in areas like health care?
 
Don't promote active ageing, promote active living.
 
I can't stand this active ageing… Promote active living from young so that every kid is a warrior like me, can swim, can fight, can box, can do everything.
 
Why should there be a retirement age? There should only be an age to take out our CPF money.
 
As long as I can work, why does the Government have to specify a retirement age?

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