Monday, February 18, 2013

18 February 2009

It has been four years since I officially joined the Workers' Party on 18 February 2009. It was a Wednesday night. At that time, whenever a person wants to join WP, he typically has to clear the final hurdle of membership, which was a one-on-one interview with Mr Low Thia Khiang. The interview was usually held at his MPS once he sees all his residents.

The interview was more of a session for Mr Low to get to know every member-to-be, and to simply get a feel of the person. Typically, the member-to-be would have volunteered for WP for a period of time and has gotten an existing member to support his membership.

I had never met Mr Low in person before. I had only seen him on TV. So I felt very awe-struck and honoured to get the chance to sit down and have a one-on-one chat with him. I was just a 25-year-old SMU student at that time.

He asked the usual get-to-know-you questions like what I was doing, about my family, where I lived, why I wanted to join. 

And what has stayed in my heart until today was what he shared with me knowing that I was still young. He told me (and I'm paraphrasing a little): "Take care of your studies, your job, and your family first. And when you can take care of your personal life, you can take care of the party and then the country."

This showed me, at that very early stage, that the WP, through the words of Mr Low, is a party that cares for the personal well-being of its members. That the party understands that behind every member is a family, a job that feeds the family, and a life of his own. That has been something which has remained true till today.

That story is one which I would share with every would-be volunteer or member who asks me "What if I cannot commit every day or every week to the party?"

That is just one story out of many which I can share. But that's for another day.

Four years have passed. The party has given me opportunities to learn and grow. I have taken those opportunities with humility, no matter how small those opportunities may seem. With every opportunity that I experienced, I have learned to appreciate better the way the party works, understand better the reasons behind the decisions that it makes, and get to know better the people in the party.

For those of you have just begun your journey as a volunteer or a member, look back at your first day and what motivated you to take that first step. Because remembering the story of how you began will help you keep going and ensure that your efforts are sustainable for the long term.

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