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Template:Use British English Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox candidate Template:Chinese name Template:Chinese Nicole Rebecca Seah Xue Ling[1] (born 17 October 1986) is a Singaporean politician. She was a National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate for the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (Marine Parade GRC) in the 2011 Singaporean general election.[2] At 24 she was the youngest female candidate standing in the election[3] and immediately became a target of media attention, which became increasingly pronounced as her speeches began to go viral on YouTube. During the election, she was described as the second most popular politician online, after Lee Kuan Yew.[4]

BackgroundEdit

Seah studied at CHIJ Katong Convent, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College.[1] She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) degree from the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she was also part of the University Scholars' Programme. She works as an executive at Starcom MediaVest Group, a brand communications company.[5]

Seah has been involved in community activities and volunteering since secondary school. Her interest in politics was sparked by a meeting with a destitute woman, who – despite having a roof over her head – had no money for food, and was completely dependent on handouts from charity. While in NUS, she was the managing editor of an online publication called the Campus Observer.[6]

Before the 2011 general election, Seah was involved with the Reform Party since 2009, but left in early February 2011 along with many other party members. She was invited to join the NSP by Goh Meng Seng, then the NSP's secretary-general.[7]

2011 general electionEdit

Seah was announced as a member of the five-person NSP team contesting in the Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 Singaporean general election on 21 April 2011. This was the first time an opposition party had contested this GRC since 1992. This was several weeks after the PAP announced that their five-person team contesting Marine Parade GRC would include 27-year old Tin Pei Ling, leading to immediate media attention to the contest of two young women, both contesting parliament seats for the first time.[2] Tin had been facing online criticism since her candidature was announced, and – partially in response to Tin's positioning – Seah's popularity has grown tremendously, according to Jon Russell of Asia Sentinel, who added that "her popularity [is] testament to many choosing her as their preferred 'youth' candidate in the election".[8] Her popularity has been referred to as "rockstar"-like by The Straits Times.[9]

PeopleTemplate:Who have commented that Seah appears to upstage other members of the NSP and of her constituency team. On 27 April, Goh Chok Tong, former prime minister and Seah's opponent from the People's Action Party (PAP) team, complained that "I look at NSP and they appear to have only one person in charge and the four men are leaving it to the young lady to campaign and say all the things".[10] The party is also referred to as the "Nicole Seah Party". Seah responded, "The NSP is all about teamwork. There are many different areas that everyone can contribute and that's how we synergise and bring our talents together to the table."[11]

Despite national popularity, Seah's team captured only 43.35% of the vote and did not manage to wrest Marine Parade GRC from the PAP in the 2011 election. Nevertheless, this was seen as a huge achievement as the incumbent PAP had won 72.9% of the vote in the last election, which was the 1992 by-election. Also, the PAP team was helmed by a popular former Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. Indeed the PAP's winning percentage was lower than the national PAP average. Goh later gave his thoughts on the election result in an interview with the Straits Times in which he stated that he had expected better results and cited Seah as a factor for the NSP's good showing.[12]

ControversyEdit

Seah lodged a police report against PAP candidate Tin Pei Ling for breach of the state-mandated cooling-off period 24 hours before polls.[13] It was subsequently revealed that she had also allegedly committed the same offence.[14] The police issued a stern warning to Tin and Seah for the offense. [15] Under the Singapore Parliamentary Elections Act,[16] canvassing on Polling Day and Cooling Off Day is prohibited and the offence carries a fine or imprisonment or both.

After the election, Seah made an online appeal for donations for her campaign on her Facebook account, sparking off a debate on whether it is appropriate.[17] On 23 May 2011, the NSP issued a public clarification statement and supported her actions.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Script error
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
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  4. Seah is S'pore's 2nd most popular politician online, Straits Times, 26 April 2011, accessed on 15 May 2012
  5. Script error
  6. Template:Cite episode
  7. Script error
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. Script error
  11. Script error
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  13. Script error
  14. Script error
  15. Script error
  16. Template:Singapore legislation
  17. Script error
  18. http://nsp.sg/2011/05/23/nsp-statement-on-donations/

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