Drinks stall worker surprised by pineapple from presidential hopeful Tharman

Presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam wishing drinks stall worker Ng Boon Ping well with a pineapple – his campaign logo. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): As he braced himself for snaking long queues from the lunchtime crowd, drinks stall worker Ng Boon Ping did not think he would be handed a pineapple from a possible president of Singapore.

Presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam was making his rounds at Lau Pa Sat on Thursday (Aug 24)and mingling with those having lunch in the Central Business District.

He decided to wish Ng well with a pineapple – his campaign logo.

The 68-year-old Ng, who has been working at Lau Pa Sat for 20 years, said: “I’m very happy to get the pineapple from him. I want to cut it up for everyone to eat.”

Speaking to the media during his walkabout, Tharman was asked what he thought of fellow presidential candidate Ng Kok Song’s comment on Thursday morning that it would be “very difficult for the president to discharge his responsibilities in an objective way if he has too close a relationship to the prime minister”.

The former senior minister said that it depends entirely on the character of the person, their track record and what they are known for.

He said: “I think we have to think about this objectively based on the personal attributes of each of the candidates.

“Simple labels are not very useful when you are thinking of a leadership contest.”

Tharman, 66, spoke to patrons at the bustling lunch spot and posed for photos.

Some wished him well in his fight for the presidency.

Hearing the commotion, several workers from the stalls abandoned their stations and joined the crowd queueing for pictures with him.

Tharman said that his walkabouts have been rewarding.

He noted that general election walkabouts are different, as one can visit people in their homes.

He said: “When it comes to presidential elections, you can’t visit people at home all around the island.

“So, meeting them at hot spots like hawker centres and markets, and also organising dialogues with different groups, have been extremely rewarding and very engaging.”

When asked about his thoughts on online discussions regarding spoiling or boycotting votes, Tharman said this is an extremely important election for Singapore’s future.

“I think we should not look at it through a political lens,” he said.

“We are electing an individual, and we have to look at what the individual represents and has represented through their lives, and what they are bringing for the future.”

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