It’s love at first sight for Minister Lim Swee Say and his wife

Lim's wife reluctantly agreed to him entering politics.

Martino Tan | December 17, 2014 @ 08:53 am


Who says romance is dead in Singapore?

On the second episode of ‘Hear Me Out’, a talk show on Mediacorp‘s Channel 8 last Sunday, Minister Lim Swee Say gave a personal testament on love and family that no Social Development Network, baby bonus, or SG50 baby gifts could buy.

The Secretary-General of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) told hosts Bryan Wong and Lin Pei Fen that it was love at first sight when Lim met his wife.

Lim is married to Elaine Cheong, a software engineer and computer sales manager who gave up her career to take care of their daughter and son.

This is the wedding photo he shared with Lin:


We will let Lim tell you his love story:

Lim: “You can say it was love at first sight”.

Lim: “My classmate wanted to celebrate his birthday”.

Lim: “He was looking for a venue for his birthday party”.

Lim: “So I let him use my house for his party”.

Lim: “I met my wife that night”

Lim: “Her friend brought her to the birthday party”.

Lim: “I saw her when I opened the door”.

Lim: “I said ‘Hi’.”

Lim: “She said ‘Hi’, so…”

Bryan Wong: “And you ‘sabo’ (害) each other.”

Lim: “Yes. Yes”.

His wife also played an important role in Lim entering politics. For Lim wouldn’t have become a politician if she did not reluctantly agree to it in the first place.

Lim recounted that it was then DPM Lee Hsien Loong who asked him to consider entering politics.

“I told him (PM Lee) I would consider, but I need to ask my wife for her agreement.”

“When I highlighted this issue to my wife later,”

“My wife stayed silent.”

“After waiting for a few weeks,”

“DPM Lee chased and reminded me”

“And wanted an answer”.

“Hence, I asked my wife.”

“I asked whether she had thought it through properly”.

“In that case, my wife said”

“She said she agreed. She agreed too.”

“But her eyes were full of tears when she agreed.”

“At that time, I was worried.”

“I said, if you agree,”

“Why do you have tears in your eyes?”

“She said, ‘I agreed because I felt that'”

“it was a good thing if you could contribute more.”

“‘Therefore, I agreed’, she said.”

“At the same time, I (Lim’s wife) knew”

“Currently, the time we spent with you is already very little”.

“After you enter politics,”

“our family will be seeing even less of you.”

“That is the reason why I shed my tears.”

“She said, ‘Okay. Go enter politics and try your best'”.

“But remember, the most important thing is not to forget this family”.


In the hour-long interview, Wong and Lin posed tough questions to Lim about the minimum wage, on why Lim don the Zorro mask, on whether he would contest at East Coast GRC and who would be his successor at NTUC.

Lim Swee Say tv


Source: Lim Swee Say Facebook


Lim to contest at East Coast GRC

Lin, who is a Y.E.S. 93.3FM DJ, said that the next general election (GE) would be a “critical examination”, with East Coast GRC as a focal point. Lin said that the vote share at East Coast GRC was the second lowest for the PAP and asked whether Lim would be contesting there.

Lim said that he would definitely be contesting at the East Coast GRC in the next GE. He said that he had been at East Coast for the past three years and developed a good relationship with the residents there.

His reason for contesting at East Coast?

As Lim got to know East Coast better, he said he found more ways to improve East Coast.  He added that he preferred to try his best rather than worry about East Coast GRC being a “tough fight”.

NTUC leadership succession

On NTUC leadership succession, Wong told Lim that everyone is interested to know who his successor would be. This is because Lim would step down as labour chief when he turns 62 in July 2016.

Lim said that the time is not ripe to reveal his successor.

Wong continued to prod Lim, saying that it was only two years before he had to step down as labour chief. Wong said that Lim probably had a few successors in mind.

Lim told Wong that he would reveal that his successors are all younger than him. Lin interjected and asked about the gender of his successor.

Lim replied that he had both males and females candidates in mind.

Wong asked whether there are more than five successors. Lim replied no.

Wong asked whether there were fewer than three successors. Lim laughed and said he didn’t know.

Earlier last week, PM Lee responded to questions from reporters at the end of his Korean trip on who will be the next NTUC chief. PM Lee said it would be made known “before the end of next year”.

Citing four first-term Cabinet ministers – Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan-Jin, Heng Swee Keat and Lawrence Wong – PM Lee said that a number of Ministers have been involved in better understanding the NTUC.


You can watch the full interview on Toggle.

Top photo from Lim Swee Say Facebook.

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About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the words of George Orwell & William F. Buckley Jr., & the music of the Beatles.

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