Paul Tambyah explains what motivated him to become a politician

He explains why.

Nyi Nyi Thet | July 07, 2020, 09:19 PM

Paul Tambyah is one of Singapore's top disease expert.

In fact, he will be appointed President of International Society of Infectious Diseases in 2022.

Tambyah is also chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Tambyah: I'm basically an activist

Tambyah is contesting as an SMC candidate for the first time.

He is the SDP candidate for Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency (SMC).

So what motivated him to join politics?

That was one of the questions, 20 in total, for him during an interview with Mothership, here is his response:

"I'm basically an activist, and I think that's the thing about SDP, SDP is made up, someone said, not really of members, but believers.

You can try and fix a problem medically, but it doesn't make sense if you don't address the underlying societal issues. There's a book called the art of advocacy in Singapore that was put together by Constance Singam and a couple of other people.

it involved interviews with various advocates in civil society in Singapore. And what is striking is at least five of them tell this story about a group of people who are working to rescue babies who are drowning in a river.

It says these people set up these projects they rescue these babies who are drowning in a river, but then nobody stops to think why are these babies in the river in the first place.

And then they realise that somebody upstream who's throwing babies in the river, and then people say let's go in there and stop the guy from throwing the babies in the river and then they say "no no no no", let's just concentrate on saving the babies trying to do a good job, bring them out of the river, give them warm give them clothing give them food, things like that.

And somebody stops and says, Look, you've got to deal with the underlying problems.

So I believe that the underlying problem in healthcare, is that Singapore, like the United States has a very profit driven approach to healthcare healthcare is seen as an industry, not as a basic human right, which it is in the Scandinavian countries or in Australia, or in Taiwan, or even in Korea for healthcare is seen as a basic human right.

Every citizen has a right to the basic standard of health care, and life saving healthcare they shouldn't have to sell their home just to pay for their health care, or to go into debt or face bankruptcy.

So that's the reason why I got into politics because I think Singapore, can do better. We have the resources we have the people, and it's just that we need to get the politics right. Thank you."

Look out for Tambyah's full video interview with Mothership later tonight.