Friday, 7 September 2007

Lim Chin Siong, the man who was nearly our PM - Part 1

Lim Chin Siong, 林清祥 (28 Feb 1933 - 5 Feb 1996) was an influential left-wing politician and trade union leader in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Telok Ayer Street, Lim studied first in JB, before entering Singapore's Catholic High School and The Chinese High School in 1949 and 1950 respectively.

He was later expelled from school for engaging in activities in the Anti-British League.

Lim’s influence in politics stemmed from his union work as a paid organiser of the Singapore Bus Workers Union and the Singapore Factory and Shop Workers Union.

With his strength in Chinese oratory which was a critical factor for tapping the support of the Chinese-speaking masses, he was recruited into the PAP by Lee Kuan Yew.

Having joined the PAP in 1954, Lim's popularity raised rapidly and he became the leader of Chinese workers, trade unions and Chinese middle school students in the 1950s. He was slim, youthful, dedicated, and had a handsome boyish face. Being able to speak fluently in Hokkien among the chinese was legendary.

At a very young age of 22, he was elected into the legislative assembly in 1955 and together with LKY, represented the PAP in 1956 in London for the Constitutional talks.

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