SINGAPORE: Singaporeans would prefer a chance to have both their President and his spouse be born in the country, Mr Tan Kin Lian claimed while speaking to reporters on Friday (Aug 25), before a walkabout at Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre.
With his wife Tay Siew Hong next to him, Mr Tan said: “I want to introduce her so that the people of Singapore will also have a choice of the ‘first lady’. There are three ‘first ladies’, so you can have a choice. My wife, like me, we were born in Singapore. We are blue-blooded Singaporeans.”
“Of course, we respect other people from other countries who come to Singapore to become citizens,” he added.
“But I think deep down, our locals would prefer at least a chance to have the President and the ‘first lady’ to be true Singaporeans from birth.”
The term “blue-blooded” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as an adjective describing someone from a royal or socially important family.
When asked to clarify what he defines as “blue-blooded”, Mr Tan told TODAY via WhatsApp: “Blue-blooded Singaporean typically refers to someone who comes from a long-standing and respected lineage within Singaporean society, often implying a strong connection to the country’s history, culture, and traditions.”
He added that the term might also be used “metaphorically to describe individuals who exhibit a deep and unwavering patriotism for Singapore”.
On his “first lady” comments, the presidential candidate appeared to be referring to the fiancee and wife of the other two candidates – former GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song and former senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Both women were not born in Singapore.
Mr Ng’s fiancee Sybil Lau was born in Canada. Mr Tharman’s wife Jane Yumiko Ittogi was born in Japan to a Singaporean Chinese mother and Japanese father who met in Singapore.
Mr Ng previously said that Ms Lau, 45, is a Singapore citizen and has been living in Singapore for 18 years. She started her career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and has been managing her family’s wealth since 2009.
Mrs Tharman has lived in Singapore since the age of three, attending local schools. She is in her late 60s and a lawyer by training.