GE2020 might be long over, but the heat doesn’t seem to subside. The notable speeches, politician antics, creative memes, and entertaining mobile stickers still dominate most table conversations.
In this election, we witnessed many young people stepping up, being keenly passionate about politics, and empathetic about the nation’s developments. One of the overnight sensations is Reform Party’s Charles Yeo, who was initially mocked for his poor mandarin on national television but gradually gained popularity despite losing in his contesting constituency.
We followed the developments of this young politician in reports and forums and know for sure that, though he lost the elections, he has, in many ways, won our hearts.
1. The Ho Ching defence
Ho Ching, the wife of PM Lee, who Yeo stood against in GE2020, defended the young politician on her Facebook post and commended him for his courage “on 2 counts”.
Ho described Yeo as having a “strong sense of responsibility” and urged netizens to remove any forms of parody that were intended to poke fun at him. We can laugh all we want but Ho has got Yeo’s back for his character—that really meant something.
2. He engages the Instagram crowd
Like our dear hypebeast Ah Gong, Mr. Tan Cheng Bock, he engaged the social media crowd with his responses on politics and his personal life.
Post elections, on 13 July 2020, Yeo engaged in an informal “Ask anything lol” questionnaire with his Instagram crowd—which again, was very brave of him as it could potentially expose him to more blunt or brutal questions.
3. Brutally honest about his Mandarin standards
As one would expect, someone asked Yeo about his Chinese oral exam grades. His response was as frank and authentic as anyone could be.
“A2 and distinction bro. […]
Shows that paper qualifications don’t mean shit.”
That revealed high self-awareness of his performance in the political broadcast and his humble acknowledgement between his sterling grades and the quality of his spoken mandarin.
4. Took one for the team
We all know Yeo for this—3 out of 5 of his teammates did not turn up for the live broadcasts, leaving him alone to deliver the Chinese speech on behalf of Reform Party.
When asked how he felt about the majority of his team’s absence, his reply was matter-of-fact.
“Hahahahah they all had valid reasons so just cover lor.”
If you haven’t checked out his mandarin speech, fast forward to 9:02 for the last 6 minutes of his mandarin speech where he struggled but took the bullet for the team.
5. He rejected Razer’s free gear
Who doesn’t want free stuff? Especially when the brand you personally align with is willing to sponsor you. Most people wouldn’t decline good stuff, but Yeo rejected Razer’s offer on principle.
In his commentary, he described himself as a self-professed “fairly hardcore gamer” for the “better part of my (him) life”.
So why did Yeo reject the attractive offer?
His explanation seems to be the perceived political allegiance the gaming company has with the ruling party. As a strong-willed opposition, he wants to “stay true to my (his) beliefs”.
6. 100% authentic and made in Singapore
Unlike the standard slate of political candidates who come out polished and rehearsed, Charles Yeo is a firm believer in being who he is. Check out his genuine response below.
Also, if you notice his responses on his mini social media questionnaire, the background seems to show fragments of his workstation—hole-puncher, part of his keyboard, floor with a foot, or random cables.
At this age of social media, where everyone focuses on virtual impression management, genuineness becomes a rare commodity.
This is a huge reason Yeo stood out and remained the talk of the town even post-elections.
7. Service to Singaporeans (maybe)
Being a criminal defence lawyer, Yeo offers “30 mins free consultation” to native Singaporeans—which he posted on his Instagram account.
However, we last verified and he has adjusted the criterion of the help to “the deserving”—meaning at his discretion. Don’t be dismayed if he doesn’t reply to your DMs.
8. Game for meeting people
Someone even commented that they have friends who are keen to meet Yeo and guess what, he is game for it!
It’s not every day we get a Charles Yeo in our midst. More so, a friendly politician who is willing to be part of your social gatherings. Looking forward to seeing you in the next election, Charles!
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