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Date [ 2012-04-24, 13:05 ]
 Tanjong pagar GRC PAP GROUP 

(Singapore=Koreanpress) by John Kim = Exclusive Interview : Tanjong pagar  GRC,  DR LILY NEO’S  Stand  on diffent Cultures and traditions,
  such as  Korean, Her Impression on Food and Fashion 
  She Acquired   Knowledge  about her son  in  law  who is Korean national. is facing
  tough challenges  and resolutions relating to the elderly, 
  A Champion and ativist  against poverty.
  A Beloved  mother to her grown up kid's and A dutiful wife.
  A Doctor to all races and  a one of a kind political physician.

Dr. Lily Neo,  an MB Bch graduate at  Royal College of Surgeons University of Ireland,  has as her motto  “right mindset and seeing problems as challenges ahead.  A woman of knowledge  and  power,  she is a sympathetic leader and a champion against the fight of poverty for her people.  A  medical and healthcare specialist  for Kreta Ayer. She still currently practices at the Women’s Clinic. Dr. Lily  has her opinion on different aspects of progress during her term as a Member  of the Parliament with constituency being Jalan Besar.

Besides being a mother to her kids and acting as a dutiful wife,  Doctor Lily has taken so much effort  in providing  thorough substantial needs  to her  mature patients. This is done via her healthcare group which is (CARE),  Center of Activity for Retired and Elderly. During her term of office she fought strongly for the low Income family earner. So strong was her resolve to eradicate poverty among the very low income group that she became their “Voice.” This was very evident between 2008-2009 and covered those Singaporeans who were so poor that they could only afford one meal a day.  She also began a campaign to fight flu in the Kreta Ayer area. At the same time she was an immensely popular figure in China Town.  No wonder then that she was dearly loved by all, being not only a dedicated physician but also a caring politician.

Being a mother-In –law to a Korean national, she has learnt to love Korean ways. It is also touching to note that she has developed a real love for her son-In-law, who unfortunately  was absent during the family Interview  on April 13th 2012  at the Claymore Hill American Club Singapore  with our very own  Head Journalist John Kim Kyoung Tae. He happens to coincidentally have the same name as Dr. Lily’s son-In-law.  However, the doctor’s two children, Elvin and Elaine were present during this after-lunch family Interview.  The Neo family gave Mr. Kim, Managing Director of Korean Press, the warmest of welcome for the Interview which lasted close to an hour and a half.


Dr. Lily had mentioned they are all doctors. This perhaps should not be surprising as the couple themselves had already laid down a medical foundation in the family. Still it must be pointed out, that both Elaine and Elvin were not cohered into medicine. 
The good doctor went on to mention her loved for Korean food. So much so, she will very soon open up her very own Korean restaurant. She is highly appreciative  of Korean cuisine, adding not only was it tasty but also carried a lot of nutrition which is good for her family and others too.  Touching on the Laws of Singapore, she appealed for more flexibility on the foreign workers’ quota Issues. Dr.Lily felt an increased flexibility would not affect the stability of local workers. She has already begun laying the ground work on  this delicate matter.  The doctor has plans to discus the issue with her fellow MPs, perhaps in the late quarter of 2012 or even sooner.

What is the current upcoming event at Tanjong Pagar Area, or any of your current  on going campaign?

The next upcoming event will be the Mid-Autumn Festival, This is an important cultural event of the Chinese calendar. During this annual festival, relatives and friends strengthen their bonds by visiting each other”s homes, presenting each other moon-cakes, eating the cakes together and drinking Chinese tea This festival will be celebrated in a big way in Chinatown which is part of  the Tanjong Pagar GRC. It will be a 3-week eventl with streets lit-up, parades, stage shows, a night bazaar, street stalls, lantern making and a mass lantern walk.

Tanjong Pagar is called Little Korea according to local sources in the media,  and the vast majority of Singaporeans Many Koreans consider it to have some of the best restaurants, spas and other Korean attractions. How true is this and is Tanjong  Pagar the only Korean enclave in Singapore? 

Though there are certainly other neighborhoods with Korean establishments, As far as I know, Tanjong Pagar has the highest concentration of them. So I believe the name is appropriate. 


Kindly give us some advice on how Korean nationals should have the best  harmonious relationship with local Singaporeans, while at the same time make Singaporean have a better perspective and understanding of us Koreans.  How do you feel about this kind of challenge?

I feel many Singaporeans have a fascination with Korea in part because of the popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas. So in relation to people from many other countries, Koreans already have an advantage when building relationships with Singaporeans. I think good relations generally come from mutual respect and shared experiences, so my advice would be to spend time with and show respect to people when building harmonious relations with them.

How much do you  know about Korean culture and  we understood from our  source that your daughter is married to a Korean citizen .  How is your relationship with him so far?

Though I wouldn't consider myself an expert, I am certainly much more familiar with Korean culture now that my daughter Elaine married John who is a Korean American. We have a great relationship as he is passionate and principled, yet relaxed and easy to get along with. Actually he was Elaine’s first Korean boyfriend and we approved of him more than any of her prior boyfriends! I'm also blessed to have great Sadon nims, whom we have visited several times in Seoul.

Do you have some favorable and not so favorable likes about Korean people..?

My experience has been that Koreans are passionate, self sacrificial and extremely hard working people. John told me once about how, during the Asian Financial Crisis, Koreans were melting down priceless gold family heirlooms to help the country stabilize its reserves. This unity and like mindedness is quite inspiring and something we strive for in Singapore as well.

Though I wouldn't call it a dislike, I suppose every strength can also be a weakness at times. Like mindedness can also lead to an insular society that is less tolerant of outsiders. But as Korea modernizes and more Koreans spend time abroad, I think that becomes less of a concern than it used to be.

What kind of Korean food you like best and is there any particular craving that you might have? 

I like anything healthy so I'm quite a fan of Korean food in general, but it’s safe to say I like the ginseng chicken more than the fried chicken. Actually my daughter and son in law are working on opening a healthy "well being" Korean restaurant here in Singapore. So you can taste my favorites there when it opens.

What is your motto in life?

Many Koreans may not be familiar with the details of my work, but for the past 15 years as an MP and all my years as a doctor I have focused on helping people, particularly the needy. I feel very blessed for what God has given me and it's my responsibility to give back to those around me.

How  many years have you been in parliament and and how many years have you been inTanjong Pagar as a Member of Parliament?

I have been an MP since 1997 (15 years now). But I have only become an MP for Tanjong Pagar since the last elections in May 2011.

Kindly give comment on the Korean community here. Also how best to attract investors?

The Singapore Government has a number of agencies set up to help business people and investors here. The Economic Development Board, the Singapore Tourism Board and Spring Singapore are just a few examples of places one might go to, depending on the nature of the business. I believe the South Korean Embassy here would also have some resources. There are also many Koreans who have lived in Singapore for many years, run businesses and understand how to navigate the environment here (my son in law is one example). Seeking advice from these people is probably the best way to help Korean investors familiarize themselves with Singapore.

Korean investors find the current manpower restrictions viz, foreign workers irksome, such as getting the e-pass, a sparse quota of 4cpf contr. We also find difficulty in hiring local translators so have to look towards Korea for this. Also locals do not  want to work extra or long hours. All this is a deterrent to possible incoming investors.

I  agree, the American Club itself is a good example where the local have manpower has now shrunk  to half what it was before.   This has become a local problem with the quota affecting  not only foreign companies. I have plans to discuss this problem and will appeal to the government.  As I gave stated, laws in Singapore should be more flexible and be adaptive to changes.



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