Mr Gerald Giam will be a candidate for the Workers' Party in the 2020 General Election.

Mr Gerald Giam will be a candidate for the Workers' Party in the 2020 General Election.

Mr Gerald Giam, 42, first stepped into the political fray in the 2011 General Election as a candidate in East Coast GRC, where the Workers’ Party did well enough in a losing effort to see Mr Giam become a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament until 2015. 

He will be fielded in the upcoming General Election as a candidate in Aljunied GRC, which the Workers’ Party first won in 2011.

Mr Giam took a break from preparing for the GE to speak to Salt&Light about how his Christian faith has shaped his political journey.

How did your faith inform your decision to first step into the political fray?

When Queen Esther was contemplating whether to request an audience with the King as her people were facing the threat of genocide, even as she feared for her own life if she did, Mordecai advised her, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Eleven years ago, I applied to join the Workers’ Party because I felt a calling to play my part to help build up a strong and credible Opposition party. Of course, the fear for the welfare of my family was there, but I figured, if not me, others would step forward to serve — so why not me?

I placed this verse on my wall to remind myself every day of why I do this.

How has your faith helped you deal with what you’ve seen or experienced in the political arena?

There have been many times when fiery darts come our way, or election results were worse than hoped for. Disappointment sets in.

I think it is important that we establish our values and stick with them, and never abandon them for the sake of political expediency.

Politics is sometimes a lonely journey because there are sensitivities in sharing too much with others. There were times where I could only share my disappointments and fears with God and my wife.

But I have been refreshed each time I cry out to God.

Has your faith – values, disciplines, spiritual relationships – been challenged by the demands of politics?

I am grateful so far that nothing that I have been asked to do in politics has conflicted with my faith or the Word. Pray for me that it will stay that way!

I think it is important that we establish our values and stick with them, and never abandon them for the sake of political expediency.

However, the demands on my time have often led to me missing spiritual disciplines like reading the Word. I don’t think a lack of time should be an excuse though, so I try to do what’s most important first, when I wake up each morning.

How do you personally reconcile being part of an Opposition party with Scripture on submitting to authorities?

Before I got involved in politics, I remember a conversation with my life group leader at that time. I asked him this exact question.

The less fortunate in our society must find themselves better off after each election, not worse off.

He said that submitting to governing authorities as Paul exhorted in Romans 13 meant obeying the law of the land.

It did not mean not questioning policies in the interest of the community or not joining a political organisation other than the ruling party.

In fact, I strongly believe that participating in politics, regardless of political stripes, is an act of worship to God, if it is done for the right reasons.

I believe God looks at the hearts of individual men and women, not at the slogans of political parties.

How have those in your Church responded to your time in politics?

I’ve been with my current church, Every Nation Church, for over 20 years. My friends and pastors knew me long before I entered politics. They have been a wonderful source of support.

I even requested several of them to form my prayer shield. They have been praying for me and sending me verses from Scripture, which I have found a great source of encouragement.

Moving into the upcoming elections, what do you see as being one key issue Christians should consider?

I think Christians – as with all Singaporeans – should look beyond tribal loyalties and examine the issues facing Singapore in the year ahead.

A key group that Christians must remember when making their choice at the polls are the low income and people with disabilities. This is what the Apostles asked Paul to do in Galatians 2:10. The less fortunate in our society must find themselves better off after each election, not worse off.

When the people voice out their concern for the voiceless, politicians of all stripes will be forced to take notice.

 

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About the author

Edric Sng

Edric was a news editor across digital, newspaper and TV newsrooms in Singapore before he gave it all up to become Editor of Salt&Light and Thir.st. He's a father to four, and husband to one.

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