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Andrew Fong

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Andrew Fong
鄺摄治
Member of Parliament for Kampong Chai Chee and Stamford
In office
1963 (1963) – 1988 (1988)
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Culture
In office
1963 (1963) – 1972 (1972)
PresidentYusof Ishak
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byFirst appointment
Succeeded byInche' Sha'ari Tadin
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Labour
In office
1972 (1972) – 1980 (1980)
PresidentBenjamin Sheares
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded bySia Kah Hui
Succeeded byEugene Yap
Minister of State for Culture
In office
1980 (1980) – 1984 (1984)
PresidentDevan Nair
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Personal details
Born
Fong Sip Chee
NationalitySingaporean
Political partyPeople's Action Party (PAP)
OccupationPolitician, consultant

Andrew Fong, MAJ (SAF) (simplified Chinese: 邝摄治; traditional Chinese: 鄺摄治; pinyin: Kuàng Shè Zhì; 1938-1992), better known as Fong Sip Chee, was a Singaporean politician.

Early Life[edit]

Fong was born in Singapore in 1938, as the third of six siblings, two of whom passed away in early childhood.[1] His father, a Kuomintang cadre, was a professional accountant who ran a small rubber estate in Malaya.[2] The family emigrated to Singapore in the 1930s, running a business selling biscuits.[3] During the Japanese occupation, Fong helped run a stall with his parents selling sweet potato soup, and lived in what Fong described as a ‘downtown slum’.[3] He was enrolled in Catholic High School for two years, before he transferred to Beatty Secondary School.[3] He graduated with a Senior Cambridge General Certificate in 1957 and was employed with the Singapore Improvement Trust for a brief period of time.[3]

His first experience of politics was as a teenager, putting together a constitution for a small political union, writing circulars in Chinese and English.[3] He joined the People's Action Party in 1955, and attended the PAP Annual General Meeting in 1956.[3]

Political Career[edit]

Fong was first elected as a Member of Parliament of Stamford constituency in 1963,[4] and served until 1976 when the constituency was merged with Telok Ayer.[5] He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Culture for the first two terms of Parliament until 1972, before he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Labour for a further two terms. Following the elections in 1980, he was appointed Minister of State for Culture, stepping down from the role in 1984, though still remaining an MP. He was known for his wit and repartee in sittings, and crossed swords repeatedly with J. B. Jeyaretnam, a prominent opposition figure from the Reform Party.

Fong became popular and successful as MP for Stamford, and earned the nickname ‘rat-catcher’ for his work in the constituency.[6] In 1976, he was fielded as the PAP candidate for Kampong Chai Chee against J. B. Jeyaretnam. On election day in 1976, Jeyaretnam reportedly approached Fong on a walk-about in Chai Chee, remarking: “So, you are the rat catcher." To this, Fong replied: "I am going to have the best catch today." He won by a margin of 20%, and remained as MP for Kampong Chai Chee for another three terms before he retired in 1988.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fong read widely and was fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Malay, Hainanese, and Kek, among other Chinese dialects. He wrote two books in English, one titled The PAP Story,[8] which chronicled the early days of the PAP and its political activities leading to independence, and another titled The Language Question, on the development of Singlish.

Fong was a devout Christian. He married and had two sons. One, Arthur Fong, is a banker and former Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC.

Fong passed away on 6 December 1992 from lung cancer. He was 54.

References[edit]

  1. Oral History Interviews: Fong Sip Chee.
  2. Hagan, J and Wells, A (2005). The British and rubber in Malaya c. 1890-1940. University of Wollongong
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 n 1, above
  4. Wikipedia article, Results of the Singaporean general election, 1963
  5. Wikipedia article, Telok Ayer
  6. ""I thought that dawn had come to the political landscape of Singapore"". Inside Story. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  7. n 11, above
  8. Fong, Andrew. The PAP Story: The Pioneering Years. ISBN 9-78-997194101-7. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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