The Battle of the Army Generals turned Politicians

The post by PM Lee about Minister Tan Chuan-Jin had definitely generated some curious (kaypoh) speculations. Naturally, these speculations turned from curious to blatant nonsensical lies where they claimed that Minister Chan Chun Sing was ‘gloating’ over the announcement. On that note, it is natural to compare both of them as they both left the army to join politics around the same time. But the saying goes, everyone’s pathway to success is different. 

1. Branding

For Chuan-Jin, he has built up a personal brand. Mention his name and I guarantee you will think of a soldier, a sportman (esp runner) and an advocate for social causes especially children and elderly. He also helped push for unwed mothers to get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, instead of eight weeks. He is also a Liverpool and Star Wars fans from just looking at his Facebook posts.

For Chun Sing, he is more guarded about his personal life, which allows him to blend into a variety of roles from NTUC to PA, both organisations which can allow for mass mobilisation of its members. And oh, he supports Everton. 

2. Leadership Style

For Chuan-Jin, at his doorstop that evening after PM’s post, gave an excellent response to the question about not being seen as part of the 4G leadership. Not many can carry the response but he brings authenticity to the response below. He is definitely not focused on himself but for the greater good. 

“Well, there are many different roles, and many different pathways, that we all need to take. I would say that we are all in the same direction, we are all running the same race. The end outcome we are all working towards is all to make things better for Singaporeans, and to make things better for Singapore.”

For Chun Sing, he shared in an interview recently that he is aware of the stereotype of not being suited in a civilian environment where it is not as hierarchical-based like in the Army. But he believes in the unleashing the potential of the people that he works with. He also added that a good leader must understand that different people have different strengths and piecing them to achieve the best effect. Spoken like a strategist.

3. Future Political Career

When you watch the news, read the newspapers or your Facebook newsfeed, Chun Sing is like the spokesperson for every government-related matters (or at least the first one) including Chuan-Jin’s nomination for the Speaker of Parliament’s role. He is also oversees the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, one of the government-to-government level projects between Singapore and China. Some even say he is the next Prime Minister but that is pure speculation, of course. 

For Chuan-Jin, while he will be stepping down as Minister for Social and Family Development, he will continue to be oversee SG Cares and will be appointed adviser to the National Council of Social Service. And at this time, he will still lead Marine Parade GRC. 

Who is the Winner?

The life of a politician is not easy. Being in the limelight and having your photo being put in memes is no joke. Not to mention time away from the family in terms of countless appearances at dialogues, opening ceremonies, MOU signings in addition to the grassroots events and house visits. 

There had since been many online comments sharing anecdotes about Chuan-Jin. They described him as a guy who is sincere and wears his heart on his sleeves. To me, that is the greatest compliment. But don’t whatsapp or email him now though, too many for him to respond. See his latest Facebook post (, he is as real as you can get.  

“I give up. Paiseh. I can’t respond to every post! Too many…

But thanks for all the What’sApp messages, FB posts, FB messages, emails. Really appreciate the effort to pen down your thoughts and sharing!

It has always been a privilege and honour to serve and that doesn’t change with the role. Will do my best. And more.


Looking forward to my run with my MSF folks…jio them for a final run to Macritchie :)”

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