TL;DR – You’ll be surprised.
“A person’s office actually says a lot about him.”
That was what I told Member of Parliament Patrick Tay after meeting him at an event where he was giving some pointers on labour law in his office building at One Marina Boulevard or better known as NTUC Centre. Without any hesitation, Patrick invited me to his office and let the fengshui master in me make my judgement.
I was very surprised to see so much memorabilia he has collected over the years displayed neatly in the room.
“Wah, Patrick, you are such a hoarder.” I said as if I was talking to an old friend. To be honest, he is such a warm person that one can easily forget that he is a Member of Parliament after all and perhaps I ought to be more polite.
“I choose to believe that I’m a sentimental person instead,” he said with a laugh.
The journalist in me can’t help but decide to throw a curve ball at him.
“You know Patrick, it’s not an everyday thing that people get to visit a MP’s office. Let me take a few pictures and share this with our readers. Come, tell us some stories about these stuff you have hoarded.”
Well, challenge accepted.
Special Duties Unit Cup from Hong Kong
Many of you might not know this but during Patrick’s stint with the Singapore Police Force, he was not just another PSC scholar who spent all his time in the office. He’s one of those guys I would describe as “siao on”.
Being a scholar and trained lawyer, he could have enjoyed a cushy office vocation, but yet he chose to be on the front line as a commander of the Singapore Police Force’s Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Team. That provided him with several opportunities to work with different police units around the world and this cup was one of those things he kept since those days.
For those who have watched sufficient Hong Kong drama, you would know how cool the Special Duties Unit or 飞虎队 is. And guess what, Patrick was once attached to them in 1998.
A congratulatory message from SMEEU
Although this might seem like an ordinary piece of paper with not much design, this is one of Patrick’s most prized possessions in his office. One of the very first appointment Patrick had with the Labour Movement was as an Industrial Relations Office (IRO) with the Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Employees’ Union more than a decade ago.
A surprise plaque from an Nee Soon GRC resident
This nicely-minted plaque was a gift from a resident at Nee Soon GRC (he was officially sworn into parliament in 2011 as a member of parliament for the Nee Soon GRC).
This gift was given to Patrick by a resident who benefited from a successful appeal and as much as we do not expect any return for helping people, I guess the feeling of being appreciated can really boost someone’s morale. I personally find this gift extremely sweet.
A self-taken postcard with hand written message
I can’t remember when was the last time I had actually received a handwritten letter. Even the parking tickets we are getting these days are all printed. LOL. This postcard is actually from a student in Singapore Polytechnic staying in Patrick’s current ward at West Coast GRC. The photo was actually taken by herself during a trip in Japan.
To be honest, I was quite surprised that Patrick was able to reach out and touch a 17-year-old’s heart. I mean, I remember vividly how I’d avoided all those house visits from my MP when I was her age. It’s actually quite a neat gift. Maybe I should start printing out my OOTDs and giving it to people. Any takers?
Hand-drawn portrait from Boon Lay resident
This picture might look like Patrick got it from one of those street artists around Waterloo Street, but it’s actually a present from a Boon Lay resident. The resident knew that Patrick would be doing his regular visits and he actually completed this beforehand using one of Patrick’s photos from his election materials and waited for Patrick to come by to present it to him.