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Beyond winning: Ng Kok Song's spiritual and philosophical approach to the presidential race

“I’m going into this presidential campaign with one of the fruits of meditation, which is detachment,” he said and added that “If I contest the election and I do not win, there’s one winner, and that winner is the people of Singapore. That they get the chance to choose their president.”

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SINGAPORE — Ng Kok Song, the former chief investment officer of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, threw his name into the presidential race, making the main contender Tharman Shanmugaratnam‘s route to the Istana even harder.

Despite his extensive experience managing the country’s reserves as the group’s chief investment officer from 2007 until his retirement from GIC in 2013, will he be able to garner enough support to secure victory over Tharman, Singapore’s former Senior Minister and Finance Minister, now that Ng has successfully obtained his certificate of eligibility from the Presidential Election Committee?

While any candidates preparing for an election will probably be thinking about their chances of winning or losing, for Ng he is not too worried about it. He feels that rather than putting too much energy into the results, he prefers to focus on preparing the best for his campaign. This philosophy goes in line with his belief in spiritual meditation which keeps him calm.

The former GIC chief investment officer shared that he is going into the presidential campaign with one of the fruits of meditation, which is detachment. He explained that whatever one does, they should do it to the best of their ability and not be overly concerned with the outcome.

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“I think a good way of understanding how meditation helps us to discern what we should do, and to discern the reasons why we make that decision. I’m going into this presidential campaign with one of the fruits of meditation, which is detachment,” said Ng in a video posted on his Facebook page.

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Ng Kok Song added even if he does not win the presidential election, he is glad to be able to offer his name to the race so that the voters have an opportunity to give the eventual winner, the next President of Singapore the mandate that he deserves.

“If I contest the election and I do not win, there’s one winner, and that winner is the people of Singapore. That they get the chance to choose their president. I’ve come forward and I’ve honored the office of the president. So the people in Singapore and outside of Singapore, say yes, you have an elected president through an election. So what mattered most to me was that the office of the president should be honored,” expressed Ng, who is currently the chairman of Avanda Investment Management which he co-founded in 2015 with former colleagues from GIC.

UPHOLDING THE INTEGRITY OF KEY APPOINTMENT HOLDERS

In another interview, Ng spoke on the importance of upholding the integrity of key appointment holders, and it is not just about conforming to the letters of the law but honoring the spirit of the law too.

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Ng Kok Song mentioned that he has been in public service for 45 years and he fully understands what integrity means. 

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“This is very important because we have got good institutions of government. Good institutions mean good people. Because if you don’t have good people, honest people, capable people, good institutions can become bad, can become dishonest,” said the presidential hopeful.

“So let’s say you have the accountant-general or the auditor-general. If the officeholder lacks integrity, he will compromise and collude with a bad government. I have spent many years in public service, so I know how important it is this question of integrity. Integrity is not just about conforming, to the letter of the law, or the letter of the code of conduct. Integrity means honoring the spirit. People refer to it as optics, public perception,” added Ng, who first started his career in public service as an investment analyst at the Ministry of Finance in 1970, before moving to the Monetary Authority of Singapore the following year.

Ng Kok Song reiterated that when a person is in a high-level position, whether in a political office or public service, they must not only comply with the letter of the law or the code of conduct.

“You have to strive to honor the spirit of it. That is how my years in public service, equip me with the experience that will enable me to make a judgment as to whether an appointment should be approved or questioned,” explained Ng who joined GIC in 1986.

Apart from Ng and Tharman, there are two other presidential hopefuls in the race. They are former NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian and businessman George Goh. The Elections Department announced that a total of six applicants have submitted for a certificate of eligibility, after the deadline for submission on Thursday, Aug 17.

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The Presidential Elections Committee will now deliberate on the applicants and have up until Monday, August 21, to announce their decision. Nomination Day is designated for the following day on Aug 22, and if more than one presidential hopeful receives their certificate of eligibility, Singaporeans will go to the polls on Sept 1 to elect the country’s ninth President.

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Read also:

Presidential candidate Ng Kok Song backed by former presidential hopeful Mohamed Salleh Marican

Ng Kok Song on CPF savings: Govt saves Singaporeans the headache of investing money, guarantees risk-free interest rate – Singapore News

Beyond winning: Ng Kok Song’s spiritual and philosophical approach to the presidential race – Singapore News 

Singapore goes to the polls: Tharman, Ng Kok Song, Tan Kin Lian qualify as presidential candidates

Ng Kok Song explains why Singapore’s reserves have to be kept secret 

George Yeo backs Ng Kok Song’s bid for presidency, amid scrutiny over “Tharman wants it” comment 

Ng Kok Song confident in mounting a good challenge against Tharman 

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