Nicole Seah

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Nicole Rebecca Seah Xue Ling[1] (佘|雪|玲; born 17 October 1986) is a Singaporean politician. She was a National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate for the Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 Singaporean general election.[2] At age 24 she was the youngest female candidate standing in the election[3] and immediately became a target of media attention, which became increasingly pronounced as her speeches began to go viral on YouTube. During the election, she was described as the most popular Singaporean politician on Facebook, having over 100,000 "likes" on the website and outranking the second most popular Singaporean politician, Lee Kuan Yew.[4]


Seah studied at CHIJ Katong Convent, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College.[1] She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she was part of the University Scholars' Programme. She works as an executive at Starcom MediaVest Group, a brand communications company.[5]

Seah has been involved in community activities and volunteering since secondary school. Her interest in politics was sparked by a meeting with a destitute woman, who - despite having a roof over her head - had no money for food, and was completely dependent on handouts from charity. While at NUS, she was the managing editor of an online publication called the Campus Observer.

Before the 2011 General Elections, Ms. Seah was involved with the Reform Party (Singapore) since 2009, but left in early February 2011 along with many other party members. She was invited to join the NSP by Goh Meng Seng, then the NSP's secretary-general.[6]

2011 general election[edit]

Seah was announced as a member of the five-person NSP team contesting the Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 general election on 21 April 2011. It was the first time an opposition party had contested this GRC since 1992. This was several weeks after the PAP announced that their five-person team contesting Marine Parade GRC would include 27-year old Tin Pei Ling, leading to immediate media attention to the contest of two young women, both contesting parliamentary seats for the first time.[2] Tin had been facing online criticism since her candidature was announced, and - partially in response to Tin's positioning - Seah's popularity has grown tremendously, according to the Asia Sentinel's Jon Russell, who added that "her popularity [is] testament to many choosing her as their preferred 'youth' candidate in the election".[7] Her popularity has been referred to as "rockstar"-like by the Straits Times.[8]

People have commented that Seah appears to upstage other members of the NSP and of her constituency team. On 27 April former Prime Minister and Seah's GRC opponent Goh Chok Tong complained that "I look at NSP and they appear to have only one person in charge and the four men are leaving it to the young lady to campaign and say all the things".[9] The party is also referred to as the "Nicole Seah Party". Seah responded, "The NSP is all about teamwork. There are many different areas that everyone can contribute [to] and that's how we synergise and bring our talents together to the table."[10]

Despite national popularity, her team captured only 43.35% of the vote and did not manage to wrest Marine Parade GRC from the ruling party team in the 2011 election. Nevertheless, this was seen as sufficiently threatening to the ruling party, even to the state press. The state press had to interview Goh Chok Tong on the reasons behind his team's "weak results," since traditionally the ruling party has expected a higher victory margin than its 56.65%, i.e. closer to the last contested election in 1992 where the PAP team under Goh Chok Tong had won 72.9% of the vote.[11]

On cooling-off day, Nicole Seah announced she would be lodging a police report against Tin Pei Ling for alleged flouting of "Cooling Off" day regulations.[12]

After the elections, Nicole Seah made an online appeal for donations for her campaign on her Facebook page, sparking off a debate on whether this was appropriate.[13] On 23 May 2011, NSP issued a public statement clarifying the declarations required and standing by her actions.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marine Parade, National Solidarity Party.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "NSP unveils 24-year-old candidate for Marine Parade GRC team", Today (Singapore), 21 April 2011.
  3. General Election 2011: All candidates. Channel News Asia.
  4. Jon Russell, "Singapore's most 'liked': Is Nicole Seah rise more than a protest vote?", Asian Correspondent.
  5. Alvina Soh, "GE: NSP unveils five new candidates for Marine Parade GRC", Channel NewsAsia, 20 April 2011.
  6. Tay Shi'An, "Do looks matter in elections?", The New Paper, 24 April 2011.
  7. Jon Russell, "Singapore Election Upset?", Asia Sentinel, 27 April 2011.
  8. Andrea Ong, "NSP's Nicole Seah gets 'rockstar' treatment", The Straits Times, 25 April 2011.
  9. Shamir Osman, "NSP 'leaving things to Nicole Seah'", Today, 27 April 2011.
  10. Satish Chaney, "NSP defends defence cuts proposals", Today, 2 May 2011.
  11. Timothy Ouyang, "GE: Tin Pei Ling "a factor" for weak results, says SM Goh", Channel NewsAsia, 8 May 2011.
  12. "Nicole Seah files complaint against Tin Pei Ling", AsiaOne, 17 May 2011.
  13. "Nicole Seah asks for donations online", The New Paper, 23 May 2011.