Chen Show Mao (Template:Zh; born 6 February 1961), Template:Small, is a Singaporean politician and lawyer. He is a member of the opposition Workers' Party (WP), and has been a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC) since 7 May 2011. He represents the Paya Lebar ward, replacing PAP's Cynthia Phua.[1]

Personal profileEdit

Chen was born in Taiwan and moved to Singapore at the age of 11. He studied at Nanyang Primary School, Catholic High School and Anglo-Chinese School.[2] Chen was the president of the students' council at National Junior College and graduated as the top student in Singapore for the 1979 GCE Advanced Level examinations,[3] scoring distinctions in various subjects.

Although Chen had yet to become a Singapore citizen, he chose to perform compulsory military service, officially known as National Service (NS) in Singapore. While in NS, Chen was an infantry platoon commander at the Fifth Singapore Infantry Regiment (5SIR) and as Brigade Adjutant, or DYS1, at the headquarters of the Third Singapore Infantry Brigade (3SIB).[4] He took up citizenship in 1986, six years after serving National Service.

Despite graduating as the top student for the 1979 GCE Advanced Level examinations, Chen did not gain admission into the local medical school.[5] Thereupon, he pursued his undergraduate studies with major in economics at Harvard University. Chen graduated from Harvard University in 1986 and from Corpus Christi College, Oxford University in 1988, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.[6] In 1992 Chen received his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School and in 2005 received his Master of Arts from Corpus Christi College, Oxford University.[7]

Legal careerEdit

Chen is a partner in the Corporate department of Davis Polk & Wardwell and a managing partner of the Beijing office. An experienced lawyer, he has practiced in the New York office since 1992, the Hong Kong office since 1999 and the Beijing office since 2007.

Chen advised the Agricultural Bank of China on its US$22 billion initial public offering (IPO), which was the largest IPO in history when it completed in August 2010.[8] He also advised the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on its US$21 billion IPO, as well as China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) on its proposed US$19 billion acquisition of Unocal. Chen also completed the global IPOs of Air China, China Construction Bank, China Unicom, Metallurgical Corp. of China, Sinopec, as well as offerings by the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China (PRC).Template:Citation needed

Besides China, Chen has completed international securities offerings and M&A transactions by various companies including Acer, ASE, Asus, AU Optronics, BHP, Foxconn, Freeport-McMoran, HTC, TSMC and UMC. He also worked with financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China (ROC).Template:Citation needed

Beyond that, Chen has worked with sovereign wealth funds such as the China Investment Corporation (CIC), the Development Fund of the ROC and also advised the Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan Stock Exchanges on proposed regulations. Chen was named one of American Lawyer’s 2010 "Dealmakers of the Year" in April 2011.[9]

On 1 July 2011, Chen announced on his Facebook page that he had retired from active practice as partner of his law firm given his new responsibilities as an MP. The decision was made so that he can spend more time with his family, to better serve his constituency and country, and that he would be exploring alternative work arrangements.[10]

Political careerEdit

During his time abroad, Chen regularly returned home to Singapore to visit his parents, his sister and her family.[11]

Chen stated that he joined the WP because he believed that "the best way to ensure good governance for Singapore is through the growth of a competitive opposition that offers a credible alternative to the party in government".[12] During an interview, Chen frankly explained why he decided to join the WP[13] Template:Quote box On 27 April 2011, Chen submitted his candidacy for the five-member Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC) with the WP's Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, Chairman Sylvia Lim, Pritam Singh, a postgraduate law student, and Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, a freelance counsellor. The incumbent team included two cabinet ministers and one Senior Minister of State, and was helmed by the prominent Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Yeo.[14]

During the intense nine-day campaign period that followed, Chen was singled out by leaders of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) for criticism. The PAP's Organising Secretary and Minister for Education, Ng Eng Hen, questioned Chen's motives for entering politics in a letter to The Straits Times. Ng also questioned whether Chen would be able to relate to the aspirations of Singaporeans after having spent most of his career in the United States and China.[15] The PAP's co-founder and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew also suggested that Chen could return to China after losing in the election.[16]

Throughout the campaign, Chen kept a low profile when the WP was faced with tough questions, instead allowing frontman Low Thia Khiang to take the heat. He displayed his affinity with regular Singaporean culture and Singaporeans by addressing crowds at rallies with smatterings of Malay and Hokkien to dispel the notion that he was a "foreigner", as he had spent many years abroad. He also highlighted at a WP rally that he came to Singapore at a young age with his parents and sister, that he served National Service, and that he owns an apartment in Bishan and frequently commutes by train.

On 7 May 2011, Chen and his WP team won the Aljunied GRC with 54.71% of the total votes cast, with Yeo's PAP team obtaining 45.29% of the votes. The victory was considered historic because it was the first time that a GRC seat had been captured by an opposition party, and the first time that two cabinet ministers had lost their seats in a general election. Chen became the first foreign-born opposition MP in the history of Singapore, while his teammates Sylvia Lim and Muhamad Faisal Manap became the first female opposition MP and the first Malay opposition MP.[17] Also, together with Pritam Singh and Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap, he became one of the first three opposition MPs to be elected into parliament at the first attempt.

Committee of SelectionEdit

On 15 October 2011, it was announced that Chen was nominated to sit on the Committee of Selection, making him the first non-People's Action Party MP to be named to this committee.[18]

Family & Personal LifeEdit

Chen is married and has two children, a twelve-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl. His middle child, a girl, passed away before her fourth birthday. His wife, a homemaker, was born in Taiwan but grew up in Indonesia. His wife and children are US citizens.[19]

Current appointmentsEdit


External linksEdit

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