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Culture


RSS FeedsIn life as in politics, Jagmeet Singh goes to the mat
(The Star Religion)

 
 

10 october 2019 23:40:08

 
In life as in politics, Jagmeet Singh goes to the mat
(The Star Religion)
 


In jiu-jitsu, you tap out when you know you’re defeated. There’s honour in that. But Jagmeet Singh wasn’t beat. At least, he refused to accept it. Long before he led the New Democratic Party in a federal election campaign against long odds as the unquestioned underdog, Singh was a young criminal lawyer, scrabbling to earn enough that his family would never again wobble on the precipice of poverty.On the side, he would fight. Sometimes irresponsibly. In this particular jiu-jitsu tournament, his opponent snaked his legs around one of Singh’s, torquing his ankle and knee in opposite directions. This was “excruciating,” but he didn’t consider it dangerous. As he said, “I’ve always had the toughness. I would never tap to pain.”When it was over, Singh collapsed to the mat. His leg felt weak. He could barely walk. Turns out that while the future NDP leader was refusing to tap out, his opponent was busy tearing apart the major ligament in his knee. Singh needed reconstructive surgery, and hasn’t fought competitively since. More than halfway through the country’s 43rd federal election campaign, Singh is trying to tell different versions of the same story to the Canadian public: more than Justin Trudeau or Andrew Scheer, the NDP leader knows the anxieties many of us face. He is the turbaned son of Sikh immigrants, who fought racist bullies on the playground and overcame the trauma of sexual abuse to take on the responsibilities of his family while his father was sidelined by addiction. Through it all, he persevered with a sunny disposition that belies his pugnacious spirit. It’s a story with parallels in the narrative of his political life — something Singh is happy to emphasize as he works to defend an NDP whose chances were all but written off at the beginning of the campaign. After his knee surgery, Singh says he still had a struggling family to worry about. And as a self-employed defen ...


 
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