Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year That Was 2010

Many things were said in 2010. Not only the private acid comments revealed by Julian Assange, but some uttered in public were just as difficult to swallow.

Minister of Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng, the defacto "population czar", confirmed what was a sore issue at the ground level, "I acknowledge that there are also those on employment passes holding jobs that Singaporeans are willing to do, and who compete directly with Singaporeans."

Law Minister K Shanmugam, refusing to admit what Singaporeans already know, said "If the media are no more than a mouthpiece for one or the other party, Singaporeans will see through that and the credibility of the media will suffer." That should explain the falling circulation figures of the Straits Times.

Minister without portfolio and Labour Chief Lim Swee Say also strained credibility when he dismissed talk that his call for a partial Central Provident Fund restoration was linked to a general election ploy: "When we help...workers, it must not be because an election is coming. If we do that, we lose credibility - (that) before an election we push for something, then after the election our workplan changes."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, interviewed by Charlie Rose on his Current Affairs program, said this of his own father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew: "He calls himself a mascot."

Lee Kuan Yew's eulogy to Goh Keng Swee included the snipe, "I had asked him to negotiate a looser arrangement for Singapore but keep Singapore within the Federation. He on his own decided, after discussions with them, to have a clean break."

Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, explained to Parliament how his YOG's S$104 million budget ballooned to S$387 million: "Our initial budget estimates during the bid phase were inaccurate". What he did not clarify was how S$79.8 million was buried in "Other Costs".

Minister of Education Ng Eng Hen set off a firebomb (figuratively! figuratively!) with: "The high weighting given to mother tongue languages in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is now under review and could be reduced." The furious backpedalling followed immediately: "But I should have chosen my words more carefully and apologise for creating that wrong impression.”

Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew ventured into engaging the new media: “Why are the majority of netizens not sympathetic towards MP Seng – is it because of widespread resentment about MPs and government policies, or is that the majority of online Singaporeans have no morals or compassion, and are mean, deceitful and simply put, horrible people?”

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim claimed the Bukit Timah flood was a “freak” event which happens only “once in 50 years”. Soon after, it was Orchard Road's turn.

"Yong Vui Kong is young. But if we say 'We let you go,' what is the signal we are sending?" was his reply at a dialog session in Joo Chiat on 9 May 2010. Law Minister Shanmugan's defence for sub judice: "The Government is entitled to comment on such policies.

Minister for Transport Raymond Lim's justification for the disguised fare hike: "63% of all commuters would see fare savings in their weekly public transport spending under Distance Fares." Net happiness is not applicable here, at least not for the average commuter.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on his sincerity to solve the long term housing problems: "If you ask me whether it has got anything to do with the elections, the answer is yes. Everything has to do with the elections."

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was caught unawares by a student: "If the majority feel they don't belong here, then we have a fundamental problem. Then I would ask myself: What am I doing here? " No fair, we asked that question first.

Minister-in-charge of issues of ageing Lim Boon Heng, 63, suggesting re-employment period to be extended to age 67: "People are healthier and living longer, so they need more money so as to relieve the burden on their children and the Government." Emphasis is on latter, obviously.

"Resorts World at Sentosa understands (Singapore's) need to maintain these probity checks and there is no issue now," Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang down playing the link with Macau tycoon Stanley Ho. Many other issues came about later.

Foreign Minister George Yeo’s comment on Wikileaks: "I’m quite sure they make worse comments about me." Could he be jealous his opinion wasn't sought by the US diplomats?

Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean explaining crash landing of a Apache helicopter: "The maintenance procedure does not call for the RSAF to open up the AISBV." That's techno-speak for sheer incompetence.

Finally, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan walks away with the Pinnochio prize for tallest tale of the year: "My out-of-pocket expense for the hospital bill was $8 only."

1 comment:

  1. The reported rise in resale flat transaction prices suggest that the property cooling measures introduced by MBT have failed miserably.

    Isn't it plain obfuscation to insist affordability of our HDB flats by clinging on to the fall of COVs argument, which in itself is immaterial?

    How much longer does the government intends to mislead the general public?