PM Lee Hsien Loong and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had earlier promised budget goodies to mitigate impact on inflation, especially on low-income families, so why did Teo Chee Hean have to temper their generosity by saying things like "We need to keep our expectations realistic"? Is he telling us in advance the two aforementioned will turn out to be Indian givers?
This year's budget had a bonanza of 6 billion surplus, instead of the deficit projected by their collation of best brains in the land, plus one very expensive oracle with purportedly uncanny predictive powers. Is Teo planning to buy more military toys with the windfall? Perhaps a Starwars inspired type Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to shield us from intercontinental missiles because of one old coot's careless words?
Thrift is good. But it makes no sense to pile up reserves when the poor is still with us. Especially when we have spendthrift types in the National Parks Board who splurge $200,000 for unnecessary gizmos at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. One is supposed to aim a smart phone at a coded mosaic to download video information about the flora and fauna at the mangrove swamps. Which means you need a data plan or at least a internet enabled device with wifi capability. Spoiler alert: By the time you fired up your browser, the surprised critter would likely have vamoosed into shelter. Too bad if you are still are using a plain vanilla second hand Nokia with monochrome LCD display. You need AMOLED screen (bright sunlight) and hi-res megapixel camera (pattern recognition) to be educated about mud skippers and fat cat bureaucrats with a budget to burn. Like the polytechnic department head who whipped out a box cutter when one of his lecturers said his leather chair was still good for several more years. "There, you need a new chair now," smirked his supervisor. Needless to say, the all inclusive society has no room for the poor at the Sungei Buloh development.
The problem with civil servants drawing superscale salaries is that they can't imagine life subsisting on $360 a month or less. MP Lily Neo can wear her voice out shouting for the financially challenged, and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan still imagines the destitute dining out 3 times a day at a hawker center, food court or restaurant. He'll probably ask you to skip one outside meal to pay for the mobile data plan, like Minister Lim Hng Khiang suggesting to skip one hair dressing appointment to pay for the breast scan. What's the Mandarin phrase for birds of a feather sticking together?