Tuesday, August 5, 2014

You Ask Them

The following excerpt is from the Charlie Rose interview of 28 March 2011:
LKY: “I said in that book (“Hard Truths”) that I think that Malays, that Muslims should be relaxed and eat together with the others.”
CR: “And it created a firestorm and your son said, the Prime Minister, differed with you.”
LKY: “That’s right.”
CR: “So, were you right or your son?”
LKY: *laughs*; “He has to be right because he is the Prime Minister.”
CR: “But … but?”
LKY: “But you ask the average person in the street whether what I’ve said is true.”
CR: “And they would say?”
LKY: “You ask them.”

Charlie Rose would not be able to follow up on that challenge because no details about "the average person in the street" were provided by Lee Kuan Yew. The kind of contact details that Ken Kwek would not divulge when demanded of Lee in the televised dialogue session of 12 April 2006 ("Why My Vote Matters") with a selected panel of young mass communication practitioners below the age of 30.

The kind of contact details demanded of Minister of State (National Development) Maliki Osman and Speaker of the House Halimah Yacob when Faisal Abdul Manap narrated the unpalatable encounter of a couple with a Housing Development Board executive. The crux of Faisal's narrative was that a divorce was recommended by the civil serpent servant so that the wife could be eligible to buy a flat under the Singles Scheme. Faisal was accused of making an allegation against HDB ("These are very serious statements that are being made against our civil servants" - Maliki).

Although protected by parliamentary privilege, Faisal chose to apologise as it was not his intention to cast negative aspersions. Faisal explained that, as he was no longer a counsellor, he would not have the contact details of the couple in distress. Part of us suspects he was doing a Ken Kwek. “But you ask the average person in the street whether what I’ve said is true.”


  1. Ken Kwek's reporter career gone south after that incident. Ditto Roy Ngerng. Only the familee can make unsubstantiated accusations without being challenged. Just ask the average person on the street whether what I have said is true.

    1. Only his Son, the PM can contradict him and get away scotfree.

      Francis Seow had to run away from tax evasion charges.

  2. With this type of answers "You go ask the average person", is it not the same as "What do you think?" or something like "What school do you come from?" as if the what type of school that student comes from will affect his response ? Only cunning people will try to defray awkward questions with answers like that.

    Why don't they just simply say "I really don't know how to answer your question ?". At least people will think they are more honest.

    1. At least Tin Pei Ling is honest enough to admit: "I don't what to say." She may be a lightweight, but she is more sincere than many of hypocrites who are her peers. What do you think? "Just look around you."

  3. You must ask the "correct" Singaporean.

  4. CR: “So, were you right or your son?”
    LKY: "I stand corrected."

    1. Why Roy Ngerng never say to PM Lee:
      "I stand corrected"?