There's no record in the mainstream media, but those who attended an election rally at Clementi in 2011 will recall hearing how Balakrishnan found the money to burn. The way he told the story, when he approached the prime minister for more funds for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), PM Lee asked, "How much?" Balakrishnan did not ask for $300 million, he did not ask for $400 million, the number he requested for was $387 million dollars. He thought he scored a debating point when he told the crowd - mostly old folks shipped in from some community center - he did not spend one cent more. It still boggles the mind how the sum requested matches exactly the final bill presented in parliament. If his prediction is that good, how did he miss the original budget of $104 million?
Giving Balakrishnan a run for his money is Lawrence Wong, who admitted that within the first week of 2015, he has already blown $3 million of the $5 million set aside for the SG50 celebrations. No worries, there's more where the money comes from. Speaking at the first ground-up event supported by the free money, the chairman of the SG50 Programme Office told the crowd gathered at the Botanic Gardens, "If there are more good ideas and we need to will top up the fund, we will top up the fund." With 51 weeks more to go, he is unlikely to break Balakrishnan's record. Then again, who knows what else they have up their sleeves?