|The practitioner on the art of seduction|
General Nguyễn Cao Kỳ once confessed that everyman has his price, and his was an American helicopter. It came in useful during the fall of Saigon, he piloted himself to safety on one of the aircraft carriers positioned offshore for the evacuation. The question unasked was what is Balakrishnan's price.
His insinuation blemished the memory Lim Kim San who demurred compensation to take on the challenge of housing the masses. For one who sits shakily on a moral high horse, he should pay more attention to his own words:
“It’s not making me popular, but I will insist on honesty … on declaration of conflicts of interest … on declarations of related party transactions. I will insist that ... if you’ve cheated before, come clean.”
This coming from one who has yet to account for the $79.8 million buried in the books as "Other costs" in an inflated blowout of $387 million. Every project budget has an element of contingency allowance, typically about 5 - 10%, but $78.9 million should raise eyebrows, and warrant investigations of shady dealings like, say, related party transactions. Facebook user Ghazali was arrested for questioning the increase in the YOG budget because he wished figuratively to "burn Vivian Balakrishnan and the PAP" and "rally together and vote them out". The Minister's comment?
"I didn't know about it until I read about it in the papers. It shows that I almost didn't care."
We should care. It's our money, and we are not even referring to the plunder of the Central Provident Fund. Honesty is not restricted to money matters, it's synonyms are integrity, probity, and rectitude.