Tuesday, May 17, 2011

High Hopes For High Office

International Monetary Friends
Local mainstream media pulled out all stops to whip up national pride when finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was appointed head the policy steering committee of the International Monetary Fund in March this year. Speaking at The Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum, PM Lee boasted that Tharman was elected because Singapore had a high reputation as a state which worked. Little did he know about the kind of company he would be hanging out with.

The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who headed the IMF for 3 1/2 years, is but another illustration of how high office is no guarantee of moral fortitude. While Strauss-Kahn denies the brutal rape attempt at the US$3,000-a-night Sofitel New York suite, fresh revelations unfold. Socialist party official says her daughter Tristane Banon was left traumatised after an alleged attack by Strauss-Kahn in 2002. Banon consulted a lawyer, but did not press charges. "I didn't want to be known to the end of my days as the girl who had a problem with the politician." Apparently Strauss-Kahn's womanising has been an open secret in French political circles for years, even friends admit "he had an interest in women". Thierry Saussez, a former adviser to Sarkozy, said: "All this stupefaction from people is sheer hypocrisy. Everyone in Paris has known for years he had something of a problem."

The incident couldn't have come at a more inopportune time, wrecking his hopes of running for the office of President of France. Strauss-Kahn played a key role in coordinating the joint response to the emergency bailouts of Greece, Ireland and now Portugal from their sovereign-debt crises. Greece is in renewed crisis, and many economists expect a restructured rescue package for the country. However fancy his resume, economic growth is no justification for abuse of power.

Maybe Tharman Shanmugaratnam should stay home at squeaky clean Singapore, where the only shenanigans to hit mainstream media headlines were Jack Neo's casting couch techniques. And we still don't know why he called George Yeo about it. Goh Keng Swee did create a bit of a flutter in 1986 when he ditched his wife of 44 years for a younger woman. But he did resign from office to avoid staining the white party colours. With the older generation of leaders, honour was an esteemed virtue. Even as PM Lee mulls over the key appointments for his new cabinet, across the island, fingers are crossed about the recent additions to his team. The PSI of 58 on Saturday may have dissuaded Singaporeans from venturing outdoors, but the no amount of haze will deter the truth seekers on the internet.


  1. With a smaller number of PAP ministers to work with, the PM may take this opportunity to pull back Tharman from the IMF.
    Tharman, is after all one of the more credible PAP ministers. No ?

  2. No lah, I think Tharman's appointment is only on a part-time basis. Just heading a committee.

  3. The IMF chief was yanked out from his first class seat just prior to departure of his flight to France. That's what I call prompt action of the US govt on all this hanky pank. And the chamber maid is from Africa. Look at ionescu case in Singapore. Crap. Nothing much has been done. I wonder if the IMF chief did this Singapore, will he be yanked out and charged as fast as the amercans did? I doubt so.