Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Incestuous Links

Speaking on the sidelines of the National Clan Associations Congress on 22 May 2011, his last official engagement as DPM, Wong Kan Seng said he first thought of retiring from the Cabinet in 2001, a decision that would have saved his neck from the albatross of the Mas Selamat escapade in 2009. Wong said that he had mixed feelings about retiring, as he had been 'involved in government for so long', and looked forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.

It was recently announced Wong Kan Seng has now been appointed as a Special Advisor for Economic Co-operation to the Prime Minister, covering programmes with China and other Asian countries. Wong will also be made chairman of Singbridge, a wholly owned Temasek Holdings company which invests in and manages integrated projects such as Guangzhou Knowledge City project, the Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City and Bangalore International IT Park. With all that travelling to do, it looks like the baby sitting will have to be outsourced. Former Singbridge chairman Mr Lim Chee Onn will be stepping down a couple of rungs to make way for Wong and redesignated Senior International Advisor .

Better resume photo may help
What really piques the interest of people watchers is whether the total compensation of all those appointments put together (Wong is also chairman of the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship Council, displacing ex-civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow) will add to anything remotely resembling his last paycheck as Deputy Prime Minister in the Singapore Cabinet. Defending his ministerial pay policy (Hard Truths, page 125), Lee Kuan Yew says of his generously compensated ministers, "If they're quality people, they have no trouble going out." Astute observers will note that Wong is staying very much within the incestuous nest of government related organisations. If the headhunters know the quality of every outstanding person, as Lee maintains in his book, how is it that private sector firms have not beat a path to their doors? The same awkward question may be asked of George Yeo, Mah Bow Tan and Raymond Lim. Either they are too complacent or too shy to send out their resumes, or the rejection rate was just too embarrassing to endure.

Meanwhile another ex-minister S Jayakumar is returning to his former NUS day job as professor of law. We are told Jayakumar had waived any remuneration for the position. Which is a bummer, since a million dollar professor will surely earn a place in the Guinness World of Records.


  1. I think a person's capability worth is measured by success in Private Sectors. That is the real world with no such thing as Cover-Up. Working under government controlled organisations is simply not the same.

  2. gravy train

  3. Is called "reinvent" lor..Lim Swee Say must be proud of upturn/downturn/turnaround and his latest - gagarific performance lor.
    How to tahan on an MP pay of $12,000 a month after getting used to millions? So everybody double-up their portfolios to earn double pay lah...think we daft singaporeans cannot see through.
    All PAP can do is recycle this small group of used/worn/torn talents that even private sector don't want them. Because in PAP's universe, there're no competition. Only an unexpired tenure, and iron rice bowl. For someone at his advance stage, he has already sold out his soul. How to look his people/citizens in their eyes and say - work harder, cheaper, betterer when they can't even do it in the real world.

  4. so far if we tracked the former ministers' where about, few are earning more in than their ministers' pay in the private sectors. Most of them are either in GIC, Temasek holdings or civil services.

    May be they need to be taken care of financially one way or other so as to gag their mouth ?

    If they have conscience that pricks them, their pension is more then enough.

    May be that's why even my son's school bus mate had told him that the best bet in life is to join the PAP.


  5. siah suay
    Hokkien for disgraceful

  6. "May be that's why even my son's school bus mate had told him that the best bet in life is to join the PAP."

    Best bet was to join them. They know its their last hurrah so the highway robbery of their citizens. You see this from their immigration policy; from the PM defending citizen's funded PA's alignment with the PAP etc.

  7. Same paymaster only different name.

  8. So what if someone as illustrious as Jayakumar were to return to school and teach as professor? I'm sure he (like all others retired generals/servants/presidents) are all gagged with their highly paid pensions for the rest of their life. Even if they come out with memoir or teaching posts, what kinds of insights can they impart, teach or pass on to the newer and younger generations? NONE - ZILCH! That's the difference between US & Asia when you are bound by your sense of loyalty than knowledge sharing to enrich the next generations. They add NO value whatsoever to the outsiders, and only serve to perpetuate and ineffectuate the very hegemony system which they then cry fouls & KPKB about not getting 'fresh, new' talents. You have to wonder why? Guess they prefer to take all that secrets with them to the grave, under the official secrets acts - whatever that means and entails. You're signed up for life! So young kids better think really worse than a death sentence or scholarship bond, I would say. PA & Youth Leagues..anyone?

  9. Is that a considered demotion or just a face saving exercise from being a DPM to becoming some business delegation representative ? Anyway, do we really need a person of DPM material to head some foreign business exchange delegation ?

    History has told us that some fine day some of these fat cats will be fighting among themselves & getting at each other's throats in order to ensure each of their own survival.

    There can only be a limit to all these extraordinary positions created out of thin air, among which they have proven to us examples like both SM & MM are just creatures of manipulation. It's just a matter of time that ESM will also outlive its usefulness.

    And then what's next ? Is that the best they can manage to save for him for the time being ? They have nothing yet for that Lim fellow ?

  10. It's hard to imagine that WKS will still need to work for money given his multi-million dollar salary in the past. So this undeserving appointment is essentially a thumbs up from the PMO at the citizens: "Nana ni booboo! What can you do?"

    Singaporeans would do well to remember this at the next election.

  11. My wife and I went to meet Sylvia Lim last Monday at WP's meet-the-people session.

    WP, even after so many years in "business" and now Sylvia is a real MP but still use the void deck as their make shift office, would you rather they "rules" SG or PAP?

    Fact: Although Sylvia knew we are not her constituents (from our ICs) yet she offered us advice like we were! She was friendly and helpful. By the way, we did not bother to go our own PAP MP's MPS because of all the
    "horror" stories about how they treat people like dirt. Well, true of not, we did not want to waste time to find out the hard way.

    Once again, would you rather WP "rules" SG or PAP?

  12. PAP needs to convict us why these self claimed talents are not appreciated by some of world's best org to recruit into their wings , since they are now available. Instead , we keep seeing these roll back-warders re-employed as another mighty beings under House employment.

    I remembered Philip Yeo, was reported being hired by Li Ka Shing, found him probably not-so-bright that he was returned after short term of use.

  13. Mr LKY said: "I did not appear so often (GE) anyway. I have stood down and I don't know who gave you the impression I appeared so frequently. I have stood down and I am off the press as a focus of attention, and off the electronic media." The entire Aljunied episode was erased.

    And he did say he didn't use the word "Venomous". Take it with a pound of salt. As for SG unable to produce two A teams, someone ought to remind him that there is currently an "b-team" disguising as GROs squatting in the "A-team" ward.