Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Slap That Was Heard Around The World

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin - still trying hard after all these years of OJT - had to comment on the video of a senior citizen being hit by a younger one:
"While there can be altercations within families, there are some lines that should not be crossed."

Whatever his motivation - this being election year and all - one wonders if the Minister would have kept mum if he was at another scene of a senior being smacked?
"In 1990, an incident occurred in a pre-cabinet meeting which was the beginning of entrenching further among the many in the core executive, resistance to Lee Hsien Loong's long term ambitions for prime ministership. Prior to this meeting Lee Hsien Loong had gone to the office of Richard Hu, the Minister of Finance, and removed a number of files without Hu's permission. At that time Lee's office was on the 48th floor of what is now Temasek Tower and Hu's was on the 50th floor.
At the pre-cabinet meeting Hu took Lee to task for doing this and was supported by Tony Tan. Lee's response was aggressive and insulting, he directly insulted Tan and Hu, a man of his father's age. This was a double insult to Hu, who was Lee's superior in cabinet and a person of an age who should of itself deserve respect in Chinese society. Suppiah Dhanabalan intervened and chastised Lee for his behaviour, demanding that he apologise to Hu, withdraw his remarks and not interfere in other minister's portfolios. A heated exchange occurred into which a number of other issues intruded and eventually Lee lost his temper, and reportedly reached across the table and slapped Dhanabalan across the face." 

All parties involved in the altercation sealed their lips, continuing to subscribe to the tenet of all secrets staying within the PAP family. But during the 2005 National Day Rally speech broadcast, a rogue Goh Chok Tong decided to craft a different narrative:
"You may also have heard this old story about Loong. In case you have not, I'll tell you now. Back in 1990, Loong had a quarrel with Richard Hu. S. Dhanabalan sided with Richard. Loong lost his temper. He reached across the table and gave Dhanabalan a tight slap. The whole Cabinet was thrown into commotion. I then forced Loong to apologise. I must be suffering from amnesia. I just cannot remember this incident. Now you know how creative Singaporeans are." 

Actually if Goh had bothered to visit the National Library, he could have read up the account in Ross Worthington's "Governance in Singapore". No need to check into the Institute of Mental Health, where creative Singaporeans are routinely locked up for assessment.

As for Dhanabalan's protection, the Vulnerable Adults Act - meant to help protect vulnerable adults suffering from third-party abuse and neglect - that will be introduced at the end of the year should come in useful. The Good Book says to turn the other cheek, but no one likes to be whacked a second time.


  1. In the coming General Election, vote for a co-driver who is there to slap the driver when he drives off-course or when he falls asleep or drives dangerously.

  2. That would be the red line that was crossed wouldn't it?

    The slap took place in 1990. Dhanabalan left in 1991 after the GE. Later admitted due to disagreements. LHL diagnosed with cancer 1992. Karma, the bitch knows how to slap back.

  3. Goh's narrative is a PC version That is meant for the daft ST-only-reading citizens. The entire cabinet very often suffers from panemic - pandemic amnesia. As above , so below. The citizens now practice selective memory. A nation comes to a slow motion of celebratory mood for SG50 in the disguise of its collective guilt in denying some parts of history as if it didn't exists under their watch. Denial is not just a river in Egypt, —it is a force in all of our lives. Speak, see and hear no evils, and life is a bubble wrap. What we don't know, won't hurt us.

  4. Decades ago, LKY decided to defenestrate Dhanabalan from his list of possible successors. Said Singapore was not ready for an India PM. The natural aristocrat of the throne repeated the same spiel recently again. A distillation of what dynastic governance is about. You either have to question whether the Party and its leaders have not progressed, or Singaporeans have not evolved since ape age.

    Meanwhile, Dhanabalan served with humility and integrity, time to slap this man a medal.

    1. Dhanabalan not happy can always resign.
      I myself don't mind being slapped once every 10 years in exchange for a million dollar salary.

      As for the medal for Dhana, he will maybe laugh at you.
      Million dollar salary can buy a lot of diamond studded medals at Tiffany.
      No need the cheap Singapore medals given out during National Day.

    2. After that slap by Loong, Dhanabalan turned the other cheek and got slapped with million dollar salary in 1996 as Chairman of Temasek .....for 17 years. Aiyoyo, I don't mind being whacked a second time like that. Problem is I only got 2 cheeks. Next time they can whack my ass cheeks, and I will go laughing to DBS Bank!

    3. Try and learn about something called self respect.

  5. Maybe that million dollar salary includes their thick skin to be slapped by their boss for no apparent reason ?

    Can always say SORRY and then MOVE ON. It's only a slap after all. What do you think ?

    1. The $ million salary started in 1994. Dhanabalan missed it. Much to his regret, If he had known he probably would not have stepped down.

      Ross Worthington's narrative of the event that fateful day was a watered-down version. Rumour has it that the son of the horrible man cast a racial slur on Dhana over the Indian's marriage to a Chinese woman. Dhana's instinctive reaction was to counter that LHL's sister was also married to an Indian. The slap was then delivered with the admonishment to "leave my family out of this". Just goes to show the character of the son.

    2. //the son of the horrible man cast a racial slur on Dhana//
      So, both father and son are both incorrigible racists! No wonder the daughter's Indian boyfriend was sent packing by mama!

  6. A slap worthy of a few million Sin Dollars is worth bearing a few more for the Money.
    Not all have strong spines and unwavering principles. Money as in ones' remuneration is dignity and esteem according to one Member Of Parliament.

    A Slap that can be History is certainly worthy in itself too, what more with millions flowing in.


  7. If the tall filial son of the horrible man had indeed slapped the very short indian man,you know it is not easy for a tall man to slap a short man, what did the horrible man
    do after the incident?
    A compensation package for the short guy that allows him to live happily forever with enough money to buy balm to sooth his burning cheel?

  8. C'mon people, let's face it, if you are paid at least eight digits you will also be more than willing to be a political punching bag for HRH Lee. Just don't be made a hypocritical laughing stock yourself by claiming this some sort of heroic sacrifice for the common good or because you didn't have a choice.

  9. Dhanabalan said he resigned from Cabinet in 1992 because he had a great difference of view over the use of the Internal Security Act in the 1987 arrests, something which happened 5 years before.
    Dhanabalan also said he disagreed with Lee Kuan Yew on the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system, which ensured that a minority candidate gets elected into each electoral ward:
    “I was against it because I was probably more of an idealist and not realistic enough. I felt that if the Chinese in my constituency did not want to elect me, then so be it, because I saw being Singaporean more important than anything else.”

    As a Christian, I am offended the church-goer will be lying all the way to his grave.

  10. TCJ is still learning on the job.
    That neighborly slap that went viral happened in a rental flat.
    The daughter left a note to say her father has left them and was in debt. Her abused mother and herself included are also in debt. Basically the entire is in debt and poor state. One can understand why they need to take it out on each other of the kueh lapis help aren't in sight. What else could they be quarreling about? Definitely not about a $10 xo carrot cake. That much we can glimpse. Even the one that got locked up in remand noticed the racial trend of his cell mates. So how has the trampoline been used?

    1. "But with social media, it becomes a harder problem because the restraints are less, the possibility of giving offence and the ease of taking umbrage is so much greater."
      I thought LHL was talking about kids with itchy keyboard fingers, but it sure looks like the OJT general is no better.

  11. Singaporeans are so stressed, more so than anytime before, and because I live abroad, I feel the change acutely each time I come home. Its becoming like Hong Kong, New York where you basically can't escape, and the relentless financial pressures changes us fundamentally. 5 years ago, I thought Hong Kong and NYC to have the most rude, impatient people, but now from seeing the fights on the MRT, I believe we have exceeded those benchmarks by a wide margin.

  12. ///After that slap by Loong, Dhanabalan turned the other cheek and got slapped with million dollar salary in 1996 as Chairman of Temasek .....for 17 years. Aiyoyo, I don't mind being whacked a second time like that. Problem is I only got 2 cheeks. Next time they can whack my ass cheeks, and I will go laughing to DBS Bank!///
    Lol! Full marks for such creative but tragic comment! It really nearly made me laughing all the way to SGH!

  13. It goes to show, there is really no talent not to mention average emotional intelligence. Can you slap anyone, even a senior minister and get away with it? Seems like everything, including one's rank, titles, education, can be bought in our enlightened age.

    BTW, do Oxbridge scholars behave like the Russell Crowes of this world? But then, taking a larger view, a slap minor, especially between friends. Many Cambridge and Harvard students graduate to more than slap, but malign, screw up, imprison, over even murder the populace of the Banana Republics their parents bequeath to them. The tony Ivy Leagues and Oxbridge unfortunately are less well known for churning out mini dictators to rule small republics or organizations, which they subsequently run to the ground.

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