Do you understand what Lim Swee Say said about mice and mouse?

Mouse who barked

Just in case anyone missed this article in the Straits Times on 4 Feb 2009:

Mouse who barked

A MOUSE met a cat. The mouse barked like a dog. That scared the cat away.

To great levity in the House on Wednesday, labour chief Lim Swee Say recounted the tale to get across a solemn message: it is important to upgrade one’s skills.

In an impromptu speech to rebut criticisms of the Jobs Credit scheme, Mr Lim said: ‘We must never hope for a no-pain solution because there’s no painless way out of global recession.’

He then told the tale of a kingdom of mice that ‘lived very peacefully’ until a cat appeared. The mice Parliament convened to discuss how to overcome their new fear.

One mice MP proposed a very simple solution: hang a big bell on the cat’s neck so that it can be heard wherever it goes. Another suggested that it be big and heavy ‘so that by the time the cat sees us, it will be so heavy, it cannot keep up with us’.

But there was a snag in implementing it. Who will bell the cat?

‘There was no volunteer,’ said Mr Lim.

The idea failed and the cat continued to move around freely while the mice lived in fear. One day, a mother mouse and her baby were hunting for food when the cat cornered them.

Trapped, the mother did the unexpected: she stared at the cat and barked, sending the feline fleeing.

To laughter from the MPs, Mr Lim said: ‘The mother mouse turned and told the baby mouse: ‘See, now you understand the importance of upskilling and re-skilling’.’