Has the Prime Minister caught the Chan Chun Sing bug?

by Augustine Low

Many of us know by now that Chan Chun Sing is master of the overkill and king of motherhood statements.

This recent one deserves to go down as a classic: “Rather than just placing today’s unemployed into today’s jobs, we need to do better by placing today’s unemployed into tomorrow’s jobs. Ultimately, the greatest achievement is to place tomorrow’s unemployed into tomorrow’s jobs.”

It’s no use trying to top that. Chan Chun Sing clearly has no equal.

And his boss, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seems to have caught a bit of his bug.

Waxing lyrical about Singapore’s ranking as the joint best country for children to grow up in, PM Lee said in a Facebook post that the report by non-governmental organisation Save the Children surveyed 175 countries across eight indicators.

He then came up with this gem of a line: “Each of these harrowing gauges is considered a ‘childhood ender.’”

A rare head scratcher from the Prime Minister. Perhaps he should stick to lines like this: “You must make sure you steal somebody else’s lunch.”

Love him or hate him, you have to credit Dr Mahathir Mohamad for always saying it like it is. Here are a few examples.

When he gatecrashed a forum discussing whether he was too old to return as Prime Minister: “I am here guys. Say it to my face.”

On his age: “As far as health is concerned, I’m not senile yet.”

On Anwar Ibrahim’s release from prison: “In the past it was said that I put him in prison. Now I have freed him.”

On Singapore: “We can skin a cat in many ways. To skin Singapore, there is not just one method.”

Now, wouldn’t it be refreshing if politicians in Singapore were to tell it like it is, without overkill and embellishment?

The most memorable one in recent times came in October 2016, when then Minister of State Josephine Teo declared with a straight face: “You need a very small space to have sex.”

She was promoted to full Minister the following year. Which goes to show that pulling no punches and telling it like it is can work like magic.

Augustine Low is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.