Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing is more talked about than other Ministers because he’s seldom short of words. The more he talks, the more colourful he becomes.
Unfortunately, the former general has a tendency to become too colourful for his own good and ends up shooting himself in the foot.
His by now infamous remarks that we “don’t have too many sheeps in Singapore to produce cotton” is a great example. It naturally subjected himself to widespread ridicule.
The Minister subsequently took to Facebook to explain that he was told he “spoke too fast.” He added that he had “been thinking for weeks of all kinds of substitutes (including wool from sheep and other animals) that we can use for the various parts of the masks that we produce here.” Then he ended by saying that he “should catch up on some sleep.”
Cannot make head or tail of his Facebook post
His Facebook post is mind boggling. He seemed to attribute three reasons for his cotton comes from sheep remark – spoke too fast, confused state of mind because he was thinking of wool substitutes, and being sleep deprived.
Is he giving all three excuses at the same time or is he asking us to pick one for him? None of it makes any sense.
Did the Minister mean what he said? Right after saying “don’t have too many sheeps in Singapore to produce cotton,” he even sniggered. This shows that he was rather pleased with himself for making the point that there are no sheep in this country for producing cotton.
The Freudian slip in Parliament
You may recall that the Minister also famously referred to then Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob as “Mdm President” twice during the debate on Presidential Election (Amendment) Bill in Parliament in 2017.
The House roared with laughter but it wasn’t funny – she was then rumoured to be the establishment candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election, which she indeed turned out to be.
By calling her Mdm President twice (even though she was Speaker), Minister Chan made a Freudian slip, unintentionally revealing what was in his subconscious. Not so cool, isn’t it?
He also shot himself in the foot early this year. He said his verbal tirade labelling Singaporeans “idiots” and “sia suay” for panic-buying and hoarding was straight talking – calling a spade a spade. Except that it backfired because it transpired that Singaporeans were no different from citizens everywhere else who also resorted to the same “sia suay” behaviour.
Spoke too soon, spoke out of turn
Minister Chan also mocked Hong Kong politicians over the issue of mask-wearing. For this, we know that he ended up eating humble pie because he himself had to eventually wear a mask. In this case, we can say that he spoke too soon and he spoke out of turn.
Early in his political career, the Minister earned the nickname “kee chiu” for asking people to do just that – “kee chiu” being Hokkien for raise your hand. This one is probably a carry over from his army days, when soldiers are frequently asked to “kee chiu.”
When Minister Chan makes his speaking bloopers on home soil, we can say he is being himself and being colourful.
But what happens when he shoots himself in the foot while representing Singapore on the international stage? It’s too horrifying to even think about it.