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I am Singaporean XXII – The Philanthropist April 12, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

If you have noticed, i have refrained from commenting on the Pay Raise after the adjustments were announced because i knew the backlash on the net would be really really heavy already. (At the same time, i was on a cramped uncomfortable 747 on the way to Frankfurt am Main, so please spare me.)

But this has got to be featured. It seems that our PM, after receiving a 25.5% pay raise of about 1 peanut (they’ve decided to graduate the pay raise so people won’t get so angry, although it means that people will get angry more times) BUT! our PM has decided to freeze his pay raise and donate it for 5 years to charity!

Now, i’m not scoffing at it really. The thing about it is that wer can’t read minds so we don’t know if our beloved PM is doing it because he is truly an anthropist (which he may very well be although the system treats ‘welfare’ as the dirtiest of words, alongside ‘fuck’ maybe.) But, perhaps this is not just a PM showing his human side, but also a nice PR stunt pulled to take the heat off the government for, well, approving their own pay raises again. I mean, so the PM decides to donate his pay raise to charity. I don’t see the other ministers doing it, but maybe they’re just misanthropes. Xiao Lee is in the limelight all the time, and his donations would probably cause the majority of us to overlook the fact that the other ministers are not donating…they’re probably just concerned with their new Swiss bank accounts.

So it probably IS a smart PR move, as well as an opportunity for our ministers to earn a ticket to Heaven. Oh well. The jaded mind would think that this is well, fulfilling the statement that the tax raise was to help the poor…tax raise -> pay raise -> anthropist! THAT’S helping the poor while raising their status! But yeah, yeah. i am jaded. So what, are you going to shoot me?

One point of contention however is why the money is going to charities. First of all, which charities are they going to? If they are going to help orphanages and retirement homes, then what about the permanently jobless and all? 1 peanut a year can do a lot. Take the handouts for example. I mean, perhaps the Gahmen is going to blame us once again for bringing up the social welfare issue but it is a pertinent one. A smarter move would be to make a smaller increase and then invest in social welfare. But no, welfare’s not good for you remember?

And, what’s more, if the peanuts went to a social/governmental organisation, there would be better control than, say, a charity. Remember the NKF? You never know…indirectly our PM’s pay raise could be used to finance gold taps. Heh.

However, i am willing not to think so much and just believe Xiao Lee is a good guy at heart. As reuben pointed out, this isn’t leadership by example (since the ministers aren’t giving their peanuts away) but leadership by paradigm shift…whatever that means. Just change the mindsets of the people for the next 5 years and with a dash of luck they may get into Parliament in full force, raise the tax and raise their pay again! Thus, it would be prudent to be very, very careful. Keep your eyes open, Singapore. This ain’t Kansas anymore.



1. Ponder Stibbons - April 15, 2007

It’s philanthropist, not anthropist. And see
for why his donation still constitutes a pay rise.

2. guojun - April 16, 2007


i stand corrected. Thanks!

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