Misinterpretation, Misquote and Ministerial Salaries

Dr. Lim Wee Kiak has come forward to clarify that his remarks have been taken out of context. Which brings us to the question of what the context was. Let me quote from his clarification (though perhaps I am quoting out of context again):

I have mentioned that the responsibilities of our ministers are not any less than that of our corporate heads. Although their pay should not be equal to corporates [sic] as there is the element of service to country and it is not a job, it should not be too low. So in concluding [sic] , I told the reporter jokingly, that there will be at least some “face” when the minister meet [sic] the corporate chief.

I admit it is a bad example that is [sic] quoted out of context.

Huh? Are you admitting that it is a bad example or are you claiming (or, as your sentence goes, admitting) that you have been quoted out of context? What is “it” a bad example of and what exactly is “it”?

In saying that you have been quoted out of context, you are suggesting that your words have been twisted to mean what they do not mean. However, when you claim to have been joking, it would seem more like you are saying you have been misinterpreted and people are taking your words too seriously when they are not meant to be taken seriously. That is not taking you out of context.

Assuming that you have indeed been quoted out of context or misinterpreted, why are you admitting that “it is a bad example”? If you have given a bad example, then perhaps you have not been misinterpreted or misquoted. Rather, it would simply be that you have not communicated the intended point to the intended audience well and it would be a matter of you not representing yourself properly instead of others getting you wrong. Your clarification contradictorily combines self-exoneration and self-blame.

Based on your clarification, it seems that you do still hold the belief that a salary of $500,000 per annum is too low for a minister even though it is an amount that some of the most impoverished citizens under your care will take decades to earn (without even factoring in inflation? You still seem to be implying that “low” salaries will affect the dignity of ministers even though it is perfectly reasonable to say (without asserting that ministers should be lowly paid) that any lowly paid person, minister or not, can be dignified in the face of anyone in the world. Because even the most lowly paid person is earning an honest living. On the other hand, one wonders how dignified a group of people, with an illustrious history of helping themselves to million-dollar salaries because they have the power to decide, can be.

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