Misunderstanding Grace Fu

“When I made the decision to join politics in 2006, pay was not a key factor. Loss of privacy, public scrutiny on myself and my family and loss of personal time were. The disruption to my career was also an important consideration. I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. So it is with this recent pay cut. If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one [sic] considering political office.” (Grace Fu)

These days, the PAP is a much-maligned lot. Netizens twisted Seng Han Thong’s totally innocuous remarks and claimed that he was, in effect, making a racially discriminatory remark when he was merely espousing bad spoken English and practising what he preached. Now, Grace Fu is accused of expecting high ministerial salaries when she is telling us that the pay does not matter much to her (still). Our ministers must be sorely missing the good old days when all it takes was a simple defamation suit to preserve their reputations while possibly supplementing their incomes, which must have been compromised by their altruistic decision to serve the people by joining the most powerful political party in the semi-democratic world.

We must therefore be fair to Fu. She does say that “pay was not a key factor” influencing her decision to join politics. The poor woman is trying so hard to show us that she is not materialistic, but still ends up accused of being so. To be sure, she must have taken the pay into consideration, but she is telling us the pay did not discourage her from joining politics. While the pay was not a key factor to her, it was nonetheless one of the potential push factors, together with a supposed loss of privacy and personal time. This must be why she is misunderstood. Crass Singaporean mortals, who would be encouraged by a million-dollar annual pay package, we will never be able to empathize with Fu who was somewhat discouraged by it. She was only able to make the decision to join politics and entertain Singaporeans on Facebook because she had “some ground” (i.e. not much) to think that her standard of living could be more or less sustained. We have a talented politician like her only because the pay offered did not affect her standard of living. Because of our inability to imagine the standard of living that would be compromised by a million-dollar salary, it is easy for us to think that she is materialistic. It is our fault. She is not materialistic. She is not demanding a higher pay. It is just that her standard of living is so inconceivably high that she may face difficulties making ends meet if she were to be paid the average salary of a minister in the developed world.

Perhaps Singapore should implement a social assistance program to offer financial aid to struggling ministers.

Fu is also not speaking for herself when she says that”[i]f the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one [sic] considering political office.” She is just saying that if the pay gets any lower, it may discourage any person who is thinking of joining politics from doing so. We must first make the important distinction between “any person considering political office” and “any person out there.” Fu’s assumption is probably beyond the grasp of lower life forms, but it is quite simple: the people who are suitable for political office and hence are considering it are the people who earn significantly more than what a minister earns. As such, if the pay gets any lower, their quality of life can be adversely affected if they decide to join politics. It is unreasonable for us to expect anyone to become a beggar just to serve the people. On the other hand, those who actually earn significantly less than what a minister earns are and do not find it difficult to accept the pathetic ministerial pay package are not in a position to consider joining politics because their low pay reflects their lack of talent and competence. Remember, Singapore is a meritocratic society and the highest earners are the most talented people. If we have less talented people governing Singapore, Orchard Road will flood, the trains will stop moving and there will be insufficient foreign talents in Singapore. In other words, Singapore will be destroyed. Maybe the doomsday prophets were right about 2012 after all. Fu was saying what she said out of her deep concern for Singapore. We cannot be ungrateful and continue to malign her. Like Seng Han Thong who turned out to be empathizing with those who could not speak English well, Fu is actually expressing her empathy for people who have financial problems.

Allow Molly to cheer Fu on for the patriotic efforts. Go, Grace! Go!

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28 Responses

  1. […] Chong] – Unbranded Bread n Butter: Lui Cock Yew: Sri Dewa barber after the salary cut? – Molitics: Misunderstanding Grace Fu – Words of The Cze: Oblong – The Lycan Times 狼人時報: Current Affairs – Ministerial Pay […]

  2. I agree with you entirely. How can we mere mortals ever hope to understand the sublime Grace? Any attempt would result in misinterpretation of her holy words. We should not, correction, never be doubting Thomases and instead should have complete faith in her pure and sincere heart.

  3. the last bit is the best: indeed for those of us who earn less than, well, a million dollars, we should not even consider a political career (with the PAP). Our talents are just not there.

    Great that you are back molitics.

  4. Aha,
    Let us dedicate this song to this woman who is sacrifice so much unlike lesser mortals who struggle so hard to meet day’s end. It is really AMAZING that she still complain so hard and unhappy when she and her cronies are still the richest politicians in the world even after paycut. Because of that, I find her very AMAZING that we dedicate this AMAZING song to this Grace.

    Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Lyrics

    “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me….
    I once was poor but now am rich,
    Was blind, but now, I AYA.

    T’was Grace that taught…
    my heart to fear.
    And Grace, my fears relieved.
    How precious did that Grace appear…
    the hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares…
    we have already come.
    T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
    and Grace will lead us home.

    PAP has promised good to me…
    PAP’s word my hope secures.
    PAP will my shield and portion be…
    as long as life endures.

    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    and Godly and demi-Dod life shall cease,
    I shall possess within the veil,
    a life of joy, riches and more riches.

    When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
    bright shining as the sun.
    We’ve no less days to sing PAP’s praise…
    then when we’ve first begun.

    AMEN to PAP’s Grace

  5. Agree with you. The online media is viewing everything the government is doing negatively. If this continues, we will lose a good government that has serve us well. We need to have more supporters of the government online to tilt the balance before it is too late.

    • You sound like a “innocent” kid. Either you get fool by Molly Meek or Molly Meek get fool by you. Tell me who get fool … same options applies to your response to Mr Wang.

      • Meow, Meow,
        you might want to tone down your satire, least you get “misunderstood” like disGraceFu … LOL

        • If I get misunderstood or misconstrued, can I get Shanmugam to clarify things for me?

          • this comment wins =)

          • hmmm … u need to get your approval from Emperor Lee first as this is SOP. His lackeys are just waiting for instruction from him and the government.

            And Shanmugam is not cheap. Everytime he open his mouth, he will be paid millions for his BS. Has to be the world’s most expensive BS lawyer.

          • Grace Fu had either the talent to be born with the correct set of genes or the right connections with the inner circle. That is all that matters in our meritocratic society for entitlement to a cushy million $$$ job in a GLC. To be a minister when your peers are in some GLCs is a great sacrifice that lesser mortals can never understand or they will not have misconstrued what she posted in Facebook.

            If your interpretation of what Shanmugam’s underlings said is misunderstood or misconstrued, he is paid millions to slam you down to protect his own and avoid embarrassing his party further. Do not be mistaken that you have a share when only his party own this place.

    • The question is “why” the online media had such a view. In public service, the key word is “serve”. As serve the common good, not self-serving. It is a sad day that a salary review is needed. It is a sad day, that after review, the anger not settle. You don’t need to garner whatever pro-govt support to tilt what ever you need to tilt. The people in charge just need to morally up right themselves. People of Singapore are fair people. We are not daft, we have moral fibre to understand. Engage yorself in critical thinking mode, critical, yet thinking. We can’t have a nation divided as it is right now.

  6. […] truly disingenuous. I think nobody has put the point across better than Molly Meek (you should read the entire thing here, seriously): Crass Singaporean mortals, who would be encouraged by a million-dollar annual pay […]

  7. Every fellow citizen works hard and sacrifices in his own way for our nation,be it the low wage workers or the million dollar rich. Every one plays a part, u can not have the leaders without followers No one is more important or sacrifices more. The ministers must put things into the correct perspective.

  8. […] Mollymeek writes sarcastically about how Ms Fu could have been misunderstood: Because of our inability to imagine the standard of living that would be compromised by a million-dollar salary, it is easy for us to think that she is materialistic. It is our fault. She is not materialistic. She is not demanding a higher pay. It is just that her standard of living is so inconceivably high that she may face difficulties making ends meet if she were to be paid the average salary of a minister in the developed world. […]

  9. I believe that the last “talent” from the private sector excluding the medical and legal professions and the government related companies who agreed to join the Cabinet would be Richard Hu and I believe that the person who was able to persuade him to join was the late Goh Keng Swee, who had the moral standing to call on “talents” to join him in his quest for the Holy Grail.

    Even with the “carrat” worth millions, the PAP leadership with LKY at the helm without the other “founding fathers” (as many have called them) have not been able to persuade those whom they perceive to be “talents” outside the medical and legal professions to help them manage Singapore as a commercial enterprise.

    With the immense “talent”, which was only made available with the “competitive” salaries on offer and the sacrifices made by the chosen, the PAP leadership had the “wisdom” to embrace businesses such as F1 and the casinos and rectify the mistakes made by those who were pald much less (and were therefore less “talented” ) in rejecting motor-racing and casinos, and the “wisdom” to suggest that our citizens should look across the Causeway for affordable healthcare and homes for their aged parents whilst they struggle with their mortgages, cost of living and competition from foreigners who are prepared to work longer hours for less pay in Singapore Inc but who will not have to struggle beyond the few years they consign themselves to working in Singapore Inc.

    Just as the affluent tourist is being targetted, the lesser Singaporean is no longer a major concern of Singapore Inc, until election year. Regrettably, we do not presently have a viable alternative to the PAP.

    • Actually, why not?

      • I shall be glad to know your views as to who amongst those in the present line-up of politicians across the divide will be able to perform the role of PM and Minister for Finance.

        More importantly, will they be able to manage the task of freeing all our public institutions from the tentacles of the PAP? We should learn from Obama’s experience in the USA, and I would say that we should first regain ownership of our public institutions in order to ensure that the transition from PAP domination can be managed properly and carefully. I truly fear that we lack real leadership, which is independent of the PAP in our public institutions. The process will require much time, effort and sacrifice but how many are willing to do so?

        Unlike countries with a larger economic base and resources, Singapore may not have the luxury of failure The USA can survive despite the deadlock, Singapore may not. I am sure that there are many in the region who will be glad to see Singapore fail in view of the unfortunate posturing of the PAP governments.

  10. 2 out of 3 at Yuhua prefer her to Teo Soh Lung and regrettably 60.1% is drinking their Kool Aid to believe that the alternative, like Chen Show Mao is no match to Tin Pei Ling or even Grace Fu.

  11. Grace Fu must have done some good work on the ground to achieve the credible result in the last GE. Teo Soh Lung paid the price for agreeing to stand as a candidate in the constituency on the SDP ticket late in the day, after leaving the Reform Party. Simply put, she had no chance as the groundwork was not done. Supporters of political parties must accept the fact that much groundwork needs to be done in order to succeed, but I suspect there is not much support available to carry out the groundwork.

    As for Tin Pei Ling, most of the other candidates across the divide are equal, if not better, than her.

    Chen Show Mao is a better politician than Grace Fu. His credentials are superior to hers. He is definitely equal to, possibly better than, K. Shanmugam (as a lawyer) and Vivian Balakrishnan (as evident from his ‘A’ levels results) in intellect and more courageous and committed than the whole lot of PAP chaps, but there is no evidence that he will be able to perform Tharman’s role, and he, I believe, is presently not in the position to assume the role of Prime Minister. Hopefully, he will be able to draw others who are similarly qualified, and more importantly equally committed, into the poltical arena so that we will have the choice of a viable alternative Cabinet, which is presently not available. What we have are viable alternatives to perform the roles of MPs, Political Secretaries, Parliamentary Secretaries, and possibly Ministers of State and the lesser Ministerial Portfolios.

    There will only be hope if the “wise” 40% start working towards freeing Singapore from the tentacles of the PAP. Sadly, this appears most unlikely as Singaporeans do have a very selfish and self-preservation trait in their DNA, after years of PAP propaganda. If you reflect carefully, many of us do reflect characteristics of LKY in our overall make-up- one group which stood out were the alleged Marxist Conspirators. Prior to that group, we have the Nantah Group comprising of people such as Low Thia Kiang and Tan Chee Kien (NSP) who, I suspect, would have drawn inspiration from Chia Thye Poh.

  12. I think a viable alternative, if it’s not already existent, will come about if people change their voting patterns, or, as you say, start to free themselves from the tentacles of the PAP. (How do we do so if not by supporting the opposition?)

    In a way, nevertheless, if we start by thinking about who in the opposition camp could replace the current ministers, we also start thinking in the PAPian way of treating political recruitment like corporate recruitment. As a voter, I wouldn’t worry at all about whether there is anyone in the opposition to replace the current ministers. (I have faith that at least some some can though.) I would vote for them in any case because I believe they stand for a Singapore that is closer to what I think is a better Singapore. And when more and more of them actually get voted in, naturally there will be competent people who want to join to opposition. If we do not vote for them because we think they cannot replace the current ministers, we are unwittingly responsible for perpetuating the undesirable situation.

    We can’t expect there to be proof that oppositional politicians to be able to replace the PAP ones unless we give them a chance to prove it to begin with.

    • The good news is that the people have indeed changed their voting patterns. Look at the last Presidential Elections where it is obvious that the hard core PAP support has dwindled to 35%. Based on those results, there is a possibility that there is now a pool of 35% swing voters who are inclined towards the PAP but can be persuaded otherwise.

      Whilst I accept your view that we would not know for sure unless we try, it seems to me only sensible that we try to first find out, which is really not a difficult task. For instance, we should engage the various parties to understand their plans if they were to succeed in their mission of winning all their respective seats and the detailed plans they have for transportation, health, education, housing and the economy.

      For those who strongly feel that the PAP must be voted out of office, then I hope they will spend the next 4-5 years shoring up the political parties they support, and in the process, establish first hand whether they are truly better than the PAP. Thereafter, exercise their votes wisely.

      At the same time, I pray that people like you and most of your readers will not only register your angst by the exercise of your vote in 2016 or earlier but seriously work towards regaining ownership of our country from the PAP.We should start the process of reclaiming the trade unions, People’s Association, the CCCs, the RCs with the view towards breaking the PAP’s stranglehold of these entities.

      I am reasonably confident, as pointed out by you, that competent and committed people will emerge particularly if they are confident that they need not adopt an overly strident anti-PAP tone in order to gain support, especially if they are caught in a 3 corner or 4 corner contest. Whilst the PAP’s constant refrains are deeply annoying, the need to join in the shrill cries in order to garner support may be a strong disincentive for many to step into the political arena. Finally, thank you for the opportunity for this senior citizen to share his thoughts.

      • Certainly, we should find out more about the people we are voting for. It’s just that I’m personally prepared to vote for an opposition politician with considerably less stellar credentials than a PAP politician (say, if I’m a voter in an SMC). At this point in history, it’s virtually impossible for any opposition party to replace the PAP and to become the dominant party, so any worry about them having less credentials to fulfill ministerial duties will be secondary. (I wouldn’t mind having someone with a less spectacular CV as my MP.) In my mind, it would be that if Singaporeans are willing to vote for these opposition politicians first, by the following election, the opposition party will be more likely to attract those with more impressive credentials.

        It’s an interesting idea that opposition parties should avoid an overly strident anti-PAP tone. It may be true. For if they do get the PAP out of the way eventually, what is going to be central to their identity if it has all the while been based largely on an anti-PAP stance?

        Oh, you can share your thoughts any time. You can even start a blog. 🙂

        • I totally agree with your view that if we do not give the opposition a chance we’ll never know. However, there’s one thing we do know if the opposition becomes the next government…..then the PAP will be in opposition, and we will have a first world opposition!

          • We had better pay them lots of money then. Otherwise we can’t attract them to continue to be first-world opposition.

  13. […] Mollymeek anaandika kwa kejeli kuhusiana na namna Mhe. Fu alivyoeleweka vibaya: Kwa sababu ya kukosa kwetu uwezo wa kufikiri mtindo wa maisha unaoweza kuhalalishwa kwa mshahara wa dola za marekani milioni moja, ni rahisi kwetu kufikiri kwamba anajali mali zaidi. Ni kosa letu. Huyu mama haangalii mali. Wala hadai mshahara mnono zaidi. Ni ile tu kwamba mtindo wake wa maisha uko juu kupita kiasi kwamba anaweza kukumbana na ugumu wa kulipia anavyovitumia kama angekuwa alipwe mshahara wa kawaida wa Waziri katika nchi zilizoendelea. […]

  14. Ty! You made my day!Bookmarked!

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