In Appreciation of Chan Chun Sing

Singaporeans have Chan Chun Sing, who courageously does a Grace Fu for our benefit, to thank for comments that reveal more about Singapore politics than any other politician has of late.

Firstly, he tells us about what he thinks of his PAP colleagues: “I don’t think anyone of them comes here for the money. They come here to provide a better life for the next generation… One of the reasons why I stepped forward was because I know I’m [sic] joining a team of people that are not here [sic] for the money.”

Maybe one ought to retort in a language which Chan would understand: You think, you don’t think, who confirm?

The PAP’s purported desire to “provide a better life for the next generation” perhaps explains why the party always seems to neglect the current generation. (It pays to remember that there’s always a current generation.)

While one could actually put up with the paternalism involved in the desire to “provide” a better life for people if it is actually done, I wonder how Chan’s colleagues are going to do it. Is it by paying for my children’s education out of his reduced-but-incredibly-high salary?

Chan also tells us: “Money should not be the one (factor) to attract them in [sic]. On the other hand, money should also not be the bugbear to deter them.”

In Fulish words: if the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for anyone considering political office.

Grace Fu would have the right to sue Chan for copyright infringement if not for the fact that she was not exactly original either.

Chan also tries to condescend to the level of peasantry by making a food analogy involving hawker food. Unfortunately his fall to the ground was broken by some heavenly tree branch as he compared hawker center carrot cake to Peach Garden carrot cake.

“You go to Peach Garden, you eat the S$10 XO Sauce chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake), you can be quite happy right? Because you are satisfied with the service and so on. On the other hand, you can go to a hawker centre, even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good.”

Hah? Simi Peach Garden? Boh tia guey leh.

Pardon my inability to evaluate the validity of the comparison. I feel sad that Peach Garden now shares the same fate as Kate Spade, but I have never been to Peach Garden or tasted its supremely delicious carrot cake. Neither can I remember the last time I actually paid $1.50 for carrot cake at any hawker center. Perhaps Chan gets special discounts? When Chan goes to an expensive dining place, it’s not something I can afford. When he goes to a cheap one, it’s not something I can find. This conclusively repudiates any claim that Singapore is a tiny island. How small could it be when it could fit at least two very different worlds, namely mine and Chan’s.

Molly believes that Chan will be glad that at least she is willing to acknowledge her inability to understand his allusions. Many merciless netizens are criticizing him instead. This is really unforgivable. Surely even the dumbest person in Singapore should know by now that he has got to be misquoted, misunderstood, and/or misconstrued. (Synonyms welcomed.)

Instead of being agitated by Chan, we ought to appreciate the Great Truths his words of wisdom contain.

List of Great Truths which we can glean from Chan’s comments:

1. The PAP gahmen is the best on Earth and Mars—and some say Jupiter.

2. The PAP costs so much because of its quality.

3. The salary and quality of a politician are directly proportionate.

Based on the third Great Truth, the world finds itself having to cope with some hard truths.

Premise 1: Those who do not cost as much are not as good.

Premise 2: PAP ministers are the most highly paid in the world.

Shocking Conclusion: No other government in the world is as good as that formed by the PAP.

No wonder the world is so screwed up. But this is a world crisis that has a simple solution. As long as a government decides that its ministers should be as well paid as Singapore’s ministers, it would mean that it is just as good as the PAP. All it takes is some political will and lots of docile citizens. The only foreseeable problem, surely, is that no other government in the world dares to pay itself as much because they know they pale in comparison to the top talents in the world (i.e. the PAP) who make brilliant analogies and implement ingenious policies that worsen the people’s quality of life with each passing day.

Based on the chye tow kuey theory, we could also do some interesting Math.

The ratio of Lee Hsien Loong’s (post reduction) pay: Barack Obama’s is 4: 1

If Lee is $10.50 chye tow kuey, Obama is $2.625 carrot cake.

Obama,

I think I should sell prata instead, Molly.

(Later I will go downstairs and tell the chye tow kuey uncle downstairs that he is more capable than Obama because his chye tow kuey costs $3 per plate. He should really go into politics. At least he is friendly and never talks down to me. Neither does he ever claim that he sells the best chye tow kuey in Singapore.)

The ratio of Lee’s pay: David Cameron’s is 8: 1.

Cameron is a pathetic $1.3125 chye tow kuey. Which makes him worse than the $1.50 one Chan was talking about.

I suddenly see the rationale behind Singapore’s massive defense budget. All it takes is crap-spewer to offend the rest of the world. Using the chye tow kuey theory though, I’m afraid our conscripted soldiers will not match up to those from the rest of the world—they are not even paid a salary and this can only mean that they are amongst the worst soldiers in the world.

I must emphasize, despite all the logic and Math above, that the PAP team did not join politics because of the high pay. (We can only say that they might leave politics or refrain from joining it if the pay is not high enough.) Thanks to Chan Chun Sing, we now can be certain that, over the years, we have wasted millions and millions of dollars on ministers’ salaries and pensions to attract top talent. Since our PAP politicians did not join politics because of the pay, they must have been lying to us when they told us that top money is needed to attract top talent. Or, if they were not lying, it must be the case that they are not top talents, which makes their original justification . . .

Thanks Chan Chun Sing! The nonsensical façade of your comments belie the insights they offer!

Not to worry though. Come 2016, 60% Singaporeans will still buy a plate of $10.50 chye tow kuey that had already expired in the 1980s, leaving the other 40% with severe food poisoning.*

*Statistics for illustrative purposes only.

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58 Responses

  1. “even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good.”

    But.. but.. i don’t want to eat chye tow kuay that costs $10 even if it’s superb quality.

    Ah.. but what do i know. Might as well listen to the guy i paid to think for me. More mee siam ahead.

  2. $1.50 carrot cake? Maybe he pays in US$ lah. Or he got discount is it?

  3. We pay these people top money, but how do they usually solve solutions?
    1. Put up a tender, get all the proposed recipes other cooks.
    2. Close the tender, get their own staffs to cook the chay kway teow with recipes submitted by other cooks. Usual excuse given is to save cost, other cooks are too expensive to hire.
    3. Get paid, fame and promotion themselves!

  4. We pay these people top money, but how do they usually solve issues?
    1. Put up a tender, get all the proposed recipes other cooks.
    2. Close the tender, get their own staffs to cook the chay kway teow with recipes submitted by other cooks. Usual excuse given is to save cost, other cooks are too expensive to hire.
    3. Get paid, fame and promotion themselves!
    After all that they have done to local cooks, do you think they deserve to be charge $10.50 per plate?

  5. We pay these people top money, but how do they usually solve solutions?
    1. Put up a tender, get all the proposed recipes from other cooks.
    2. Close the tender, get their own staffs to cook the chay kway teow with recipes submitted by other cooks. Usual excuse given is to save cost, other cooks are too expensive to hire.
    3. Get paid, fame and promotion themselves!

    After all that they have done to local cooks, do you think they deserve to charge $10.50 per plate?

    • They can pay me $1m to taste their chye tow kuey and do a food review. Cos I’m the best reviewer in the world? How do I know? Cos I ask for the highest pay per review.

  6. No you are wrong, the money is not for the XO chye tow kueh, we are held hostage to prevent our mothers and sisters from becoming maids in other countries.

    As a CEO and I interview lots of people for jobs in my company, I would put the MG in the 4 to 5 K bracket and wont give him a post more than junior manager because I need to put s manager on top of him to tell him what not to do.

  7. /// You go to Peach Garden, you eat the S$10 XO Sauce chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake), you can be quite happy right? Because you are satisfied with the service and so on. On the other hand, you can go to a hawker centre, even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good. ///

    This guy is either in denial, or he is so dumb as to make such a Marie- Antoinettesque blunder. Does he really not know that they are many low-income people who cannot afford $10 chye tow kuay, but have to settle for the $1.50 version even if the taste is no good and the service is no good, simply because they have to survive?

    Let them eat cake!

    • I just want a normal $3 plate of chye tow kuey. But I’m forced to choose between $10 one and $1.50 one. 😦

      • A regular plate at $3 will do the job for me -satisfy my taste buds and fill my stomach. Am willing to pay a little bit more for “extra ingredients” but not $10 for some expensive sauce and aesthetic appeal. I don’t want to be a “chye tow” and let people “tok”.;P

  8. There is a lot we can learn lot from CCS and PAP. If you want good chye tow kuey, just go to any carrot cake store and insist on paying them $10 a plate! If we want TPL to be the world best prime minister, just pay her more than LHL!

  9. Hi there,

    this is a great article. I love this phase “When Chan goes to an expensive dining place, it’s not something I can afford. When he goes to a cheap one, it’s not something I can find.” — It’s so funny.

    Looking forward for your future posts especially when our MPs….:D

  10. $1.50 Chai tao Kuay only found in Maju Camp lah!

    • Oh, maybe that explains why Chan has access to it.

    • Hmmm but that means that the quality of maju camp CTK is ….. oh… ALL CTK stall owners better start charging MG Chan at least S$10 for CTK in future. Otherwise they are low quality. Come to think of it, other restaurants should start charging S$100 for CTK in future. That is the argument is it not?

      • No lah. Need to have benchmark. We could benchmark the price of chye tow kuey to caviar, gram for gram.

  11. He lost touch with the world after signing on to the ARMY as General. Free food daily from the SAF.

    Who agree with me he sucks Kee Chiu~

  12. If you compare LHL’s pay to Obama’s pay, might as well compare water in singapore vs water in sahara desert. (Sahara desert water more pricier so better? must see geographical and economical reasons mah) Seriously, before you post anything think first and do your math… (perhaps geog and some common sense) What CCS is saying is more like if you got the money, you would want to buy an iphone rather than a B/W nokia phone, esp if your life depend on how good your phone is…

    if you want discount here and there most probably you will end up with a samsung galaxy ace (which probably can’t process hi def videos and games). If anyone has taken economics before you shld be able to understand that if you push down the price below economically efficient levels, qty dmd>qty supp hence there will be a shortage of desired output.

    On the point “even if we pay ministers more also cannot guarantee they have the heart and passion to join” then let be quote you the example of iphones (once again). You pay so much for an iphone but cannot guarantee the one you receive is not faulty, so pretty much is a heng suay thing but what you can do is exchange for new one using warranty lah. But in terms of ministers how to determine the line that separates the ones that pass Quality Check and the ones that are not? Would you like it if you are a manager of a company and your boss keep screening you check whether you can make the cut anot?

    on the economics POV they (the committee in charge of revising ministerial pay) are currently finding the socially accepted economic equilibrium. (and as you know theoretically easy to say, but in reality if can find it so easily then wun have unemployment and inflation le)

    So far it is pegged not only to the top earners but also to the economic indicators (including the income growth of low income group, unemployment, inflation, etc.) so for me I think it is justified for now.

    (another food for thought, if SAF dun offer such lucrative deals, who will want to sign on or more imptly how many people will want to sign on in this puny island of SIngapore? who is going to protect you when you are sleeping at ease and comfort at home?)

    Just my 2 cents worth. If you think I make sense then stop this madness. Read and analyse more opinions before you make your opinion (rather than being blind and led by the blind)

    • What is this madness you are talking about? I was joking most of the time in the post (though you may not like my jokes or find them funny).

      As for what the point behind the joke is, I have already written my piece and it’s up to the poor reader who stumbles upon to post to make sense of it for himself.

      If I want a good phone, I won’t necessarily go for the most expensive phone because the most expensive may not be the best. Even if I do go for the most expensive iPhone because I believe in its quality, there is nothing to stop me from being critical of Apple’s pricing if it is indeed overpriced. No doubt, Apple can set the price. As the consumer, I can also have my criticisms about the price.

      P.S: It is not universally accepted as a truth that the PAP politicians are rare talents like water in a desert. Even if they are, can we compare the cost of water in Sahara to water in other deserts and ask why water in Sahara costs so many times more than water in other deserts?

    • 1. “Sahara desert water more pricier so better?”
      – this is the rationale presented by PAP, or rather this: if we pay more for water, we can attract higher quality water to come to us.

      2. “if you got the money, you would want to buy an iphone rather than a B/W nokia phone, esp if your life depend on how good your phone is…”
      – if my life depended on how good my phone is, I would buy a phone that I feel is the best for me, in other words, hearing other people say that iPhone is a good phone should not influence my choice which traditional economic theory states as independent and rational. Judgement will be reserved by everyone for their own selves.

      3. “if you want discount here and there most probably you will end up with a samsung galaxy ace (which probably can’t process hi def videos and games)”
      – the question here is whether we need a phone to process hi def videos and games. Does my life depend on having a phone that can process hi def videos and games? If not, then another phone might be better suited for me, and hence is a better phone to depend my life on.

      4. ” If anyone has taken economics before you shld be able to understand that if you push down the price below economically efficient levels, qty dmd>qty supp hence there will be a shortage of desired output.”
      – if this was your answer to an economics exam question, you would not be awarded any marks. Reason being: sentence does not have a warrant to link back to your point, hence NAQ (not answering question). Randomly linking a theory to one’s argument does not lend credibility to it.

      5. “But in terms of ministers how to determine the line that separates the ones that pass Quality Check and the ones that are not?”
      – I believe the line for ministers has long been determined to be voters’ confidence in them. The incumbent have won another round of elections last year, well done! But maybe, just maybe, we should stop and think why our election system is so different from that of other democratic and voting countries. Is it because we are a small nation that we must have our own way of doing everything? My impression is that this is PAP’s official stance on lots of related issues.

      6. “Would you like it if you are a manager of a company and your boss keep screening you check whether you can make the cut anot?”
      – I would believe the majority of society would not like it, but you must put yourself in the shoes of your boss and ask yourself this: would I like it if I give free rein to the manager of my company and let him perform his natural abilities regardless of the results? Tests, examinations, screenings, streamings, or just generally ability classification and identification has and will continue to be critical to this meritocratic state championed by the incumbent. We can only live with it until sufficient number of voters vote them out.

      7. “on the economics POV they (the committee in charge of revising ministerial pay) are currently finding the socially accepted economic equilibrium. (and as you know theoretically easy to say, but in reality if can find it so easily then wun have unemployment and inflation le)”
      – the “equilibrium” level of discount from ministers’ wages is an arbitrary figure, hence it cannot be justifed to be at equilibrium.
      – in economics, true equilibrium exists in all markets at all times and are immediately discernible to everyone. Sadly, reality suffers from imperfect information on so many aspects, is it still feasible to spent so much resources on artificially determining an “equilibrium” level that suffers from human error? That is akin to seeking perfection using an imperfect tool.
      – “socially accepted economic equilibrium” is an oxymoron as true economic equilibrium will never adjust itself just because there is social pressure. If it is truly the economic equilibrium, by virtue of its name it does not have to adjust itself.

      8. “So far it is pegged not only to the top earners but also to the economic indicators (including the income growth of low income group, unemployment, inflation, etc.) so for me I think it is justified for now.”
      – for a government that prides itself on being run much like a corporation, I do not feel it is justifiable that the ministers are awarded large bonuses just for being up to scratch and performing as well as expected. This reeks too much of Wall Street. Sure, there are now more goals to be met before ministers are awarded their maximum bonus of 26.5 months, but I have not heard of any other job in Singapore that offers such a high bonus.
      – I believe the phrase “pegged to the top earners” is very misleading in this case, as the truth is the “top earners” are not always “top earners” year in year out. As argued by many, these “top earners” tend to be those who performed exceptionally well and are paid big bonuses, i.e. rare outliers. Hence, pegging base salaries to incomes with big bonuses included is defeating the whole purpose. Unless the government has performed exceptionally well, year in year out. But I believe this can be reflected in the number of votes that they get.

      9. “(…if SAF dun offer such lucrative deals, who will want to sign on or more imptly how many people will want to sign on in this puny island of SIngapore? who is going to protect you when you are sleeping at ease and comfort at home?)”
      – by this argument I assume that you are implying SAF regulars are not always worth the lucrative deals offered to and taken up by them? But wouldn’t this imply that you believe that offering lucrative deals will not be able to attract the desired level of talent?

      I feel deeply offended that economics is being used to justify your arguments.

      Last but not least, allow me to pay a final tribute to your post by quoting you one more time: “Just my 2 cents worth. If you think I make sense then stop this madness. Read and analyse more opinions before you make your opinion (rather than being blind and led by the blind)”

      (If you feel misunderstood or have anything to rebuke please feel free to do so constructively. I welcome sincere exchanges.)

      • Wah such a long reply. One thing I’m puzzled about though: I thought the original suggestion in my post was that our conscripts should be offered top salaries as well, going by the logic we have been hearing. Wasn’t the claim precisely that SAF should offer attractive pay packages to improve the quality of its soldiers, the bulk of whom are currently not even paid a salary?

        • NSFs are regularly reminded that spending 2 years of their lives for conscription is their duty and shared responsibility. There is no pay/salary, only allowance (because NSFs cannot eat in cookhouse for free during weekends).

          Ministers are a different story. They are the top talents in the country, the shakers and movers of our economy. They command astronomical salaries that the top earners of Singapore cannot even match. Hence, for them to leave their jobs and become a minister is a “sacrifice”, not a duty nor shared responsibility. Thus, extra incentive is required to facilitate their flow from private sector to public sector.

          I apologise if you are offended by my long post, I guess I got carried away…

          • Hah? I’m not offended. Appreciate the long reply which I’m too lazy to spend time on myself, actually.

            I’m just wondering why the person you were replying to mentioned the SAF when nothing in my post would have prompted that particular response from him/her.

            • I would suppose it’s this line: “I suddenly see the rationale behind Singapore’s massive defense budget”. Sounds like the only possible point involving SAF.

              • Yeah, but the problem is that I had said (as an application of the high salaries theory) that conscripted soldiers should be paid high salaries too. But he sounds as if he was arguing against what I had said by justifying the “lucrative deals” offered to SAF regulars by the SAF. He sounds as if I had said that SAF regulars should not be paid so well, but I didn’t. It just doesn’t follow…

                • I’m not very sure, but my guess is that he feels high salaries/lucrative deals offered to regulars have attracted enough talented people to sign on, hence even though all the conscripts are not worth paying salary for, the talented regulars will be there to pull us through, thus justifying the high defence budget and high salaries theory.
                  But of course this is just my groundless speculation, we can never clarify this unless he/she replies.

                  • Haha, I’m not sure if I really want a reply for him/her… If there’s a reply, maybe you can help reply back again. :p

  13. If I may, and I’m simply making an observation; not defending the man or his remarks, I think the interpretation of that analogy has been taken a little too far and in the wrong direction.
    He was merely making the point that people can still be satisfied with paying more for something because of certain value added characteristics -“Because you are satisfied with the service and so on” and that people will not necessarily be happy with something even if it is dirt cheap -“even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good”.

    What conclusion regarding politicians and their salaries he was attempting to draw is of course, highly debatable, whether its cheap isn’t always good or that the PAP value adds or whatever else have you.

    Granted his analogy probably wasn’t the most smooth nor, it could be argued, the most politically correct (pun not intended) but i think to conclude that he goes to expensive restaurants most people cannot afford or doesn’t know how much a plate of chye tow kuay in a hawker centre costs/ gets a discount just from those words is a logical jump too high to make.

    • What you have said is true, and there are people who take it literally that we must be able to find $1.50 carrot cake for the analogy to work, etc. On the other hand, there are others know this but deliberately pretend that they do not so that they can continue having fun with the analogy. To mistake the second group for the first group is to commit the same mistake as the first group.

      If you read my tweet yesterday, I said “It’s amusing that people are earnestly arguing about whether we can find $1.50 carrot cake. That’s taking it a tad too literally.” There are, however, those who are not really serious about it. It could be satirical, it could be for some other reasons. In other words, there are those who are really blur and there are those who act blur.

  14. His analogy is a real bad one.

  15. > Premise 2: PAP ministers are the most highly paid in the world.

    Molly, this is not a premise but a Truth. PAP ministers are STILL the top 30 most highly paid politicians in the known universe.

    We can now compile a list of PAP MPs who intend to leave politics because there is insufficient multi-million Dignity for them. Come 2016, we should oblige them.

  16. On the subject of multi-million bonuses, one big flaw of the new formulae is that the bonuses are independent Ang Pows. Hence our Glorious Multi-Million Dignity Leaders could concentrate on GDP as this would increase both their bonus as well as their basic salary. They could ignore the lower Quartile like they have been doing so far.

    The “bonuses” should be factors applied to their basic Dignity. This way, they have to ensure all the factors are increased together. Then if they are incompetent, they will also be penalised. Presently, they take their basic multi-million Dignity even if they do a bad job.

    And World Class PAP gerrymandering ensures that even TP “Kate” L will easily get back in.

  17. I prefer hawker centre food cheap and delicious! The smell of a hundred types of foods in the air makes everything so much tastier.

  18. Chye Tao kueh Mai hum pls

  19. There are two types carrot cake.The fried carrot cakes that CCS is referring to are those you get when you eat dim sum. Hawker centre usually sells for below $1.

  20. kee chiu pl dont copy cat bala . this hawker centre and restaurant thing has made bala very famous already. now you also famous lah..thank you for connecting with us hor.

  21. yep.. from MCDYS, our darling viv is now jamban minister.. if that isn’t a downgrade, I dunno what is.. Flush if you want to say hello to Viv.. (joke) lol

  22. Hahaha thanks Molly this piece is hilarious! Just as hilarious are some of the comments about sahara water and the search for 1.50 chye tow kueh!

    Since we are on the subject of food, may I add that, this current government can be likened to Newton hawker centre (overpriced and especially attractive to tourists) while the WP seems like Old Airport Road (cheap and good?), SDP is like Aston (atas food but popularly priced).

    But this analogy is empirically inaccurate because 60% of this country’s citizens prefer Newton hawker food (?!). Maybe it has better location … old famous hawkers … a proven track record … or …

    (Note to clueless readers: The above comparison is a mere device to elicit response of appreciative laughter. If you feel compelled to disprove or argue or rant on it, please do so at your nearest polyclinic or, if you prefer Peach Garden-esque chye tow kueh, at any of the medical facilities found in the Orchard Road area.)

    • Newton spread rumors about the other hawker centers giving people food poisoning, so there are people who got scared by the rumors and patronize Newton instead.

      • If you eat at other hawker centers you will have to repent for 5 years; not upgrades for you; not free PA activities for you, etc.

  23. […] poor English and his inane sayings. Who can forget his head-scratching carrot cake metaphor?  He once said, when commenting that money is not the factor that draws people to join PAP :”You go to Peach Garden, you eat the S$10 XO […]

  24. […] bad English and his nonsensical sayings. Who can forget his head-scratching carrot cake metaphor?  He once said, when commenting that income is not a cause that draws people to join PAP :”You go to Peach Garden, we eat a S$10 XO Sauce […]

  25. […] in dialect. The masses are even more impressed with his use of analogy such as XO chye tow kway Molly Meek which only he has tasted. He has also set the people thinking about another kway ie kuih lapis. […]

  26. […] In Appreciation of Chan Chun Sing | Molitics Quote: “You go to Peach Garden, you eat the S$10 XO Sauce chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake), you can be quite happy right? Because you are satisfied with the service and so on. On the other hand, you can go to a hawker centre, even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good.” Farking out of touch. More like $3 these days […]

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