In A Heartwarming Story Amid Covid-19 Low Income Singaporeans Donate Billions To Allow an Elderly Woman To Pursue Her Social Media Hobby

Yesterday Temasek announced that its philanthropic arm, Temasek Foundation, would be providing “300,000 meals to around 2,750 people in need who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.” Their statement said:

“Standing in solidarity with Singaporeans, Temasek Foundation and its partners seek to support affected families with timely food security and relief”

Mighty big of Temasek considering it is a state-owned company and those funds belong to Singaporeans anyway. Singaporeans might well ask whether the entire remuneration of the PM’s wife, Ho Ching, might be better spent providing help to needy families during this period. $780,000 might seem generous but it is likely less than 1% of her total annual compensation and an infinitesimal fraction of what she has been paid since she was promoted to CEO. After all her job description at Temasek seems to consist mainly of surfing the internet, posting on Facebook up to 10 or 20 times an hour and lashing out at her husband’s critics. In case this proves too onerous she gets frequent breaks to accompany her husband by private jet on state jollies, oops visits and to attend state dinners.

In fact Ho Ching’s employment at Temasek seems to be a gigantic charitable donation by SIngaporeans to her and her husband, since at every election the former sanction Lee Hsien Loong to continue keeping them in the dark about his wife’s total remuneration as well as the extent of his family’s assets and whether these conflict in any way with his position as head of the Government and chairman of GIC.

The same state media article also mentioned that Temasek is providing meals to some of the students at four special education schools and quoted the chairman of the Schools Support Group as saying that some of the students go to school without having had a meal. I am sure that this happens to a significant proportion of students in Singapore, not just at special needs schools and before the economic crisis caused by Covid. It is unlikely much has changed since a few decades back when my dad said that a shockingly high proportion of students, maybe a third, were being sent to school without breakfast or insufficient money to buy food. My parents’ old friend, Tommy Koh, said the same thing recently but quickly realised where his bread was buttered and retracted his comment.

During the Covid pandemic a large number of Singaporeans who were already living precariously and dependent on gig economy jobs are now without income and dependent on private charities, faux charity handouts like Temasek’s and having to appeal to Comcare for assistance. I am surprised because I thought that they would be eligible for the Self Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) which provides $1,000 a month for nine months. Instead they have to rely on discretionary and temporary payments from. But even if they could access SIRS this still is much lower than other countries like the UK where self-employed persons can get paid up to $4500 (£2500) a month or 80% of their average income.

The Government claims that it is spending over $60 billion from the reserves on support measures but we need an independent body like the Office for Budget Responsibility in the UK or the Congressional Budget Office in the US to provide objective assessments of the real level of Government spending. I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that much claimed Government spending, including most of the Net Investment Returns Contribution, is fake and just a transfer from one silo to another. Much of the $60 billion will go from the Government to state-owned companies in the Temasek stable and Changi Airport Group so effectively a transfer from one pocket to another.

Singaporeans suffer from cognitive dissonance, seemingly unable to comprehend that Temasek’s and GIC’s assets (indeed all Singapore’s reserves) belong to them. Instead they applaud the PM and his wife for noblesse oblige, as though Singapore was a Middle Eastern monarchy or the Czarist or Chinese Empire and the money was coming from the Lee family’s personal patrimony. Lee Hsien Loong and his ministers do their best to foster that impression with the pretence that Temasek and GIC are private companies and therefore not accountable to Parliament. No doubt Singaporeans will demonstrate their gratitude for PM Lee’s generosity and return the PAP to Parliament with an enhanced majority in the rapidly approaching elections! Ho Ching can continue to be charitably supported by Singaporeans in her Facebook hobby for many more years or at least till she decides to ascend the Dragon Throne.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

* The author blogs at https://kenjeyaretnam.com/
.

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9 Responses to “In A Heartwarming Story Amid Covid-19 Low Income Singaporeans Donate Billions To Allow an Elderly Woman To Pursue Her Social Media Hobby”

  • trublu:

    In disguise for helping sgs,govt throws $60 billions at their own PAPple?
    How come me dont feel that govt spends money on me?
    I still pay gst in medical bills that are cow size?
    Utilities still expensive,made much more so by tax on tax from surcharges to levies to gst on all added item$?

    Loong n his PAPple are playing masak masak with our MONEY!

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  • CPF billions raided yearly:

    They raid many chickens from everyone, and give a few eggs back to selected ones, and keeps millions and millions for themselves.

    70%, are you still sleeping?

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  • Sojoürner:

    Jung Chang’s book is superb – again. Well worth reading and very hard to put down. I read Chung Juang’s “Wild Swans” again and again and am sympathetic, but she seems to have found “gold” as a fanatic anti-communist.

    At first impression, I am a bit skeptical that the archival material will paint such a dramatically different picture of a high profile and well studied figure. But as in all intellectual pursuits, one should approach the study of history with an open mind.

    Cixi, when and how did her interests expand to statecraft and foreign affairs? The Dowager Mother was a demagogue in the true sense of the word and it’s good to see she had a modernist viewpoint even though she ruled with an iron fist over her subjects she treated worse than slaves.

    By the end of her reign she had amassed a huge personal fortune, stashing away some eight and a half million pounds sterling in London banks. The lavish palaces, gardens and lakes built by Cixi were hugely extravagant at a time when China was verging on bankruptcy.

    Cixi certainly was an extraordinary woman who operated
    under and over weak men to affect the destiny of China. The author brought Cixi out from condescending virtual footnote treatment by Western scholars to a historical figure that cannot be ignored in China’s inexorable march to modernity.

    The traditional view of the Empress Dowager Cixi was that of a devious despot who contributed in no small part to China’s slide into corruption, anarchy, and revolution. During Cixi’s time, she used her power to accumulate vast quantities of money, bullion, antiques and jewellery, using the revenues of the state as her own.

    What would be Jung Chang’s next project? I bet it would be another revisionist biography/history of Chiang Kai-shek anti-corruption campaigns?

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  • MarBowling:

    Another GREAT article by Kenneth.

    Like Dowager Cixi who indulged into all sorts and varieties of valuable and priceless worldly stuff, including Gold, Silver, Diamond and Hard Ca$h, in addition Dowager Holee Jinx also has an exceptional and extraordinary indulgence: a huge collection of Stuffed White Monkeys with Extended Rude Middle Finger. Anyone who steps on her Holee Tail will definitely RECEIVE one of those White Monkeys!

    Kenneth, be very careful. Holee Jinx is NOT a simple person. She is a very WELL KNOWN person who does stuff WITHOUT REGRETS. Period. A look at the good example when she AIMED the Extended Rude Middle Finger at her SIL Dr LWL PUBLICLY and her many many remarks and comments on social, economic issues of SinKapore over the years, is testimony to the HARD TRUTH(famous words by her GREAT LEEDER FIL, Lee Kayu)character of a PERSON WHO “DO WHATEVER I WANT” WITHOUT REGRETS!

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  • gic temasick ntuc:

    gic temasick ntuc are sheep and 30% OPPO assets, not lky assets.

    gic temasick ntuc belong to citizens of Singapore whether sheep or 30% OPPO.

    it is just that lky clown has chosen to churi S$ via temasick by having wife in S$98m pa no need to account for losses job.

    in Msia, such behavior would have caused regime change. alas. not in 70% sheep Singapore despite best efforts by 30% OPPO.

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  • Top Money for Top Talents:

    Dear KJ,
    You cannot even get 15% support. Please do not talk so much.

    Honestly, there is no need for you to tell us PAP what to do.

    We PAP have all the talented, quality people at the top.

    And I quote on 23 January 2008 what our founding father said.

    https://sgforums.com/forums/10/topics/304875/
    And we are meritocratic; we pay top money for top talent, both local and foreign. In other words we have quality people right on top,” said Mr Lee.

    You can screen capture and video this for all you want.

    Josephine Teo is talented and is in touch with the ground where people live in one room flats.

    That why Josephine Teo know you can have sex even in small space like one room flat.

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • Great Asia:

    Vote for PAP and Lee will make himself the Minister Mentor. And Ho Ching will continue to rule Singapore from behind the curtain.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Do more for the poor:

    Every free meal for the poor is appreciated.
    Blessed are those who help the poor and needy.Keep it up.
    More can be done for those badly hit by the Virus Pandemic.

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  • 30% Non-Quitter:

    CPF billions raided yearly:
    They raid many chickens from everyone, and give a few eggs back to selected ones, and keeps millions and millions for themselves.

    70%, are you still sleeping?

    The 70% voted for foxes to guard their chicken coops and then their chickens also voted for Colonel Sanders. So don’t be the 70% and also chicken.

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