Singapore—The wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Ho Ching, has gotten quite outspoken online, which has not always gone down well with netizens.
Her latest post for which she received backlash was one that seemed to be aimed against Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh, now the officially designated Leader of the Opposition (LO).
As the LO, Mr Pritam will receive double the allowance of an elected MP and his annual package will be S$385,000, inclusive of his allowance as a Member of Parliament. He announced earlier this week in a Facebook post that he will be giving away half of his increase, a considerable sum of S$96,000 before taxes.
Madam Ho also took to Facebook with a post of her own. On Wednesday, July 29, she wrote, “There are lots of folks who donated and continue to donate quietly, without making any public announcement….But of course, not all are angels.”
And while the wife of the Prime Minister named no names in her post, it was widely speculated that she was referring to the WP leader.
Many netizens have been taken aback by the lack of graciousness in Madam Ho’s post, as well as the perception that she is encouraging divisiveness. Netizens have called her out, given also that she is a person of considerable influence.
In one much-shared post, Lynn Lee wrote, “Does Ho Ching manage her own FB account? If so, she should really donate half her salary to charity because there’s no way anyone can spend that much time posting, sharing and subtweeting, AND still run a sovereign wealth fund.”
Madam Ho is also the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. She also has on many occasions been extremely prolific on Facebook, and has posted or shared on her page more than 10 times in one hour.
Basheer Khan wrote “Thanks for telling us that you donate to charities too, but you do so quietly and secretly. We promise to keep this a secret for you.”
The Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page shared Madam Ho’s post, captioning it with “Talk so much but salary still secret,” as how much Madam Ho earns at Temasek has been undisclosed all these years.
One netizen jokingly called Madam Ho a “Karen,” which has become a shorthand term for privileged white women in the United States who have policed minorities in public.
Commenting on the Wake Up, Singapore post they wrote, “Some people donate money quietly.
Some choose to let ‘the rest of them’ know they don’t deserve more than what’s needed for their services (to the public).
While some simply comment to make themselves or spouses look better as if they really do ‘donate’ quietly.
Do not use the name of The Almighty in vain la, Karen..i meant karma.”
Many defended Mr Pritam, saying that since he was salaried from public funds, it was right to make himself accountable to the public for his salary.
Wendy Lee wrote, “Conscience or not. As a public servant, he or she is accountable to the public because it’s the public who is paying his/her salary. It’s necessary to have transparency in this case. U have chosen to be a politician- to serve the people, then it’s only right to be answerable to the public.”
Another comment was, “If he wants to donate 1/2 his earnings to something better, let him donate lah. His money what not your money mah. Why u must comment about how other people make donations? Your eye sore ah seeing him get all the praise and support from citizens? Tsk!”