Nee Soon GRC parliamentarian Lee Bee Wah has drawn immense criticism online, after a recent parliamentary speech in which she reminded the people to be grateful to their generous Government.
During the recent Budget 2019 debate, Lee expressed her support for the budget with a story in which she compared the Government to a generous grandfather who spends so much money on his grandson and yet the grandson is “ungrateful”.
Alluding that the ungrateful grandson could be the people, Lee very emphatically shared this story in Mandarin:
“I would like to conclude this budget debate with a story: There’s a boy who lives next door to me, his name is Ah Seng. He has an “Ah Gong” (grandpa) who loves him very much.
“Ah Gong would always scrimp on himself. Even when his clothing is torn, he would mend it over and over again. He saved every cents, one cent at a time. Every 3 or 5 years, Ah Kong would take out a sum of money to give to his dearest Ah Seng.
“For example, when Ah Seng went to the university, Ah Gong gave him a sum of money. When Ah Seng wanted to go overseas to participate in immersion programme, Ah Gong gave him a sum of money. When Ah Seng wanted to get married, Ah Gong gave him a sum of money. When Ah Seng and his friends wanted to start a small business, Ah Gong also gave him a sum of money.
“One day, Ah Seng asked his Ah Gong, “Ah Gong, Ah Gong, why did you always give me money only every 3 or 5 years? Why didn’t you give me money every year?”
“At this moment upon hearing this, Ah Kong was deeply disappointed and also extremely angry. Ah Gong burst out in Hokkien: “You ungrateful child! You’ll ruin our family! You have such a good Ah Gong and you still don’t know it! I have been scrimping on myself, only to help you. Do other people’s Ah Gong do that for them?!”“
As Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat can be seen smiling, Lee concludes her story by asserting:
“Mr Speaker, my residents do understand we have a very good government – very carefully and cautiously manages our finances so that we can have budget and finance surpluses, and Pioneer and Merdeka Generation Packages. Not every government can accomplish this.”
The People’s Action Party (PAP) politician has drawn immense flak for the story in which she praises herself and her colleagues.
The story has also drawn criticism since the Ah Gong in the story scrimps on himself while PAP Ministers draw million dollar salaries as a significant number of Singaporeans see their wages being depressed even as they grapple with the ever-rising cost of living.
In a hilariously eloquent response to Lee’s story, one Redditor, u/obeyjam, said:
“I’m sorry but is she saying that the “government” is like the ah gong? Scrimping and saving? If “ah gong” is scrimping and saving, why are our ministers paid more than the president of the United States? She has nothing for want with the salary that she earns, I wouldn’t call it scrimping and saving until you have to patch your own clothes. I’m pretty sure what she’s wearing alone, including Sim Ann’s dress and broche will cost about half a year’s salary of the average Singaporean if not more.
“Also “ah gong” gives his hard earned money to his grandson, sure I can understand what a prick the grandson is in the analogy. But is she implying that state funds are the government’s “hard earned monies”? The last I remembered, state funds are gained primarily from taxes and fees paid by citizens to the state.
“A more accurate analogy would be ah gong charges ah seng and the the other family members rent and fees for staying in the ancestral family home (which is a 3 room flat). Ah gong did not buy the home with his own money, but he manages it like a landlord. There is a unwritten contract/agreement that ah gong will manage the collective pool of money so that there will be enough money to pay for utilities and upkeep, and he gets a nice salary (that is easily more than 10 times ah seng’s salary working outside).
“Ah gong gives the family members some lunch money once in a while to have a nice meal, and agrees that he will disburse funds from the collective finances to co-pay family member’s uni fees ON THE CONDITION THEY GET INTO NUS. Of course only 1 out of 5 family members actually get into NUS, to which he says “too bad you should have studied harder, look, muthu from next door got in from working super hard and being super smart.”
“One day Ah Seng (being the ccb ah beng that he is) asks why Ah gong gives himself so much money when their neighbour’s ah ma manages a bungalow and only gives herself 1/2 of ah gong’s salary. To which Ah Gong scolds him,
“”you si ginna! I have to give myself twice that ah ma’s salary so I won’t be tempted to steal from the family finances what! I can easily go and work as a building manager in the next door house and get paid much more! Why are you so ungrateful even though I always give you so much money from the family finances? You should be happy our house isn’t a mess like that ah ma’s bungalow, look at all the weeds growing on the walls! You complain somemore I’m going to confine you in the bomb shelter.””