Taxman Heng Sweet Keat is neither Santa Claus nor Robin Hood


By Augustine Low

Speaking of the upcoming Budget earlier this week, Heng Swee Keat tried his best to temper expectations, saying he is neither Santa Claus giving out goodies nor Robin Hood doing great things.

But something has to give, and someone has to do the taking. It looks like Singaporeans are bearing the brunt of it. Already we know for a fact that taxes are going up – not just GST but e-commerce taxes, airport taxes,  possibly wealth taxes and what else they can come up with to start taxing or tax more.

As Finance Minister, Heng will be remembered as the one to initiate a robust round of taxes. While Santa Claus or Robin Hood may not quite fit the bill, he can be dubbed the Taxman. Yes, Taxman Heng kind of fits him to a T.

So Singaporeans will have to brace ourselves for a round of tax hikes, and make do with less for lunch. Speaking of which, we should have seen the writing on the wall when PM Lee Hsien Loong gave this odd bit of advice last May: “You must make sure you steal somebody else’s lunch.”

Perhaps the government, in failing to trump the competition and steal their lunch, has decided to set its sights on Singaporeans’ lunch instead. Lest we be accused of taking the PM’s advice too literally, just look at what our GLCs have been up to. They have gone overseas to steal others’ lunch, by hook or by crook, and got nabbed for corruption and bribery. Did they take PM Lee’s advice to the hilt, at face value?

PM Lee should have given this caveat: You must steal somebody else’s lunch but make sure you don’t get caught!

As for Singaporeans, we have no choice but to save on lunch when Taxman Heng comes-a-calling. Let’s hope he doesn’t get any funny ideas from a  song by The Beatles titled – what else – Taxman:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,

If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.

If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,

If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.


  1. Oh Yes! He is actually the sinful taxcollector describe in the Gospel of Luke! Even the poor shopkeepers are complaining that they begin to licence those who brew herbal tea to sell in their shops and the licence fee is $200 per shopkeeper ! Besides, they licence all the 12,000 employees to sit for exam in order to obtain a licence to work or else a penalty of $20,000 apply!
    His face reminds me of the TEOCHEW Opera Door Officials, whereby if we want to meet the Judge, we must first pay tax to the “Door Official ” 門官!
    Neither is he Santa Claus nor Robin Hood but Zachaeus the sinful taxcollector who confessed to Jesus that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and if he cheated anyone, then he will pay 4 times the amount he had cheated (Luke 19)

  2. It’s easy to be tax man : simply know arithmetic , that is Expenditure = Income + Tax. Simply tax to balance the Budget. If it was FDR or Reagan, they would deficit spend, and let multiplying effect take root and tickle down, resulting a larger income. That is why they build roads, build planes. Such are also characteristics of entrepreneur. Take risk and build the business. On the other hand, this Bart Heng Simpson simply take no risk and act like a teacher to make sure 2 = 1 + 1.