As much as The Cabinet wants to maintain a distance, His Leeness could still spring a surprise at an inopportune moment.
By Belmont Lay
It's about time for His Leeness to leave The Cabinet.
SO, what does it REALLY mean for His Leeness and SM Goh Chok Tong to leave The Cabinet?
Honestly, I don’t know and I won’t pretend like I do.
But I’m game enough to hazard a guess.
And truth be told, anyone’s guess is just as good because quite apparently, no one knows what on Earth stepping down entails (because it has never happened before, and hence, shows you the extent of the problem in the first place), although it is driving everyone into a tizzy.
But before we move on with the topic, let’s do everyone a favour and recap who said what.
First in line, Chiam See Tong (bless his soul) claims to be “surprised”. So, he doesn’t exactly know what happens next but his sentiment is shared by 2 million other Singaporeans.
Just so he is famous, his natural reaction becomes news. But that’s ok.
Nothing new here.
Moving along, PAP’s Halimah Yacob says that Singapore is ready to surge ahead without the two ex-Prime Ministers.
Ok, sounds about right, because maybe she knows something we don’t.
Then again, not. This sentiment is probably shared by one million other Singaporeans, especially those who have felt this way since 1959 and who have voted for the Opposition for as long as there were elections (or opposition candidates).
Nothing new here either. So maybe we should check up on the younger folks from the incumbent.
In the all-white corner, Baey Yam Keng feels that rookie MPs like him will finally get a chance to speak out against policies that were implemented during the two ex-rulers’ regime.
Because since they are now gone from The Cabinet, His Leeness and Goh can’t give him a tongue-lashing of a rebuttal.
But sadly, no one agrees with him on this one because everyone knows that wearing all-white means there can be no disagreement.
Because if you were to ask all the PAP MPs if there is groupthink, they will all say “No!” – in unison.
Therefore, never mind that Baey is in the business of public relations. And never mind about the groupthink. And never mind about the irony.
We have the son of a firebrand calling his bluff: Kenneth Jeyaratnam thinks stepping down now is a public relations exercise and all hogwash.
And this view is probably only shared by one thousand other Singaporeans – those who still believe that Kenneth is channeling Joshua Benjamin, his father.
So never mind Kenneth too, because we need someone astute who can give us something piercingly insightful.
And on comes Dr Vincent Wijeysingha (who is awesome) as he welcomes the news of the retirement from The Cabinet as long as such steps to relinquish power is not cosmetic and more widespread, especially in government-linked sectors.
His thinking is so brilliant and so far ahead, I actually thought it is the most enlightening thought of all.
And his running mate, Tan Jee Say, even suggested calling for by-elections in Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade GRC, because voters voted PAP on the assumption that His Leeness and SM Goh will live as long as there is a Singapore left to serve the constiuents.
Finally, there is even a bear that reckons stepping down is really all arsed.
He can be inside or outside The Cabinet, it doesn’t really matter. His Leeness can easily ditch the title and the salary. But can The Cabinet easily ditch him?
So, to re-iterate, what can any sane Singaporean with an average IQ, take away from all these?
As you can tell by now, the answer is nowhere in between: It is all over the place.
But, well, one can always take a cue from the most quotable quote that sears right into the brain without having to exercise any critical faculties.
We shall bring on Halimah Yacob again.
The Jurong GRC MP said it best with her description of His Leeness: “Singapore is Him and He is Singapore.”
Even though I’m here pulling faces, I kind of feel that she might just be right.
His Leeness might have been taken out of The Cabinet. But surely, there is no way The Cabinet can be taken out of His Leeness.
Simply put, as Halimah has mentioned, He is essentially Singapore.
The fact is that His Leeness is influential, omnipotent and omnipresent. And will be for as long as he is alive and kicking.
He can be inside or outside The Cabinet, it doesn’t really matter.
His Leeness can easily ditch the title and the salary.
But can The Cabinet easily ditch him?
So, here’s the point of today’s missive: His Leeness gives the phrase “old age creeping up on you” a whole new different meaning.
Literally. All 88 years of it.
When you least expect it, he might just sneak up from behind and beat you over the head with a stick.
Just ask George Yeo.
But just don’t ask if the blunt force trauma was intentional or unintentional.
Because uncertainty is the mother of all warnings.
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