"to rescue truth from beauty and meaning from belief"

Mdm Lim replies to Minister Tan CJ

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For this post, I have to make an exception to the max 600-word restriction. There’s just that much to say this time….

Dear Minister General Tan

Hello, hope you don’t mind I address you as Minister General. Thank you for dropping by my “office” & store last Saturday. Wow! Not only you take photo with me but you also write about me. So pai she. Now, everyone I know say that I am famous ah. Thank you, thank you, huh. Like strike 4-D, my friend all say. I say better than strike 4-D. HUAT ah!!!

Anyway, I like what you wrote. And I also have some opinions, someabout what you wrote. Don’t pray, pray. I sell newspaper but I also read – and, yes, I also have opinions what. Some people say to me that I should not write to you – because I only newspaper seller, how to talk to M-I-N-I-S-T-E-R? They say minister will say I . But I don’t think you are like that one!


Like many people I hear and read, they say you are good minister. It’s true, you look decent, come to talk to small people like me and you also say many good things. Good looking also! (I ask my friend to print the photo from yr Facebook so that I can frame up and put at my house, my office, my grandchildren also want for their room…they even ask me to get your signature ah! I say no lah, you too busy. (But, truly huh, if you have time, pls sign at least one photo….maybe, next time you become PM! Woah! More HUAT ahh!)


OK, OK, I go back to what I was saying. Oh, yes, look good, got manners, not look proud, say right things. But, as a grandmother and auntie, huh, I have seen many things and people and have much much experience. Frankly, if you don’t mind I say this for all your Facebook followers, from me who has ‘eat more salt than rice’, “Don’t take a man for what he says but watch closely what he does.”

I don’t know all the info but I have one customer (PME-type) who lives nearby. He says he no longer buy newspapers from me but read news from internet. Why? Because he has lost his job since Nov 2011, got 3 children still studying. Also, only got interview 8 times. Want to work for half what he earned but people never even want to give him interview. Why? I think he is 40-plus but now look more like 50 years old. So sad. He tell me about, don’t know in English, what “FCF” that you introduced….Curious, I read what “FCF” is. AIyah! Miinster Tan, you huh, too trusting lah, too soft. Bosses are like devils you know when it comes to making money and saving costs. I think what many of my friends and children say is true, bosses will ‘wayang’ ()…Maybe bosses also thinking you wayang, so they wayang…heh heh. Don’t angry. Joke only. (If you can ‘pull rank’ and help my ex-PME customer, I can give you his handphone.)

OK, OK, back to more serious, don’t pray pray things.

First of all, you say I “resilient and selfless”. Woah! Xie xie () but, don’t know how to say in English , really so pai seh. People already explain to me the meaning. Actually, I agree with you. I am “resilient” and also people my age are like that, resilient. We seldom KPKB (you know the short form, KPKB?). What to do, ‘just do it’ lah! Actually, huh, I think maybe I have idea – you can tell your same ministers, especially, who is that one, the “NTUC Minister”, you know, he like the toothpicks from DinDaiFung (wish I can go there to eat but, people like me, as one minister also say, eat hawker food, hawker food already good, still want to ask for restaurant food) – tell them pls lah, don’t always say “good job”, make “good job” for Singaporeans. I honestly think, all jobs are good. As long as we do a job, any job honestly, there is no such thing as ‘BAD JOB’. So, pls stop saying ‘good job’. What I think is that the pay huh must be fair lah. Cannot compare with other cheaper countries. Singapore is EXPENSIVE you know! S$1200 one person one month also not enough to survive – how to own 3-room flat. Wait long long! Or own the flat but eat bread and drink water everyday, then no money to pay ‘sick’ bills. How to even retire?


Ok, OK, I talk a lot huh. Sorry, pls give me this chance to share with Minister, OK. Thank you, huh.
As for “selfless”, not really lah. You know, if I can, I prefer to be selfless by paying the money to go for holiday with my grandchildren and children (my children cannot afford because they pay mortgage, transport, doctor etc etc). Actually, what if I am sick or cannot do work, then how? Sure die, lah. At least govt must help more so that we work only if we can work or when we don’t want to shake leg too much but still have enough for ‘hawker food’. Fair, right, How to work until kick the bucket when not everyone can be like Mr Lee Kuan Yew (bless him)? Life is meaningless if we have no choice except to work until die. Listen to auntie Lim, it’s true.

So, I am not ‘selfless’. It’s bo pian (). I have no CPF, my ah lau  (husband) didn’t leave me anything. I even have to pay for his medical and funeral cost. Luckily, I didn’t go to yi long (moneyleader). Eh, I read now pawn shop very good business. Why huh?

So, actually, I am resilient but not selfless. You know, there is such a simple thing as “DIGNITY”. Of course, it’s not true that everyone wants dignity. But some will take advantage of the system. True. But govt, I think, also cannot make policy based on some people who want to “game” (this word, my unemployed PME-customer teach me) the system. Policy must help the more people and not punish them because of bad people. Maybe, after I read and understand more, I’ll tell you my idea about this ‘poverty line’. Not now.

Ok, Ok, now I go DEEPER into what else you also say. I think you are a very smart man. You write about me and use me to try to ‘teach’ people some lessons (like be resilient, be selfless). There, you say, “Rather than feel pity, perhaps as a result of our own inaction, perhaps we can learn? Talk to them.” Actually, that is why I write, I scare people will come to find me at Tanjong Katong Complex and then do what you say i.e. “talk to me”. Then I where got time to do business!…Aha! Maybe, I can set up ‘consultant’ business! Heh heh – see I not only resilient but resourceful and entrepreneurial!!!! Ha ha!

Where was I saying? Oh, you smart man. You use our meeting to teach people. But, you know, when we talked, I can look into your eyes. I can see your soul. Everyone thinks that you only want to send message to ‘the people’ (who only KPKB…I like this short form, KPKB, KPKB). But I see in your souI that you also want to send your message to your colleagues in the, the govt.

I explain. Word by word.

What you say, “One thing that does appear consistent is that our older generation is remarkably resilient and selfless.”

What you mean – If we citizens and old people can be resilient and selfless, you puzzled why your ministers and the elite civil servants all not resilient but so ‘thin-skin’, cannot accept critisms, want to control internet? Then I don’t know why call yourself “public servants” but instead of selfless, most are ‘self-serving’ and millionaire some more! They say PM can earn one hour, I work one month (only when biz is good)!  Alamak! As a senior citizen and Chinese, where is this patriotism, selfless service to others, to the nation? No, no, I do not mean work for free or “peanuts” (to borrow a word from Mrs Goh Chok Tong, told you, I read, not just sell newspapers). But S$300,000 – $500k per month, not enough meh? Are you sure they all can make S$1mil if they work outside, I mean, outside as in not政府工(not govt, iron rice bowl)? I only read that ex-ministers and civil servants all become don’t know what kind of directors – but only in GLCs & TLCs (you know the short form I use, ya?) not private companies. Something not so right, right? Come on, we know each other already, I also one-quarter海南人 (Hainanese). Swoon pah (cross yr heart) and be honest, Minster Tan! Don’t angry, OK? I, what they say in English, “Tell it like it is”, no bedeh.


You also say, “They are fiercely independent”

What you mean for your fellow ministers – “Why cannot be independent but look like yes-men, yes, yes, yes to everything the PAP say. PM say this, PM say that. PM say cannot say this, cannot say that. Where is the independence? I can remember, Woah, my newspaper sell very well when MPs all discuss want to make Singapore for 6.9 mil people. I earn S$1200 that month! But many customer buy the paper, read a little bit then they say loudly, KNN (eh, you know what I mean, sh? Sorry, huh, I no educated, a little bit chor lor (boorish, unladylike).

You further say, “They seek to live within their own means.”
Your message to your ministers and civil servants is – Live humbly, lah. Keep low profile. Don’t boast about how you sacrifice (or cannot sacrifice further) to work in govt for low salary. Or, don’t spend   
两万(S$20k) just to holiday in France to learn what kind of angmoh dishes. Very hao lian (arrogant). Also show themselves to be unsincere.

You then say, “And they value their dignity and self respect.”
What you mean – this one, maybe, I don’t explain…because I think no point to explain if they don’t have dignity and self-respect in the first place. Not all, just some, but some is too many.

You say, “They do not like to burden others.”
This one a little bit tricky. I think what you mean is – Try to self-reflect. Don’t everything citizens give you ideas (like me, now) or feedback or criticisms, Ministers (and civil servants, and sometime even SMRT and Singtel CEOs or managers) blame other people of Mother Nature for 1-in-50 years problem. I a bit pang tan (superstitious, don’t blame Mother Nature, She can strike back one. Then even more siong!)

Finally, you say, “I see these virtues almost every time I talk to our old uncles and aunties.”.
I say this also finally, “Good for you, old chap! Way to go!” Yes, my final word is an advice to PAP, “TALK TO THE GROUND. LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART, NOT JUST YOUR STATISTICALLY-WIRED HEADS. Don’t just listen to your minders, they give you not true feedback but filtered info that either you want to heard (bad leader) or they want you to hear to protect their own interests (bad followers)”

Please, please, please pass this word to PM Lee – don’t just say sorry but continue to insist that he is right. His father’s time and his time, no same. As I say earlier, I say to you – and to ALL YOUR FACEBOOK FANS – “Don’t take a minister for what he says but watch closely what he does.”

Auntie Lim promises you my vote if you stand in my constituency. Do it alone, not in GRC, OK. Must have “LP” J, not hide behind Lau Goh or you may end up like that Teochew Minister, Ah Yeo. Cheong ah!

Yours sincerely,
Mdm Lim
(My mobile is 9686 3038 … HUAT AH!!!)



(PS: Next time you come again to Tanjong Katong Complex, can buy a magazine or newspaper from me or not? Good for PR, you know, small investment, big returns! Just kidding. Just come, I’ll buy you coffee, OK? Also, if you want more true views of the political ground, I can set up email account and then report to you. FOC. No need to pay.)





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