Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caveat emptor

The issue of high ministerial salaries for our government representatives is bound to hit a sour note among the electorate, but it seems to me that answering one bad argument with another does not help make the debate any more constructive.

'Chye tow kway' is a common breakfast dish sold cheaply in hawker centres in S'pore. The question is, what does it represent in the above cartoon? I think it stands for peace, prosperity, opportunities for all regardless of background and heritage, and a strong international standing in the global community. I don't know if it's because of high salaries for ministers that's how these enviable national qualities have come to be, but I do know that they are worth a lot more than a mere plate of chye tow kway, whether it costs $1.50 or $10.00.

But if the cartoonist is willing to consider what we have as cheaply obtainable, he's taking his life, comforts and freedoms for granted. What we have today, many people are still deprived of; many are still fighting and shedding blood for it; while some -- like us -- are finding it a constant struggle to maintain. I know of someone who gave away his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. Don't give yours away for a plate of chye tow kway.

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