Minister Ong Ye Kung was in the limelight recently for the wrong reason. During his work visit to Switzerland recently, he made some comments at the 47th St Gallen Symposium that was picked up by the alternatives. More on that later.
1) Who is Ong Ye Kung?
Mr Ong Ye Kung is the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence. He was elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC in Sep 2015, and appointed to the Cabinet of Singapore as the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) on 1 Oct 2015. He is also Second Minister for Defence. Prior to his Cabinet appointment, he held the position of Director of Group Strategy at Keppel Corporation, overseeing long term strategic planning of the Group’s activities.
2) Why he matters?
We all love to speculate who will be the next Prime Minister after Ah Loong whose surname is not Lee. Many informal conversations with armchair political analysts who have NO inside info whatsoever (which means conversations at the local kopi tiam) show the following:
– Their gut tells them it is Heng Swee Keat.
– Their head tells them it is Chan Chun Sing.
– Their heart tells them it is Ong Ye Kung but lament that he does not have the experience the other two fellas have.
Fun Fact: Anyway, these three fellas are all members of the Future Economy Council whose responsibility is to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy to grow the economy.
3) Some say he good looking? Zhu bo (sure or not)?
Being a politician, it helps to be photogenic, considering how often they have to be in the media. It does translate to likeability also coz we have all seen Ministers who have a kiam-pa” (wanna hammer) face! But this guy looks good in everything he wears especially a suit!
4) Does he have personality or is he another PAP clone?
During the recent promotions of several MPs to Ministers and Senior Ministers of State (SMS), he sent congratulations (via his FB) to…(gasp) not the Ministers Jo Teo and Desmond Lee but to his fellow MOE colleagues Janil Puthucheary, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Low Yen Ling. Politically, one would expect him to ankat the new Minister’s bola. Me thinks this guy is sincere and legit!
Also, did you know his lao pei is the late Ong Lian Teng, one of 13 Barisan Sosialis legislative representatives elected in the 1963 General Election. Yet, he is where he is today by depending on his own ability and not on relationships with any of the Lees. I say again, Me thinks this guy is sincere and legit!
5) So he kena whack for what?
As mentioned earlier, he was at the 47th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland (as part of a four-day working visit) and a member of a panel discussing politics and education in the age of disruption. To be honest, he wasn’t even whacked. His comments were just taken out of context and amplified by sites like The Independent Singapore (TISG) and States Times Review with a slanted twist. In fact, dunno how also one of the writers of the article “Is Ong Ye Kung wrong? Can you eat a degree?” ended up agreeing with his comments.
Ultimately, we also think he got a great future by the mere fact he is able to remain humble (“Singapore can learn from countries such as Switzerland, Denmark and Germany”) but also never let Singapore lau kwai (lose face) by highlighting the SkillsFuture initiative as an example of what the Gahmen was doing to encourage people to learn new skills.
Now…about that photo that Chuan-Jin sent him. Another post for another day.
Mr Teh Terik
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Source of Featured Image: TodayOnline