In his latest Facebook featuring himself carrying a trolley load of newspaper, Minister of State Koh Poh Koon commented that the Singaporean elderly collect newspaper because they want to protect the environment:
“Asked why she expended so much efforts to recycle these items, she insisted she wanted to do her part to protect our environment. Her single-mindedness towards a worthy cause is deserving of a salute!”
You may view his post here.
Elderly poor in Singapore collect recyclable materials like cardboard and newspaper to earn a living. However, such public display of poverty is viewed as shameful and embarrassment to the Singapore government which prides the country as one of the world’s richest.
In July 2015, Minister of Social and Family Affairs Tan Chuan Jin denied the existence of abject poverty in Singapore and claimed that elderly poor who collect cardboard are doing so for “exercise”. The Minister later received public backlash slamming him for denial.
For Minister Koh Poh Koon who doubles his current appointment as a full-time surgeon, this is his second elitist remark after a notorious gaffe that cost him his single by-election seat in 2013.
“Well, everybody has a car, we have two – my wife drives one, I drive one. We are both professionals, we need to travel.”