Defending his comments on elderly people collecting cardboard as a form of exercise, Minister of Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin told state media Straits Times crying innocence and blame the internet:
“Actually – and not just on that particular issue – many things I have said were taken out of context, twisted… Unfortunately, I don’t think this is going to change. It’s not just happening here, it’s happening everywhere else. People sometimes don’t always read the articles themselves – they just see the headlines and get angry.”
Minister Tan Chuan Jin then backtracked on his own words on the exercise part and said that he merely reminded that there are some cardboard collectors who do not need help:
“The point I made was that there are various reasons why people collect cardboard. Some of them need help, and some are people whom we are already helping but prefer to continue for various reasons.”
The former army general also said that he does not monitor certain websites despite making a response to States Times Review two years ago when the article went viral:
“I just read what pops up in my Facebook news feed, or when people send me links and say, ‘Did you see this? They attributed it to you’. Then you read it and get horrified and just sigh. What to do?”
Like his predecessors, Minister Tan Chuan Jin refuses to set a poverty line as the figures would be embarrassing to the GDP-rich country. The former brigadier general has been sidelined for the Prime Minister’s pole, with another army general crony, Minister Chan Chun Sing, in the lead. Minister Tan Chuan Jin has zero experience in government roles and was previously a career soldier all his life. He was made a Minister as early as 2011, after winning in a group election at one of PAP’s stronghold GRCs, Marine Parade. Due to a lack of experience, Minister Tan Chuan Jin was incapable of handling the Manpower Ministry and held the post for only a year before being demoted to an easier ministry, the Ministry of Social and Family Development.