In his interview with state media CNA, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin defended his notorious comments about elderly poor collecting cardboard as “exercise”. The newly-demoted PAP MP now claimed that he knows of an elderly cardboard collector with 6-figures in her bank account:
“All I was saying was that there is a range. I have residents who collect cardboard. Some of them I know, because they are on public assistance. We are helping them, but they continue to want to do that. I also know one who has six figures in her bank account.”
It is unknown whether Tan Chuan Jin is lying or if the elderly actually show him her bank statement.
In 2015, then-Minister Tan Chuan Jin said:
“The normal perception that all cardboard collectors are people who are unable to take care of themselves financially is not really true. There will be some who do this as their main source of income. Some do so to supplement what they have. Some prefer to earn extra monies, treat it as a form of exercise and activity rather than being cooped up at home. They do this to remain independent, so that they can have dignity and not have to ask their families for help.”
Tan Chuan Jin also blamed States Times Review for featuring him in a 2015 article which made him suffered public condemnation:
“But one of the sites zoomed in on one particular comment and took that as definitive and everything else didn’t matter. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with that… It’s not pleasant. I guess for some, making comments like that, tearing someone down, makes their day…I think we need to be circumspect but we can’t live in fear; because otherwise I’ll just end up making very sterile statements. Usually, that means saying pretty much nothing.”