Screenshot of Facebook video Tan Chuan Jin

In an interview with state media CNA yesterday (Jan 13), Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin said he is at a loss and still wondering why he was demoted from a ministerial position and received a 50% pay cut. The former army general who had been a “good soldier” for 24 years prior to his appointment then went philosophical and resignedly said he did not wish for the S$500,000/year job:

“I did think about why this happened. I thought about it in my own mind, but I don’t linger on these issues. There will be those who feel that you didn’t do well and that’s why. And there will be those that felt it might have been health issues. There were those who suggested I stepped on some other peoples’ toes…In life, things don’t always pan out exactly as you wish. Perhaps you wish you could have been promoted. You wish you could have this job or that job and sometimes you don’t always have full control over it and I’ve come to realise that another perspective to look at is really to be just passionate about whatever you are doing.”

Speaker Tan Chuan Jin said he initially wanted Minister Grace Fu’s job, the Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sport, but was disappointed to hear that he was posted to the Ministry of National Development.

“Frankly, when I first came into politics, if I had the choice, if I’d been asked, I would’ve asked to go to the then-Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, but I was asked to go the Ministry of National Development.”

Tan Chuan Jin also gave up on the ambition of being the next Prime Minister, saying that he doesn’t have the power to make the call:

“That has not been something that I think about. It’s something that others talk about. It doesn’t matter to me. I have the responsibility in whichever role to carry it out to the best of my abilities to make the difference I can… I don’t call the shots. If the party feels it’s time for a renewal, thanks you for your services and says it’s time to move on, then it’s time to move on and then you serve the public in a different capacity.”

The former Minister also admitted that he is worried about losing power:

“I’m only worried in so far as if I don’t have the stature and influence to shape the things that I feel are important to society.”