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A Great “Lousy School”

WELCOME TO EDITION 829 of GRAPEVINE


He did not attend “lousy school”

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (pictured) appears foreign to good manners.

Last week, on an open microphone during a parliamentary debate, the electronic gadget picked up his musings.

He called another member of parliament illiterate.

Balakrishnan continued his insult and apparently followed up with:

“Seriously, how did he get into Raffles Institution? Must have been a lousy school”.

Does Vivian Balakrishnan – a Singapore government minister – hold such a pedestrian regard for Singapore’s oldest school?

Founded in 1823 (just four years after Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore), Raffles Institution is the envy of thousands of Singaporeans, residents, and foreign students.

Myself wished I could have gotten into the “lousy school”. I was simply not good enough.

Held in the highest esteem, Raffles Institution has nurtured the likes of Singapore’s first Prime Minister LEE Kuan Yew.

Other luminaries who attended the august education bastion include:

LIM Boon Keng – Co-founder of OCBC Bank and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
LIM Bo Seng – War World II resistance fighter
Yusof Ishak – First President of Singapore
Benjamin Sheares – Second President of Singapore
WEE Kim Wee – Fourth President of Singapore
David Marshall – First Chief Minister of Singapore
Abdul Razak – Second Prime Minister of Malaysia
TAN Cheng Lock – Founder of Malaysian Chinese Association
S Rajaratnam – Former Foreign Minister of Singapore
E W Barker –  Former Minister of Law of Singapore
Othman Wok – Former Minister of Social Affairs
GOH Chok Tong – Second Prime Minister of Singapore
Robert Kuok –  Founder of Shangri-La Group
Tommy Koh – Former United Nations Ambassador of Singapore
Alfian Sa’at – Playwright, poet and writer
Ahmad Mohamed Ibrahim – First Attorney-General of Singapore
Walter Woon – Former Attorney-General of Singapore
Jamus Lim – Member of Parliament for Sengkang

Would Vivian Balakrishnan care to apologise to the families of all those late personages. And the others still with us.

Singapore’s foreign minister seems alien to the fact some of his colleagues attended Raffles Institution.

These include fellow cabinet colleagues HENG Swee KeatK ShamungamCHAN Chun Seng and ONG Ye Kung.

Finally, would Vivian Balakrishnan also apologise to all former and present students and teaching staff of the “lousy school”?

They, and their loved ones, may yet vote for him in the next general election.

Wishing you A Very Good Week.


P.S. I have come across the likes of Vivian Balakrishnan in wine. These snobbish people look down on wine lovers who drink “lousy”, “cheap” or “house” wines. They think themselves very “atas”. They like to regurgitate the lame mantra “Life is too short to drink bad wine”. As wine consultant to NTUC FairPrice and FairPrice Finest for the last 20 years, I am very fortunate to have endless opportunities to taste wine across all price points. I do so with immense pride. In order to serve consumers of different means whose love for wine knows no bounds.

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