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When the real scandal isn’t the affair

The worst part about Tan Chuan-jin and Cheng Li Hui's resignations is not the affair. It's that Singaporeans were kept in the dark for so long.

I usually only email special issues to Milo Peng Funders, but let's be real, the events of the past day are too much to be kept behind a paywall.

When Tan Chuan-jin was first made Speaker of Parliament in 2017, I remember he wrote a Facebook post in which he talked about trusting in God’s plan for him. I’m sure God works in mysterious ways, but having said that I’m not sure this was the plan.

If you were in a meeting, taking a nap, or maybe even in the loo for a little too long on Monday afternoon, you missed a lot. Just about a week after video footage of Tan Chuan-jin calling Jamus Lim a “fucking populist” emerged, Tan was forced to resign in disgrace. It was less about saying “fuck” in Parliament—although that was a factor—and more for fucking a parliamentarian. Cheng Li Hui, the parliamentarian in question, also resigned, prompting a bunch of “who is Cheng Li Hui” articles in the media because so many of us had barely noticed her before, despite her presence in Parliament since 2015.

For a country where we’re more accustomed to petty politics like arguments about how clean hawker ceilings are to browbeating opposition politicians for infractions big and small, this month has been A Lot. We’ve had outcry about conflict of interest and inequality (the Ridout Road saga), contempt and disrespect (the hot mic), corruption (Iswaran’s arrest amid the CPIB probe) and now extra-marital affairs and resignations. In my last special issue I questioned whether this is really the “A-Team” that Lee Hsien Loong had claimed the PAP to be. Just a week later, I think it’s clear that the current PAP government is not only not the A-team, but seriously falls short when it comes to transparency and accountability.

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