A sense of propriety or impropriety
We have heard it all. We know now what the Elected President can or cannot do. We know what he can or cannot say. We even know that for him to say no to a rogue govt wanting to spend the reserves is a lost cause. An EP can only deal with a govt that will play ball and respect the Constitution. A rogue govt will just bundle the EP out of the Istana without any decorum.
We have 4 candidates. One is saying that he will just play his role as prescribed by the Constitution. Period. Another knows of his limitation and will abide by the Constitution but will find other things that are interesting for him to do. Another two are increasingly aware of what they cannot do but will just try to make more noises to be heard. In summary, we have a ceremonial president with a lame duck role to go against a rogue govt. Another Singapore Myth.
In the case of Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say, the awareness of the little things that they can do independently must have dawned on them that they should not be asking for too much pay. What is enough for the kind of jobs that the EP is doing, reading prepared scripts, inviting people and friends for tea, shaking hands and taking pictures and inviting people to his garden? I don’t think the EP could do anything on the most important role he is expected to do. Oh, I forgot that he needs to lend his rubber stamp for the appointments of senior govt officers and a few other things. He can say No!
So Tan Kin Lian feels ‘peh seh’ and say he will take only 50% of his pay if elected. The other 50% can go to charity. Tan Jee Say gone one step further by saying only $500k is enough. They must be feeling quite embarrassed to receive the multi million dollars on the table. They must have looked at the job and feeling very uneasy with the money, maybe feeling shameful too.
It is good that they have some sense of propriety, to know that it is wrong to accept more than what they have contributed. For all the misgivings, I like them for such a sense of honesty and reality.