Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim dominated the front page by offering to buy Liverpool Football club for $750 million in cash. Son of a fish monger, Lim made it rich as a remisier and an astute investor in logistics, paper production, education, health care and restaurants. In the Money section, we read of Dr Anthony Soh's botched $117 million takeover bid for Jade Techonologies because he had less than $300,000 cash in hand. And somewhere in the Home pages, a Singapore tycoon lost $100 million at the casinos RWS and MBS. But seafood mogul Henry Quek still holds the dubious world record for dropping $26 million in 3 days at the bacarrat tables.
The fortunes of some will wax and wane, but there is a select group whose wealth are doctored to head upwards only.
The guiding benchmark for ministerial salaries, we are told, is set at two-thirds of the median pay of the top eight earners in each of the six sectors: multinational corporations, lawyers, bankers, accountants, local manufacturers and engineers. Presumably some of the gentlemen mentioned in the first paragraph will be included in the sample at one time or other. Bouyant for the moment in the rough seas of the private sector, it's no guarantee their fortunes will not be wiped out in a single bad investment decision. So their name is scratched off the list of top earners. So the people who administer the benchmark looks for another top earner, probably a wealthier candidate, to be included in the list. Which should explain why Minister Lim Swee Say said, "Every month, when I receive my CPF statement, I feel so rich and the best part is, I know the CPF money won't run away. Not only is it earning good interest, my capital is protected."
Don't worry, it's all perfectly legal. Rationalising the discounts he and his family received for the HPL Nassim Jade condominium purchases, Lee Kuan Yew once told parliament that it's natural the hawker will give him extra egg for his order.