Whoa! The two old guys must have been real unhappy - they even refused to stay on as chairman, a typical post for senior executives who are kicked upstairs as reward for years of loyal service. Instead, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will replace Lee Kuan Yew be the new chairman of GIC, and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be the new chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), formerly occupied by seat warmer Goh Chok Tong.
There's no Senior Minister post in the new line up, a position which will be befitting Wong Kan Seng, given his seniority as contemporary of PM Lee (both were elected in 1984, and made ministers immediately thereafter) . Wong joins Mah Bow Tan and Raymond Lim as the casualties of the watershed election - not that anyone would shed a tear for either of them. With Mah goes the myth of affordable housing, and one million HDB owners must be losing sleep tonight over what will happen to their enhanced assets. Will the new National Development Minister, Khaw Boon Wan, start offering $8 flats? Will he start building HDB flats in Johore, Batam and Bintang?
Yaacob Ibrahim was somehow spared the guillotine, even though there were floods occurring during the election week. Not that soggy fields were any excuse for the poor turnout at PAP rallies. Maybe it was a move to appease the lingering hurt of the Hard Truth comments. The Environment and Water Resources job went to Vivian Balakrishnan. Better start praying he won't be organising the Water Olympics or something - the Marina Barrage is already another white elephant, as far as flood control goes.
It's still a puzzle why cheerleader "kee chiu" Chan Chun Sing is made an Acting Minister. The Ministry for Community Development, Youth and Sports must be the slot for ministers with training wheels, given Balakrishan's record. But what can a former army general do as Minister of State for the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts? Order the unruly arty-farty types to fall in line or get shot? And wasn't Heng Swee Keat destined for the finance job, given his impeccable credentials as CEO of MAS? Maybe his role in the Lehman mini-bonds is still fresh on some investors' minds. Oh, we get it, the Ministry for Education is in for another round of experimentation again, with your kids as the fresh batch of guinea pigs.
Be grateful for small mercies, it could have been worse. Janil Puthucheary could have been made Minister for Defence. Foo Mee Har could have been appointed Minister of Finance.
Truth be told, the appointment in dire need of a fresh face is that of the Prime Minister. The present one doesn't seem to quite hack it.