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Lianhe Zaobao

Salaries and Snobbery: The Case in Singapore

ESM Goh Chok Tong drew public criticism for his recent comment defending high ministerial salaries, saying that if Singapore reduced its ministerial wages, it will “end up with very, very mediocre people, who can’t even earn a million dollars outside”. Nearly seven in ten Singaporeans (69%) feel that ministers today are paid too much. Those above the ages of 50 are most likely to feel this way (77%). Singaporeans are also divided when it comes to ESM Goh’s justification for high ministerial salaries. Nearly two in five (36%) disagree that an important criterion for a Government Minister should be the likelihood that they would earn a high salary if they were working in the private sector. Only 27% agree with the statement, whilst 37% expressed neutral views. Singaporeans also disagree that high salaries are a deterrence to corruption (42%) and instead view the role of a Minister as a form of national service, suggesting that Ministers should be willing to accept a lower salary in the public service (67%). A Look at Snobbish Stereotypes in Singapore

ESM Goh’s comment also sparked talks of snobbery in Singapore, with a commentator in the media suggesting that we need to be careful about casual snobbery and showing contempt for ordinary people.

Inspired by the portrayal of class distinctions and social stereotypes in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, Blackbox took a look at some occupations in Singapore and where they rank when it comes to being seen to be as snobs.

Note: Lianhe Zaobao published a story carrying this survey and its figures here.