PM Lee joking about pork soup

From ‘Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech’ 3 April 2013, article by Matthew Peninngton, AP/Yahoo news

Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but during a visit to Washington the city-state’s prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humor. In an after-dinner speech Tuesday to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy.

He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including one about China’s environmental problems.

“Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!” Lee said.

He then alluded to thousands of pig carcasses recently fished from Chinese rivers.

“(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap,” he said.

His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added, “That’s their joke, not mine!”

Ho, Ho

Our PM says the darnedest things. For years we have endured or been entertained by his light-hearted banter during National Day Rallies, when serious matters affecting the lives of Singaporeans are delivered with a dose of off-the-cuff, out-of-character humour. Dead pigs in the drinking water supply is no laughing matter of course, and it’s hard to believe the Chinese themselves would find it worthy of a chuckle, considering how their waters may be tainted with porcine circovirus. I suppose if the Chinese want to get back at PM Lee for taking potshots at the country’s air pollution and bak-kut teh in the water supply, there’s always Bedok Reservoir to make fun of.

China’s environmental woes have inspired comedy as much as their exported pandas inspire diplomacy. During the Olympics, celebrity talk show host David Letterman described the ‘air in China like the air inside Willie Nelson’s tour bus’. There’s a joke that you can ‘smell China’s GDP’ in the air. All this despite the astonishing statistic that more than 1 million die from pollution every year in China. There may be less casualties from drinking poisoned ‘pork soup’, but it’s hard to make any joke about environmental abuse without someone shifting nervously in his seat. Even in the spirit of April Fools’.

Here’s a sample of knee-slapping, rib-tickling gems from the man himself and how they rate in terms of LOLs.

On fertility (2012): “One Asian politician said why do you not have more blackouts? He has blackouts, he has high TFRs, does not mean I have blackouts, I will have high TFR.” Rating: LOLOL

Again, babies (2007): “I shall not discuss about the baby problem today. As Nike says, Just do it.” Rating: LOL

On ERP (2008): I have read a lot of the interesting things on the Internet.  Some are quite good.  I don’t have time to show you all of them but I’ll just show you one tonight.  This one says “Wah Piang Eh! the ERP has reached Pedra Branca”.  I sent this to Raymond Lim.  He says that’s his favourite one too. LOLOLOL

On getting Singaporeans to be less reliant on the government: “The government will try its best to solve problems big and small – whether it is a minister catching a cat or the Prime Minister saving the life of dog – but understand that some problems or disputes may not be best tackled by the Government.” Rating: lol

On social media (2011): Five years ago YouTube was insignificant, Facebook did not exist; all you had was mrbrown. Rating: LOL

A random joke on a BBC programme in 2003 (‘Top-level jokes’, Business Times, 28 Feb 2003) when he was DPM:

A drunk trying to cross the street was knocked down by a bus. A policeman helped him to his feet and said, “There’s a zebra crossing a few yards away from here.” “Well, I hope he is having better luck than I am,” replied the drunk. (Rating: LOL)

But of course the PM is funniest when the jokes are unintentional, especially when he talks about local food.

I suppose it’s OK for a politician to make a political joke at the expense of other superpowers, but poke fun at a PAP minister and you’ll be at the receiving end of a lawyers’ letter, i.e in hot (pork) soup.

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3 Responses

  1. That zebra crossing joke is quite funny, but he must have stolen it. He’s better at gaffes than real jokes.

  2. hi gdy2shoez, is there any way i can contact you by email? or send you a pm?

    • Hi Tan, twitter pm wld do. Alternatively if u’re not a twitter user u may still msg as a comment and trust me not to publish it during moderation. Thanks!

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