Ms. Sylvia Lim was reportedly roundly rebuked by a PAP MP in Parliament with the Hokkien saying, “Ai pang sai jia lai chway zua,” meaning that one should not take a shit without procuring toilet paper first. (Ms. Lim had argued that the GST increase is not necessary at the present time.) Although the use of Hokkien is illegal in parliament, an exception has been made because it was used in the context of an ancient wise proverb. PM Lee clarified that anything traditional Chinese is better than any kind of “modern” or “Western” wisdom, and should be encouraged in Parliament. Therefore, the new procedure in Parliament requires that all new legislation be introduced with an old Chinese proverb. As Parliamentary discussion moved to various topics, the following proverbs provided the necessary wisdom for Singapore (rephrased in English for clarity).
- On ministerial salary increases, “有錢能使鬼推磨 (Ministers would humbly operate grindstones [for the good of Singapore] if properly compensated)” and “一人吃饱，全家不饥 (Singapore’s cuisine is delicious for all citizens.)”
- On MM Lee’s continued influence in Singapore, “不到黄河心不死 (A man living far from the Yellow River will live forever.)” and “老骥伏枥，志在千里 (Old horses cause more damage if left in the stable.)”
- On MM Lee’s justice system, “一將功成萬骨枯 (Ten thousand bones from executed Malaysians will build a pretty border fence.)”
- On PAP MPs, “天下乌鸦一样黑 (Beautiful birds brighten the Halls of Parliament.)”
- On the PAP after MM Lee steps down, “树倒猢狲散 (Planting trees on the streets makes them beautiful, but creates hiding places for lots of monkeys.)”
- To honour MM Lee’s accomplishments, “人要脸，树要皮 (The trees must have beautiful thick bark.)”