It would not be far off the mark to say that the narcissistic MM Lee Kuan Yew would consider it an honour if he were invited to officiate the opening of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. But he had to settle for a second best by touring the MBS a day before its grand opening, which to some people may be seen as a form of unofficial opening ceremony before its actual officiation which will no doubt tickle his ego.
But a leopard can never change its spots. True to his swaggering character he cannot help opening his big mouth, in conformity to his calling as a "forecaster", to predict that the newly opened MBS will take up to seven years to reach full capacity. With his official status MM Lee could not have been accompanied on his tour of MBS by any lesser personality than the MBS Chairman Mr. Sheldon Adelson.
One cannot expect Mr. Adelson to be amused by MM Lee's unflattering forecast, evidently not based on any tangible evidence but on his whim and fancy. How is Mr. Adelson going to face his shareholders if he allows such a deleterious remark, not one made by an ordinary mortal, to pass with impunity. Mr. Adelson is a shrewd Caucasian, one who must have had considerable experience in his career in dealing with high-ranking politicians of all political hues and colours and would certainly not be overawed by their prominence. He blithely told a disconcerted MM Lee that he believed that MBS would achieve full capacity in the year 2011. MM Lee was clearly seen to be taken aback by the Chairman's candid retort and could be seen to have no answer to his statement. Mr. Adelson is therefore seen to have reasserted his position thus giving assurance to his shareholders that he is no pushover.
Whether MM Lee will take this as a lesson to curb his egregious habit of "forecasting" for the wrong reason at the wrong time will be something which Singaporeans will be relieved to know.
He is paid more than $3 million a year from taxpayers' money to do what he himself has described as "forecasting". His position is a sinecure and he has so much time on his hand that he jets around the world, not infrequently, on taxpayers' funds to overwhelm his gullible audiences with his irresitable charms, making booboos in the process.
The latest example is in his eulogy to the late Dr. Goh Keng Swee whom he described as the minister who acted on his own "to have a clean break from Malaysia". Of course, such a serious controversial divergence from known facts could not have been allowed to pass without accountability. Dr. Goh is no longer around to clarify and the controversy has unfairly impinged on his character. Whatever is the motive of MM Lee to bring this up after Dr. Goh's death only time will tell. But in view of the disquiet generated by this controversy among the public, MM Lee is now trying strenouosly to carry out damage control in order to salvage the situation. His feeble attempt at vindication in the Straits Times of 22 June is a typical example.