Tharman Shanmugaratnam, our deputy prime minister who doubles up as finance minister, has been named Finance Minister of the Year 2013.
The accolade is by Euromoney, a global banking and finance publication.
Euromoney credited Tharman for his “over-arching role in enabling Singapore to shift its growth model from population-driven to productivity-driven expansion, while at the same time maintaining its status as an innovative trade and financial services hub to diversified export markets.”
In English, it's like saying Shahril Ishak beat Lionel Messi to the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
In the feature by Euromoney, they commented that “Shanmugaratnam’s views carry weight” and added that he “has assumed a statesman-like role in the region in recent years”.
We think so too. Here are 12 reasons why DPM Tharman is carrying the weight of the PAP on his back.
You know how in every team there is that one guy who puts in more than everyone else?
The guy who shoulders the most responsibilities and has far more street cred?
1. He supports more Opposition voices.
On a question on the tolerable threshold of opposition that the PAP can live with, he said: “I don't have a number in my mind but we have to accept that part of a healthy political system is one with a decent opposition presence in Parliament and outside, and a responsible opposition will, I think, be able to contribute to Singapore.” -- Singapolitics, 20 April 2013.
We can almost hear the opposition say: "Thank you for supporting two drivers system."
2. He had a run-in with authorities before.
Source: Tharman Shanmugaratnam Facebook
In 1994, he was fined $1,000 for violating the Official Secrets Act, after economic growth projections were leaked to the press.
3. He is a member of G30 (Group of Thirty), an international body of leading financiers and academics which aims to deepen understanding of economic and financial issues.
Kind of like the Freemasons for nerds.
Look at the sample size of 10 members listed here – Former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Former Bank of England Governor Meryvn King, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
4. He finds work relaxing.
Euromoney: “As finance minister, deputy prime minister, chairman of the MAS, board member of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, head of the IMFC and parliamentarian, Shanmugaratnam strikes a Stakhanovite tone when asked how he finds time to unwind.
'Sometimes work can be quite relaxing,' he says without irony.”
5. He does not use the media to play politics.
He is known to show up for grassroots event. Plant trees. Shake hands. And he goes off without being interviewed by the media.
6. He has a statesman-like demeanour.
Even Obama is all like "Woah, I gotta back off."
7. He is most likely to be a future Prime Minister if we weren't all freaking out about race.
He is the chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) of the IMF – its first Asian head. Beside him is IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
On a question about a non-Chinese PM in Singapore, DPM Tharman said, "My own sense is if you talk about, you know, in 20 years, I'd say, entirely possible. Entirely possible. I'd find it very odd if we only have Chinese prime ministers forever. I'd find it quite odd. I have no aspirations by the way to be prime minister! I enjoy being part of the team, contributing as much as I can." -- Singapolitics, 20 April 2013.
8. It is rumoured he sleeps very little.
9. He holds his ground in a TV debate with one of PAP's fiercest critics.
10. Everyone is curious what are his responsibilities.
When people google Tharman:
They want to find out what he does.
When people google Lee Hsien Loong:
They want to find out how his children look like.
11. Let's admit it: There's no one in the opposition, including many of the PAP folks, who has his calibre.
He's a born natural.
12. See? Those are the broad shoulders where responsibilities rest.
Top photo from here
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