BONUS has become almost a dirty word in these times, with its meaning highly misunderstood, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng said on Saturday.
Speaking at the launch of this year's Singapore Kindness Month, he noted that public anger arose in the United States over large bonuses paid to executives of failed American corporations because of the economic downturn.
'Nowadays, the word 'bonus' is almost a dirty word,' he said in his speech. 'There has been great misunderstanding over what the word 'bonus' entails. You have to understand that in today's context, companies' bonuses are part and parcel of the overall wage package.'
'We now operate differently from the past. So, let us not get overexcited whenever we see the word 'bonus' being used,' he added.
He said the uproar over bonuses paid by troubled firms like AIG was because the American public perceived these to have come from government bailouts.
But Mr Lim said people should not mistake a bonus as 'somebody getting something extra and undeserved and out of line with the current economic situation'.
He stressed that, with the downturn, it is even more important for Singaporeans to be kind and considerate towards others.
He also called on Singaporeans to be kind to foreigners living here, such as students from overseas. Be kind and considerate towards others? Does that mean keeping an elegant silence when we learn of some Deputy General Manager and Senior Manager of some government agencies receiving 7 months bonus?
If the bonuses paid to executives of troubled U. S. firms did not come from government bailouts then could Mr Lim enlighten us where did the money come from?
So, for organising MM Lee's 80th birthday bash, Mr Lim deserves every cents of the millions he gets?