Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Dear SM Goh,

Todayonline, 5th April, 2011 reported that you ridiculed farmers in less developed countries that they have no understanding about quality of life. It is embarrassing that a senior statesman like yourself has such a narrow vision of quality of life. What kind of message do you intend to give to the younger generation? It also insults people like us who depend on land and nature for survival.

Your definition of quality of life seem to be amassing money to a degree that exceeds sanity and morality. Please pause and think that 99.9% of the population on earth does not have the privilege like yourself to collect a salary of $3.8 million, plus your pension, plus bonus payment, plus director’s fees, etc. Does it imply that most of us lack any meaningful quality of life?

I live a simple and comfortable retired life with my wife for less than S$1,200 a month* or what you made in less than an hour. We built our own modest 1,500 sq feet house in Sechelt, Canada for less than the price of a 4 room HDB flat. It has a view that rivals the best in Singapore. I do fishing, crab trapping, picking wild berries, attending to my fruit trees and some vegetables. We do all our house chores like marketing, cooking, washing and keeping the house clean and tidy without any maid or outside help. You may call it “low quality of life” but we enjoy ourselves tremendously and found true happiness in what we do. There is no shame in using our hands. In fact we are proud that, in our mid sixties, we are able to live independently and survive happily largely on nature. It may be something rich people like yourself think otherwise.

To verify and lend creditability to my story, I challenge you to send reporters and spend a week living in my house and write a report of their stay. One of the reporters can be from Straits Times and the other must be from a neutral news media.

I am willing to put S $10,000 in trust with a reputable law firm to reimburse the two reporters for their cost of travel if they find what I said not to be true. However, you should also put up S$10,000 to reimburse those people you have insulted who live on nature. I will donate this amount to a charity organization.

The S$10,000 is a huge amount for a retiree like me. On the other hand, S$10,000 is definitely peanuts for you. You make that in less time than going to the bathroom. Sir, please put money where your mouth is and prove me wrong.

Looking forward to your early reply.

Yours Respectfully,

Cheong Wing Lee
Sechelt, B.C

* Cost of living breakdown per month:: Groceries $400, travel and petrol $100, sinking fund $100, utilities (gas, electricity, water) $40, TV cable $75, fishing and crab license $5, general expenses $300 to 400. (No mortgage or car payments)