All ayes on the eyebags

SINGAPORE - The eyebags had it, the eyebags had it.

In Parliament, it is usually "ayes" which are heard when MPs signal their agreement to a question posed by the Speaker, and Madam Halimah Yacob's intonations of "The ayes have it, the ayes have it", which then indicate that the legislation has been passed.

But yesterday, it was National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's eyebags which added a dash of humour to the otherwise usually dry proceedings.

Mr Khaw kicked off his speech by light-heartedly mentioning how his ministry's efforts to cool the housing market were producing visible results.

The Ministry of National Development received 40 cuts during the debate on its budget last year, but only 27 this year, he pointed out. "I was going to say that even my eyebags have shrunk. But at the washroom just now, I checked, they have not," he said, to laughter.

Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who also chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development, picked up on this when closing the debate.

In withdrawing her cut, she looked pointedly at Mr Khaw and said: "I am sorry that your eyebags will not grow smaller any time sooner because there are issues to resolve.

"But I would like to assure the minister that your eyebags make you look more lovable."

It seems that in this case, beauty is to be found not in the eyes, but in the eyebags.


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