We went for the now-weekly consultation meeting with gynae Loh yesterday. I think his staff was busy with other works because Lady M doubled up as clinic assistant, and even Loh had to come out of his room to call for me. After I sat down, he said to me, “how are you? I was told you’ve a blog but I haven’t had the time to look at it.” I stuttered with surprise, “blog? What blog?” “I met up with this doctor from KKH, Jerry Chan, for lunch the other day. He told me you’ve a blog and you wrote about me. Said that you’ve great penmanship, described me very well.” That totally caught me off-guard and I tried damn hard to think of a reply but couldn’t. I gotta admit for a split second, I panicked a little. Loh continued, “the other day I found out from one of my patients that she’s a reporter. But blogger is even more dangerous. So I better not say anything.”
Just then Lady M came in, and Loh said to her, “Marianne, she’s the one with the blog that Jerry talked about.” I could only give an embarrassed laugh. Loh turned to me, “since you can write so well, you should teach me how to write.” Before I knew it, I blurted out, “before I can do that, you’ve to pick up English again at the primary level” My husband couldn’t help bursting out in laughter and hit me on my arm for making that really insulting remark. Loh also laughed and replied, “wah, that’s really below the belt. But that’s ok, I give out to people sometimes, so I’ve to take it too.” Alright I know that was pretty mean of me, and I shouldn’t have shot my mouth off like that.
Anyway Loh said to me, “Maria, you should write for the PAP, forget about writing for the hammer.” My husband told him, “she doesn’t write about WP, it’s not a political blog.” “You should offer to write for PM Lee.” “I don’t support the PAP and never will.”
Luckily we proceeded to the ultrasound scan. Baby Alex has grown slightly bigger to almost 3kg (6.6 lbs) and still doing well. Loh thinks that’s a good size as it means it’ll be easier for him to make his grand entrance. He’s also facing left in my tummy, which Loh commented is the right position rather than frontal facing. I asked Loh if baby had umbilical cord coil round his neck. He doesn’t think that’s anything to worry about. If it’s the case now, he will arrange for a C-section. If it had happen at 32 weeks, he would just leave it since he wouldn’t wanna cause undue panic. Loh also showed us the image of Alex’s testes (not sure why), which proved once and for all, his gender, and my husband was relieved, “I was a little worried the sonographer was wrong.” Loh assured him baby has always been a boy, and my husband told him I wanted a girl. Loh commented, “try for next one. Girl better.” He also told me that I would feel tightening in my tummy due to Braxton-Hicks contractions (false contractions). To be honest, I’m not sure if I would be able to tell if it’s contractions or baby pushing against tummy wall. Loh also thinks baby will be coming at any time, just that he won’t know when.
Anyway Loh, being Loh, couldn’t resist asking question about the Hougang by-election, “so, who do you think will win?” He doesn’t think we need another WP parliamentarian; but we believe competition is good. As expected Loh said, “Look at Greece’s economy, see what democracy has come to.” My husband rebutted him, “those Greek are lazy and spendthrifts! They don’t pay taxes too.” I added, “that’s why we need the rich to pay higher taxes.” Loh remembered what my husband said last week, “you said that the rich should pay 65% income tax. Look at that Belgium MO.” “65% is the top marginal tax rate, it’s a progressive taxation structure.” Loh then excused himself that he isn’t knowledgeable about economics and can’t say much about it. He also claimed that his English and Mandarin are not good and hence have difficulty with comprehension. I went on the defensive, “I didn’t criticize your Mandarin, I didn’t say anything about it.” To that my husband quibbed to me, “he’s trying to preempt you.”
Before we left, Loh still couldn’t let hold of the election topic and commented that PAP would win in Hougang. To that my husband replied, “when pig flies! Just because the residents are offered free Teochew porridge doesn’t mean they can be bought.” I offered Loh a bet on the election result but he declined.
Anyway last night, I sent an email to Loh to apologize for my insulting remark which was uncalled for. I realize it smacks of the PAP arrogant attitude which is antithesis of WP’s philosophy. That makes me a hypocrite, something that I abhor and I seriously regret making the remark. This is something I should bear in mind; arrogance is a weakness I have and I should realize I’m not in any way superior.
On a side-note, my husband later wondered to me if Loh truly understands what he meant by marginal tax rate or progressive taxation, because Loh kept saying that the rich would have to pay high tax rate of 65%. On a number of occasions, he had asked us for alternatives to the current system, to which my husband cited increasing tax rate of the high income as one of the solutions (which should compensate the lowering of other forms of taxation that burden the poor and middle class). Not that 65% is the highest marginal tax rate we should aim for, but whatever the number is it should be calibrated to what works for the economy since Singapore is still a price taker at this time. Of course, during the short meetings we have with Loh, we can’t possibly give a presentation of the various solutions that are required to restructure the economy. But we did mention briefly in various meetings the problems that are plaguing this country, and yet Loh doesn’t seem to understand. I told him once recently that he’s living in a bubble, isolated from the vast majority of the population.