The $2.50 Nasi Padang Furore

Update 31 Mar 2014: A sad story behind $1.80 chicken rice in DPM’s GRC

The photo actually originated from Ng Cher Pheng (https://www.facebook.com/ng.cherpheng). He posted the photo on his own Facebook page and shared it with DPM Teo on Friday (28 Mar)

Rather than trying to score political points by touting cheap food in his constituency, DPM Teo should go and talk to the hawker to find out if there is any story behind it. This is what it means to “stay close to the ground”. If he is too busy, he should dispatch his grassroots.

But then again, his own grassroots leader, Ng Cher Pheng, instead of finding out more about the story behind the $1.80 promotional price, quickly put up a Facebook message, “Lunch only $1.80 @Blk446“, to inform DPM Teo about it without mentioning that it is a promotional price in the message.

Are PAP MPs and grassroots close to the ground and do they really understand the ground? What do you think?

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Tampines restaurant that gave discount to PAP MP Baey Yam Keng for his nasi padang has closed

Has MP Baey given Al Madina the kiss of death? What do you think?


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George Yeo: My wanton mee plus coffee & tissue cost $4.80

The photo shows a plate of wonton noodle, a coffee drink and a packet of tissue paper

Former minister George Yeo has apparently decided to join in and “poke fun” at MP Baey Yam Keng’s recent $2.50 nasi padang meal.

Mr Yeo retired from politics in 2011 shortly after losing his Aljunied seat in the general elections to the Workers’ Party.

Mr Yeo posted a photo of his meal and a message on his Facebook page [Link] on 20 December 2013:
“Including tissue, $4.80 at Loyang Point.”
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Celebrity has its privileges

Every time popular Taiwanese getai singer Hao Hao gets a haircut at his usual salon in Orchard, he gets a 50 per cent discount, paying only $100 instead of the usual $200.

When he signed up for a facial package recently, the beautician also gave him "a small discount", before throwing in two extra bottles of facial toner, free of charge.

Such perks come unsolicited, says the 32-year-old Singapore-based star, who adds that they are offered likely because he is a known figure.

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In classic propaganda style, The Straits Times has again published a huge story to try and further defend MP Baey Yam Keng's $2.50 Nasi Padang which recently caused controversy online. (Original story see: MP Baey & his controversial $2.50 nasi padang dish)

MP Baey had received a "goodwill" discount on his lunch of a plate of nasi padang with bandung drink and was charged only $2.50 for the nasi padang and 50c for the drink.

At first, he claimed that he didn't know of the discount but later admitted that he did find out about it by the second time he visited the stall.

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What started out as an innocent Facebook posting has turned into something controversial so much so that even Wanbao also wanted to report on it

It started when Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng made a Facebook posting on Wednesday (11 Dec), saying that he had a nasi padang meal at Tampines Blk 475 coffee shop:

Then one netizen Esther Chia asked Mr Baey how much he spent for the nasi padang dish. Mr Baey replied that it cost him $2.50. He said he eats this “once in a long while”.

Others commented that it was very cheap. Then another netizen, Fernando Fonseca, apparently went to the same coffee shop to order the same dish with the same items and he reported that it cost him $6.00

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Article first appeared on Mr Baey Yam Keng's Facebook page here

I love local hawker food. There are not many countries in the world like Singapore where one can easily find reasonably priced food with the same high level of hygiene and great variety. Singapore is indeed a food paradise.

Typically, when I cannot be home for my meals, or even when I am eating out with my family, I like to frequent hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts. In parliament, I have spoken a few times on hawker centres, hawker food and our hawker culture. I have urged the government to help preserve this heritage and national identity of Singapore, and even proposed setting up a Singapore Food Museum.

I like to post photos of the hawker food I eat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am not a food critic so I tend not to comment on the food quality. Nor am I promoting the stalls. I just want to document and celebrate the richness of our hawker food that many of us love.

MP speaks up over nasi padang furore

Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been accused of receiving preferential treatment for paying $3 for a meal of nasi padang and rose syrup drink. -- PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been accused of receiving preferential treatment for paying $3 for a meal of nasi padang and rose syrup drink. -- PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

But after Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng posted a picture of the food on his Facebook page last Wednesday, it sparked an online furore.

A netizen claimed he was charged $6 for the same dish at Al-Madina Muslim Restaurant, prompting others to accuse Mr Baey of receiving preferential treatment and not being aware of food prices.

Yesterday, he said his conscience was clear and he did not knowingly accept a discount for the meal of two vegetables, chicken, rice and a glass of bandung

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The matter might seem trivial BUT there are several serious issues and implications here:

1. Mr Baey is either really BLUR or acting BLUR to assume that the Nasi Pandang can be $2.50 and the Bandung drink $0.50. In either case, his suitability to be an MP is questionable. Even my grand daughter who is 8 years old is aware that the food and drink mentioned cost much more.

2. It is fortunate that Netizens pointed out the actual price of the food and drink to the MP. Otherwise he will go around thinking that the cost of living is so affordable (ie like the $8 heart surgery) and will assume like most MPs that Singaporeans like to ‘kpkb’ for no reason.

3. Gratification, goodwill etc under the guise of respect should not be condoned. Otherwise it is very difficult to determine what is daylight corruption! Likewise, ‘pinching’ of toothpicks should not be condoned as it is also a form of stealing!

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Why MP Baey paid only $2.50 for Nasi Padang dish while Public charged $6?

“Unbelievable that 联合晚报 deemed that this was indeed news. There are more pressing issues that needs to be highlight. I have nothing against Baey Yam Keng, so I am not going to comment further, apart from the fact that I did pay $6 for the same ingredients. Maybe my chicken was fresher?”

“The whole point is not about how much I paid, but seriously, the chicken and the rice alone cost $4. In any matters, I have decided not to speak too much about this matter as
  • a. I am not trying to embarrass Mr Baey Yam Keng;
  • b. I am trying to set prices straight. What they pay for may not be what we have paid.
I was lucky in that I saw the photo, and I went to the place before, so I thought it was cheap for $2.50 to get such dishes. And I was wrong.”

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Baey Yam Keng clears air over $2.50 nasi padang

Member of Parliament (MP) for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng stirred some debate last week after he uploaded a photo of his Nasi Padang meal on Facebook

A Facebook user, Esther Chia, asked the MP how much the dish from the coffee shop at Tampines Blk 475 cost. Mr Baey replied that it cost $2.50, adding that he eats nasi padang "once in a long while".

Another Facebook user later claimed that he went to the same store and was charged $6 for the same dish. This sparked a debate in which some netizens said that Mr Baey should not have been charged a lower price.

To clarify the matter, Mr Baey returned to the stall to speak with the shop owner. He then explained the issue in his regular column on MyPaper, which was published today.

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ST distorts nasi padang saga

Yesterday (18 Dec), the Straits Times (ST) finally reported on the nasi padang saga involving Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng (‘MP speaks up over nasi padang furore’, 18 Dec):

However, in its article, ST deliberately stayed clear from stating that MP Baey had accepted a “goodwill discount” from the nasi padang stall.

In his original testimony in Chinese, published in MyPaper on 17 December 2013 [Link], Mr Baey acknowledged that the stall had given him a discount and he had accepted it:

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The recent “nasi padang” incident involving Baey Yam Keng tells a very different story about the standards office holders in Singapore measure themselves against

Mr Baey received a discount on his nasi padang meal (knowingly or unknowingly) and then tried to justify it by saying the stall was new, the stall owner wanted to reach out to more customers, the stall owner wanted to give a special deal to senior citizens and students and finally, the stall owner wanted to do his part to fulfil his “corporate social responsibility”.

Mr Baey also pointed out that it was “really out of simple goodwill and respect for my work and service in the community” that the stall holder gave him a discount for the meal consisting of 3 dishes and rice. Given the high salary and the numerous benefits that come with this part-time job, one could hardly call their work a service to the community.
While a meal discount is not a big deal, how the PAP MP responds to receiving one speaks volumes of what he thinks of his role as a public servant.
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Baey: Owner charged me $2.50 out of respect & goodwill

In his column in MyPaper today (17 Dec), Mr Baey started by saying that he loves hawker food and likes to eat at hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts

Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng in his column in MyPaper today (‘马来饭菜’, 17 Dec), explained the “mystery” of the $2.50 nasi padang dish which he bought from a Tampines coffee shop last week (11 Dec).

What started out as an innocent Facebook posting when he posted a picture of the $2.50 meal he had had, turned into something controversial on social media. Many netizens asked him how he could get such a low price for his nasi padang meal, which usually does not come cheap.

To clarify the matter, Mr Baey went back to the stall a few days later and posted an update on his Facebook page. This time, he paid $3.70. He wrote, “I paid $3.70 for my lunch today. Had a good conversation with Mr KK, the shop owner. Will share more in my column in MyPaper on Tue.”

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What mrbrown can teach PAP MP Baey

I’m sure you all know about Baey’s $2.50 nasi padang. If not read, this account by TRE(only available for three months unless you are VIP member: even TRE agrees with the PAP govt  that those who pay, get better treatment. Taz the S’porean way given the many cheapos around.).

He wouldn’t have got himself into said hole if he had checked the cost of the dish before blogging on it. Instead he guessed and got netizens’ tits in a twist at the price.And on whether he lived in a bubble: “the elite’s bubble”.

He then compounded his initial mistake by explaining that he tot it cost $2.50 because, he gave $10, and got back $7, and as the bandung drink must have cost 0.50, the rice was $2.50. So since when did bandung cost $0.50? More nasty comments followed.

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of MP Baey Yam Keng clears air over $2.50 nasi padang...Oh, really? How about the $0.50 Bandung drink?!?!

Well, the annoying part is really not just about the nasi padang being priced at $2.50, but MP Baey Yam Keng's own admission that "I knew that the cordial Bandung drink would not cost too much, probably 50 cents out of the $3 I paid. So I estimated the nasi padang to be $2.50 and replied the netizen on Wednesday night."

C'mon!! How can Bandung drink cost only 50 cents?!?! That's simply ridiculous! MP-s should really seriously consider to conduct their Meet-the-People Sessions at the neighbourhood hawker centres & having a simple drink & meal with the people. And of course to pay for the meal on their own, so that they'd have a fair 'feel' of how much the real cost of, for example, Bandung drink & nasi padang cost. Long sigh. Because we really can't handle the next time other MP-s gleefully declare they enjoy a delicious $0.50 kopi o

I won't be surprised that MP Baey Yam Keng will soon release a YouTube clip titled, "Misunderstood". Oh wait, Apple already had the clip titled the same. Hur hur.

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A statistical analysis of the $2.50 Nasi Padang - Leong Sze Hian

Leongszehian.com, 18 Dec 2013

I refer to the Editorial “Baey: Owner charged me $2.50 out of respect & goodwill” (TR Emeritus, Dec 17).

It states that “In his column in My Paper today (17 Dec), Mr Baey started by saying that he loves hawker food and likes to eat at hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts.

From statistical perspective, someone who loves and likes and talks often even in Parliament, is probably (statistically) not very likely to not know that a glass of bandung is normally about $1.20 and arguably, therefore a statistical abnormality to think that it is only 50 cents? Full story

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A great PR man doing a great PR job

Say whatever you like about Baey Yam Keng, he is indeed a first class PR man. Just for a $2.50 nasi padang meal, he is able to arouse enough publicity to himself that no one or organization could attract even after spending several million dollars on a top notch PR agency to do such a job.

Baey Yam Keng’s name is in everyone’s lip. His photographs, selfies, are everywhere, in the main media and social media. His facebook is hot. He outshines everyone, even the PM and the President as the most talked about guy in town. He even out done the Little India riot. No one is going to forget him. He monopolises the news for a whole week and still counting.

After this term in office he could go back to PR and will be the most sought after guy in the industry to carry any advertising job. You just have to give it to him when generating publicity is concerned. Well done man.

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S’poreans asking their MPs to order economy rice for them

Singaporeans from all walks of life who are in and out of poverty are asking their various respective MPs to order economy rice for them on their behalf

This after it was revealed that Baey Yam Keng, MP for Tampines, can eat economy rice with meat and veggie for $2.50

Zhup Cai Png, a local who stays in Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: “There is no other way I can beat inflation. I am asking Lee Hsien Loong help me buy.”

“Maybe still can get extra egg and gravy.”

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One word to describe the Baey Yam Keng Nasi Padang saga. Typical

Indeed, it's very typical of the PAP these days. It cannot seem to admit wrong when staring wrong in the face. And yes too, that it is turning out into a saga simply because he keeps trying to wriggle out of the shit he knows he has gotten himself in.

Let's examine some of the points he had made.

Firstly, no one provoked him to make the FB post like he did. We are sure he wanted to share his lunch experience with his fans and was caught out by the price by which he had shared. And in attempting to explain himself he inadvertently rolled himself up in his own web of explanation. A simple "i paid for the nasi padang as charged to me" would be enough to close the chapter. Unfortunately, he became guilt-stricken, and with that he tried to justify himself.

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Special Deals Rehashed

Baey Yam Keng's muddled "explanation" of how he was charged $2.50 for nasi padang - which was magically repriced to $3.70 at a subsequent visit - is proof the man is a walking PR disaster. The stink he stirred up must smell worse than the bunched-up diaper he came across near the block where he conducts his weekly Meet-the-People sessions. Armed with the used diaper, he reportedly climbed 12 storeys and knocked on doors of 11 units in Block 444 Tampines Street 42, hell bent on nabbing the culprit who dared toss crap in his way. He was not successful. "I think we managed to identify which unit was the culprit. Without concrete evidence, I could only warn the maid not to do so. Hope that will born home the message," wrote the former managing director of Hill & Knowlton. Writing skill, you may note, is not exactly his forte.

But he did succeed in reminding folks about the extra egg Lee Kuan Yew once claimed he deserves in his hawker fare, and how tailors would fall head over heels trying to clothe him. Lee was standing before parliament, defending his bruised public image.

On April 23 1995, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, had released a statement confirming they had received "unsolicited" discounts of between 5% and 12% for unlaunched units at Nassim Jade and Scotts 28 condominiums both had purchased. Shortly after, the duo announced they would treat the discounts as unsolicited gifts and "give them to the government".

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MP Baey claims he loves hawker food and does not know the price of Nasi Padang hence he accepted the offer by the stall staff

Let’s go to his Facebook page and take a look and you will find that he does post pictures of hawker food but almost all of them without any mention of price except for the special Nasi Padang.

If he has not mentioned any price for his previous postings on food, why the special treatment for the Nasi Padang? Common sense and logic apply – it’s either cheap or he is really out of touch.

But if he is out of touch with the ground then on what basis is he out of touch? Well, as it turns out, common sense and logic again, he thinks the food is cheap. That’s why he posted that comment with the price attached to it.


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I thought bandung drink cost only 50 cents, says MP Baey Yam Keng in trying to clarify his $2.50 nasi padang meal controversy

Facebook.com, 17 Dec 2013

"Last Wednesday, I was in Tampines and decided to drop by the nasi padang coffee shop at Street 44 Blk 475 for my lunch. I ordered a piece of chicken and two veggies, plus a Bandong drink. After I sat down, I gave the attendant $10 and he gave me $7 change. I thought the price was quite cheap.

As the coffee shop was new in the neighborhood, I thought it could be a promotional price. I seldom order nasi padang so I am also not familiar with the typical price. I have encountered similar pricing at some Chinese rice stalls, so I did not think too much about it. As usual, I posted a photo of my nasi padang.

Subsequently, a netizen asked me how much the nasi padang was. I knew that the cordial Bandong drink would not cost too much, probably 50 cents out of the $3 I paid. So I estimated the nasi padang to be $2.50 and replied the netizen on Wednesday night." Link

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Singaporeans whack MP Baey for 50-cent bandung

Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng may have tried to explain away the controversy surrounding his by now infamous $2.50 nasi padang meal, but Singaporeans are not letting him get off quite so easily.

Netizens have now pivoted to whacking him for his naivete in believing a bandung drink can possibly cost as little as $0.50 in high-cost Singapore.

TRE reader sgcynic remarked:
  • In any case, this incident also shows how out of touch Baey Yam Keng is. Bandung for $0.50? How about kopi? $0.20?


Last week, Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng had posted to Facebook a photo of a plate of Nasi Pandang which he paid $2.50 for. (MP Baey & his controversial $2.50 nasi padang dish)

Netizens immediately questioned why the meal was so cheap and one Singaporean went down to the same store and ordered the same meal and was charged $6.

People commented that Mr Baey was unfairly getting discounts from stall holders and some netizens even claimed that it was a form of corruption.

On the other hand, some people said that the MP might have genuinely thought it was normally $2.50 and was simply commenting on how affordable food was unaware that he was coming off as out of touch. (Baey Yam Keng is out of touch with the Singapore society)

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What to eat for $2.50 and under

We gave ourselves a budget of $2.50 and below for every meal, and were left well-fed and pleasantly surprised.  With the increasing standard of living in this city, it is comforting to know that a tasty, substantial meal can still be had for no more than a few dollars. Those that made the cut are complete meals, a filling (sometimes healthy) plate of the best budget eats in Singapore. Read and eat on. 

What good, filling dishes can you get for $2.50 and under these days in Singapore? We worked our way around the island and found that eating well for cheap is still very possible
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Singapore Daily

Credit: Demon-cratic Singapore

$2.50 Nasi Padang