Formal shirts, yes, stuffed shirts, no. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Tharman Shanmugaratnam doesn’t stand on ceremony. Etiquette Nazis may grumble he’s forgiving to a fault to the occasional social faux pas, but let's put it another way: He’s gracious. A perfect ambassador of the gracious society Singapore aims to be.
Having just returned to Singapore from India to Singapore on a red-eye flight, India Se Media managing director Shobha Tsering Bhalla was suffering from jet lag when she met DPM Shanmugaratnam at the Singapore FinTech Festival on November 16. Maybe that’s why absent-mindedly exclaimed, “Oh hello Tharman, how lovely to see you here!” Quite forgetting protocol. Not offended in the least, he extended his hand and greeted her with a warm smile.
When she laughingly told him (as if he cared to know) that she was “educating myself” he laughed and said: “Me too!” Such a refreshing change from his pompous counterparts back in the Motherland! Here’s a photo of Shobha looking like a midget next to 6ft 4in (or so it seems)Tharman!