Heng Swee Keat thanks wife for understanding he has to work on V-Day


Singapore—Sometimes love means having to make a great many sacrifices, which perhaps the spouses of public servants know all too well.
On Sunday (Feb 14), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat penned an appreciation post to his wife, who has had to put up with his busy schedule amid this festive Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day season.
Mr Heng, who is also Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, is in the middle of what for him may be the busiest time of the year, preparing the country’s annual budget.
On most years, putting the budget together is serious business indeed.
And during a pandemic, with all the stressors on the economy, we can only imagine that a great deal of hard work has been done behind the scenes by Mr Heng and his team at the Ministry of Finance (MOF), leading up to Budget Day on Tuesday, Feb 16.
Last year, due to the pandemic, the Government rolled out five Budgets to boost the economy and extend aid to those affected.
In January, Mr Heng quipped at the The Straits Times Global Outlook Forum that he wished that for this year, there will be only one Budget.
And so, while the rest of us were likely celebrating (albeit more low-key this year) Chinese New Year, and enjoying romantic dinners with our significant others, the Minister wrote in a Facebook post that he enjoyed no such luxury.
However, the day did not go without a loving gesture from Mr Heng, who also posted a photo of the bouquet of flowers he sent his wife.
“During one of my recent walkabouts, I met a second-generation stallholder selling flowers in the market. She showed me the beautiful roses she brought from overseas for Valentine’s Day. They were beautiful, and so I ordered some for my wife.”
He also thanked the MOF officers and those from other Government agencies who have also had to work over the long holiday weekend.
“A big thank you to all and your loved ones!,” he wrote.
And this busyness during a festive time, apparently, happens regularly.
“Budget Day usually takes place around mid-February, so that we can complete the entire process in time for the Financial Year, which starts on 1 April. But the consequence is that Budget preparations often overlap with Valentine’s Day, and Chinese New Year in some years,” Mr Heng explained, before greeting everyone.
“I hope that everyone can spend some time with your loved ones, and express your love for people in your life, today and every other day!
Mr Heng, 59, has been married to Ms Chang Hwee Nee since 1988. Ms Chang is the CEO of the  National Heritage Board. They have two children.
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