This is Lee Bee Wah.
She looks and talks like the auntie you meet once a year during Chinese New Year, and if you’re single, you’d try to avoid her because even when she doesn’t speak, her eyes are asking, “Ah Girl ah, when getting a boyfriend?”
But Ms Lee is not just the lovely auntie who gives you a large ang bao during CNY; she’s also a Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC) since 2011.
Yes, it’s Yishun we’re talking about.
And this chatty auntie isn’t new to politics: she had been an MP since 2006, with her representing the Ang Mo Kio GRC for five years.
Many remember her as a storyteller in Parliament, like how she used a story to explain why Singapore shouldn’t sell our land to boost our revenue as it’s a short-term solution:
But all remember her as Ah Hua Jie (Sister Flower) because of her name and the quirky ways she expresses her views in Parliament.
Heck, our dear Ah Hua Jie has even brought football and Liverpool in when she spoke in support of the first budget mentioned this year:
(Yes, the “wahs” were really from the MPs)
Hearing her speak is like reading a Goody Feed article: the main information is there but it’s peppered with entertainment to keep you engaged.
Reader Bao: You’ve got to be kidding
Yes, that’s the entertainment.
But why are we talking about Ah Hua Jie when you’re here to read about TCM?
Because she spoke up about TCM earlier this week.
Ah Hua Jie: Open Dessert Shops & Not TCM, Is it Because Desserts Taste Better?
Lest you didn’t know, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) needle acupuncture will be allowed from 5 May 2020 for pain management, and it must be assessed by the TCM practitioner to be essential. Any TCM with halls attached to it would be allowed to sell retail products, too.
But those TCM shops that don’t have a TCM practitioner must remain closed.
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Our favourite auntie, who sometimes speaks in Chinese in Parliament because #whynot, asked four questions in Chinese:
- Why TCMs are not allowed to open but “western” clinics are allowed to open?
- Did the task force consult TCM practitioners before making the decision to just allow needle acupuncture and not other services?
- On 12 May 2020, dessert shops can be opened, but not TCM halls. Why? She also wondered if it’s because ice cream and cakes taste better than TCM products (well, ar bo then)
- On what condition would the TCM shops be opened?
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong responded, and said that these questions were also debated during their task force meetings, and they’ve come to a decision based on the information they had and for the safety of the population.
Ah Hua Jie wasn’t happy and wanted a direct answer to her questions, and said she would now ask in English—but she was cut off by the Speaker.
Eventually, Mr Gan said, “I will take her feedback seriously. I’ve always taken her feedback very seriously. And we’ll look at whether or not we can further liberalise TCM practitioners including the medical halls.”
But he didn’t answer the burning question: do ice cream and cakes taste better than TCM products?
All TCM Halls Now Allowed to Open
Today, during a virtual press conference, it’s revealed that all TCM medical halls would be allowed to open and sell retail products from 12 May 2020, together with ice cream and cakes.
Reader Bao: Wait, they’re also selling ice cream and cakes?
No lah, I mean they’re opening just like shops that sell ice cream and cakes.
This is because there was feedback from seniors that they would need to travel very far to any 1 of the 130 TCM halls that can stay open (those with TCM practitioners) to buy TCM products.
Opening all the shops would allow seniors to have access to those products easier.
However, these TCM shops must have necessary safe management measures in place before opening because it serves primarily seniors, who are a vulnerable group.
I might be at home now but I can almost hear Ah Hua Jie cheering in Yishun.
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