SINGAPORE – On Tuesday (Feb 13), Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah shared a “sneak preview” of the Budget statement on Facebook.
However, instead of hard numbers and dry facts, the 1min 47sec clip, titled An Otterly Singaporean Budget, is filled with photos and videos of otters.
“To prepare for the future, we must see what’s ahead,” read the subtitles in the video. “Three big things are coming our way. Economic action is shifting to Asia. Technology is changing everything. Our population is ageing. What do we do? We have a plan… starting with Budget 2018!”
The video goes on to talk about various steps to be taken, including embracing technology, keeping Singapore green, building strong families and keeping the country secure.
Ms Indranee, who is also MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, told The Straits Times that she came up with the concept for the video after professional photographer Hilarion Goh shared with her some pictures and videos of otters that he had taken.
“I thought the pictures were great and the otters were so cute,” she said. “However, I have obviously been immersed in the Budget process for too long because every time I looked at the images, these Budget themes kept popping into my head! This kept happening so much so that in the end I decided that I might as well make a video out of it.”
Ms Indranee asked Mr Goh for permission to use his pictures and requested one of the PAP media team members to help edit the video.
The video editor declined an interview as he was “very shy”, Ms Indranee said.
In her Facebook post, she clarified that it was not an official Budget video done by the Ministry of Finance, although MOF later shared it on its Facebook page.
Mr Goh, 60, told ST that he has been an adviser to the Tanjong Pagar Photography Club for 13 years.
He only recently took up photographing otters. His forte is in fashion photography.
“I know Ms Indranee is quite an animal lover,” he said. “After I shot some otters I sent one to her and she fell in love.”
Mr Goh is also a grassroots volunteer at Tanjong Pagar. He was not paid for his photos and videos.
Ms Indranee said she likes “pretty much all animals, and of course the otters are so cute, anyone would find it hard not to like them”.
“Why otters? There wouldn’t have been a video but for the fact that Hilarion sent me those pics and the Budget themes kept buzzing around in my head,” she said.
“But I think it also has to do with the fact that the otters have such human expressions and their activities so easily correlate to the things we do. I think of the otter in the deterring threats picture as the Ministry of Defence otter!
“And course, they are very much part of the Singapore landscape. It helped a lot that they seem to really get around the island with lots of interesting backgrounds.”
The video, which Ms Indranee wrote the text for, was produced in just over a week.
Asked for her thoughts on this year’s Budget, which is set to be unveiled on Feb 19 by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Ms Indranee said: “The thoughts on this year’s Budget that I would like to share at this point in time are all in the video.”