I was rather surprised to read today in the government-controlled Straits Times that Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father and rather well remunerated "minister mentor", is offering to take a pay cut.
Singaporean officials are among the best-paid in the world thanks to Lee's long-term policy of paying "private sector" wages to bring the best people into government and ensure that they are not tempted into corruption.
The 86-year-old Lee has suggested that to improve Singapore's sagging productivity, there should be no retirement age and workers should carry on going as long as they are healthy.
But, as they age, workers will become less efficient so they must be paid less as a result.
I think we have to develop that approach to life: You've reached the maximum you can do at your age in that position, you move sideways and you take less pay and you move gradually to less and less pay because you are moving slower and slower, especially if you are doing physical work.
Given Lee's admission that he is "still functioning, if not at the rate at which I was functioning, say, 20 years ago ... I have aches and pains, but nothing terminal and I can keep going," it seems as if he's offering to take a pay cut.
But blog Temasek Review is not won over by his call for thrift:
While Lee asked Singapore workers to accept a pay cut when they grow old, he has blatantly refused to practice what he preaches himself.
Lee costs Singaporeans some S$3 million dollars a year, or more than five times the annual salary of U.S. President Barack Obama and that is not including his lifelong pension which amounts to two-thirds of monthly salary.