Cotton doesn’t actually come from animals, trade minister sheepishly admits

At left, the Minister, a wool-bearing sheep at right. Images: All Singapore Stuff/Facebook, Sam Carter
At left, the Minister, a wool-bearing sheep at right. Images: All Singapore Stuff/Facebook, Sam Carter

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing has clarified that he does indeed know that cotton does not come from sheep after mistakenly saying so in an interview with local media.

Reacting to his embarrassing video interview, the 50-year-old yesterday blamed speaking “too fast” for the interview gaffe, in which he was discussing trade and the lack of local resources to produce items such as face masks. 

“I had a good laugh too when I was told that I spoke too fast in a video interview yesterday about cotton and sheep,” he wrote. “To any one (especially young children) watching the video – cotton definitely doesn’t come from sheep, it comes from cotton plants!”

Chan went on to say that he had been thinking about various raw materials in the past weeks, including sheep’s wool, and that he needed more sleep.

“In my mind, I have been thinking for weeks of all kinds of substitutes (including wool from sheep and other animals) that we can use for the various parts of the masks that we produce here. Unfortunately in Singapore, we have neither cotton nor sheep. Meanwhile, I should catch up on some sleep…,” he said.

Clips from Saturday’s video interview were circulated widely over the weekend. Chan had mentioned in the clips about the need for trade due to the lack of local resources.

“It will not [be] possible for Singapore to survive without trade. You mentioned about local production, let’s be very frank and ask ourselves. Even for a simple surgical mask that’s only six parts, which of the six parts will we be able to produce ourselves?” he said.

“Which part of the supply chain are we totally independent of foreign resources? I think I explained to you the 3-ply mask. Cotton, we don’t have too many sheep in Singapore to produce cotton,” he added.

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