MEDIAN is NOT the same as MEAN also known as average.
Mean is the average of a set of numbers.
Let’s do some Math 101 here:
Here’s a list of 10 numbers arranged in descending order (ie, from largest to smallest):
900 859 801 735 699 550 450 380 200 199
The MEAN (Average) is: (900+859+801+735+699+550+450+380+200+199)/10 = 5773/10 = 577.3
The MEDIAN is defined as the number IN THE MIDDLE of the sequence of numbers above.
Since the sequence is even (10 numbers), the MEDIAN then is the number between the 5th and 6th which we will find by: (699+550)/2 = 1309/2 = 624.5
Because we were given an EVEN set of numbers the MEDIAN is the average of the two numbers in the middle. If, however, we were given say ODD set of numbers, the MEDIAN would be the number in the middle of the sequence.
You will notice that the value of MEAN (Average) is not necessarily the same as the value of MEDIAN but it is possible that the MEDIAN could be higher or lower than the MEAN.
The salary report suggests that the ministerial salaries be pegged at the “median of the top 1000 Singaporean wage earners”.
So, while the number 1000 seems like a lot, the reality is that the salary is being proposed to be pegged to the AVERAGE of the 500th and 501th top Singaporean wage earner. The number 1000 is a red herring, serving to confuse people who would have understood MEAN not MEDIAN.
The report is trying to ensure that not too many Singaporeans earn more than the ministers.or to put it another way, there would only be about 500 Singaporeans or so who could be earning more than the ministers. This is very self-serving.
Which then begs the question. Why 500? Why not 5000? Or even 50,000? Are the ministers only working for the top 500? Not the 5,000,000+ we have in Singapore?
Watch this video of DPM Teo speaking in the parliament on January 16th 2012. Quite sad really.