04 November 2006

Tidbits From MM Lee

ST Nov 4, 2006
Tougher to get leaders to stay in govt for long
They need 10-20 years to master art of govt, but private sector a strong draw, says MM

By Sue-Ann Chia

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew believes it will be increasingly difficult to expect political leaders to stay in office for long, given the attractions of the private sector.

But without good leaders stepping forward, Singapore will falter, he warned.

'So, I'm hoping that while we may not get them to stay for long terms like I have done - my whole life... since 1955, that's a good 51 years - at least you're going to stay for 10, 20 years because you need two to three terms to really master the art of government.'

MM Lee was speaking to about 300 faculty staff and students from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy during a one-hour dialogue which centred on the issue of good governance.

Those who asked questions hailed from countries such as China, India and Kazakhstan.

MM Lee's remarks on the tenure of political leaders here was in response to a Singaporean who asked if Singapore would consider having foreigners take on important positions in the public sector.

'It is not possible to hire a foreign talent to run this country,' he replied. 'You must have the passion, you must have the commitment, you must share the dreams of your people.'
Heheheh. Why is Mr Wang laughing? Because MM Lee's remarks reminded Mr Wang of one of his old posts.

On a separate note, it's interesting to note that MM Lee used the phrase "foreign talent" here, where PM Lee appeared to have consciously dropped it during his NDP rally speech in favour of "immigrants" and "foreigners".

There are two ways to interpret PM Lee's refusal to use the old phrase "foreign talent" (and they're not mutually exclusive).

The first interpretation is that PM Lee wanted to avoid creating the usual dissatisfactions that Singaporeans often have, when they observe that many of the "foreign talents" in Singapore don't seem particularly talented. The continual use of the phrase "foreign talent" can alienate the masses because there is some implicit suggestion that locals are not as talented.

The second interpretation is that PM Lee hoped that by using the word "immigrants", he could win more Singaporeans over to his foreign talent policy and convince Singaporeans that these foreigners love Singapore and are here to stay and contribute. After all, the large majority of Singaporeans had an immigrant background as well.

What about MM Lee using the phrase "foreign talent" then - how do we interpret that?

Well, firstly, this was in the context of who should run the country. In his mind, it was a given that the person should of course be a "talent".

Secondly, maybe he never agreed with his son dropping the phrase "foreign talent". Mind you, it was MM Lee himself who popularised the term "foreign talent" in the late 1990s. It was a key MM Lee idea that the foreigners we were going to attract were indeed going to be outstandingly talented and just by standing here on Singapore soil, were going to generate a great number of jobs for less-talented Singaporeans.

Thirdly, maybe MM Lee just blurted the phrase without thinking or caring too much about it.

Ah, the dangers of over-reading things.

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45 comments:

Anonymous said...

'You must have the passion, you must have the commitment, you must share the dreams of your people.'

Do you think is difficult for FT to perform a nation's duty with that kind of remuneration?

Dreams? Big words. Wet on the ears at times.But these are great words and needed words for great salesmanship!

Then again, does being a great salesman maketh a great leader?

I am not sure....

People will buy anytthing if its cheap. Real cheap!

Heavenly Sword said...

Hi Mr Wang, long time no 'see' :)

Methinks the use of term FT must be interpreted with reference to the whole sentence. The sentence goes: 'It is not possible to hire a foreign talent to run this country.'

EVEN a FT is cannot do this job; so in this case, 'a Local Talent > a FT'. Also, in this case, a FT cannot do this job because s/he is considered an 'outsider'...

If he used the term 'immigrant', then it's also problematic. E.g. people might think 'how come an immigrant is still not considered a true 'insider'?'

Henry said...

If Clinton is offered US$1 million dollars, you can bet he will have the passion and commitment to rule Singapore. Ditto Tony Blair. BTW, after they get their PR, they will not longer be foreign, just look at the number of Indonesian PRs driving around town in their Ferraris.

Anonymous said...

I think the way to interpret this article is to expect an increase in renumeration for the MPs, given that "it will be increasingly difficult to expect political leaders to stay in office for long, given the attractions of the private sector"..........we can add in "unless we offer them a competitive salary" behind.

Anonymous said...

Put it this way, the real reason for not staying is because it's very difficult for them to put up a false front pretending to listen to the poor heartlander's needs when many of these elitist MIW do not have the slightest intention to really serve the people in the first place. Their real intentions in joining is banking on the hope that in the longer term, this will lead to high positions in Govt-linked companies, no less different from their counterparts from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many jobs in the private sector have the following attributes:

1. Job security.
2. The highest possible pay pegged to the top professions in Singapore.
3. Minimum contract of 5 years and renewal is by default guaranteed.
4. Do not have to deal with any serious competition.
5. You got to choose you competitors (if they could be called competitors at all)
and on and on ............

The private sector does not seem that that attractive afterall.

Maybe someone can share with us as to how many ministers had left the government because they really find the pte sector attractive?

Anonymous said...

Yet another article by the ST to "educate" Singaporeans.

A percursor to another pay rise for the ruling elites.

whybegay said...

See what I wrote about Wee Shu Min at my blog.

Anonymous said...

fat pay is only half the perks that draw those who offer themselves to serve the beholden. the other half perhaps more to die for few will ever in their lifetime have the opportunity to live as such which include first class airtravel on official visits? live in presidential suites of host countries? redder than red carpet treatments? rub shoulders with world dignitaries and filthy rich businessmen? emperor's meals? round the clock bodyguarded? hand,foot and ass get kissed almost whereever you go? no waiting time for most services? expenses covered, insured, pensioned to the hilt? special treatment not limited and extented to immediate beneficiaries? name and pictures immortalized in the pages of history for many generations to remember by? and last but not least, every official visitation to hospitals, institutions, associations, companies will ensure that the building floors, toilets,drains,garden,pipes,fans, aircons,tables,chairs,roads,carparks are attended to by an army of retrained upgraded underpaid cleaning servants at your back and call?

but when the army of the above beholden cleaners are in dire straits need help, they are expected to give ample advance notification of purposes before being granted an audience with the princes? to hasten services, plenty of tissues to wipe teary eyes and running noses when telling sob sob storiies? it will definitely add weightage to your case and if that fails, bang chest, bang head, knock head against walls, knock head against floor, wail so loud that those living on the twentieth floor can hear you etc etc than ...sure pass!

if that doesn work, there is always the profitable mrt stations you can visit to end it all.

eventhough all men came into the world naked and leave this world also naked, many inbetween are treated so disrespectfully as human being( not equality which is relative)all because they have been made beholden by some shameless sob makes tragic deaths more meaningful you think????

Rowen said...

Yes it is difficult to get people who will want to stay in public services long. Reason,

1) they must agree with PAP policies and put up a front to act like they care.

2) they must feel that their fulltime commitment to their careers weight more than their once a week meet the people session, once a year parliament section and once in five years election campaign.(partime commitment of being a MP)

3) they have intentions of immigrating after a certain amount of part time commitment to the public services.

Hence, my suggested solutions.

1) Allow MPs to speak for the people and not blindly follow.

2) Make MPs a true commitment and not a part time one. making politicians choose between service to one's nation or service to one's own career.

3)impose a rule that those in public services cannot immigrate and hence reduce the thought of abandoning singapore due to mistakes made in service.

MM made a valid point. Forgieners no matter how talented are not to be in positions of power in the government. That is the very reason why singapore became independant of English rule. Who would like an outsider to rule over you?

It is like asking a consultant to take full control of your own home purchases, spending and investments. Moreover it is like asking a theif to be in charge of the security of your home.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Please correct me of my views if you feel it is inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

All this just sounds like groundwork for a ministerial pay hike. Honestly, I'd like to know just how many ministers or MPs left the gahmen for the private sector and by that I mean real private sectors jobs- not those pseudo "private sector" companies like DBS, PSA or OCBC.

loki on the run said...

I wonder if Mr Wang is thinking properly when he criticized what Lee Kuan Yew says.

I think it might have been Churchill who said that when you have a strong economy you tend to get mediocre politicians, because more able people are quickly lured into more lucrative positions in the private sector.

And, to a certain extent, it doesn't matter ...

However, you have got to hand it to Lee Kuan Yew. That fucker has been involved in Singapore's politics since I was born.

And I tell you, I would rather live in Singapore than, say Vietnam or Malaysia or a number of other places ... of course, I happen to live in California where we have a movie star for a governor ...

Anonymous said...

"I happen to live in California where we have a movie star for a governor"

why are you even judging people based on their previous job?

Anonymous said...

I think the more fundemental question here is why do we want our political leaders to stay in office for long. And I suppose by MM's definition, that means 10 to 20 years.

Is it actually advantageous for the country as a whole, or does it lead to entrenched views and elite inbreeding, with the danger that the leaders engage in rent-seeking behaviour? (For those not with familiar with economic terms, rent-seeking refers to actions by certain sections of society to expend resources to protect their own interests or monopoly profits, often at the expense of the rest of society. An example could be a dominant company lobbying the government to extend its licence to protect its monopoly position).

People say our political leaders are paid highly so as to compensate them for the opportunity cost of not earning higher salaries in the private sector and the burdens of political office.

But we should compare apples with apples. In the rough and tumble corporate world, a CEO of a top Fortune 500 company, while admittedly very well remunerated, would be very lucky to last 5 years (Jack Welch is really an exception).

A Singapore minister, not facing any strong challenge of a change of government, can be expected to draw the salary of the CEO of a medium size company for 10 years or more.

You work out the maths. If you talk about lifetime income and income security, I would say a Singapore minister is doing very well, in fact very well.

YCK said...

Hi ananymous (Sunday, November 05, 2006 2:50:34 PM),

I do not quite get the need to peg our MInisters' paychecks so high against what CEOs get in the private sector. Thanks for your perspective from the rent-seeking point of view.

While I shall ponder on it, the simple way I see it is that up to a certain point increasing salaries may not really be necessary to keep the Ministers comfortable enough not to be lured by bribes. Afterall, a person can only consume so much. If it was not really their passion to steer our country in the first place how does the high pay help change their priorities?

From the arguably simplistic Abraham Maslow's hierachy of needs, our Ministers seem to be assumed to be unhealthily preoccupied with lower needs such as physiological and safety even long after they are largely taken care of.

Wonder what do they do with the excess money? Do they leave it to their progenies? Do they start foundations to further charitable causes? Do they invest it to accrue more money? We shall not worry, as it is probable that these far-sighted individuals would have things all thought out.

Lastly, like you I have reservations that we are not comparing apples with apples. Are we sure that the talents of a CEO are the same ones that a Minister needs to rule the country? Lets us not get ahead of ourselves and prove this assumption before we proceed with any argument.

DT said...

Singapore's situation is very unique unlike any other in the world. We lack natural resources and a hinterland. To survive we need to be 'plugged-in' globally. This is what it means to be a global city and the only way to survive and prosper going forward. It means we have to be open to foreigners and make Singapore as attractive to them as possible.

This is the brutal truth.

Ananda Rajah said...

Mr Wang, with his usual acumen and holistic perspective, has posted a set of observations and queries which raise complex sets of interrelated issues.

I wonder if I may be allowed to be just a bit 'literal-minded' and refer to a very few of these in the interests of discussion and debate?

1. The question posed by 'a Singaporean student', as retailed by the journalist, concerned the 'public sector'. That in no way implies 'political office'. We may, I think, assume that this query referred to 'foreign talent'.

MM Lee, however, chose to answer this query in terms of foreign talent and the occupation of political office.

There is a difference between the public sector and political office.

2. Contrary to the suggestion in Mr Wang's much earlier blog (for which a link was provided), I do not agree that political office holders in Singapore may - in hypothetical consideration or otherwise - should or could include non-Singaporeans in the strict sense of the term, i.e. citizenship. (This is not a legalistic quibble. Singapore should be run by Singaporeans - otherwise we might as well 'de-republicize ourselves and reconstitute ourselves as an international corporation!)

Anyhow in this restricted sense, i.e. Singapore should be run by Singaporeans, I would agree with MM Lee, but I would not agree in general that the fact of being a Singaporean necessarily implies 'passion' among other desirable traits that Mr Lee may have had in mind.

(Mr Wee Siew Khim's initial and utterly inept defence, vacillation, and caricature of a simulacra of an apology on his daughter's behalf is surely evidence of this. And what of Mr Ahmad Khalis? And going further back in contemporary history, does anyone remember Mr Wee Toon Boon and Mr Teh Cheang Wan?)

I shall not dwell on this further other than to point out that a migrant from Hong Kong with eventual citizenship became a Semior Minister of State, Dr Aline Wong. She is a marvellous, humane person and served us well in her capacity. On the other hand, MM Lee is on record as having said - apropos Mr Dhanabalan who was born in Singapore and who also gave sterling service as a Cabinet Minister - that Singapore is not ready for a Prime Minister who is 'Indian', or words to that effect. These are all matters of public record.

Be that as it may, let me turn to a more pertinent issue.

3. The issue of foreign talent, in my view, does not concern the occupation of political office as such, i.e. at least as MM Lee chose to interpret the student's question as reported. MM Lee has thrown the student (the audience?)a red herring - and, thus, the journalist?. As I said there is a difference between 'public sector' and 'political office'.

Rather, the real issues concern, the interface between political office holders and the civil service, as well as office holders in statutory boards.

I have been struck by a few reports and references (in the mainstream media) to persons who (by their names) are clearly not of Singaporean origin. We may assume that they are 'foreign talent'. Whether or not they have become PRs or have or have not taken up citizenship is not given to us to know.

We also have very distinguished foreign talent at the Biopolis, thanks to Mr Philip Yeo. Again, they may or may not have taken up PR or citizenship. That, however, is immaterial, in terms of the perspective I want to offer here. (Most if not all of them are 'contract workers' but they are paid exceedingly well I am sure.)

While they do not directly set policy directions as such, their identification of where and how Research and Development should proceed must surely feedback into policy making.

They are part of the interface between foreign talent and policy-making - and this is the crux of the issue. They might have passion for their work, but that is quite a different matter from passion for Singapore. The Shovron case, most recently referred to by Dr Lee Wei Ling, previously and extensively covered by the mainstream media, is a case in point.

Both kinds of foreign talent (as above) are quite different from that other kind of foreign talent whose skills, abilities and impartiality we seem to lack. I refer to the Gurkhas. The justification for having the Gurkhas protect our key financial and politial assets is also a matter of public record. The Gurkhas, however, do not constitute a part of that interface between foreign talent and policy making.

Food for thought.

loki on the run said...

Anonymous says:


"I happen to live in California where we have a movie star for a governor"

why are you even judging people based on their previous job?


There was nothing remotely judgemental in what I said. I happen to admire the man for what he has achieved.

Where did you get the impression that I was judging him?

If anything I was referring to the fact that I grew up in a working class family in Australia but now live and work in Silicon Valley in CA ... people who work hard can achieve lots, and I am sure that Lee Kuan Yew did that too.

Anonymous said...

'It is not possible to hire a foreign talent to run this country,' he replied. 'You must have the passion, you must have the commitment, you must share the dreams of your people.'

Why then would a minister with "passion, commitment and who share the dreams of people" be easily attracted to the private sector?

atilla the han said...

The term 'Foreign Talent' is in line with the PAP's penchant for implicitly boasting about their various policies and schemes. Read it as you would read the term 'scholars' which it accords to each and every govt/stat board/GLC scholarship holder.

Ditto, the nauseating reference to "world class" this and world class that during the GCT tenure.

As someone has pointed out in the ST forum, a scholar is actually someone who has already accomplished much in his/her area of speciality, not every tom, dick or harriet who has yet to even begin his/her study.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Singapore's situation is very unique unlike any other in the world. We lack natural resources and a hinterland. To survive we need to be 'plugged-in' globally. This is what it means to be a global city and the only way to survive and prosper going forward. It means we have to be open to foreigners and make Singapore as attractive to them as possible.

This is the brutal truth."

------

Actually it is not the brutal truth. Just a convenient simplification which hides lots of little details which the government perhaps wouldn't like you to realise or think too hard about.

Take this for example:

"Singapore's situation is very unique unlike any other in the world. We lack natural resources and a hinterland."

This is the kind of statement that has been printed in geography textbooks for Secondary One students in Singapore, for decades.

Such that most Singaporeans often take it as an automatic truth.

However, like many other assertions commonly found in textbooks for 13-year-olds, it is a gross oversimplification.

Some food for thought. Here's a writer who asserts that:

"Singapore has NEVER lacked natural resources.

Go on, click here.

The other key point is that Singapore doesn't have natural disasters. We've never had to rebuild after a major disaster like Asian tsunami (USD 10+ billion); or after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes etc. As a nation, we don't even have to burn extra oil or use extra electricity to help us get through winter at 5 degrees celsius, or 2 degrees, or minue 4 degrees, three or four months a year. That represents a huge savings on our national utilities bill.

So if you insist that the lack of natural resources places Singapore at a huge economic disadvantage, then we must also note that our lack of natural disasters also places us at a huge economic advantage.

Anonymous said...

i dun think the 2 recently ousted minister have any luck on getting a private sector job that remotely close to paying them their ex-million $ salary...

DT said...

MR wang we did have the SARS crisis a few years ago that affected the economy tremendously. When i say natural resources I am refering to industries that tap on such resources which a country can fall back on in bad times. Take Malaysia or Brunei for example, they are blessed. But their problem is as a result they take things easy. Time is on their side, so the country lags behind doing things at their own comfortable pace.

Also perhaps you like to address the lack of a hinterland in my post? A population of 4 million plus that already includes one million foreigners is not big enough to achieve economies of scale. This is why we are still paying high mobile phone and internet charges for example. We need to hit around at least 6 to 8 million like hongkong but i agree the social impact of such a number on the little dot will have to be managed carefully.

Denzuko1 said...

Pay increase coming soon.....

Mr Wang Says So said...

I don't think SARS is a good example. Basically, SARS can afflict any country whether it has natural resources or not.

Singapore govt would tell you that oh we did badly in 2003 because of SARS, but basically we were hardly the only country affected.

As for "tapping on resources" when there are bad times - well it so happens that over the weekend, I was reading Jim Roger's book,

http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Commodities-Invest-Profitably-Worlds/dp/140006337X

he has plenty of insights into commodities (read "natural resources" - oil, coffee, soy, gold, copper, lead etc)

Nigeria, Russia, West Africa, South Africa are some countries with abundant natural resources and very limited capability to tap it. Rogers goes into great detail, but let me just offer it to you in a nutshell:

If suddenly Singapore discovered that Pulau Tekong was sitting on deep & vast oil reserves, tapping those oil reserves isn't necessarily going to be any easier or more profitable than, say,

creating a biomedical industry in Singapore, or a casino industry (ie things which we are already doing).

---

The Magic 4 countries - I mean Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway - are strong counterexamples to many of the ideas that the Singapore government likes to sell to Singaporeans.

Example - Finland is a small country like Singapore; it also does very well economically. Yet it has very little reliance on foreign talent.

1 in 5 people physically living in Singapore is a foreigner;

only 1 in 50 people physically living in Finland is a foreigner (and their idea of foreigner includes ex-Finns returning to Finland).

Finland also doesn't have much in the way of natural resources - its key economic driver is information technology (Nokia is well-known).

Political leaders in Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Norway don't get paid anywhere remotely as high as the PAP ministers; yet the public institutions in these four countries (together with New Zealand) are regularly ranked together with Singapore as the least-corrupt public institutions in the world.

Finland's students are consistently world-class in maths, science etc:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4073753.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Finland

but they don't believe in streaming at all for any child under 16 years old:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4031805.stm

and they don't believe in pressure-cooker, their kids don't do much homework AND their kids really enjoy school:

http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=30625

Just some general points above, but there are more. Eg Swiss NS system may surprise you, if you're used to accepting the Singapore government's policies on NS as necessary or inevitable.

Next time the Singapore government tells you something about anything and says, "It must be so", ask yourself - "Must it really be so?" Chances are, one of the Magic 4 will be an effective counterexample.

Anonymous said...

I know the Finnish education system. Basically the underlying philosophy is quite different from ours.

They want to educate everyone as much and as far as possible. Every young Finn is viewed as a valuable asset and every opportunity is given to let him learn as much as wants.

In Singapore, it is in some ways, a reverse situation. There is a "scarcity" mindset. Eg there are not enough places in the best schools, therefore only the top students get to enjoy the best curriculum. Eg there are not enough good teachers, therefore only top schools get the best teachers. Eg we can only give A's to the top 8% in an exam, therefore the rest must get B's or C's or D's, even though some of the B's are really quite excellent. Eg there are only so many junior college places, therefore the rest cannot go to JC.

Etc etc. We make the system competitive, and just as surely as we create winners, we also create losers.

But a nation with many losers is ultimately a loser itself. Unlike a nation, like Finland, which aspires to make every Finnish student a winner.

We have a scarcity mindset, therefore in the end we experience a scarcity of good, talented Singaporeans. And we then have to import.

DT said...

Mr Wang,
The 4 european nations you cited face an entirely different set of geopolitical situation than us. Singapore has done well, extremely well considering the part of the world and the politics of the region we find ourselves in. Just look around, we are tops in SE Asia and the envy of many others. On the outset we have a multi-racial and multi-cultural composition in the population that is non-homogenous. Independence and the difficulties of it are thrust upon us. We had no choice. We don't choose our parents, so to speak, and have to make the best we could out of a poor situation. Racial riots in the 60s are examples of challenges and these sentiments need to be constantly managed even today, considering we were at one point called the third China of the world and still surrounded by neighbours of different ethnic majority. This is something the 4 european countries you mentioned do not have to deal with.

Don't get me wrong. I do agree that we need to invest more in our own people instead of relying on foreigners. This is in reference to the Lee Wei Ling article about bio-research so you see creating a biomedical industry is not that simple even when we have money to burn.

gerry said...

"Singapore's situation is very unique unlike any other in the world."
Sure or not? What about Israel. Somemore they don't have a Lee Kuan Yew.

biased observer said...

Every country's situation is unique, Singapore is no more special than Greenland or Canada or Japan. We just seem to revel in thinking that we have a special brand of chutzpah that other countries couldn't possibly have. After a certain point in time, one has to realise that given where the country is today - Singapore was never THAT bereft of resources or potential. We simply decided to sacrifice civil maturity for economic advancement, a decision many other countries aren't willing to make.

Anonymous said...

"On the outset we have a multi-racial and multi-cultural composition in the population that is non-homogenous."

This is another one of those things that the Singapore government likes to yak about, as an oh-so-very-disadvantageous situation.

The simple truth is that Singapore is not any more multi-racial or multi-cultural than New York, London, San Francisco, Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or even Penang.

Problem is that Singapore government has created an unjustifiable "siege" mentality among its people. We have been trained to believe that Singapore is subject to all kinds of unique and terrible disadvantages. If you want to look at it this way, you should at least acknowledge that every country would then also have its own set of unique and terrible disadvantages.

lee hsien tau said...

What can 'I do my stretching exercises in the pantry to maintain my figure' Dorothy be up to now?



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Anonymous said...

Pay scant attention to the senile old retard with a foot in the grave.

His so-called 'achievements' as an elderly statesman have been exaggerated and blown way out of proportion. I can't believe there are people who still revere him. Goebbels would be so proud.

Now here he is, dispensing his pearls of octogenarian wisdom to all who would listen, while at the same time doing damage control (like any loving father would) for his incompetent son and daughter-in-law.

The bottomline of the FT issue is this: Singapore is going to raise its population from the current 4 million to 8 million ... for economic reasons. Further throwing open the FT floodgates has been planned and will be done. It's pretty obvious, you don't need to be a genius to figure out the math and the method.

Stop Dreaming and Wake Up said...

Hi dt, you are the product of many many years of brainwashing by the PAP. Please open up your eyes and mind and see and think on your own just for awhile. You really still believe in what they have told you year over year? Wake up boy! The problem with Singapore is that there are still many like you, indulging in day dreaming. The whole world will leave you behind if you do not wake up soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi dt, you are the product of many many years of brainwashing by the PAP. Please open up your eyes and mind and see and think on your own just for awhile. You really still believe in what they have told you year over year? Wake up boy!

To add on to your comment....
I just call this "PAP product" or "Get out of my elite uncaring face" or "A frog in the PAP well", loh.

"Incidentally, if you are a Singaporean and you don't already have the habit of surfing the Net for non-SPH-produced news about Singapore, I encourage you to do so. It can be quite an educational experience, whatever your own personal views about Singapore may be. Yawning Bread gives an interesting example."

dt. I hope you do not miss this comment!

Anonymous said...

To add on to your comment....
I just call this "PAP product" or "Get out of my elite uncaring face" or "A frog in the PAP well", loh.

"Incidentally, if you are a Singaporean and you don't already have the habit of surfing the Net for non-SPH-produced news about Singapore, I encourage you to do so. It can be quite an educational experience, whatever your own personal views about Singapore may be. Yawning Bread gives an interesting example."

dt. I hope you do not miss this comment!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 7:33:49 AM

Let me apologize. This is my personal comment(ANON), NOT against of Mr. Wang's extract. I agree with his(Mr. Wang's) suggestions to be open & knowledgeable.

dt said...

Ok look, my eyes are open and so are yours. And what do you see around you? Go travel around Southeast Asia and judge for yourself where we stand compared to them. Of course S'pore is not perfect but things work here and we have a standard of living many envy. And I think our leaders deserve credit for that. I don't need the S'pore government to tell me this. You and I can see for ourselves. If things are really half as bad as some people make them out to be, you and I wouldn't be here now. We would take our skills elsewhere or working abroad.

I am not a PAP supporter and there are areas I think the government can do or explain better. For example the restoration of CPF, the constant fare and fee hikes, the lack of civil rights and so on. It is also true that compared to ten years ago life is getting harder. I am also sceptical of the young MPs and their politics cum hip hop thing. But overall I think we are on the right train so to speak, and in the long run S'pore will achieve more.

Stop Dreaming and Wake Up said...

Hi dt, i have been travelling. working and living in many many if not all the countries in Asia for the past 15 years. It is no doubt that Singapore has been very successful economically compare to other Asean countries and in fact as u said envy by many of them. No dispute on this. But is this sustainable? PAP government is trying hard to brainwash its people to believe so. Honestly, i don't know the answer.
Apart from economic success, there is nothing left in Singapore! Social grace, civil liberty, freedom of speech and expression, integrity, equality etc are definitely lacking there. Are the lack of these a great trade off for economic success?
Having spent 7 years working and living in Singapore, I am now living in a much less developed, much less lucky, much poorer country than Singapore if we measured these in economic scales. But definitely this country is much more developed, much more lucky and much richer country than Singapore in term of social grace, civil liberty, freedom of speech and expression than Singapore. So the choice is yours. For me, my family and i are much comfortable (not in economic sense) living in a compassionate society, around people who have higher social manners, people who have smile on their face daily(despite the poverty and natural disasters they faced every now and then - by the way not the smile that was asked by their government), in a country where you are free to think and to express.
For your sake, think and see for yourself what you value most in you life. Economic success is not everything. The choice is yours!

Mr Wang Says So said...

"If things are really half as bad as some people make them out to be, you and I wouldn't be here now. We would take our skills elsewhere or working abroad."
==

But you must be aware that emigration has indeed been a big issue in Singapore for quite a number of years already. That many Singaporeans have indeed left for good. This was the whole "quitters or stayers" matter which Goh Chok Tong was talking about, remember.

dt said...

Mr Wang, this emigration thing may be overblown. People come and go all the time. And if their hearts are elsewhere for whatever reasons, no one can stop them. What I mean is the government has a habit of thinking ahead and trying to pre-empt problems. Besides there isn't any statistics to suggest that this is a serious problem. There are also numerous cases of those who did leave only to return later.

Mr Wang Says So said...

DT:

On emigration, here is a psyche you may be interested in exploring. Begin with this:

http://singaporeserf.blogspot.com/2004/09/confession.html

A good second post would be this:

http://singaporeserf.blogspot.com/2004/09/official-emigration-reasons.html

Try this for possible reasons why someone might want to emigrate:

http://singaporeserf.blogspot.com/2004/09/emigration-essay.html

What happens to Singaporeans, after they leave? Investigate the Australian situation:

http://singaporeserf.blogspot.com/2004/12/singapore-born-australians.html

What reasons might one have, for remaining in Singapore?

http://singaporeserf.blogspot.com/2004/12/reasons-to-stay.html

Anonymous said...

DT:

Singapore is just a red dot. Life is boring. I have made the right choice, no regrets and enjoy my freedom here. I have emigrated for more than ten years ago. You are still dreaming all these years.

Singaporean in US

Anonymous said...

Who is power hungry!

klimmer said...

loki:

'If anything I was referring to the fact that I grew up in a working class family in Australia but now live and work in Silicon Valley in CA ... people who work hard can achieve lots, and I am sure that Lee Kuan Yew did that too.'

I was just wondering - farmers work very hard; labourers digging holes in the road work very hard; dock workers work very hard. Hard work is a key ingredient to success but it's over rated. And 'lots' seems rather relative.

I dont think Mr Wang was trying to be critical but rather trying to analyse what LKY said. After all, his words do pre-empt future policy changes that does affect all living in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

'You must have the passion, you must have the commitment, you must share the dreams of your people.'
Unfortunately for the MM, most of these people are already in politics, just not in the PAP.

Anonymous said...

For your info. Mr LKY, the people who possess these passion, commitment and dreams can also be the oppostion/critique/dissenting voice to your party. These people whom you have in the past and will do so in the future crush with a merciless hand.

Why can't you admit these FELLOW Singaporeans as well to work toward a better Singapore for all.