Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Another 15 years of Status Quo: Market Based Authoritarian Politics in Singapore



In his National Day Rally 2016, PM Lee Hsien Loong reminds us to look back 15 years to see how far we have achieved and look forward 15 years to see the future development and progress.

Yes. If you want to have these - vote the People’s Action Party and support the changes, for example, Elected Presidency, GRCs, more restrictions and controls etc.

Unfortunately, PM Lee paints a picture of the unique development of Singapore-style Market Based Authoritarian Regime - past, present and future.  Not only he insists of achieving it and he wants the future PAP PM to follow this pathway.

Unfortunately, this is a very likely scenario.

Let’s look at an example from China.

Prof. David Zweig of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in predicting China’s future gives the following 3 scenarios:

_645bd7a22c5ab3449ada60d7d33cebbd_chinesepolitics1_6.1-page-002.jpg

Even though China and Singapore have different political systems, the outcome of political development in the next 15 to 20 years look very similar, almost the same direction.   

The three Chinese scenarios can also apply to Singapore:

Scenarios
China
SINGAPORE
1 not likely
Democratic reform
Democracy and free elections
2 most likely
Market-Leninism  
Market-Based  Authoritarian
3 impossible?
Collapse of CCP
Collapse of PAP

Here is another table which shows China is moving from totalitarianism to market economy with tight CCP control.

_645bd7a22c5ab3449ada60d7d33cebbd_chinesepolitics1_6.1-page-003.jpg
In this table, the party is the locus of power. In Singapore, we too experience this. The PAP decides and the society follows. In China, Prof. Zweig points out:

This comment sounds very familiar. In the past one year, Singaporeans have experienced more controls and restrictions on social media, freedom of speech, … just to keep the system stable and maintain support for the PAP.

If this status quo of political stagnation remains for another 15 years, how can the oppositions cope with it? What is the future direction of the oppositions?

What will be the game changer? Internal conflict within the PAP, leadership succession, global financial crisis and CPF….
Prof. Zweig predicts the third scenario although it is a possibility, it is not very high.  This can only happen when the CCP leadership rejects (economic) reforms and there are a lot of internal problems, internal disintegration.
In Singapore, it is also hard to imagine the collapse of the PAP, not even to the degree of the Nationalist KMT in Taiwan.    

Here is the video ‘China’s future’:

video
Photos and video copyright: Coursera@HKUST  

Sunday, 21 August 2016

越来越没有自信心的李显龙政府 - 不敌精灵宝可梦

越来越没有自信心的李显龙政府

当李伟玲批评哥哥李显龙的政府不如前任人民行动党政府;事实上,也间接指出,李显龙对于治国越来越没有信心。

前两任的行动党,为何对于治国比较有信心?第一任李光耀政府,作为威权政府,当然是信心满满,并且被认为是国际政治家。第二任吴作栋政府,虽然是温席,过渡总理,但是有李光耀指导、指引,间接地也有信心。

甚至在李显龙担任总理的第一阶段,李光耀在世的时候,李显龙在两位资政的协助下,信心依然还在。

现在是李显龙政府的第二阶段,李光耀过世,1995大选大获全胜后的行动党政府; 也就是李伟玲所谓的【现任行动党政府不如前任行动党】的阶段。

为何大选大获全胜,反而没有信心治国?李显龙解释为当前世界经济不稳定,国家国人要团结一心,恐怖活动,还有大家可能根本没有想到的精灵宝可梦。

李光耀和吴作栋的国庆群众大会需要呼吁新加坡人放下宝可梦,大家一起来听总理的群众大会讲演吗?李显龙说这关乎未来新加坡15年的发展,大家应该来看一看,听一听。李显龙应该自我反省,为何他前任不需这么做?为什么国人关心宝可梦,这个虚幻的梦,而不想李显龙设计的梦?是不是,李显龙的梦和宝可梦一样,都是一时的快感?

不久前,李伟玲说李显龙“滥用权力,建立王朝”,最近,在批评“司法维护法案“的时候,她认为这项新法案在规定惩处各种藐视法庭行为时,很可能成为压制言论自由的工具。

司法维护法案已经快速三读通过,目前已经成为法令。这是李显龙政府的最新工具。为何法庭没有自我判断能力,而要国会给予这个增加的权力。美国法院绝对不会要求总统或者国会,给予它多一些权力。因为,美国法院就是宪法的最终诠释者,不需要什么多加的权力。当然,美国民主和新加坡民主是不一样的。新加坡法庭需要国会立法来保护法庭的尊严,而美国法院作为一个独立的机构,可以自我决定和保护自己的尊严。

一个人或者一个机构,要获得尊严、尊重,是要自己去争取的。

李显龙为新加坡法庭增加权力,通过司法维护法案,这难道不是他对治国没有信心的表现吗?

当然,他没有信心的治国还表现在总统选举制度的改变。他在这个时候改变李光耀奇思妙想出来的总统选举制度,刚好是李光耀过世和大选大获全胜一年后,为何这么快就做出根本性的改变?大家想一想,很值得回味。他当然没有信心面对明年总统选举可能出现的不利局面,所以先下手为强。

当然,他也管制媒体,不论主流媒体还是社交媒体,我们的新闻媒体的自由度,在李显龙政府时代,没有上升,反而下降。至少,吴作栋在1999年,同意开放芳林公园作为国人的演说角落,比李显龙还稍微开放一些。难怪,国人喜欢宝可梦而不喜欢群众大会,宝可梦可以自由的玩,新闻自由却不是国人玩得起的。


李显龙政府如果要国人观看群众大会,大可创新精灵宝可梦,把50年的愿景化为各种精灵宝可梦,还有把CPF、储备、国库、淡马锡、医药、教育、就业、经济、国防变成魔头、道场,让精灵宝可梦去除妖灭魔。

我们有这样的创意吗?

李显龙有信心把法庭、储备、淡马锡、经济、公积金等变成道场,让精灵宝可梦去侵占吗?去发表意见吗?


Thursday, 18 August 2016

50.39% - Mission Impossible for the Oppositions?


It takes 21 years for Joseph Schooling to achieve 50.39 seconds and winning an Olympic Gold for Singapore.

It may take another 21 years, 4 or 5 general elections later, for oppositions in Singapore to reach 50.39% of the popular votes.

It sounds meaningless to link swimming to politics. It is a fallacy as sports is above politics as seen in parliament where both the PAP and WP congratulates Joseph for his achievement.   

However, both involves competitions. In every competition, you have winners and losers. And as Joseph has rightly put it to win is to beat others.  

Joseph Schooling on racing  I d like to think I can beat everyone  AsiaOne Singapore News.png
http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/joseph-schooling-racing-id-think-i-can-beat-everyone

In politics and during general elections, you need to beat your opponents to win enough popular votes. It is understandable why the PAP talks so much about problems at Aljunied-Hougang Town Council and so little (downplay) about the lapses mentioned in Auditor-General Office Report. They want to score political points and get more votes.   

So is winning an Olympic Gold easier or more difficult than beating the PAP? More difficult if one judges from the result of GE2015.  Why?

[Changing rules]
In an Olympic game, whether swimming or table-tennis, all rules are made known in advance. There is an international guarding body overlooking the rules, including doping issues.
While in Singapore, election rules are set by the PAP. You don’t know the date. You don’t even know the boundary of your constituency. You train very hard in a constituency, for example, 100m butterfly, when election comes, the constituency disappears after the boundary review. For swimming, it means 100m butterfly is no more a competition item despite all the hard trainings you put in.

Singaporeans must understand a competition in Olympic is fair and equal than our general elections.  


[Funding and supports]
Schooling family spent S$1.35 million to fulfill Joseph’s Olympic dream. How many families in Singapore have million dollar cash? Singaporeans are asset rich cash poor.  We salute Schooling family for making such a big sacrifice for Singapore!
7年苦心支持儿梦想135万栽培约瑟林   wanbao.com.sg.png
http://www.wanbao.com.sg/local/story20160814-88348#local

In Singapore politics, oppositions are both assets poor and cash poor. Even in the ‘meet-the-people sessions, opposition members of parliament have to use HDB void decks to conduct their activities. However, the PAP can make use of all government resources, in particular People’s Association.   

For the PAP, it is from ‘ownself check ownself’ to ‘ownself finance ownself’.

Without funding and supports, how far can the oppositions go? According to Dr Chee Soon Juan of Singapore Democratic Party, it is ‘redouble effort’.
(https://www.facebook.com/cheesoonjuan/videos/10155392179278849/?video_source=pages_finch_main_video)

It is not only a doubling effort but a long-term effort. We all know in the next one or two general elections, the oppositions can gain more votes and seats but still far from 50.39%.

[External training - outside mainstream]
Singapore certainly does not have first class training expertise for our sportsmen and sportswomen.  Whether local or foreign talents, one will need external training and foreign help to excel.

This is why Joseph has his training in the US. And because of this, he is not a mainstream product of Singapore sports.

For oppositions in Singapore, there is no external training opportunities. Even there is one, they have to watch out of ‘foreign influence’ and be accused of ‘betraying Singapore’.

But at the same time, the PAP has established cooperative relationship with Chinese Communist Party. There are frequent visits and exchanges from both sides.  They learn from each other? When the PAP leaders visit important Western countries, they always meet both the ruling and opposition party leaders.  Why? Why do they need to learn from foreign oppositions? 

No external training, no funding, no resource, unable to set the competition rules, oppositions can only do it alone. Most likely they have to work outside the mainstream as all state resources are out of bounds to them.  

[Investing young leaders]
Joseph indicates we have to work at a young age. We have to take the alternative, non-traditional way.   

If 50.39% can only be achieved after 4 or 5 general elections later, then there is an immediate task for the oppositions: invest and attract young leaders in their 20s, 30s and early 40s.  

To beat the mainstream PAP, the oppositions is to take an alternative way, a long way and a difficult way. Not only that, it has to start early. We need new and young bloods to join the oppositions. We hope the success of Joseph can change the viewpoints of Singaporeans towards the oppositions.    

Joseph’s success has proved that with a smaller support and limited finance - family, relatives, friends, spirit and moral helps, one can still be a champion.   

With at least 30% support, there is still hope for the oppositions.     

We need young Singaporeans to join the oppositions. And we must support and encourage them to do so. Joseph has clearly shown us with determination and confidence of beating everyone, one can achieve his/her dream.

Youth is an asset. And Workers’ Party has it all.

http://pijitailai.blogspot.sg/2015/09/youth-is-asset-and-workers-party-has-it.html