Friday, 7 December 2018

Kaohsiung problems? Or Universal problems?


What are Kaohsiung problems? “Old and poor.”

How can one solve them? “Outflow of goods; inflow of people and so Kaohsiung will be rich.” This is basic economics and the election slogan of Han kuo-yu who won the Kaohsiung mayoral election last month.

We can further understand Han’s solutions in the following reports from the pro-Democratic Progressive Party’s newspaper:

[“After suffering from 20 to 30 years of political ideology, elections have become a curse that gives Kaohsiung residents a headache... The city is like a well-dressed man who has no cash in his pocket,”...
Han said that if elected, he would transform Kaohsiung from an “old and poor” city into a “rich and youthful” one, while vowing to stay closely connected to people at the grassroots level by having a member of his team spend a night at the house of someone belonging to a medium-low income family once per month.
He also pledged to be a mayor of integrity, saying that if he is ever convicted of corruption, he would waive his right to parole hearings.

Han’s win is a surprise to many Taiwanese, especially DPP. In 2014 election, due to overall low party popularity, the KMT candidate only managed to get 30.9% of the votes. However, in 2018, Han, representing KMT, got 53.87% of the votes, almost 23% jump.

(What does this mean to the oppositions in Singapore? In 2015, the People’s Action Party won nearly 70% of the votes. However, we need to find someone like Han to motivate voters with a hope and accept change.)

Han is certainly more connected with the voters. From the following quotes from Han Kuo-yu, we can understand why Kaohsiung voters want a change and are willing to take risk.

Quotes

  • In the future, there will be no blue-green (KMT or DPP) partisanship in Kaohsiung. All-out efforts will be made to pump up the (city) economy.
  • I perfectly understand how big a decision Kaohsiung voters have made to elect me mayor because I have only lived here for a short time. I promise to build a clean government, and use whoever is good for the city, regardless of their political affiliations, and do all I can to make Kaohsiung rich and great.
  • https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Han_Kuo-yu

Universal problems, not only Kaohsiung problems

All governments face the Kaohsiung problems: unemployment for young people, low salary, rich-poor gap, unequal development within cities, ageing problems, economic growth, trade, finance, etc. But Kaohsiung has additional problems: corruptions, mismanagement of resources, high debt, low productivity in administration, disconnection with residents.

To some degrees, Singapore is no exception to the problems. We have high GINI, high national debt, high living and medical costs, fewer good jobs, low wages etc.

Han won the election because he offers hope for a better life. Most importantly, he re-engineers the spirit of enterprises. Under DPP, the restrictions of doing business is not only due to China-Taiwan relationship but all the uncertainties, e.g. energy and environment, and unpopular business practices and laws, e.g labour, market/pricing, selection of key office holders, etc.

Han openly says that in Kaohsiung it is 100% economics and 0% politics. Wow! Sound like Singapore!        

Friday, 30 November 2018

台湾的未来在高雄?高雄的未来看中华民国?


前一个是经济问题。后一个是政治问题。也可以说是价值问题,甚至精神的取向。

停滞20多年的台南经济模式,在2018年的‘九合一’选举中,出现转机。高雄人民要求经济改革,希望通过政权的变迁,改变又老又穷的命运。又老又穷比较贴切的说是希望通过政党轮替,改变过去的旧框框思路 - 宁可日子过得苦些,也只效忠一党。人最终还是希望过好日子,意识形态毕竟无法填饱肚子。更何况,高高在上的当权者,想的是如何继续政权,维护自己的利益,所以依据当权者的利益来安排接班人。当平民百姓在生活线上挣扎,当权者却只想着个人利益的时候,民主的自由选择就成了出气筒。

(新加坡人民行动党的接班人制度,在经过60多年后,是否还可以继续走下去,不受干扰?)

高雄会不会成为美国的纽约,意大利的米兰,西班牙的巴塞罗那,甚至,印度的孟买,越南的胡志明市?现在言之过早。但是,在中华民国的旗帜下,它曾经有过短暂的四小龙光辉。那时,高雄飘的是中华民国的旗帜。

或者说,台南经济模式,已经蔓延到了北部。尤其是民进党第二度执政后,这种模式开始在全岛展开。当高雄在寻找新的出路的时候,台北会不会变成另一个高雄 - 又老又穷。台北人当然认为不会,但是,年轻人失业六都之冠,似乎意味某种趋势。

高雄在韩国瑜的带领下,真的能够走出一个春天吗?如果它的文创、连续剧能够比美韩国,旅游能够比美香港,行政效率能够赶上新加坡,再次成为货运中心,双语教育成功,。。。

(和新加坡相比,高雄不太可能成为金融中心,但是,却可以参考新加坡的海空港的管理,石化、医药中心,旅游、教育方面的经验,在文创,甚至本土科技力量方面肯定能够超越新加坡。)

路是人走出来的。中华民国曾经在台湾很打拼,这点是不容忽视的历史事实。这种打拼精神是否能够重新再来,成为高雄的动力,再次起飞的引擎?韩国瑜虽然是非典型国民党人,但是却具有一股早期中华民国的打拼精神,从夜袭看出‘黄埔’精神。

20多年后,中华民国的国旗能够和高雄市旗一起在高雄飞扬,这是否代表一种新的力量?新的动力?新的精神?新的转变?

(新的务实主义的民主,就像新加坡一样?还是,高雄的变天,让我们再次检讨PAP的务实民主,是否是建立在鲁蛇losers的身上?PAP的第四代领导是否具备过往的打拼精神?)


Monday, 19 November 2018

Taiwan’s DPP got it so wrong: Underestimating Change, under expecting Change!


Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan faces a difficult and very challenging local election in 2018.  While it could be a self doing, over confidence and most importantly, underestimating current change or demand for change in Taiwan.

In 2016, when DPP won the Presidency, she had over promised voters and not only that they implement big reforms and policy mistakes in economics, labor, energy,  legislations, and environment protection.

There is a price to pay for underestimating change, under expecting change. Voters are not happy, despite maintaining positive economic growth. Big businesses can get contracts from government, however, small and medium enterprises, self-employ, and farmers are suffering due to labor and mismanagement of economy.

What change?

Old ginger has its value. When Mahathir formed the new Malaysian government, he declared he could not meet all the election promises. He wants to lower voters’ expectation. The first thing he did was to form The Council of Eminent Persons to advise the new Malaysian government on economic and financial matters.

Economics is the most important factor and any policy changes affecting economy will affect voters and supporters. DPP has opened too many fronts but Mahathir concentrates on economy and finance. Malaysian government removes Good and Services Tax but re-introduces Sales and Services Tax.

Look at what DPP is doing. They introduce labor reform#1, new look south policy, restricting mainland visitors resulting to cut in tourism income, antinuclear policy and using coal to generate power making environment a key issue in this election, laws to make Nationalist KMT’s assets illegal, trying to right the wrong doings in the past; etc.  

DPP seems to engage in self-destruction when we compare what Pakatan Harapan and DPP are doing.

DPP fails to see the results of policy changes. They believe voters will give them chance by repeating claims of political victims and against unification with mainland, forgetting they are in full control of presidency and parliament. And as KMT is badly damaged, they think they can win the local election easily, especially in the central and south Taiwan.

DPP, however, is focusing their attention in the north, never expecting voters are demanding change in the whole Taiwan. There is a saying in Taiwan now: “hate DPP” is the biggest political party in Taiwan.

Despite policy mistakes, DPP also shows weak administration and lack of competency. DPP is also as corrupted as the KMT. They even perform poorly in social media. Many of the political appointments and positions are held by alliances or frictions of DPP. And their performance is far below average, below expectation. The issue of appointment of the President of National Taiwan University is a clear political intervention and is now in suspension.

From 2016 to 2018, there is huge change in the fortune of DPP. President Tsai Ing-wen’s approval rating is very low and some DPP candidates try to avoid her due to her low popularity.   

Lessons for Singapore. Any?

Certainly, there are many lessons we can learn from 2018 Taiwan election. Despite poor in resources, one can be very creative in social media, language used as shown in Han Kuo-yu team.  Traditional way of rally and interviews have to give way to new, fun, relax presentation. And young assistants are recruited to add new values and inputs.

Most importantly, both DPP and KMT have to rethink their strategies and election planning after this election.  How do they assess CHANGE and voters’ demand?

#1
https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/05/26/taiwans-president-has-upset-both-business-and-workers

Saturday, 17 November 2018

如何诠释“又老又穷”的新加坡?


高雄市长候选人韩国瑜抛出高雄“又老又穷”的评论,试图引发高雄市民的觉醒、反思。同样的“又老又穷”言论,在新加坡是否会引起同样的觉醒效果?那么,新加坡是否真的有“又老又穷”的一面?

或许,我们可以从马来西亚星洲日报的【侠之大者.为国为民”武林大会——从金庸小说话江湖】座谈会#讲起。主讲者为马来西亚的前任和现任国会副议长:翁诗杰和倪可敏。翁诗杰说,金庸小说是(中国/)华人社会的软实力,事实上,这不也证明,马来西亚华人具有这部分的软实力;尤其是针对新加坡来说,此消彼长,证明新加坡失去了这个软实力。想一想,新加坡有几个国会议员能够深度的谈论金庸小说。甚至,把要求放宽到其他的人,又有谁能够信心满满的谈论金庸。能够谈论金庸,最低限度,证明一个人对中华文化有一定的墨水,不然,你可能不明白为何高雄市长选举会出现令狐冲,郭靖,甚至小龙女,以及他们背后的哲理。

俄罗斯总统普京到访新加坡,政府还特地拨出一块地作为俄罗斯文化中心和俄罗斯正教教堂之用。很多人或许忘记,几十年前,南洋大学曾经是本区域的中文教学中心,学生还有来自俄罗斯的。现在,还有人来新加坡学习、研究中文吗?

华文的软实力没有了,学习华文的区域地位不见了,在文化上我们算不算是“又老又穷”?对于世界第二经济体的了解,和马来西亚相比较,我们是不是显得“又老又穷”?

    (台湾目前还可以算是一个汉语中心,如果继续去中国化,那下场很可能是另一个新加坡,对于中国文化、历史的了解“又老又穷”。)

###

几十年来,新闻管制,国际新闻自由度一直处于末班车,在社交媒体广泛流行的时代,这是不是另类新闻通讯上的“又老又穷”?

还有,一党独大,乐而忘返的接班人制度,什么东西都要贴上闪电标志,才是正统,这是不是政治上的“又老又穷”?

    几十年来,低薪阶级没有获得加薪,实际收入没有增加,对于低下层和弱势群体,这是不是经济上的“又老又穷”?

###

或许,文化,政治,自由方面的又老又穷,不算数,这是形而上,精神上的。对于讲求实际利益,功利主义的人民行动党来说,我们要讲钱,要讲利益才算数。

    高雄的现象,其实也在新加坡发生。高雄的经济成长,一直有所进步,大公司继续有钱赚,基础设施也在建设中,但是,为何会出现“又老又穷”的现象?高雄的整体经济,正如民进党所说的,是依靠大公司和国有公司在推动。但是,多数的工作机会还是要依靠中小企业,小商人,家庭作业,农业,渔业,甚至,我们这里所谓的小贩。在一人一票的制度下,这些人才是选民的大多数。

    新加坡经济,事实上就是淡马锡经济,在加上外国公司和本地的大公司。中小企业所占的比例很小,但是,他们的人数,在加上家庭主妇,退休人士,弱势群体,也是选民的大多数。那么,为何高雄人忍受了20年、30年,就开始觉醒、反思;而新加坡选民经过60年,依然没有这种感受?

    民进党的所作所为,其实很像人民行动党。在司法上,在学术上,在言论管制上,甚至在合同工程的发包,高官人事委任等等,都很类似。就连造势晚会,也很接近。PAP的群众大会,如果没有专车载送和晚餐,就会变成一场无人的集会。新加坡的群众大会是不提供椅子的。


    马来西亚选民已经觉醒,高雄和台湾选民也开始再度反思,新加坡选民呢?韩国瑜或许需要加强警惕,新加坡的工人党群众大会吸引很多听众,但是,却吹不出高票。为什么?

#
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxqk3RwnsDk

Monday, 12 November 2018

PAP’s Biggest Mistake: Dishonorable son leads GE2019



As expected the dishonorable son#1, Lee Hsien Loong, will lead the People’s Action Party again in GE 2019.  Is Lee a suitable person to lead PAP in the coming election?. Will he become Najib No 2? While some may say Lee can be (UMNO) Mahathir No 1 when Mahathir sacked Anwar so it is still very safe for the PAP, maybe losing a few more seats.


The PAP and Lee are trying their luck. But it is bad for the party and perhaps bad for the country too. It seems none of the party members rejecting Lee leading GE 2019. Also, only concerned Singaporeans will think this arrangement is not the internal politics of the PAP.  


A better alternative is Tharman replacing Lee and remains as Prime Minister for a short term and then hands over power to the so-called fourth generation leaders - a situation like Goh Chok Tong.

Tharman, rather than Lee, is the better choice to lead PAP in GE 2019.

While it is too late and the PAP and Lee wants to try their luck. Remember the story of Najib removing Muhyiddin who is now Malaysian Home Minister. Najib removed his deputy that led to the emergence of (Bersatu) Mahathir No 2.  The rest of the story you can see in newspaper and social media everyday.


While such thing will never happen in Singapore as claimed by the PAP or Lee Hsien Loong.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday charted the path forward for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), saying it must win the next general election convincingly by taking a centrist approach and uniting Singaporeans.
The party has only two years left to prepare for the next election, said Mr Lee, who is PAP secretary-general, as he outlined four things it must do to maintain good politics and keep improving people's lives.
He called on party members to understand and address Singaporeans' concerns, give people hope for the future, encourage inclusive politics and provide good leadership.
https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/pm-lee-sets-out-plan-for-pap-ahead-of-next-ge


Not a word of reform


Lee Hsien Loong will lead a PAP without reform in GE 2019. What are the real meanings of “a centrist approach and uniting Singaporeans.” Are they related to reform?


PAP won the GE2015 by luck - the Lee Kuan Yew factor. Will they be as lucky as 2015 using the Raffles factor in 2019? No one knows. It is a luck and it can turn either way. However, Lee Hsien Loong wants to try his luck again.


Lee is now a controversial figure, without a mind of reform.


While for PAP to survive and Singapore to advance, an urgent need of reform is needed.


Source: Yahoo Singapore
George Yeo called for a PAP reform. Have we seen any changes since 2011?


No.


Lee Hsien Loong prefers luck than reform. And so, the outcome will be….

Who carry Lee Kuan Yew’s values

In GE 2019, voters will also need to decide who really carries the values of Lee Kuan Yew - dishonorable son or others, including Lee siblings.

Today’s PAP under Lee Hsien Loong is different from the PAP in the early days. Do voters still believe Lee Hsien Loong as the promoter and protector of our funding values?

A reform is needed to restore the fundamental values of Singapore, 
the spirit of our national pledge and our Constitutions.  


#1 https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/pm-rebuts-dr-lee-wei-ling-over-claim-that-he-abused-power-to-mark-lkys-death-anniversary

Saturday, 10 November 2018

人民行动党僵化接班制度,严重冲击新加坡建国、李光耀精神的延续。


韩国瑜的崛起证明国民党的僵化接班人计划彻底失败,看看吴志扬就是一个典型的失败例子。巫统、马华背离马来西亚的建国精神,拉曼精神以及宪法精神,变天成了合理的结局。


人民行动党领导新加坡超过60年,从第一代传到第三代,即将进入第四代领导。这种PAP党内代代相传,吃定新加坡人的僵硬政权转移,现在正面临严重的挑战。

为什么,我们一定要接受这种代代相传的PAP制度?并且,问也不问,题也不提,这些所谓制度化的接班人、领导人,是否能延续、持续发展新加坡的建国精神、好的李光耀精神。

建国精神反映在《新加坡信约》里面:
我们是新加坡公民,
誓愿不分种族、言语、宗教,团结一致,
建设公正平等的民主社会,
并为实现国家之幸福、繁荣与进步,共同努力。
从第一代到第四代,我们看到的是倒退的民主,公正平等离我们渐行渐远,一个总统选举的身份问题,如何做到种族、言语、宗教,团结一致?新加坡建国精神在僵化的接班人制度下,如何做到持续性发展?

建国精神维护不了,李光耀精神也同样维持不了。或许,剩下的只是不好,负面的李光耀精神:限制民主自由的发展,高压治理,失败的文化教育。。

什么是好的李光耀精神?

新加坡折射了李光耀的特点:高效、廉洁、不感情用事,并富有创造性、前瞻性和务实精神。
https://cn.nytimes.com/asia-pacific/20150323/c23leekuanyew/

PAP制度化的接班人制度,能否继续落实李光耀精神?这真的是一个很大的问号?李显龙为何被弟妹称为dishonorable son?这里面就包含李光耀精神的争论。弟妹们认为他们才是落实李光耀精神的真正执行人,那李显龙算什么?李显龙真的能够执行和落实李光耀精神吗?

历史告诉我们,尤其是朝代的更替,就证明自己的子孙、后代无法落实立国者的精神。运气好的,出来了几个功臣,中兴一下。就正如,李光耀亲孙子李绳武说的一样:新加坡不要下一个李总理。这是否意味着,李家后代已经承认新加坡建国精神,李光耀精神,需要外人来传承?

而这个传承的工作,PAP僵硬的,教条式的接班人、领导人制度,是否能够胜任?

如果不能够胜任,就要有PAP僵化的制度外,寻找答案。

因此,在吴作栋新书的推介会上,李总理强调,领导层的自我更新和建立具凝聚力的团队,应该作为我国的政治规范并加以巩固。这不仅仅是物色合适的接班人,也是组建优良的团队来领导新加坡。(早报)

李显龙以及PAP试图将这个僵硬的接班人制度“作为我国的政治规范并加以巩固”, 对于新加坡来说,很可能变成发展、发挥新加坡建国精神,李光耀精神的一大阻碍,一大绊脚石。

因为,这个僵硬的接班人制度是建立在一党独大的基础上。PAP只是晓得在党内分配这块领导人的蛋糕,而忽略了民情、民主、民众基础。即使党内选出新人领导,这也不过是PAP维护蛋糕的保卫战,不是延续、持续建国精神、李光耀精神的选项。新加坡人民如必须要看清这个事实。

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Swiss living rather than seat warming in Goh’s new book


Instead of disclosing his seat warming experience, Goh Chok Tong should discuss his failed Swiss living for Singaporeans.   

Seat warming is his personal experience. Swiss living is for Singaporeans.  This is the tall order for politicians who really want to improve life and living standard of Singaporeans.

Personally, Goh has achieved his personal goal.

None of his objectives talk about Swiss living or in a general way, the life of Singaporeans.  During Goh Administration, our economy was growing, GDP per capita also increasing but not living standard.

It is important for Singaporeans to know why we are NOT able to achieve Swiss standard of living. Goh promotes Swiss living. He should explain why we cannot make it - why Singaporeans cannot enjoy the kind of life like Swiss.  

Is this due to our one-party democracy, checks and balances?

Is this due to our culture? Does Switzerland maintain and preserve their cultural roots better than us? Singapore ends up “bad English, bad Mandarin (Chinese)”, perhaps also bad Malay and bad Tamil.

By avoiding tall order question like Swiss living, Goh only concerns about himself - how a poor boy made it to the top. While the situation now and future is very different - inequality, rich-poor gap, education gap, etc.  This is the big picture that makes Swiss living so remote.

“Worry before the people and enjoy after the people.”
When Goh brought up the idea of Swiss living, he expressed his concern of Singaporeans - life of ordinary people.
 
Be concerned about the affairs of state before others, and enjoy comfort after others.
 
While Goh only completes the first part - only showing concerns.  This is not enough.

Indeed, he seems to enjoy his life before others and his comment on mediocre people proves it.


Goh is now more interested to raise ministers’ pay rather than his concern of ordinary Singaporeans.

It is not a wooden question.  
“Worry before the people and enjoy after the people.”

It is a real problem in Singapore:
“Worry after the people and enjoy before the people.”