Monday, 30 January 2012

When convenience becomes liability: iPhone and high pay




My brother commented that there was a communication gap between two of us as I was not a smartphone user.  My sister even claimed that she could not imagine life without iPhone.  A relative with a family of four also proudly declared they had 4 iPhones and 4 iPads even the two kids were in primary schools.

Am I losing out something by not using a smartphone?
Am I going backward without the access of instant messages and information?  Even though I find myself OK but there is an increasing pressure for me to get a smartphone as soon as possible.  I don’t’ feel the communication gap but why others think so.

I am confused.  Is this another kind of social divide in the information age?  If there is a gap between those who can afford, then there is even a bigger gap between those who can afford and those who can’t afford.

When the PAP sets high pay for political positions, perhaps they only look at those who can afford to pay for either iPhone or high salary to ministers.  However, as PM Lee had said some joined politics not because of money. These are people who don’t see the gap with or without a smartphone.  They are willing to settle down with a normal phone or a normal salary. 

Hence, the bigger picture, that is missing, is the gap between those can afford and those cannot afford an iPhone.  The PAP has failed to realise there are people who cannot afford an iPhone and of course, cannot afford to pay high pay to the ministers.

Different social class of mobile users

We generally can tell who use the smartphones and who don’t.  In order not to be associated with the group of non-smartphone users, some may have to shift to smartphones just to avoid being misidentified. Is this necessary? Why should we have this social divide?

One will need a certain purchasing power to own an iPhone and its associated subscription fees.  In a low income family, owning smartphones will take up quite a big percentage of their income.  But it may not be the best option to spend a big sum of family income into smartphones or iPads. 

When iPhone was launched, it was for entertainment, fun, then information, then working tool, then……? However, there is a limit to growth, unless one day the small toy can replace human brain and functions smarter than a human being.

Will smartphone help you to think smarter? Will paying high salary to ministers help Singapore to think smarter? One has only 24 hours a day. If you spend more times playing with the smartphones, you will have less time to think and learn other things. If ministers are occupied by the task of justifying their high pay, then they will have less time to think for the country. Sometimes, fast may not necessary to be good. People are occupied by the smartphones in the meetings, in the train, in the bus, over lunch and dinner, even walking in the street.  Are they really smart thinking and acting rationally?  Thinking too fast and acting too quick can be dangerous – this is why we have cooling off day before elections.  Because you need to think carefully before choosing a right candidate!

There are pros and cons for iPhone and high salary. Because the smartphones are so convenient, so trendy, we nearly forget its disadvantages.  Just like plastic bags, bottles, and products, there are so easy to use and we only realise the environment problems many years later.

It is also easy and convenient to link political pays to top earners. However, we will know the consequence  later.  In fact, a warning sign, the voters had already given their answers last year.

Cheaper iPhone, cheaper housing

IPhone and iPad are expensive in China, especially to low income Chinese people.  An Apple product can cost more than a month of a worker’s salary. So when Steve Jobs passed away, a major Chinese property developer commented that to remember Jobs, Apple should come out with RMB 1000 iPhone or iPad so that more Chinese could own Apple iPhone or iPads.#  However, his comment draw a lot of criticisms in the social media. Netizens demanded the developer to come out with RMB 1000 per sq.m of flat in memory of his deathr.

When the developer suggested a lower price for iPhone, he thought he was doing a favour for the ordinary Chinese. But comparing an iPhone and a flat, housing is even a bigger and expensive item than a communication tool.

The developer could only see a small item like the iPhone but had failed to observe the bigger item like a flat which he has full knowledge about the high property price in China. 

So do the PAP.  When linking the political pay to top earners, the government only sees the affordability of the rich and forget the feelings of the poor.     
 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

水不在深,有龙则灵



山不在高,有仙则名。 水不在深,有龙则灵。 是否是可以这么解释:不用样样都争第一,争最高,只要有真心诚心的仙气自然就会出名。不用斤斤计较薪水要最深最厚,只要有股龙的运力,自然就会有国泰民安的灵气。

今年是水龙年,一开年就出了坏消息,我们引以为傲的高薪养廉,竟然破了个大洞。这不只是行动党的坏消息,不是国人乐见的。

刘禹锡的《陋室铭》,今天读来,对当官的来说,还是具有一定的意义。或许,行动党政府应该以这篇铭文作为为官的座右铭。时时细读,或许可以把部长高官的龙的灵气引发出来,这远比高薪养廉来得合算和经济的多了。薪水固然重要,但是思想工作,精神培养任然是不可缺少,但是,这似乎是在对牛弹琴。我们在物资的熏陶下,已经很难分出好坏真错了。

陋室铭 百度图片

《陋室铭译文》
山不在乎多高,有了神仙,就会远近扬名。水不在乎多深,有了蛟龙就会有灵气。这虽然是一间简陋的房子,不过,只要我的品德高尚,刘禹锡也能使它名声远扬。苔藓爬上了台阶,使得台阶也显露出绿意;草色映入了门帘,室内也染成了青色。在这里与我谈笑都是博学而又品德高尚的大儒,跟我往来的没有一个是没有学问的人。平时可以弹奏不加修饰的古琴,潜心阅读佛经。既没有噪杂的管弦乐声扰乱耳朵,也没有繁杂的官府公文使我身心劳累。我的陋室真比得上当年南阳诸葛亮的草庐,西蜀扬子云的亭子。孔子说过:既然有君子住在里面,怎么会觉得有什么简陋呢?(http://baike.baidu.com/view/218529.htm#3

豪宅厚禄一样可以没有灵气

如果和普通老百姓相比,我们部长高官住的可算是豪宅,拿的可算是厚禄,但是人性的弱点,不是住豪宅还是陋室的问题,而是自身修养的问题,自我反省的问题。高薪厚禄也好,没钱开饭也好,只要自我把持不住,都有机会走上不归路。

所以,住在豪宅,也一样可以变得没有仙骨,没有灵气。高薪养廉的大道理,也没有办法使他们变得善良,变得有君子之气。

古今中外,这个人性的弱点一直都存在,而无法根除。因此,堂而皇之的高薪养廉政策,也只能是缓冲之计,只能指标不能治本。

有钱有智慧的人应该出来竞选

真不明白为何美国共和党的一位年收入两千多万美元的候选人,竟然愿意放弃高收入,而去参加初选,想当一个年入两三百万美元的总统。这在我们看来是不是太傻,有钱不赚,还自寻烦恼。总统有其责任使命感,这不是金钱所能衡量的,出来竞选是要为国家社会尽一份力。

或许,我们应该鼓励那些在新加坡赚够钱的人出来竞选,他们不需要为钱烦恼,可以专心的治国,回报社会。但是,我们的国情,政治气候却是最不鼓励有钱人这么做,有智慧的人这么做。长此下去,新加坡还能更上一层楼吗?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Pay Of Top GLC Executives: Adjusting Upward Or Downward


This is an interesting question. When the masters receive less, the servants under them should get less accordingly.  However, if the pay of the masters is based on a certain calculation of their servants’ pay, then the more the servants get the more the masters will be getting – this is another uniquely Singapore!  

This top to bottom approach will help ministers to get more if their servants in government linked companies (GLCs) are getting more. While if it is bottom to top approach, the base is so big, it is difficult to move the average of the bottom to increase the pay of the ministers. So, the easier way out is to use the top to bottom approach and the government can use the GLCs to achieve this goal.  

We are watching after the pay cuts for political positions, will there be any pay adjustment for top executives in the GLCs in Singapore? Will there be an upward trend so that to push up the average of the top 1000 earners in Singapore or will there be a downward trend as the political masters are getting less so that they have to be compensated less accordingly?

Top GLC executives are top earners

Many of the top listed companies are owned by Singapore government through mainly Temasek Holdings, for example, listed companies like Singtel, DBS, SIA, Keppel, Sembawang, CapitaLand etc. We all know that these top executives are drawing millions dollars salaries and bonuses. Even SMRT, the troubled train operator, its CEO are having a pay cheque higher than a junior minister.

We don’t know how many of the top 1000 earners in Singapore are top GLC executives.  But it is not a small number and they can contribute to move the average compensation of the top 1000 earners in Singapore. An increase in their pay will help to increase the average of the top 1000 earners; this will ultimately increase the pay of the ministers.    

Through Temasek and GLCs, it is possible to move up or down the average pay of the top earners in Singapore. Of course, in the name of market forces, it can remain unchanged but it will create a wider gap between GLC top executives and their political masters. Like one PAP MP had commented last year, it may belittle the ministers, as ministers who draw less pay will not have the courage to look up at these top executives.  Ministers cannot hold themselves high due to a bigger pay gap.  Perhaps, this MP can have a follow-up on this issue.

We are spending too much on the issue of political pay and we will not get the correct answer until general election comes. 

Singapore is greater than PAP


This is a PAP problem - getting calibre candidates to join them, but it will have to be decided by the voters of Singapore. And we must always realise that Singapore is greater than the PAP – It must always be the case, especially in future. Otherwise, we will not have a breakthrough, new peak and new direction.  Do we want to continue to remain at the ‘super first world pay for ministers and third world wages for the workers’?

For selfish or survival reasons, the PAP will try all the ways to remain in power. However, they are running out of innovative strategies, wills and spirit to fight on, just like the debate on political pay. 

It will not end here.  Perhaps, it is just the beginning like the sad cases of the chiefs of SCDF and CNB in the start of the dragon year.           
       

Thursday, 19 January 2012

党国不分的悲哀,不要把行动党的问题强加在新加坡的身上



政治秀演完了,但是,后遗症还在。减薪后的高薪能否激起政治人物的服务热情,同情心,责任心和献身精神?或许在危难时刻,弃新加坡而去?
 高薪如何确保船长,把搭客的生命安全放在第一位,而不会弃船而逃?

  
无心再加减薪,行动党找不到候选人,就把帐算到新加坡人的头上,美其名是为国人的将来好,事实上,就是硬要国人接受新的政治薪金建议。

都什么时候了,还在强调党国的关系,有行动党,就有新加坡。行动党就是新加坡,新加坡就是行动党。在新的政治常态下,党和国早就应该分家了。试问,马英九敢说国民党就是中华民国,如果今天没有国民党那就没有台湾吗?甚至大陆,以前一直高喊没有共产党,就没有新中国,今天,这个意识已经有些模糊了。

行动党的的绊脚石还是新加坡的绊脚石

李显龙总理说,他理解对一般人而言,部长领取百万元薪金是很庞大的数额,但是为了国家的长期繁荣与稳定,不能让薪金成为阻碍人才从政的绊脚石。他真的理解新加坡人吗?他说的部长当然是行动党的部长,他说的绊脚石,当然是行动党候选人的绊脚石。

不要忘了新加坡不是只有一个行动党,不是行动党候选人才可以说是人才,而否定其他政党的候选人。你找不到候选人,组不成军,是行动党的问题,为何要强加在新加坡人身上,吓唬新加坡人没有行动党的人才,新加坡就没有前途。

谁最有资格搭飞机最先逃走

不要忘记,领高薪,也可能会最先弃船而逃,就像意大利船长一样。网上的言论未必可以完全相信,但是,这类的传言却是屡见不鲜。因为,领高高薪水的人是最有资格搭飞机最先逃走的人。谁敢保证行动党候选人中,没有这类爱钱的人,就连总理也说,不是每个人都是具有献身精神,热情服务,不爱高薪的。下次大选,行动党最好能说清楚什么候选人是属于这类爱高薪的人才,以便选民可以做出正确选择。

或许一党独大太久,党政国家工会全部都是自己人,分不清谁是谁,因此,行动党没有人才,就等同国家没有人才,行动党的奖学金得奖者是人才,而邻里学校的毕业生就不是人才。新的政治常态还是如此这般吗?

听听部长,总理还有前总理的话,他们的确是急着找人才,但是却是找跟他们一样背景,同样思维的人。这些人才,就是要维护行动党的江山,永续经营新加坡。这对新加坡是否公平?

今天的新加坡已经大不相同了。突然之间,我们有超过5百万人,又有这么多外来人口,年轻人也多了,教育水平也高了。对行动党的感情也不像老一辈的国人一样。新人对行动党的热情大不如前,这是可以理解的,因此,也不可能要求他们像前辈一样拥护行动党。他们看到的是党国的分家而不是合体,他们要听不同的声音,即使是跟行动党不同调的声音。

朝野共识?

工人党要求裸薪,要求透明度,要求限制花红,人民党要求部长对本身部门的表现负责,行动党说这和政治薪金委员会的建议大同小异,大家都认为部长应该有合理的高薪。在野党要求下而上的计算方法,而行动党却是坚持由上而下的态度,以高高在上治国之道,继续老的一套精英治国的方法。

因此,在国会总结陈词时,行动党说朝野已经有共识的。不论朝野是否有共识,人民的共识才是最重要,看来,这个答案只有在下次大选中才看出来。当然,我们也拭目以待,行动党会找到什么样的人出来竞选,是不是他们所谓的人才?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Taiwan election, any lessons for Singapore? Below 50% of votes, KMT is still the parliament majority



Unless the PAP is not bale to come with enough candidates due to fear of losing and low pay, they will continue to be in power for quite a long time.


Judging from the recent election in Taiwan, although declining, the PAP will not lose its majority in the near term. It may not decline as fast as what we wanted it to be.  It is a downward trend but even it goes below to 50%, the PAP can still have a majority in parliament as experience in Taiwan.  Voters who want to see an alternative government will have to wait for few more elections. To be realistic, wining more GRCs are the best we can hope for.   

Last Saturday’s Taiwan election saw the re-election of Ma Ying-jeou with 51% of votes in the Presidential election.  Taiwan Election Commission also called for the election of legislators (members of parliament) on the same day.  They practice one constituency 2 votes system: one ballot paper for the directly elected MPs, another ballot paper for the Party votes.    The second ballot paper is to vote the party the voters prefer, i.e. a kind of proportional representation with at least 5% of the total votes to qualify for MP seats.   


Here are the results of the 2012 Taiwan Legislation Election:

Party
Constituency votes (%)
Constituency MPs (seats)
Party  votes
MP seats based on  Party votes
KMT
48.18%
48
44.55%
16
DPP
43.80%
27
34.62%
13
TSU
-
0
8.96%
3
PFP
1.33%
1
5.49%
2
Others
-
3
-
0
Total

79

34
KMT share

48
(60.76%)

16
(47.06%)
(Source: udn.com)

KMT: Kuomintang DPP: Democratic Progress Party TSU: Taiwan Solidarity Union PFP: People First

Taiwan parliament has only 113 MPs and the new parliament will have 64 KMT MPS.  This translates into 56.6% of the MP seats and gives the simple parliament majority to KMT. KMT now controls both the Presidential office and the parliament with reduced majority. 

With below 50% of total legislative votes: 48.18% of constituency votes and 44.55% of party votes, KMT is still holding on the power.  

In Singapore, it is hard to expect the PAP’s votes to go below 55%, or 50%, or the unlikely below 50% in the distance future. Unless the economy is very badly managed in the next decade, or the PAP leadership is in big trouble - unable to find enough candidates, it is fair to say that the PAP government will be here with us for quite some times.  The oppositions’ best hope is to knock down more ministers but not all the ministers. And hopefully, those second rate ministers remain and those calibre ones left like Aljunied GRC.

Other observations from the Taiwan election are:

Quality of candidates:
Ma is re-elected as compared to DPP candidate because he seems to be a better choice in terms of quality, reliability, delivery, and perhaps even integrity. This attracts the middle ground voters.

Voters have become more mature and rational and if oppositions want to win the election, they have to come out with better quality candidates.

Counting of votes and announcement of results:
Vote counting in Taiwan   club.china.com
For this election, there are 3 types of votes needed to be counted: President, direct votes for constituency MPs and Party votes.  Each will have more than 18 million votes. Compared to our elections last year, I think their productivity in votes counting is certainly higher than us.  If you look at how they counted their votes, we can’t claim we are first world country.

Furthermore the announcement of results is another embarrassment for Singapore.  The Taiwan Poll closed at 4 pm and candidates could go to bed at 10 pm. Many know their results 3 hours after the poll closed.

Furthermore, they certainly didn’t plan and time the announcement of election result in favour of the ruling party. Perhaps, this is the reason why our Election Department in not independent and under PMO. In such an arrangement, the department has forgotten the right of the voters to know the results as soon as possible.

Sitting of parliament: 
Parliament is the most important institution that represents the wishes of the people and voters. The new Taiwan Parliament will sit in February after less than 1 month of election.  In Singapore, our parliament takes more than 5 months to have the first sitting. 


Funding for party
This is a special feature for the Taiwan election. As an encouragement, candidates and parties will be awarded with an incentive for the votes they get in the election.

For example, the party votes, parties that get more than 5% will receive an incentive for each vote.  In order to favour smaller parties, the incentive limit has lowered to 3% so that more parties can receive the funding.

It is really out of imagination that the PAP will be so kind to small political parties. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

无心, 哪来减薪不减心。



那么,什么又是有心呢?当下周国会辩论政治薪金时,轮到陈硕茂发言时,我们才真正的看到有心,看到了服务和牺牲。看看一个在华尔街的顶尖律师,因为有心,而甘愿每月领取不到2万新元的津贴,他何苦要如此有心呢?

说的白一点,好多自认应该拿高薪的人,很可能会无地自容。他们的无心,选民可能还没有看到,但是,阿裕尼选民已经看到了,40%选民已经看到了。

心啊,性啊,理啊,单独看也可以,合起来看也可以,总之,表现出来的知行动作,就显出一个人的认知,良知或无知。因此,在讨论减薪不减心时,就要看一个人有没有这种认知和良知,如果是无知,那么即是无心,减薪不减心,根本不是问题的所在。

无心,何来减心。

有心,有认知,有良知,再配合行动,为新加坡的理念,理想而献身服务,那才有资格谈论减薪不减心。

行动无心,在野有意

这不是说行动党人没有实体上的心,而是,他们对有些事情,是有心的,对有些事情却是无心的。在国会辩论部长薪金时,行动党就搬出党督来,不论辩论的如何,最后还是要根据党的意愿,立场来投票,这是无心的改变。行动党议员是不可以违背党的立场,要必须随党督的指示而投票。

行动党这一路走来,像是一条变色龙,从左爬到右。当年,它是靠着下层群从的支持而上来的。它是以人民的行动作为依据,所以才叫做人民行动党。现在呢?好像只有行动而没有人民。因为,它服务的对象已经从左变到右了。这或许是无心之变吧!

当然,由于这个原因,行动党就渐渐的脱离群从,开始走向精英治国,离开了基本的物资需求,转向金钱,外国人才,外国劳工,外来投资,来寻求更高的回报,更多的薪金。所以,行动党的心,在人民这方面是从有心变为无心,而对它所谓的人才,投资者,外来资金,就变得特别的有心,特别的在意,深怕做的不够好,不够道地。

爱人变心了,人民怎么办?幸好,还有在野党,没有变心,依然爱着你。下次大选,选民可要认清这个事实,不要被变色龙的左右变法而弄得分不清黑白,投票给负心人。

无心例子,何其多

这里随便举几个例子,让人们看看什么是无心,有兴趣的人还可以自己再加几个:

无心1:关闭南大
据说南大一开始成立就注定失败,因此,它最后和新加坡大学合并,不是政府有心,而是无心的无言的结局。

无心2:华文命运
因为家长选择英文源流的学校,政府也是没有办法,顺其自然,华文难学,我们也是没有办法的啊!这是无心的自然发展。

无心3:地铁站重复名字
因为根本没人发现错误,一直到开门见客前,才发现乌龙。不知是无人管,还是,看不懂华文,拖到最后一分钟才来改华文站名。这也是无心之过吧!

无心4:总统最酷
孩子们真的好无心啊! 他们竟然把总统这么神圣的高贵的职位,当成是一份领高薪,不做事的优差。不要介意,这是孩子的戏言,无心的。

无心5:新钞缺货
跑了几趟银行,就是换不到新钞,不知是银行进货不够,还是金融管理局出货不多,总之,我们无心让你跑多几趟,只是你运气不好。

无心6:水淹乌节
我们真的很无辜,这50年一遇的洪水,乌节一带当然会淹水啦。这是天降的祸水,我们无能为力。

无心7:水淹变水池
我们已经做好防水的准备,但是,大厦内的积水不退,变成水池,不是我们的错,我们无心防备你们大夏内的积水,我们只管外面,里面我们无心服务。

无心8:静山震撼
披上闪电的白衣白裤还以为一定的自然的会中选,无心准备,当然会有如此巨大的震撼。幸好,现在溜到总理的安全区了。我是无心无意逃避的。

无心9:逃马事件
真的好无心啊!一个跛脚的人,怎能爬窗逃出保安如此周密的拘留所。还漂洋过海到彼岸去。这个罪就由无心看门的守卫去负责吧!

无心10:部长薪金
无心过渡透明,如果年年公开收入多少,花红多少,奖励多少,那么,我们如何保住本身的私隐。我们是无心的,不是样样事情都可以公开的。


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Departure of Saw and Ng is a surprise yet not so surprise when comes to money and shareholdings



The resignation of Saw Phaik Hwa as CEO of SMRT and the ousting of Ng Ser Miang as Chairman of WBL have no relation except one is making good money and the other is not making enough money for their companies respectively.

Either making more money or not making enough money both have to go.  SMRT is making too much money but the larger population is not happy. WBL is not making enough money so the shareholders are not happy, even though Ng has a strong political connection in Singapore.

The greater surprise is Ng due also to his international standing as the Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) while Saw’s resignation is expected and her leaving is only a question of timing.

For profit maximization and return on investment principles, the ousting of Ng is correct as the Company Board is responsible for the business performance to the shareholders.  If the shareholders are not happy, not making enough money, not getting better returns, even how strong your political connection is, you will have to go.

In this way, Saw is lucky or perhaps her political connection is even more ‘powerful’ than Ng and she can take her own time to resign and not to be ousted by the Board or shareholders but by the general public.

SMRT vs. WBL: Different structure of shareholding

When we look further to the share structure of the 2 companies we will see the difference. One is under the control of the government and the other is private owned and managed. 

SMRT is in fact a GLC that Temasek is the biggest shareholder; indirectly this is a government controlled company.  If the government is happy with your performance, you can keep your job, especially the ROI is good and there is good reason to keep the CEO.

However, WBL is very different.  The shareholders are private companies that they are keen to have higher returns. According to The Business Times (BT), while fund managers Third Avenue Management LLC and Aberdeen Asset Management voted against Ng, WBL's largest shareholders OCBC and its subsidiary Great Eastern supported him. At the end, Ng was ousted out by 54.64% of the shareholders.

It is not clear why SMRT wants to keep Saw even after major disruptions and delays of SMRT trains. Perhaps, Temasek sees it as a small matter in view of the profit that Saw has generated in the past few years. The more profit SMRT makes, the more Temasek will have the share of the profit.   It seems to be a cash cow for Temasek as its other investments can not guarantee such a stable and good return. 

However, this is a very short-sighed decision.  Train disruptions and delays will affect SMRT performance as it is the core business of the company.  In the longer run, SMRT will have to come out with higher maintenance cost, penalty, damages or even claims of liability. 

<A few shops here, a bazaar there and, in 2008, the first mini mall in an MRT station outside the city opened up. By the close of FY2011, SMRT posted almost $57 million in operating profit from rental income, up from an insignificant amount before 2003.>
http://motoring.asiaone.com/Motoring/News/Story/A1Story20120107-320465.html

No matter how good is the sale of the retail space, it is always a non-core business unless SMRT wants to go into property development with the help of Temasek, CapitaLand etc. Then it should not be awarded the licence to operate the train services.  

Value of political connected persons


For the WBL case, it seems that the private businesses are looking at performance. You keep your post if you keep up with the company expectation demanded by the shareholders. 


<In a recent interview, Straits Trading's executive chairman Ms Chew told The Straits Times: “WBL’s business is not a bad business but it could do much better."
WBL's key businesses span technology, automotive, property, and engineering & distribution. In Singapore, it distributes upmarket car brands such as Bentley, Bugatti, Jaguar, Land Rover, McLaren, Renault, Volvo. It has a substantial landbank in China with its business consisting of property development, property management and property investment.
It reported a 10.6 per cent decline in full-year net earnings to $89.1 million in its last financial year ending Sept 30.> http://business.asiaone.com/Business/News/SME%2BCentral/Story/A1Story20120111-321146.html

We used to have a lot of PAP MPs sit in the Board of Directors in SGX listed companies.  It is time to judge these MPs by performance rather than their PAP connection.  Their usefulness is limited and may only be applicable to GLC controlled companies but in private business it is better to practice the business way.   


Further to the high pay of ministers, these MPs are also over paid in their director’s fees.  Companies should judge the performance of these MPs like what the shareholders of WBL did to Ng.



It does make a difference whether it is a GLC or private business. It helps us to see the difference.
  

Sunday, 8 January 2012

减薪不是数字游戏,而是要正视救民,便民和利民的问题


如果行动党政府能够把社会下层的人,也像上层的人一样,把他们的薪金提高到第一世界的水平,那么,人民还会在意让当官的多拿一点吗?就是因为,这个差距太大,人人看了才会眼红,就连第一世界富国的领袖都要流满一口水。

行动党政府似乎还搞不清楚状态,不知道减薪的目的,还以为这只是一场数字游戏。人民不喜欢高薪,我们就减几十个百分点安慰安慰一下民心。千万不要忘记,数字减了的背后意义,这不是,大声告诉人民,我减了多少,人民就应该在下一次大选,回馈选票给行动党。

这笔账不是这么算的。但是,一向迷信数字的行动党,能够摆脱这个数字游戏吗?

干鱼的提示,色盲的迷惑,减薪者能够明白吗?

慌了, 行动党开始慌了,国会辩论地铁事件前,先叫地铁总裁走路,做个替死鬼,然后,部长可以大论一番,地铁事故的来龙去脉。堂堂一个总裁,上个月还说不辞职的,现在却不得不下野了。说到底,她是一个中了数字毒手的可怜人,她一心追求利润,最终还不是败在数字中吗? 她的高薪,不也是顺着行动党的游戏规则进行吗?何错之有。

行动党政府在减薪声中,要记得国中还有需要帮助的人民,在人民处于危难的时刻,要有江湖救急的风度和急迫感。在数字游戏的过程中,要看清楚方便人民,利益人民之道,要有忘利见危的意识。


干鱼的提示,救济最需要救济的人

先说,枯鱼之肆 - 干鱼的故事。这是一个很多人都知道的寓言故事。庄子没钱开饭,就向当官的朋友借钱,朋友要他等到明年等有收成时才借钱给庄子。庄子就说了这个干鱼的故事。一只快要渴死的鱼,要求人们帮忙给些水解渴,那人却说让他找人开一条河过来。鱼说,到时他就成了一条干鱼,只有到市场上才找到它这条咸鱼了。

行动党政府在下层人民最需要帮助的 时候,是否有伸出援手,还是只是照规矩办事。比照同样的道理,来衡量工人党毕丹星的说法:救济人民是政府的责任,不应由议员来承担。他说:我们不希望陷入得自行推出福利计划的局面,因为这将让国人不去关注政府为什么没有帮助穷人,这也会把照顾穷人的责任放在反对党手中,那是不对的。碰到前来寻求经济援助的居民,这名负责友诺士区的议员会请他们到友诺士民众俱乐部,向那里的社区发展理会职员申请援助。

毕丹星的这番言论被认为是不负责任。我们扪心自问,毕丹星有开一条河的钱吗?他有国家资源可以动用吗?社理会有钱,难道还不拿出来救济人民吗?

减薪者是否可以从庄子的寓言中得到一些启示,政府手中的资源,就是要拿出来救济急需救助的人,工人党没有这个资源,而有这个资源政府,就需要出来帮忙,不然,减了薪金,还是没有学到治国的硬道理。

以全国人口来说,这些人可能是少数人,但是,却是最需要救济的一群人。那么,对大多数的人,行动党政府又是什么数字游戏呢!看看地铁的例子。

色盲的迷惑,见利忘义,不知道主人是谁

老子道德经第15章,就警告人们不要被颜色,声音,味道等迷惑,而导致心发狂。

“五色令人目盲,五音令人耳聾,五味令人口爽,馳騁畋獵令人心發狂,難得之貨令人行妨。是以聖人為腹不為目,故去彼取此。”

对照一下领取高薪的苏碧华,我们就可以很清楚的看到她为何会有辞职的下场。她管理地铁公司,利润年年增加,红利多多,股东高兴,投资人欢喜,她最擅长和最关心的是零售出租面积的增加和使用,而不是维修的好坏,乘客的安全和舒适。这对她的上司,最大股东-政府,当然是很好,但是,她忘了谁才是真正的主人。

她已经被利润,红利,金钱所迷惑,蒙蔽,而忘了地铁的运作是为人民服务。方便人民,利益人民,是地铁公司的最基本工作,但是,她只听政府的话,投资人的话,股民的话,她成了这批少数人的宝贝,但却成人民公敌。可怜的她,迷失在颜色,声音,味道的数字游戏中,最终,还是逃不过最后的大老板-人民的否定,她忘记了人民才是她真正的主人。

再补充一下庄子的见利忘危的故事 - 庄子的另一个精彩寓言螳螂捕蝉 黄雀在后。苏碧华看到地铁公司盈利大增,见利忘危,不知道背后有个人民在监视着她,几年来,她看着业绩报告,心里算着股东红利是多少,本身分红又有多少,这些数目字,越算越开心,开心到不知道自己有多危险都不知道。最后,只有一条路可以选择辞职。说的白一点,是人民主人要她走路。

但是,我们的部长在减薪措施实行后,不知道有没有看到这一点。有没有看到本身的危险。因为,不论怎么找替死鬼,最后的主人,依然是人民手中的选票。

减薪者能够明白吗?

部长薪金检讨报告前天出炉后,傅海燕在面簿上发表有关部长薪金检讨报告的意见时表示薪金多寡并不是她在六年前考虑是否从政的主要因素。她说:失去个人隐私、自己和家人受到公众的监视和失去个人时间,以及从政会如何影响我的事业发展才是重要考量。  她也指出,若薪金平衡点继续倾向一个方向,将让往后考虑担任政治职务者面对更艰难的决定。

傅海燕却是说出心里的话,只是她没有看清楚这场数字游戏的背后故事人民的力量。行动党找不到适合的从政者,不表示新加坡没有人要从政。数字对有些人,好像地铁总裁,还有好多政联公司总裁,政府高官,是一个色盲的数字游戏。行动党可以借此遥控着这些人,减薪后,我们部长的薪金仍然是世界第一,未来一,两年,经济不好,大家的收入可能都不好,现在先演绎一套数字游戏,以后再想方法补回,也不是不可能的。

部长,高官,总裁们都一直相信行动党的游戏规则,不知道还有数字以外的玩法,不知道,人民才是最终的审判者。他们忘记了庄子的寓言,提示,看不清老子的警告,色盲。最终,倒过头来,自己成了干鱼,螳螂,还心发狂。

Friday, 6 January 2012

Pay Cuts: The Beginning Of The Decline Of The PAP


Money is always the secret of success for the PAP. Now, they have partly given away this secret weapon, where else, can they find another replacement?  For too long, the willingness to serve in politics is linked to money so that the PAP can attract calibre people to join the government.

This in fact is the story of the PAP. We should not look at this old normal. The other side of the picture is the new normal that we will see more and more committed and calibre opposition candidates willing to step forward for the country, for Singaporeans.

With a minus for the PAP and a plus for the oppositions, this is the meaning of the decline of the PAP. With this decline, we will see the decline of the PAP associated political organisations and activities, like the NTUC (members voting against the PAP), PA (for example the replacement of George Yeo) and the main stream media (losing their influence to social media).

In addition, the PAP is also losing its influence to the youth and young voters.  

What concerns most Singaporeans are their
HDB flats. The ministerial salary even after the “huge’ cut with the million dollars salary, this big sum of money can still buy them at least 2 or 3 or even more HDB flats within a year.

With the humble income, the average Singaporeans will take 10, 20, and even 30 years to own a HDB flat. And majority of Singaporeans are HDB residents. Hence, is the “Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries” doing the right thing and using the right benchmark?  Indirectly, the Committee is part of the machinery to help the decline of the PAP.   

Shall we say a word of thank to the Committee?

MP as career option

If my recall is correct (correct me if I am wrong), Dr. Toh Chin Chye had once encouraged the young to contest in the general election as even the MP allowance is attractive enough. Yes, if you imagine the starting pay of a fresh graduate.  How can a fresh graduate get nearly $20,000 monthly salary in today’s Singapore? (of course, you have to factor in the donation to party and community expenses).

Young people in Singapore should consider this career option as according to the report on “Salaries for A Capable and Committed Government”, by serving only 1 term, this young elected MP will be able to own a HDB flat.  If he or she serves another term, he may be able to upgrade to a condo.

Not to mention, if you are PAP MPs, there are directorship waiting for you to make extra money.

PM Lee has just mentioned about ‘give and take’. Now, the government has accepted the proposal of benchmarking top 1000 Singapore earners. And in return, the people should take it – anther top to bottom approach.

Paper Talent Is Not Talent: More Troubles Ahead For PAP.

The Committee has considered the issue of attracting talents for the PAP government. They believe the new and proposed structure is competitive. 

But, the big question is the definition of talent? For this, the Committee is still in the old normal: people score good academic results, from top junior colleges, scholars, and top civil servants.

Just like the above mentioned case of HDB, the Committee is only looking at the talent pool of the top and fails to consider the majority – people from neighbour schools, ITE and even polytechnics.

They have failed to realise that talents can also come from ordinary people. A hero emerges and changes the situation. 《英雄造时势》 In ancient Chinese history, people who overthrow an old dynasty are usually from the grassroots and have less education. Definitely, they are not talents in the eyes of the old rulers.

What the Committee is doing is building an environment so that they can help to find a hero 《时势造英雄》.  They may be right because with a peaceful and planned environment, heroes do appear.

Which way it will go, the Singapore voters have the final say.