Saturday, 31 March 2012

人才凋零 背离民意 还是真的国家难治




新加坡的国家经济蛋糕越做越大,但治国却越来越难,而行动党的压力也越来越大。归根结底,是不是行动党没有与时并进,吸纳不到人才,再加上背离人民的意愿,以及没有合理合情分配国家的经济蛋糕,最后,才搞到新加坡难以治理,新加坡人民难以摆平。

什么大政府对上小政府,什么对的政策和把事情做对,什么整体政府?这些都只不过是说辞,表面功夫,事实上,我们细看今天的行动党政府,所谓历届最好的人才,我们扪心自问,是吗?怎么一点也看不出来。即使勉强归为最好的人才,其献身为民服务的精神,却很难跟行动党先辈们相比。不过在背离民意方面,倒是十分明显,不然,哪来这么多民怨,稍微不满,人民就要发声,只是还没走上街头而已。

行动党政府在做经济蛋糕时,想到的只是把贵的蛋糕,好的蛋糕奖赏给它认为有功的的人士,甚至不理这些人是否是人才,只要听话就可以了。因此,行动党吸纳人才的做法,就是吸引志同道合的人,同样思维的人,结果,这个人才库自然就越来越小了。

这就很像马来西亚的巫统。套用马哈迪的话,就是巫统人才凋零。巫统和行动党的做法,其实有很多相识之处。因此,马哈迪要纳吉反省。这句话也适合用在行动党身上。可惜,行动党没有元老出来说真心话,提醒一下行动党要面对现实。事实上,马哈迪本身是否也是如此,怎么竟然做起事后孔明来了?马哈迪为何不自身反省呢?

另据《星洲日报》报道,前首相马哈迪指出,由于巫统数十年来的传统是禁止有才华、有能力的人入党,造成巫统今天面对没有人才、缺乏领导人的局面。  他说,为此,首相纳吉应选贤与能,选择有才华、有才干、廉洁的候选人在来届大选中上阵,即使他们是空降部队,或非巫统党员也没有关系。(早报 2012329)“

越是保护,越是治国困难

行动党认为只要重赏,把最贵的蛋糕分给听话的人,就能把国家治好,因此,想方设法利用各种资源,确保这些人在国会选举中胜出,以便继续维持其一党专政的合法性。没有想到这套做法,却使到人才凋零,培养出来的是一批不会打战的将军,也是一批不解民意的领袖。不只是没有爱民之心,还背离民意,长此下去,当然是江山难保,治国越来越难了。

你听听陈庆珠怎么说:

 Singapore 'now needs politicians': Chan Heng Chee
ST 31 Mar 2012
Technocrats have to become politicians to push good policies, says Chan Heng Chee

新加坡现在需要政治人士,技术官员要变为政治人士,推动好的政策。这个话只说对了一半。不是现在,当新加坡经济在转型的时候,在把蛋糕做大的时候,从制造业提升到服务业的时候,在政治上也要与时并进,培养适合的人才,让他们面对选举的挑战,这样一来,现在这些所谓的政治人士,就不是这样的弱不禁风,害怕选战,失去了接近人民的机会。

就是因为没有面对选举的洗礼,没有面对选民的刁难,没有亲身接触选民的机会,所以,才会有今天这样难堪的结局。如果有实战经历,制定出来的政策,就会很不一样,就会接近选民,就会考虑民情。当然,行动党会说,好的政策,未必就是民情民意认可的。人民反对的政策,只要行动党认为对国家有利,政府就会去执行。因此,政府认为好的,对的,就一意孤行,背离民意的去做,结果就是今天的这个局面。

副总理兼国家安全统筹部长及内政部长张志贤在常年行政服务晚宴及擢升仪式的演讲(早报 329日),就指出了行动党面对人才凋零,背离民意的困境。表面上看来,他把问题推给治国困难,人民不了解政府的难处,因此,要讨好所有的人真的是不容易。事实上, 这些难处,这些困难,不正是不及早聆听民意的结果吗?从早报的报道中,我们看到更多的问题:

早报:以生育率低下及人口老龄化的双重挑战为例,说明政府在某些课题上必须有长远打算的重要。
分析:政府不是对所有问题都有长远的打算,这个打算是有选择性的,是建立在行动党认为对行动党有利的基础上的,而不是建立在人民身上的。

早报:去年共有13名行政官派往不同基层组织浸濡六个月。另外还有20名行政协理官(Management Associate)也安排到政府部门以外的机构任职。
分析:到底是政治人士在选举中听取民意重要,还是行政官听取民意重要?原来行动党制定政策的时候都是绕过民意,没有直接向选民请教。

早报:民众的利益和诉求不仅不同,有些甚至相互矛盾。很多时候,政府都必须作出取舍及做困难决定,这是政府不可以回避的。
分析:在不可回避而需要做出选择时,政府是以本地人利益做出发;还是以经济利益做出发点;还是行动党认为对的立场做出发点。

早报:治国的一个极端是家长式的政府,另一极端则是任由市场的无形之手发挥作用,使政府看起来忽视了民众希望它能介入管制的要求。在两个极端之间寻求平衡,将是政府在应对气候变化和网络安全等挑战时,会不断碰到却永远没有答案的问题。
分析:在大政府和小政府的选择上,应该是选择一个以民意做基础的政府,没有大小。新加坡的情形很奇怪,在应该做大政府时,却做了小政府,例如,医药卫生,组屋,教育,在需要政府做小政府时,却做了大政府,例如,政联公司与民争利,政府-工会-行动党三位一体的怪胎。我们需要看清行动党的大小政府的矛盾,和人民的大小政府的争论是处于不同的基本点的。


早报:政府在社会上扮演三个角色,它既是管理者(Regulator),又是推动者(Enabler),也是提供者(Provider)。分析:人民担心的是行动党政府扮演的刚好是与人民的想法不同调,应该做管理者时,却不做,如人口政策,垄断政策;应该做推动者时,却逃避责任,如民主开放政策,政策的透明度;应该做提供者时,却推三推四,如扶贫政策,医药卫生政策。

今天的行动党不是50多年前的行动党。今天的新加坡,更不是以前的新加坡。每个时代都有他们的问题。与其说治国困难,面对两难,不如说自己能力不足。你有听到奥巴马,胡锦涛,普京,还有萨科奇,甚至纳吉,泰国的美女总理,香港即将上任的特首梁振英说治国很难,请求人民理解,全盘接受政府的意见,接受政府的政策吗?如果是这样,做政府是在太容易了,这个高薪也太好赚了。

别人说这样的话,早就该让位退位了

你有听过这些政治领袖说,治国很难,人民要求多多,给予太多难题,很难满足他们的要求吗?

你有听过上市公司的董事长,总裁,高级主管,说管理公司很难,股东要求多多,市场条件又不好,我这个位子不好坐,请谅解我们吗?

如果是这样,选民就会要你让位,股东也会要你退位,因为,想坐这位子的人,实在太多了。比你有本事的人,比你有献身精神的人大有人在。

行动党不应该再沉迷在过去了。政治这盘饭,本来就是不容易吃的,哪有像(过去的)新加坡那样饭来张口就可以了。行动党未来的挑战会越来越多,两难,多难,将会一起出现,这已经不是行政官可以帮上忙的,要亲力亲为,面对选战,才能了解民意。

治国本来就是要为人民解决困难,真不明白,给了你这么多薪水,还说困难重重,那么选你出来做政府,意义何在?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

George Yeo as PM leading a Work Together Singapore?




It looks like a remote possibility. But politics is a book of change; especially when a person is so committed to serve the people for his own good cause, why not.

When George Yeo called for Singaporeans to work together, and urged different political parties to work together to prevent a divided Singapore; what actually is in his mind? Is he looking for a unity government that Singapore is facing social threat and social divide?

We can’t read the mind of GY but he seems to work on something. If he feels so strong about the “Work Together” concept, will he steps forward to offer himself to lead the unity government? And if it is a ‘yes’, it will give the oppositions a hope of running the government.

Many voters can accept more opposition MPs in the parliament. But when it comes to forming a government, many have reservations.  We are neither Americans nor the English.  Barack Obama can be elected as President even though he lacked political and governing experience as described by LKY. And also, it is true for the inexperienced and younger David Cameron to be PM of the United Kingdom.

However, in Singapore, the situation is quite different. Not only the voters are not ready, the public administration sector is also not ready for such a change.  Furthermore, the international community and financial market are also not ready for an inexperienced Singapore PM.

But GY will offer a different perspective. His experience, image and reputation will fix into the political picture very well. Furthermore, he is also a respectable PM material internationally. 

If there is an offer of GY as PM and Chen Show Mao as DPM against LHL as PM and Teo Chee Hean as DPM, will you give your vote to the first team?  There is a high chance that voters will consider the ‘Work Together’ team seriously as the second term can only provide a status quo. Our new political normal will demand new expectation but not a stay put situation.   

Beyond Anwar, better than Anwar

It may be similar to Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysian politics. But GY will cast a better alternative than Anwar. He has no issues with the authority; he even has the support of Team B in the PAP. 

After PE2011, the strength of Team B, as shown in the votes to Tan Cheng Bock, can be as strong as Team A in the PAP.  Even there is no split in the PAP; the Team B will most likely support GY as PM if there is a coalition government between the PAP and the oppositions.

The question is should GY work inside or outside the PAP?  What will be his best option inside or outside the PAP if he is aiming for the PM post? 

Another helicopter another colour

Interestingly, the Chinese newspaper ‘Lianhe Zaobao’ has a different angle when covering news of GY’s working together. It seems GY is not leaving politics and his next move is a guessing game. Perhaps, his mention of Dr Ang Yong Guan has another meaning.   

In the Zaobao report, GY said he was not retiring, still doing something and trying to make contributions in other ways.  This makes you guessing (耐人寻味).   He further said the dinner was not a farewell but just a milestone. And just like when he left the army, he boarded a helicopter and he now felt like boarding another helicopter, leaving once again.  

[“我没有退隐。我还在做一些其他的事情,还在尝试以其他方式作出贡献。
  前外交部长杨荣文昨天在基层领袖为答谢及送别他而设的千人宴上,留下这句耐人寻味的话。  他说:这不是道别,这只不过是个里程碑。
他回忆道,当年他弃戎从政时,军队为他在卡迪兵营举行送别仪式,之后他乘坐直升机离开。他略带感伤地说:有时,我觉得我上了另一架直升机,再次离开。
(Zaobao, 25 Mar2012)]


Will he be boarding a unity helicopter with a different colour this time?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

除了反恐,内安局展馆应面对政治拘留的历史现实



建立10年的内安局展览馆,最近新增一个反恐怖主义展区。这好像是说,内安局的工作只有一个,就是反恐。这是不是意味着,今后内安法只是拿来对付恐怖分子,少理或理不起所谓的“政治犯人”?

独立前后,甚至80年代,内安法一直是政府对付不同政见人士的手段。这个做法,争议很大,我们看到只是行动党政府的片面说辞,在媒体上,也只能看到片面,选择性的报道。事情真的如政府所说的那样吗?我们能回避这个问题吗?内安局展馆是否能还原这个历史真相呢?

这个工作看来很难。尤其是,不承认历史事实,否定做过的事实,依然能够使国家强盛,繁荣,和前进。那么,对于精打细算的行动党来说,为何这么猴急,这么快就让历史真相还原呢?有这个必要吗?马来西亚都废除内安法了,我们还要坚持下去,可见,真的不容易。

否定历史事实,国家依然能够繁荣强盛

我们看看日本和德国在处理二战的大屠杀事件中,就能看出行动党的策略性选择。不还原历史,其实对行动党本身也没有坏处。把历史真相说出来,承认历史事实,反而是一个政治包袱,还要对事情负责。谁来负责?有谁有这个担纲的勇气?

德国政府在战后,公开承认自己的罪行,建立纪念馆,对受到伤害的国家和人民表示惭愧。德国领袖每到受到屠杀的地方,都表示反省自责,甚至跪地请求原谅。因此,德国是在承认历史真相的过程中,取得经济发展,社会的进步,和人民的幸福。

反观日本,最多只能做到一半的承认历史事实,到今天,还有日本人否定南京大屠杀,否认有慰安妇,否认战争的各种罪行,反而说这是解救当地的人民,帮忙他们脱离苦海。日本不承认历史事实的做法,在第二次世界大战后,并没有影响它的经济发展,社会进步,国家强盛。因此,如果你是行动党,你看到这两个例子,你会做什么选择呢?最少,在现阶段,没有这个必要,或许,这件事还要借重民意,借重选票的力量,才能看到历史的真相。

一个是西方国家,一个是东方国家,同样的在经济上取得成绩,同样的获得国际认可,承认不承认历史的真相,好像没有什么关系。而且,新加坡自认是东方社会,又位于亚洲,当然,我们选择东方的例子,比较适合。说不定,将来,人们忘记这段历史,忘记了过去的痛苦,只记得眼前的利益,这件事就可以不了了之了。日本可以这么做,为何行动党不能依样画葫芦呢!

所以,行动党的继续组成政府,继续管理新加坡,有好多历史的真相,就只能依日本方式来处理。我们在经济上取得成绩,多数人有工作,有饭吃,人均收入年年增加,谁还要理这些历史事件,听说,历史还是学校里一门很难学习的课,好多学生很怕这门课。

有必要懂得历史真相吗?

但是,一个不懂自己历史的国家,不懂自己文化遗产的国民,将如何面对未来?难道国大和耶鲁推出的博雅学院,能够唤醒和提高国人的人文素质吗?如果学生想要还原历史,找出真相,当局和学院会网开一面吗?不要忘记,耶鲁提供的是西方教育,那么,如果接受耶鲁博雅学院的教育精神,政府和国人能够接受西方式德国式的承认历史事实的做法吗?

或许,新的政治常态,能够让行动党更为勇敢的面对历史,面对过去。过去如果有什么不足,有什么遗憾,有什么错误,乘着新常态的政治风,把它们纠正过来。 这么做,或许还能为行动党继续维持政权加分,不让得票率再继续下降下去。

被遗忘的政治犯?

看到这样的标题《内安局展馆大揭秘》,报道里面没有片言只字谈到政治犯,没有提到政治犯是如何危害国家的安危,好像,过去没有发生过这样的事情,现在,也不需要再提起了。看来现在的威胁,除了来自恐怖分子外,就是网民了。

网民在网上匿名发表不负责任的言论,也会挑起不同种族和宗教之间的冲突,破坏本地社会安定,这也是国家安全防卫所面对的另一挑战。(早报 2012-03-21

不过,说来说去,在报道中,我们的内安局,现在好像不想跟政治产生关系了。因为,我们的内安局的注意点,除了恐怖分子,已经从“政治”转移到“种族和宗教”上了。或许,这是一种进步,政治已经不是金字招牌,可以像过去一样,拿来给内安局,行动党,作为维持国家稳定的借口。

但是,历史就是历史,金字招牌可以换一个,就像日本不承认南京大屠杀,不承认慰安妇一样,世人的眼睛还是雪亮的,不会忘记历史的事实,或许,行动党未来的领袖,我国未来的政治领袖,会以一个开明的态度来对待过去政治犯的历史,给国人,给政治犯们,一个公平合理的定位。

这会是新政治常态下的一个新的突破吗?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

From ‘Inclusive Society’ To ‘Time To Work Together’, Can the PAP Change?

 
2012 Budget calls for an inclusive society and provides more assistance to middle and lower income families.  A step seems different from the past PAP government.  But an inclusive society can only take place when everyone is in.  So, is the PAP inclusive or exclusive in our society?  Is the government working inside or outside the inclusive society?

Not only we want to build an inclusive society, we also need to work together as a divided society, no matter how inclusive it is, will still be an unproductive and ineffective society.  Hence,      

Former foreign minister George Yeo on Saturday urged Singaporeans of all political stripes to work together for the interests of the country, saying Singapore has been divided since last year's general election. (ST 25 March 2012)

Suddenly, we realise we are a divided society, thanks to the general election last year. For the past 50 or so years, are we a united society or an inclusive society? Can a society be divided just because there is a general election or in a short term of few years?

冰冻三尺非一日之寒 – A frozen ice is not made up of one day of cold.  We can only say that when the PAP elites call for inclusive society and work together Singapore, they are just excluding themselves in the march and in the process of a unifying Singapore. 

>When Singaporeans complain about high price of HDB flats, they say it is affordable. It is because they don’t buy HDB flats.

>When Singaporeans complain about the overcrowded MRT, they say it is not as bad as others. It is because they don’t take public transport.

>When Singaporeans complain about the high number of foreigners, they say we are not producing enough.  It is because they don’t know the job situation and cost of living in Singapore.

>………

Looking at the above and other examples, you can judge for yourself whether the PAP government is inside or outside our inclusive society. 

If yes, then we have an inclusive but divided society. This is because the PAP wants to have an inclusive Singapore society but except the PAP elites.  They want to have an inclusive society but they don’t know how to fix themselves into the inclusive society.  This is the current situation as George Yeo had described. Or a lesson George Yeo (or perhaps the PAP) has learnt after 2011 GE. Is this the minimum that they are willing to admit that their past 50 or so years of economic developments have led to a divided society? And with no other choices, they have to urge Singaporeans to work together for an inclusive society.  

If no, then we will face an even worst situation - a divided society plus an exclusive society.  Not only the PAP is not in the picture of inclusive society, they are another group of Singaporeans joining the PAP wanting to be excluded in the inclusive society.  This will result to not only an exclusive Singapore society but also a divided Singapore society.  Is this happening? George Yeo or the PAP has downplayed this possibility.  But if you look around, you cannot deny that the rich and the poor are living in 2 different worlds in Singapore.  This is especially true in recent years. Languages used and spoken, lifestyle, income gap, housing, heritages, neighborhood and elite schools, and many other examples, are not only dividing Singapore but also make certain parts of Singapore exclusive to certain group of people.

Facing a divided and not inclusive Singapore society, who should make the first step to treat the social ill? With all the country’s resources in their hands, the PAP elites have to make the first move and move it fast.   ‘Calling others to act, to be inclusive and one remains exclusive and outside the inclusive society’ is the problem of the PAP.  A government is a servant of the people, if the government is still acting like a master, giving orders and commands, demanding people to work together, without putting themselves into other people’s shoes, then the majority will have to think whether they should kick the PAP out of the inclusive Singapore society.  Or simply the majority should consider whether it is time to change the government.

Because a divided society, under the rule of one man one vote, will have to choose a government that is representing the majority.   Will the majority continuing to vote for the PAP in a divided and exclusive society?   Has the PAP engaged in the right way? Or they act or pretend to be inclusive but think exclusively in their hearts.  

The election of Hong Kong’s Chief executive in 2012 shows how the majority and minority behave in a divided and exclusive society.  Those 1200 have the right to vote are just minority (and many of them are living in their own exclusive society). Nevertheless, they have chosen a candidate not according to the wishes of the majority based on a mock poll of Hong Kong University.

Hong Kong residents are not as privileged as Singaporeans. They don’t have the voting right to elect their Chief Executive. But even that there is a similarity – the winner of the election is preferred by a certain outsider.  For Hong Kong, the winner, CY Leung is supported and preferred by the Beijing authority. For Singapore, the winner of PE2011, Tony Tan is supported and preferred by the PAP.

Can the same situation repeat itself in the next round of elections in Hong Kong and Singapore?  Especially in Hong Kong, if the ordinary residents get the right to vote their next Chief Executive in 2017, then the majority will show the real colour.  Interestingly for Singapore too, our next presidential election will also be a better indicator of the wishes of the majority.

Let’s hope that the majority will win the next time. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

外劳女佣会不会成为新加坡文化遗产的一部分?



不论外劳女佣还是内劳,还是弱势群体,低下层人士,好像都和最近几十年来新加坡的经济发展,繁荣,国民人均步步高升,没有关系。他们就好似过客一样,跟我国的文化遗产不发生关系,带着汗血来,带着汗血去,没有留下遗迹。

匆匆的来,匆匆的去,我们似乎只记得外来人才,奖学金得主,位高的权贵,而忘记了外劳和内劳,他们真的一点贡献也没有吗?我们没有认可内劳的贡献,没有当他们是遗产的一部分,自然而然的对外来的劳工女佣,也会同样的对待,忽视他们的贡献,低估他们在建设国家中的功劳。

独立前后,我们还记得有红头巾,劳工,码头工人,家庭女佣,甚至三轮车夫,街边小贩,五脚基。在我们的博物馆里,还可以看到这些人的身影,默默地说着他们的故事。

如今,我们进入服务型经济,金融财务,管理,科技,医药卫生等等高增值的商业活动,这才是我们要认可的,才是我们要遗产化的。 因此,对做着这些干粗活的人,不论外劳还是内劳,我们就另眼相对,尽可能压低他们的收入,借口就是你们生产力低,没有办法让你们拿多一点。

在这一点上,对内对外,行动党的立场是蛮一致的。对所谓的人才,富人,不分内外,都是欢迎,认可,和鼓励的。对于劳工,低下层人民,不论内外,则是另一套做法,另一种态度,深怕给这些人太多的福利,太多有机可乘的机会,他们就不提高生产力,工作不认真。

事实上,我国低下层人民的苦境,也不正是外劳女佣的困境吗?当新加坡的国民人均收入节节上升时,这批人并没有得到好处,反而是原地踏步,没有分享到经济发展带来的好处。当别人人均收入上升时,你没有跟着上升。这样,就会把贫富的差距拉大了。所以,国民人均的上升,好像跟外劳,内劳没有关系,那么。这些增加的财富去了哪里?谁把蛋糕吃了?蛋糕越大,没有内劳,外劳的份,就只有人才,上层的份。

人均收入增加,即意味着整个国家的财富增加了,然而却不是人人有份,这是不是说,收入没有增加的人,是没有做出贡献的人?(政府的一贯说法是这些人生产力低,所以,收入当然就低了)因此,这些低生产力的人不被认可,也不是新加坡近年经济发展过程中的一份子。当然的,自然的,不论他们来自国内还是国外,我国的文化遗产也就没有他们的份,也容不下他们的身影。

我们的包容,利益分配是建立在契约合同上的

真的这么难将外劳内劳纳入我们的国家遗产吗?我们有着这么漂亮的机场,海港,公寓,商场,高楼大夏,地铁,甚至于组屋,医院,巴士站等等,没有他们的血汗,我们再聪明的头脑,也不过是一个没兵的将军。

我国社会的上下层,国人和外人,有着太多的契约性关系,有着太多的经济条件的合同。我们给你发薪水,让你有收入养家,你付出劳力,汗水,是应该,是应当的,大家跟着契约走,跟着合同走,只要我如期出粮给你,大家就互不亏欠了。在这样一种发展模式下,我们很难把外劳内劳的苦劳,当成是一种贡献,一种值得引以为荣的遗产。 

每当,在福康宁公园散步时,我都在想新加坡有没有可能也设一堵墙,纪念这些外劳内劳的贡献。尤其是那些客死异乡,工伤意外而无法安全回国的人,把他们的名字刻在墙上,作为一种吊念,也作为新加坡文化遗产的一部分,告诉国内外的人,我们认可这些人的贡献,他们对建设新加坡留下了血与汗。

福康宁的墓碑墙,让人记起新加坡的过去

血与汗的纪念

福康宁公园有一堵墙,上面贴满墓碑,墓志铭,那是百多,两百年前英国殖民地官员,商人,还有他们的家人留下来的。可能是 整修公园时,把坟墓拿掉,却把墓碑铭留下。虽然他们的坟墓没有了,但是他们的墓碑铭却可以作为一堵墙,作为一种纪念,也可以让国人了解新加坡以前的历史,曾经有过的一段过去。 

这个做法,是否可以灵活的应用到外劳女佣的身上?我们不一定要贴满墓碑铭的墙,这可以是一个纪念碑,一个纪念的墙,纪念着他们的贡献,纪念着他们曾经在新加坡有过的一段过去。

以人口比例来说,新加坡的外劳女佣比例,很可能是世界上最高的国家和地区之一。以数目来说,也是够惊人的,可以从几十万人,甚至在高峰时期的上百万人。这不是个小数目,怎能不是新加坡的一部分,不是新加坡的特殊文化遗产呢?

但是,这些人,不是移民,他们只可以在这里工作,合同契约满了,就要走人,回到自己的祖国。他们在这里留下的情,外劳和女佣的情爱,很可能比对新加坡还要深,还要刻苦铭心呢!

外劳女佣的经济贡献

事实上,他们不只付出汗水和血的贡献,他们还为我们的消费经济做出贡献。

他们吸着世界上最贵的烟,喝着也可能是世界上最贵的酒,还有电讯公司为他们推出的各种预先付费电话服务,超市商场的大大小小消费,有些不幸的,还为万字,多多,赌场做出贡献。总之,他们是在排名世界上最贵的城市之一的新加坡消费,但是,和内劳一样,外劳的收入,也不是世界上最高,没有相应的调整。因此,外劳和内劳一样,都是贫富不均,不均扩大的受害者。也同样一起挤搭巴士和地铁。

外劳女佣,外国人还可以选择不来,或者到其他国家去。新加坡的低下层人民,可就没有这个选择了。这样一来,内劳不是更为可悲吗?或许,这个可悲,催生了新的政治常态,新的要求,而逼使政府推出更多包容性的政策。

外劳的减少看来已成为国策,新加坡要减少依赖外劳,但是,外劳亦可以选择不来。因此,过去以外劳女佣主导的经济,将进入另一个阶段,不只是外劳,外来女佣,很可能也是一个问题。
所以,外劳女佣是新加坡历史的一部分,不论我们认可不认可他们的贡献,总之,我们不可能,也不可以抹掉这段历史。最好还是,勇敢的承认和面对,他们是我们繁荣背后的一部分文化遗产。或许,有朝一日,人家富了,有钱了,还会记得在新加坡的日子,还带着家人回来消费。不是有人曾经预言,我们再不上进,不提高生产力,新加坡女人很可能要到外地当女佣吗?

外劳女佣可以来去自由,但是,他们没权力改变新加坡,更新政治常态。我国人民,当然也可以不听老人言,选择不出国当外劳女佣,而选择在新加坡改变政府的思维,改变行动党多多向下看,而不是只向上看,向钱看。这个觉悟,这个话语权,这个投票权的新发现,还只是刚刚开始而已。


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

iSaw - A rare opportunity to know how the government thinks and works

 

We should welcome the blog of Saw Phaik Hwa and thank her for sharing with us her experience in running a GLC.  Looking back, we have not seen any one from any GLC who are willing to stand forward to be assessed and evaluated. We certainly like to see and hear the success story of Temasek Holdings, but will there be one? Will Temasek CEO share with you how the billions dollars are invested?

So, at least Saw dares to step forward and provides her side of story.  Good or bad, right or wrong we respect her views and appreciate her sharing. 

Certainly, SMRT is related to the government and its operations and services are the reflections of the PAP mindsets towards voters. We can see how a listed public company making use of monopoly, public facilities, funds and finance to enrich the public and themselves. We hope to read the philosophy of (SMRT) public service in Singapore and the attitude of government towards its citizens in basic transport services.  

Perhaps, Saw is too proud of what she had done at SMRT and by sharing her experience and achievement with us; she can then justify her “high or not so high?” salary. Readers will judge her performance with other stated owned metro corporations in the world and understand the motive and rational for making a public good profitable.

We hope she can share more and disclose more management issues and service philosophy. This will certainly make a good case study for business schools and management consultancy. We rarely and hardly see a profitable public transport company in the world.  The case of SMRT will prove to the world that it is possible to make public transport profitable and it can be a quality standard and benchmark for business excellence in communications sector.   

Not to forget, the efficiency of our public transport system is one of the key factors that Singapore achieved high standing in international competitiveness.  So, there is a good reason to read iSaw and find out the secret success recipe of our mass rapid transit system.  

Saw talked about how she prevented “huge fare increases” by raising revenue.  It will be interesting to hear from her the $1.1 billion buses subsidy to SBS and SMRT.  Is this because there is no more way to increase revenue anymore? Have all the SMRT retail spaces already been used and developed? If she can prevent huge subsidy from government to SMRT, then her million dollar compensation is really worth paying for.  And more importantly, SMRT should re-employ and reinstate her CEO position as she can help to save public money for unnecessary subsidy.             

We look forward for more interesting revelations from iSaw. And we hope the government will not stop iSaw for doing so.  Unfortunately, there is a possibility that the more she reveals, there more uncomfortable and embarrass the government will be - just like how she shows off her luxury life style to the public! 

Monday, 19 March 2012

吸金容易,造景难。 这个硬道理会被烧掉吗?



李光耀的金字招牌,果然如愿以偿,在短时间内,为“李光耀双语基金”凑得超过一亿元的基金,但是,面对着无可奈何‘华’落去,这个双语的学前教导和鼓励,是否又是另一个乱红飞过秋千去,想再造一个学习华文华语的环境,真是一个钱字就能解决吗?

钱对很多落后国家来说,对很多穷国来说,是一个大问题,但是,像新加坡这么富有的国家,区区一亿元,的确是小儿科,李光耀还没有出声,很多人就急着要出钱了。所以,目标一亿,现在已经超过了,数目还会继续增加,只要,能够打造一个学习母语的环境,多多钱也不在乎,怕只怕再多的钱,也换不回失去的华校生精神,南大精神。

李光耀一生的挑战,穷其一生,想要打造的双语人,叫孩子爱惜母语,难道就这么困难而无法做到吗?为什么,金钱无法找回精神?

秦始皇做不到,我们做到?

让我们回顾一下,最近的一则小新闻,有些小孩,为了庆祝摆脱华文的学习,泄愤心里的怨气,就开始烧起一直折磨他们,一路追随他们不放的华文课本。这虽然是一小部分孩子的所为,但是,也可以看出问题的严重性。还记得吗?几十年前,有些英文源流学生,以考到华文F9为荣,现在,更发展到烧书泄愤。

这个发展过程,根本没有走完一生,也没有走完半生,那只不过是人生的刚刚开始,就从F9升级到烧书,再发展下去,最好是不用读,不用懂,也不用学。这也显示出,这个学习华文华语的环境,已经到了什么地步。

秦始皇当年焚书,还是他自动自发的,没有他下令焚书,谁敢焚书,谁敢烧书。秦始皇还要出动人力物力,找书来烧,这么大费周章做着焚书运动。相反的,秦始皇还是不如我们的教育部,我们竟然能够教育孩子,自动自发的烧书,这种丰功伟绩,就连秦始皇也比不上,还要拜我们为师呢!我们的境界,可以说已经是最上乘的了,不用吹灰之力,不用劳师动众,打从心里让你自愿的烧书,这一招,恐怕秦始皇再世,也要自叹不如了。

我们现在想走回头路,想唤回过去的精神,学习热诚,纠正不爱惜华文华语的态度,真的很可能是一路无归。从小做起,从学前做起,从烧书,退回到F9,再退回到喜爱学习华文华语,这原本是一生人,就应该做的,现在看起来,一生人还不够,要再来一个一生人,再来一个再生人。一生人的挑战,竟然成了再生再再生的挑战。

秦始皇最终并没有把天下的书都烧光,天下的儒生也没有死光。焚书阬儒只是一个历史的教训,春风吹又生,虽然,在精神上,能让孩子自动自发的烧书,但是,却不可能叫全部的 孩子都去烧书。从乐观的角度看来,李光耀是不是想要保护这根最后的稻草,想要从新出发,让这最后的稻草,长出更多的稻草,立根于新加坡,只是,早知如此,那又何必当初呢?

转了一个大圈,才知道自己一生的挑战,原来是原地踏步,钱是有了,名是有了,精神上的空虚,推广双语双文化的梦,几时才能落实?

怕只怕把硬道理也烧掉

说不定,根本不必追求什么,对于中国来说,一个讲英语的新加坡,很可能比一个讲双语的新加坡来得有用,中国不缺少汉语人才,顶尖的人才,双语也肯定行。中国乐得见到单语的新加坡,这样既能充当假洋鬼子,也能利用新加坡对中国的无知,善加利用,获利当会更高。反而是老外,不知就里,以为新加坡双语双文化就能为他们打开中国的大门,真是赔了夫人又折兵。

或许,假洋鬼子是快乐的。有大车,大房子,高薪厚禄,出国游玩到欧美,和洋人打交道,说洋话,根本不需要李前资政,穷其一生的努力,面对语境的改变,还要为新加坡的小孩干着急。

李光耀为他们贡献书本,凑足基金,不知是否会有些坏小孩,心生邪念,动起烧书的念头来!硬硬就是要把硬道理给活活的烧掉。到时,秦始皇英灵再现,也要说声佩服佩服了。

Saturday, 17 March 2012

China also wants to reform politically, what are we waiting for?




As a preparation of the post LKY-era, Singapore should engage in political reform – moving away from a system that is so much associated with Lee Kuan Yew’s successes and failures.  Moving ahead, the new political normal should go back to the basic democracy – power back to the people.   The new order is People first and Economics second – the origin of the People’s Action Party.    

China wants to have political reforms so that they can avoid the tragedies of Cultural Revolution.  More importantly, the Chinese Communists Party hopes to stay in power by reforming itself.  
Some may argue this has nothing to do with Singapore. We don’t have Cultural Revolution and we are not a one-party state.  Furthermore, we don’t have tragedies like Cultural Revolution. So, what is the need?   

However, we do operate like a one-party state. We do have the ISA and political prisoners. We do have the state-control media and our economy is run like a central planning near monopoly of GLCs.   

Fortunately or unfortunately, Singapore has developed into a stage that we need to do things differently from the past. As what Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a news reference: ‘China needs not only economic reform but also political structural reform, especially the reform of the leadership system of the Party and the government.’

Yes, the Party and the government, so do the PAP and the Singapore government.

China realises that they can no longer use economic development to solve their problems.  They have to bring up their development to a higher level – politically, socially and mentally.

Our long overdue reforms

Based on our economic development, political reform in Singapore should take place 10 or even 20 years ago.  Then we thought of Swiss standard of living, and indeed when Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister, we did see some lights of liberation. However, this freedom was short-lived and soon it was back to square one.

Till now, we have yet to achieve the Swiss standard of living even though our income per capita is quite close to the Swiss.  Not only we do not have the Swiss standard of living, we certainly are quite far behind from the Swiss standard of political freedom and system.

The political reform in Singapore is far overdue.  Our political system is in stagnation while our economic system and development achieve tremendous progress.  Like the rich-poor gap, the gap between economic and political development becomes bigger and bigger.  Can this situation sustain forever?

Not only our political system never progress with time, it seems to turn backward.  When we gained independence in 1965, we have ISA, it still exists today.  However, when our economy develops upward, our political development goes backward.  The PAP keeps on adding new political restrictions and controls to their advantages, for example, the introduction of GRCs, boundary changes, presidential elections and the required certificates to run for the office.  In addition, the PAP creates monopolies – the 3-in- 1instant coffee power type of political relationship (the PAP, union and government), the monopoly of media and the monopoly of GLCs.         

The CCP knows that their long-term survival depends on political reforms and for China to continue to progress and develop; they just cannot let their political system remains unchanged.  They realise political change will not only affect the CCP but also the whole China.  And any uncertainty in China will affect not only Chinese people but the whole world.

The PAP should think more about Singapore and Singaporeans.  Opening up political system and engaging in political reforms are good for the PAP too as it can face the real challenges and convince Singaporeans that they are real fighters and fight to win in elections.        

Below is the full report about Wen’s view on political reforms from Shanghai Daily on 15 March 2012. It is not only a refreshing piece but a reminder to Singapore and the PAP. 

[[Premier Wen Jiabao warned yesterday that turmoil that engulfed China during the so-called "cultural revolution" could re-emerge unless the country tackles political reforms.

In a three-hour news conference, Wen said China needs not only economic reform but also political structural reform, especially the reform of the leadership system of the Party and the government.

Wen warned that historical tragedies like the "cultural revolution" may recur if the country fails to push forward political reform to uproot problems occurring in society.

"Now reforms in China have come to a critical stage," Wen said, warning: "Without successful political reform, it's impossible for China to fully institute economic reform and the gains we have made in these areas may be lost, and new problems that popped up in the Chinese society will not be fundamentally resolved, and such historical tragedies as the "cultural revolution" may happen again in China."

The "cultural revolution" was 10 years of anti-establishment and radical egalitarianism from 1966-1976 that spiraled into violence which saw millions persecuted and many Party and government leaders jailed, sent into internal exile or left to die.

Wen noted that after the crackdown on the Gang of Four, which included Jiang Qing, the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong, the Party adopted resolutions on many historical matters and decided to conduct reforms and opening up. Still, he said, the mistakes of the "cultural revolution" and feudalism have yet to be fully eliminated.

"The reform can only go forward and must not stand still, much less go backwards because that offers no way out," Wen said.

He said he had addressed the topic of political structural reform in China on many occasions in recent years.

He said his long interest in political reform comes from "a strong sense of responsibility."

As the economy continues to develop, Wen said, such problems as income disparity, lack of credibility and corruption have occurred.

The premier said he believed that any member of the Party and government officials with a sense of responsibility must fully recognize that further reform is "an urgent task" for China.

"I know very well that the reform will not be an easy one and the reform will not be able to succeed without the consciousness, the support, the enthusiasm and creativity of our people," Wen said.
(Shanghai Daily, 15March 2012)]]

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

新加坡版本的香港特首之争?似曾相识燕归来。


虽然新加坡和香港的政治制度不同,总统和特首的选举制度也很不同,但是从民意的角度出发,却有着相似之处,因为首轮选举胜出的香港特首候选人,有可能无法获得超过半数的选票,而导致流选的局面。

这是当初基本法设计特首选举制度时,没有想到的。当时,怎么会想到有资格投选特首的(自己)人,会有一半不会选举(自己)钦点的候选人,而导致即使自己钦点的候选人胜出,也得不到一半的票数,而产生流选的危险。事实上,行动党在设计集选区制度时,应该也认为在野党绝对无法突破集选区,赢得超过50%以上的选票,所以,即使有点擦边,也大胆的在国会通过,为延续政权铺路。

民意,民心归属的压力

但是,民心的方向,归属,并不是100%依赖制度所能够控制住的。只要有机会投票,即使选举制度有利制度的设计者,什么选区划分,集选区制度,都是阻挡不了选民的意愿。即使,好像香港,没有普选,没有全民投票选特首,手中握有选票的代表,也不敢过于违背民意,全数投票给中央钦点的特首候选人。

当然,还有一些是自己争取得来的。就像中国广东乌坎的自主选举,可以算是比较温和的。如果是中东的茉莉花运动,那就是激烈到极点,政府被推翻倒台了。

我们都知道,在基本法下,香港特首今年的投票人数只有1200人,他们分别代表4个界别(见下图)。

(wikipedia.org)

1200 人组成一个香港特别行政区选举委员会,要中选成为特首,就必须获得最少600张票。即50%的选票。要参加选举,候选人首先必须获得最少150个提名,少过这个数目,没有资格参加特首选举。这有点象我们的总统候选人资格证书,没有证书,根本就没有资格成为我国总统选举的候选人。

如果以1200人代表全香港选民,那么150人就是占了选民人数的12.5%。不论从比例来说,或者人数上来计算,香港特首候选人的资格取得,在一定程度上,都比新加坡总统选举委员会的(3个委员)人数来得多,来得更具代表性。或许,我们可以考虑将来我国总统候选人的资格证书,可以以这个方式来决定。或者,对得不到总统参选资格证书的人,也可以通过这个方式 (取得12.5%选民认可),获得参选资格,这有点像宋楚瑜取得总统参选资格一样。

由于这次特首选举出现3位特首候选人,就像我国去年出现4位总统候选人,因此,成了多角战,大家回想一下我国去年的总统选举,没有一位候选人获得50%,那么香港特首之争,也很可能出现首轮胜利者,没有取得600张选票(50%),这就很可能导致流选局面的出现。

[選委將於2012325日進行一人一票不記名投票。而要勝出本次選舉,候選人需要取得超過全體1200名選委中的半數(600票)有效票[4] 如在首輪投票中,沒有候選人取得超過半數有效票,將淘汰最低票數的候選人進入下一輪投票;如果剩下兩名候選人的情況下,依然沒有候選人取得超過半數有效票,將作流選論,整個選舉將會由提名期起開始重新進行一次,並於六個星期後(56日)重新投票]( http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012)

谈了这么久,还没有提到特首候选人的名字,他们分别是唐英年(获得最多的提名票数,即390张),梁振英(305个提名)和何俊仁(188个提名)。除了唐英年和梁振英没有政党背景外,何俊仁是民主党主席,他代表泛民主派出战这次的特首选举。

这次的香港特首选举,和董建华,曾荫权上两回的中选情形,有很大的不同。他们两人的中选有着绝对的优势,就好像我们的上几回总统选举,没有其他总统候选人一样,只有一个候选人,那当然是自动当选了。为何这次中央和港府失去了绝对优势呢?

世界上的政治风向,现在是吹着选举风,既然有选举,就不能像以前一样,做个样子,以一些手段,以绝对优势,让自己喜欢,钦点的候选人中选。因此,即使不喜欢出现一对一的选举,也要有多角战。所以,新加坡平静的总统选举,在去年也出现激烈的竞争,原本平安无事的香港特首竞争,也出现非常激烈的竞争,还有,就连缅甸,也要出现有竞争性的选举,让反对派出来参加竞选,向国际形势看齐。

(因此,总理才会说,后港单选区将有补选,不然,就会逆风而行,成了国际笑话)

选民(特首选举委员会会员)意识提高,备感压力

除了候选人的素质外,具有投票权的1200人,也出现变数,他们不再像以前一样盲目的提名和投票给钦点的候选人。而这1200 人,虽然不能代表香港全部选民,但是,也不敢脱离民意,或者说,有些人自我认知提高,自我意识判断力增强,所以导致民主派人物何俊仁获得提名资格。这是不是有点像陈如斯,陈钦亮获得总统候选人资格一样,我国的总统选举委员会,是否也有着压力,不得不在民意下,发多几张总统候选人资格证书呢?

为了避免好像香港流选局面的出现,我国的总统选举,并没有规定候选人一定要得到50%以上的选票,才算中选。在这点上也可见行动党的先见之明,不然,去年总统选举,第一轮流选,第二轮如果是一对一,陈庆炎能否当选新加坡总统,很多人心里应该有数,谁会是新加坡真正的总统选举胜出者。

中央保持中立?行动党保持中立?

唐英年原本是中央看好的特首候选人,开始时,有点像曾荫权,选前备受看好。这像不像陈庆炎,一开始,就先声夺人。陈庆炎一出场,大家都认为其他还没有取得候选人资格的人,即使有资格参选,也无法对他造成威胁。不论国内外,陈庆炎的声势,履历,条件,都不是其他候选人可以比得上的。即使如此,陈庆炎是越到投票日,压力越大。

但是在香港,香港传媒的爆料却害惨了唐英年,民意调查显示,香港群从不支持唐英年。但是,陈庆炎虽然没有丑闻,为何新加坡人民也不支持他?怪只怪他跟行动党太接近了,虽然脱党,但是,他的独立性,他在危急时刻,是否能为民服务,有着太多的问号。当然,行动党最希望他中选,可人民却不是这么想。中央希望唐英年中选,但是,香港人民却不是这么想。

再说梁振英,他的背景,他和中央的关系也不错。如果,唐英年不能胜出,在一定程度上,中央是可以认可梁振英出任特首。他的出现,有点像陈清木,基层工作做的不错,民意也高,虽然是行动党前党员,但是有本身的独立性。可惜,梁振英也有负面新闻,这有点像陈清木有不利的新闻一样,虽然其严重性,没有梁振英那么严重。无论如何,他和行动党的关系,也导致有些选民对他不放心。梁振英和中央的关系,也使一些香港人不放心。在一定程度上,如果陈庆炎真的选不上,行动党还是可以接受陈清木的,就像中央可以接受梁振英任特首一样。

中央最不可以接受的局面是何俊仁出任特首。事实上,何俊仁几乎没有丑闻和负面新闻,只是民主的意识太高,高到中央无法接受。相同的,行动党也是最不能接受陈如斯出任总统,虽然,他有一定的选民支持,但是,却最可能唱反调,因此最希望他不能中选。

目前的局势演变,却变得中央要保持中立,或者,让人觉得中央是保持中立。这像不像去年新加坡总统大选,行动党先是表态支持陈庆炎,后来,越来越保持中立,最后,干脆说,尊重民意,接受人民的选择。现在,中央也说尊重香港人的意愿,接受选出来的特首。

竞选口号,似曾相识

现在,让我们看看香港特首选举三位候选人的竞选口号,然后,再跟新加坡去年总统选举首三位得票最高候选人的口号做比较,真的好像,好接近,异曲同工,不同政治背景,竟然问题都是一样。

第一组:
唐英年:
明天再你我 We Are Tomorrow
陈庆炎:
充满信心, 迎接未来 Confidence for the Future

他们在高谈明天,未来,似乎不知道现在人民的情形,有点叫人民画饼充饥。

第二组:
梁振英:
齐心一意  撑香港 One Heart One Vision For Hong Kong
陈清木:
新加坡人优先Think Singaporeans First

他们都考虑到当地人,要为当地人民做事,比前两位现实和实际的多了。

第三组:
何俊仁:
公义香港 理想生活 向霸权宣战 For social JUSTICE & IDEALS, against political & economic hegemony in HK
陈如斯:
国家的良心 Heart of the Nation

他们两位的境界最高,要有理想,有良心,但是,在两地的经济金钱面前,曲高和寡,走在时代的前头。

还有,看看出面支持他们的提名人和财团,专业人士,政党人士,新港两地,支持唐英年和陈庆炎的人背景很像,支持梁振英和陈清木的人也很像,当然,为何俊仁和陈如斯的背书人也很接近。或许,大家都是各事其主,都在为自身的利益做打算。

看了上面的竞选口号和支持者,香港和新加坡不单单经济上有相似之处,就连政治,这种原本不相干的发展,竟然也会出现相似之处,是不是有些匪夷所思?