Saturday, 28 April 2012

总理的面簿 能打开新加坡民主自由之门吗?



总理推出自己的面簿,表现出亲民的作风,但是,我们却丝毫没有看出一点自由之风。原本,总理可以借着这个面簿,展现民主自由之风,看来,那只不过是做给国人看,说给国人听。在外国人眼中,在坚信民主自由的国人眼中,根本是一成不变,换了一个脸,面子还是一样,没有勇气,面对改变,面对现实,面对政治新常态的胡姬花之风。

破产人士是否没有出国的自由,还是这个人的自由,会伤害到新加坡的利益,尤其是行动党的利益。在新的政治常态下,行动党政府有必要面对人民要求更多自由的呼声,而行动党更要面对人民的自由之声,正视人民的民主要求,而不是处处像过去一样为难人民,害怕人民发声,害怕不同的声音。

徐顺全真的那么可怕吗?徐顺全真的是洪水猛兽吗?经过20年的抹黑(?),怎么还是有人相信徐顺全的一些做法,最近民主党提出的医疗政改方案,虽然不能说是十全十美,但是,这也是一个替代的方法,如果,大多数人民支持,这个不行的政策,也会成为可行的方案。新加坡就是太缺少替代的声音,所以,一旦有些替代方案出来,一言堂的主流媒体,就会跑出来大声的指责,好像这些言论违背了建国之道,这些人成了汉奸似的。最近,提出的大幅度提升低薪工友的工资,老年保险计划,也好像是洪水猛兽一样,不受欢迎。

一个成熟的新加坡,应该可以接受更大的民主自由空间,一个政治新常态,应该不害怕让人民指指点点,如果连这个最基本的接受挑战的勇气都没有,那么,政府的政策,措施,怎么能够包容更多的意见,更能为人民的利益为先。

从今年的预算案开始,一直到现在五一劳动节,政府一直在高喊包容,包容的社会,要照顾人民,但是,这个包容,也应该包容人民发声的自由。看来,行动党要的是人人包容它,而不是行动党包容人人。行动党要人民给它自由的包容,而不接受人民要求包容自由。这是一种单方面的包容,就像,曹操的宁可天下人负我,我不负天下人一样。哦,搞了这么久,才知道包容的真正意义,原来包容有里外之分。

行动党或许自我感觉良好,不知道现实已经改变了。民主党在徐顺全默默耕耘下,虽然在去年大选中没有取得国会议席的突破,但是,选票却有上升。试问,一个不值得信赖的徐顺全如何能够把民主党的得票拉高,同时还招揽一批专业人士,怎么还有这么多人和他一起疯呢?我们真的要好好地想一想,到底是谁在讲真话,还是真中有假,假中有真?结果搞得选民真假难分,不知所终。

有关徐顺全不准到奥斯陆出席国际自由论坛的会议,主流媒体较少报道,尤其是中文报纸,好像只字不提。在网上言论越来越开放的时代,和20年前相比,这种选择性报道的做法,实在是太落伍了。这就好像拿着大哥大手机,想上网看总理的面簿一样,那当然是什么也看不到。看来,总理虽然有了面簿,但是思想还是处于大哥大的时代。

希望他能用智慧型手机,上网看看国际人权基金会写给他的信,然后在他的面簿上给予回答。



既然有了面簿,何不借着这个机会向国人说清楚,不让徐顺全以破产之身到奥斯陆去的原因。或者,让他去,看看他能发表什么自由的言论,发表什么替代的看法。或许,政府还可以借机反驳他的替代言论,指出他的错误,让国人看清徐顺全的底细,是不是夹着洋人的尾巴自重。

不让徐顺全出席国际自由大会,反而让国人觉得行动党政府有所隐瞒,害怕徐顺全说出不利自己的话。我们新加坡政府是这样一个经不起考验的政府吗? 只有极权国家才会这么做,现在连缅甸政府都让异议人士翁山苏姬出国,难道我们的自由程度要拿来和缅甸相比吗?这是倒退,不是进步。

在国际上,新加坡的自由嘴脸和政府所倡议的包容社会在自由程度上有距离,或许,我们不应该依赖洋人来告诉我们什么是自由。发言的自由,原本就是去年胡姬花之风的一项要求,难道行动党政府还没有听进去吗?难道徐顺全的替代言论就真能动摇新加坡的国本吗?这也太少看新加坡人的智慧了,我们如果没有这种判断能力,而一直要政府来下指导棋,那么我们如何立足成为第一世界国家,如何创新,如何博雅,如何面对更加困难的挑战。

生命诚可贵,爱情价更高,若为自由故,两者皆可抛。

Friday, 27 April 2012

Next step: Moving unproductive Singaporeans out of Singapore



Judging from the latest development in our population strategies, some Singaporeans especially those unproductive and uncompetitive ones may have to leave our first world country and move to the third world countries.  The Prime Minister Office has claimed that new immigrants are “talents and good quality”. 

As compared to new citizens, old and existing citizens are not that talent and good quality.  So, with low earning power and capability, how can they live in our expensive first world country?  One option is to move out of Singapore with the sponsorship from the government.  Not to forget even foreigners staying here have commented that it is not the duty of the government to provide jobs to the citizens. Hence, these talented foreigners may also consider sponsoring the leaving of unproductive Singaporeans.

Asking unproductive and uncompetitive citizens to leave their home countries is not something new.  Japan has tried to move some citizens to Brazil before, especially those retirees and sick citizens. Not long ago, we also heard the suggestion of going to JB for cheaper medical care and old age nursing. It is not a surprise the next suggestion from our dear leader is to move out of Singapore and stay in the cheaper countries.

Suddenly we realize that there are citizens earning third world wages in our first world country. We also notice that there are inadequate medical cares for citizens.  It is a situation of having a first world medical environment and at the same time citizens are enjoying third world medical coverage and care. We should treat these problems seriously and with urgency.

So, we are a first world country yet also a third world country, depending on your earning power.  There is no way, citizens with third world wages and medical coverage can enjoy their lives here.    Unless, we can create an exclusive third world environment - cheaper housing, cheaper medical care, cheaper food etc. – for low income families in Singapore.  This is certain not possible because this little red dot has not land for the poor, for the exclusive low productivity zone.

The alternative perhaps is to send unproductive citizens to third world countries where they can continue to enjoy their lives with their third world income.  For this, the Singapore government may sponsor their daily expenses – just to keep them out of Singapore and leave the space for talent and good quality immigrants. This also makes economic sense: our land is for talents to maximize profit and not for low productivity, retired and old workers. The generated profit can well cover the sponsored daily expenses in the third world countries.  

This can be the next study of the National Population and Talent Division in the PMO.  Bring in 25,000 new young and talent immigrants and at the same time moving out the same number of old, unproductive and uncompetitive citizens to third world countries will definitely cut down our dependency ratio.  We also don’t have to worry about the total fertility rate.

Whenever there are suggestions different from the PAP, the government will paint a negative picture of the suggested proposals.   Some call it ‘scare tactics”.  But how far can the ‘scare tactics’ go? How frighten will the voters react and continue to support the PAP?

When you know one day you may be forced to move out of the country, not because of political reasons like the past, but the economical reason of living here, will you still support the PAP?   

Is “Loving Singapore, Our Home” still relevant to you? If you are forced to leave the country and seek residences in other low cost countries, will you still love Singapore and consider your home?

Act now before it is too late if you don’t want to be landed in a third world country. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

终极诱惑 挑战司法 道德 社会



牡丹花下死做鬼也风流。终极诱惑,对不同的人,它有着不同的的深度。吴三桂为了陈圆圆给满清开了方便之门,在历史上落得卖国求荣的汉奸的名声。可想而知,牡丹的终极诱惑,不同的人有着不同的承受深度,更何况一般人呢?因此,当名人嫖妓案进入司法程序,我们看到是更多的问题,更多的不理解,而不是更多的标准答案,合理的解释

名人嫖妓又涉及未成年少女,中介人又无牌营业,这又进一步把事情恶化。它不单向我们的司法挑战,更挑战我们的道德底线,突出我们的社会价值问题。 八卦新闻虽然精彩,很好读很好看,娱乐性高,但是我们有没有想到其背后的严重性,真的有点戏如人生, 人生如戏。在终极诱惑下,我们要如何寻求一个合情合理,十全十美的答案。而这有可能吗?我们在物欲横流,价值观念日日改变的环境下,如何面对这样的挑战?

这是发生在我们身边的事,未成年少女,就犹如邻家的女孩,学校里的学生,是这么普通的一个人,但是,她所亲牵引出来的问题,深具震撼性。其他地区和国家发生的事情,我们也一样拥有,不能说我们是小红点,我们控制的严一些,就没有这些援交,早熟,爱慕虚荣,甚至为家庭而牺牲,种种原因,种种经济发展带来的好的坏的现象,在所难免都会在新加坡发生。

那么所谓的名人呢? 也同样是熟悉的面孔,公务员,军人,商人,老师校长,律师,高管,外国人,本地人。他们是我们日常生活中,天天有可能遇到的人,日日在我们的身边擦身而过。但是,他们的消费,却比一般的性交易来得高,一夜风流的花费,可以高达低薪工友半个月的薪水。这又是一个贫富差距的写照,不过各有各的玩法,反而是低价合法没事,只有道德和社会问题。

司法判决 两全难美

所谓清官难理家事,表面上看来,这些案件只是司法问题,名人犯法,法庭给予适当的处罚,但是,道德和社会问题,却不是法庭能够合理的公平的给予判决。这只不过是解决了法律上的问题,更严重的道德和社会问题基本上并没有解决掉。

事实上,名人嫖妓案很可能是在公审我们的道德和社会价值。我们的底线是什么?不同的人有不同的解读,辩方律师不是说了吗,不需要隐瞒少女的身份,她只不过是个妓女,真正的受害人才是被告,他们是花了钱,还被当成傻瓜。

新加坡是比较奇怪的国家,我们虽然很严格,但是,政府也理解人们的性需要。因此,我们有合法的娼妓制度,这些名人如果是到芽笼去寻欢,就没有司法问题了,只有道德问题。或许,将来网上的性交易活动,可以利用现有的娼妓制度,加以延伸,那么,名人就不需要冒着犯法的风险,不过,这么做,不是又给合法娼寮,多一门生意了吗?(像不像,有了赌场,不让赌场提供交通接送便利,限制组屋居民进赌场一样呢!)

或许,当时只是要杜绝外国妓女,非法的网上性交易。但是,阴差阳错,反而把名人给粘上了,本国人成了被告。外国无牌妓女,外国少女妓女,一直是警方要对付的犯罪活动,政府事实上是要对付这些人,但是,既然外国人会犯罪,本国人也同样会犯罪,这里并没有界限,只允许外人犯罪,本地人可以幸免。(像不像,外国人进赌场输钱,本国人进赌场,就不会输钱的道理)。

不寂寞的十七岁和无知

大多数的中学,高中和和理工生,在我们的法律下,事实上,是不可以进行性行为的,这是犯法的。案中的少女,就是这个终极诱惑的年龄,如果年龄再上一点,名人的罪就轻多了。到底十七岁是无知的还是有知的年龄,我们的社会也和其他国家一样,人们越来越早熟,有些人,的确是有知,有些却是无知,但是法律就是法律,犯法就是犯法,不能因为不寂寞的十七岁,而有所改变。

我们一方面鼓励学生早谈爱情,然后早结婚,早生孩子。另一方面,又设定这个终极诱惑的年龄。或许,我们要问为何名人偏好少女,而愿意向这个终极诱惑挑战,最终败下阵来,搞到身败名裂。(有些人上赌场赌钱,会想到自己会输个清光,整个身家都输光吗?)

经济发展的社会问题

现代社会的发展,就是要靠经济的不断发展来推动。因此,有钱能使鬼推磨,一点都没有说的过分。这个鬼,这个终极诱惑,在钱的推动下,也不断的发展,变化。因此,计划跟不上变化,就常常出现,我们的司法,我们的娼妓制度,道德标准,社会的价值观念,又要做出怎么样的改变呢?令人担心的事,这些计划,变化,到底是向着正确还是不正确的方向发展。

因为,在笑贫不笑娼的背景下,在人要金装的条件下,我们很容易的就上了终极诱惑的船,越飘越远,最后,很可能迷失方向,不知要走向何方。

名人嫖妓案,只不过道德,社会问题的冰山一角。它把问题带出,让我们看到人性的一部分,或许,一部分人的人性。但是,这不过是把问题提出,把一部分人性暴露出来。它并没有提供答案,或许,永远都没有答案。中外的历史,也只能提供一个借镜,没有标准答案,而人人的答案也不同,忍受度也不同, 或许只能说声遗憾。。。。。

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Even maids have better bargaining power than low wage workers in Singapore



For the past years, we have seen the wage increase of maids from one hundred over dollars to now more than 300, 400 dollars per month. However, as pointed out by Prof. Lim Chong Yah, low wage workers have not enjoyed increase in wages over the same period.  Comparing to domestic helpers from other countries, our very own workers seems to have stagnation in income.   Are they less productive than the domestic helpers? Do they contribute less than the maids in our GDP?

Neighbouring countries know that they have to protect their workers and request Singapore government to raise the wage level of their country workers. What has happened to our government, why do they treat our low skills low wage workers differently?

People, who have experience in employing maids for a longer period, will notice whether the productivity of maids have improved over the same period.  With due respect to these domestic helpers, we know their productivity may be the same before and after wage adjustment.  However, considering the cost of livings, expenses, inflation, etc., we know we cannot pay them like before even the Singapore dollars has appreciated a lot over the years.  

As our income level increases, we also share the growth with our maids voluntarily or involuntarily.  Therefore, if we really have to link productivity and wage increase together as suggested by Lim Swee Say, then the foreign domestic helpers may not entitle for a wage increase. But we cannot do that if not, no foreign domestic helpers will come to Singapore.  It is also unfair to the domestic helpers who have help to maintenance and keep our houses clean as well as the well beings of our children.  So, when our income grows, we also share with our domestic helpers.  But why not the low wage Singapore workers? Who is going to take care about them? 

Even with wage increase, the foreign domestic maids working in Singapore is also facing a ‘short-change’ situation. Maids who work in Hong Kong and Taiwan are getting higher wages than in Singapore.  However, Singapore’s GNP per capita is higher than these two regions.    Hence, even for maids, there is also an under paid problem even with some wage increases.  The situation for low wage workers is even worst. They don’t even have an increase at all.  Their fate is worse than the maids.  By this analogy, Singapore low wage workers are treated less favourable than the foreign domestic helpers.   It is really amazing!
If we are willing to share the growth with foreigners, how come we can’t do the same for our own Singaporeans?  Is it because we can find replacement for our low wage workers but we cannot find substitutes for domestic helpers?  

So, this goes back to Prof Lim’s reasoning:  the import of foreign workers to replace low wage Singaporeans.   Even they are Singaporeans; the government will not care about their welfare and keep on pushing down their wages by allowing more foreign workers to come in.      

It is like the ancient Chinese landlords.  They keep pushing down the wages and income of the small farmers and landless farmers; they use different tactics to confiscate lands of small farmers or force them working until they drop.        

Singapore is a first world country and we see the third world or ancient practices here.  We can cry high to call for respects to low wage workers but is this enough?  They need a minimum income to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Who is going to help them? The PAP says no unless you improve your productivity.

So, this is a chicken and egg problem.  We may never get a satisfactory answer unless ….. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

借生产力压低工资 行动党的良心被钱吃掉


如果深一层的看待林崇椰的二次经济重组建议,在字里行间,我们看到的是过去十几年来,行动党政府有计划的利用生产力作为借口,有计划的压低低薪工友的薪金。因为和国外(香港,日本,澳大利亚)同行相比,我们工友的薪金竟然比他们的工友少拿了50%的收入,即使建议中的连续三年加薪,这些工友还是少拿50%。(见下)

这难道是一个有良心的政府,所应该做的事情吗?这难道是一个为人民而行动的政党所应该做的事情吗?它的良心跑到哪里,它的行动为谁而动,看来是被钱吃掉,为钱而行动。看来在所有发达国家中,人均收入最高的国家和地区中,我们是道道地地的资本主义信奉者,百分百的执行资本主义的教条。所以,才会走入极端,不能自拔。

看看早报是如何报道的:

  首先,虽然他能完全理解加薪幅度得跟生产力增长挂钩,但据他计算,和其他同等富裕的地区如香港、日本和澳大利亚相比,我国最低薪者的工资少了超过一半。  他还说,即使是拿其他人均收入较低的地区如韩国和台湾来比较,我国最低薪的工人多年来领取的薪水仍然过低。林崇椰指出,本地低薪员工少领超过一倍的薪水,只是保守估计,真实情况更严重。因此,假定未来三年为他们加薪50%,他们届时的工资仍然少了50% (早报 417日)】

去年大选已经证明低薪的事实

林崇椰因此说,压低工资的做法,其源头主要是:
【在他看来,这主要是因为我国引进大量廉价外劳所致。1991年,非居民劳动队伍共有30万零800人,10年后扩大超过一倍至686200人,到了2011年,外劳人数迅速增至1157000人。而在外劳人口当中,只有1.7%的薪金,符合缴交所得税条件的工资水平。(早报)】

低薪所引发出来的问题很多, 如,房价,物价,交通费用,医药费用,等等,这些不都是民怨吗?

林崇椰提出的这个原因,已经在去年的大选中得到证明,不然,行动党的得票怎么只有60%。只是当时没有一个像林崇椰这样的权威站出来肯定这个结论。如果,当时林崇椰能够出来说真话,相信行动党的得票肯定不到60%,失掉多几个议席,几乎是肯定的事。他在事情大约隔了一年后,才说出震荡的建议,事实上也是帮了行动党一个大忙,也让行动党有时间做出调整,应对下一届大选。

谁在模糊事件的焦点?

我国低薪工友的生产力真的比国外同行低上50%吗?所以,应该比国外同行拿的低,拿的少,不能怪政府故意压低工友的工资。这当然是行动党政府的立场,因此,才会说林崇椰在模糊焦点:

【林瑞生指林崇椰教授只谈提高薪金,却不谈生产力,是在模糊事件的焦点。(omy.sg 18 April)】

到底是谁在模糊焦点?政府是怎么算出来,我们的工友的生产力,竟然不到香港,日本,和澳大利亚的50%。这意味着,当你在新加坡等待吃汉堡包时,和香港相比,你必须要多等上超过50%以上的时间。当你在机场方便时,和香港相比,你必须多等50%以上的时间,才能等到一间清洁过的卫生间。因为,这两个工作场所,在新加坡都有大量的本地低薪工友,他们还是上了年龄的人。我们在新加坡吃一个汉堡包,方一个便,真的要花上多50%的等候时间吗?

这个比喻未必反映出新加坡和香港两地工友的生产力的真实情形,但是,说新加坡低薪工友的生产力比香港同行低了50%,却是对新加坡工友的极大侮辱。况且,我们年轻工友的教育程度,很可能比这国家和地区都来得高。如果,教育比他人高,生产力却比人家低,人家的培训也没有我们这样好。那么,这样一来,我们真的要好好检讨我们教育和培训制度了,怎么教育越高,培训越多,反而生产力不如他人。这笔费用和开支,不知是否又转移到想出这些教育培训点子的高薪高生产力的人士手中。哦,原来,生产力是这样的计算出来的 高薪和低薪人士之间,还有一个转移生产力的游戏。

既然不用花上这么长的等候时间,为何薪水却是如此的低?除非,这个计算方法本身,就是要模糊视线,转移焦点。因为它根本没有考虑新加坡的生活费用,同时,还高估了高薪人士的生产力。借着生产力为理由,从工友的低薪中再压低薪水,然后,将多出来的,压出来的油水,再转移到高薪人士身上。这样一来,就符合政府的说法,生产力高的人,拿高薪,生产力低的人,拿低薪。最终的结果是,我国是世界上,贫富差距最严重的国家之一。

行动党政府当然会继续坚持生产力和薪金挂钩,继续用它的老算盘,计算低薪工友的生产力。但是,这个老算盘,在计算的时候,越算就会离行动党的人民行动的理念越远,最后,终于被人民所遗弃。

我们期待,林崇椰和其他经济学者能够提供更多的数据,因为低薪人士的低生产力,不能单单只靠政府单方面的数据。我们希望看到更多,更具有建议性的理论数据的出现。过去几十年的单方面的,填鸭式的,教条式的报道分析我国经济,政治,社会的情形,不就是造成今天,教育高,培训多,生产力却低的原因吗?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Scholarship to foreigners: zero sum to Singaporeans and benefits to government?



General comments in the internet seem to suggest it is a zero sum game to award scholarships to foreign students. However, if you look at the other side of the equation, there are some benefits too but they go to the government and the government is not sharing them with the people.  

So, giving scholarship to foreign students is not a zero sum game and there are yields and benefits, both tangible and intangible, to Singapore.  The government is only willing to stress the importance of foreign talents and their contributions but fail to disclose they have indeed some other benefits.  The non-disclosure is perhaps the result of non-distribution of benefits to the people.  Or the received benefits are not being properly and equally distributed to the people?

What benefits?

What are the benefits that we are talking about?  For the pragmatic PAP government, if there are no returns, will they invest on something? So, they tell the citizens, we need talents and these foreign students may stay in Singapore and contribute to our economy. Besides these merits, are there any more benefits or hidden benefits or intangible benefits?

Could it be a situation that foreign students benefit from the scholarship and at the same time, our government and government linked companies too received some tangible and intangible benefits in return?  The government intentionally presents Singaporeans only one side of the story. That is the government is spending millions of dollars in scholarships to foreign students and wants to boost our talent pool. They keep the arguments here and are happy to see debates around this topic. Hence, they can keep the benefits away.

Take the case of China, our Temasek, GIC and GLCs are active investors there and due to our good relationship with China, we can get some tangible and intangible benefits from them.  A piece of land in a prime location, an IPO and priority share allocation, banking and financial opportunities, etc. all these can generate handsome financial returns and definitely more than the amount of money spent on foreign scholarship.

When we hear GLCs making money in China, it looks like they build them with their own credit and ability.  But it could be a case of using public funding (of scholarship, of ministerial visits) to enrich these GLCs.  So, when they make money using public fund, the benefits received, have they share with you? They go back to the government and the government spends or keeps the money in their own political belief – no welfare state, no minimum wage, rich-poor gap…etc.    

Distribution problem

The question is the benefits distribution. The government, Temasek, GIC and GLCs make money using public fund but they may not distribute the money according to the wishes of the people. It looks like they are enriching themselves using public fund, so spending millions of dollars on scholarship is not a big deal.  They use your money to build up their reputation, PR and get projects, piece of land, contacts and finally they claim that they are smart business people doing successful businesses in China and other countries.    

Same analogy: scholarships and buses

This analogy is same as GLCs using monopoly status to make money in Singapore.  Just imagine SBS and SMRT, before these two public transport companies get into troubles, we need to spend billions of dollars to buy buses for them.  They make money and will they distribute the profit to you? So buying buses and giving scholarship to foreigners are the same analogy – the people lose, the government wins.  To the general public, Singaporeans only see one side of the story – paying for the scholarships and buses, but have we looked at the other side? Who are the taking the benefits?

Love others?

Unless we can be extremely generous, not only aiming for an inclusive Singapore society, but an inclusive world society.  We are making effort to help the world in educating the youths and we don’t mind giving scholarships to foreigners.  But under the PAP’s money minded education for so long, can we be so generous and treat non-Singaporeans and people in the world, love them as our parents, brothers and sisters?  

If you look at Tang dynasty, the capital, chang an (长安), was the world academic centre of the time. Foreign students were automatically entitled for full boarding and free education while local students had to study on their own, spent their own money on education and sat for the imperial examination on their own travel expenses. What the PAP is doing now is in fact no match to Tang dynasty government.  However, we are a small country we certainly cannot afford to give full boarding and free tuition to all foreign students and demand returns.

What benefits that Tang dynasty received were mainly intangible in political and cultural aspects.  Singapore will not have such an ambition and influence and most likely our intention is not in these areas but money only.

So, what are other benefits that we can get from investing foreign students?  Besides money, what else?  Unfortunately, Singaporeans and the government are focusing different side of the money. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

陈清木补选预测,林崇椰加薪建议,是帮了行动党还是倒了行动党的忙



一个后港单选区的补选,已经令行动党不知所措,还要来个集选区补选,这不是添乱吗?为低薪工友连续三年大幅度加薪,缩短贫富差距,这不是打了行动党一巴掌吗?因此,陈清木和林崇椰两位和行动党有密切关系的人,向行动党提出这样的预测和建议,到底是帮忙还是帮倒忙?

这是否是行动党的策略,想要转移国人的视线,在困乱中进行补选,还是有些其他的意图? 如果,同样的建议是由在野党人提出,反应一定不一样,很可能会被行动党政府大声辱骂一番。因此,他们在此时此刻,提出这样具争论性的建议,表面看来,是顺民意,反映民间的愿望,但是,事实上是否如此,那就不好这么快下结论了。

激烈的建议中,寻求折中点

或许,在这些比较激烈的建议中,政府的目的就是要寻求一个折中,补选最终会来到,但不是陈清木所建议的那样。加薪最终也会来到,但是,不是林崇椰想象的那么高,那么多。现在,先让人们透透风,发泄一下,大家冷静后,再做决定。

在这里,我们还需要考虑到陈清木基本上是属于行动党的B队,他的的预测,很可能会导致总理难堪,后港即使在补选中失掉,也不过是回归原位而已,对行动党伤害不大。但是,如果总理在宏茂桥集选区险胜,或比2011大选得票减少,那就有关面子问题了。想要向吴作栋在1992年取得同样的高票中选,似乎有些妄想。

陈清木特别提到,1992年时任总理的吴作栋与其马林百列集选区团队集体辞职,让吴作栋通过举行补选,把张志贤引进其内阁的事情(见早报)。但是,现在的情形跟20年前相比,实在很不一样,首先,总理是否有这个胆识,其次,民心思变,更多人敢投反对票。再次,现在已经进入政治新常态了,不要说党外,党内,尤其是B队不知会出什么变数。再加上,也看不到有类似张志贤这样的人出现。

这个建议由陈清木提出,似乎有些怪怪的,令人难以捉摸。他到底不是行动党的主流派,属于清流派。去年总统大选,对上主流派的陈庆炎,结果以微差落败。提出这样的建议,是不是要再试探主流派的势力,到底是得到多少人民的支持,以方便B队调整步伐。

事实上,应该补选的地区,应该是两位退任的前资政的选区,尤其是在 2011年没有经过选举而中选的那个集选区。现在,可以借补选来获得正名的地位。但是,行动党可是要鼓起巨大的勇气才敢这么做的。因此,陈清木没有提出这样的预测。因为,这是一个更加没有把握的选战,提出来做什么。

和陈清木的补选建议相比,林崇椰的大幅度加薪建议,更为激烈和激进,尤其是没有考虑生产力的相对提高,就大幅度加薪,这不符合政府一直要低薪工友提高生产力,才可以获得加薪的理念。

【南洋理工大学温斯敏经济学讲座教授与经济成长中心主任林崇椰教授建议推行第二次经济重组,让低薪工友三年内每年加薪15%(第三年20%),高薪人士三年内冻结加薪,中等收入者期间的加薪幅度为低收入者的四分之一至三分之一。
而低薪工友的加薪部分将进入技能发展基金以及公积金,政府这次也应该1元对1元的为技能发展基金注入资金。
林崇椰教授受询时认为,三年的加薪幅度那么大,是要取得震撼shock)作用,正如推行第一次经济重组ERI1979年至1981年期间推行)之前所考虑的。
他说:这个心理效果很重要,让高收入者知道,三年期间要懂得勒马,不要继续加薪并把其他人抛在后头。(早报)】

先加薪,后提高生产力?

这个建议也和政府的‘没有免费午餐’做法相违背。政府要工友先提高生产力,然后,再提出加薪。现在的建议是先加薪,部分加薪入技能发展基金,再来提高生产力,万一提不高生产力,政府不是给了免费午餐了,而无回报吗?这种亏本生意,行动党会做吗?技能发展已经搞了好几多年了,但是为何生产力还是无法提高呢?这很可能是行动党不可能的任务,就是因为不可能,所以低薪工友的薪水就一直提不上来。作为经济学家,林崇椰已经看到这点,因此,来个先加薪,后谈生产力。

或许林崇椰以知识分子的良知提出贫富差距的危险性,再恶化下去,局势将不可收拾,甚至导致跟他关系密切的行动党倒台。他不愿意看到这样的局面出现,因此提出这种激烈的主张。事实上,他的出发点还是为行动党好,为行动党提供一个延续政权的建议。讨好大多数手握选票的低薪工友,获得他们的支持,政权就可以延续下去。高薪人士和富人毕竟还是少数。即使全部有钱人高薪人士支持行动党,没有多数人的支持,行动党还是延续不了政权。

林崇椰的建议归建议,行动党未必要买他的帐,因此,他很可能是落得斯人独憔悴,政府现在叫了一个副部长做出反应,认为建议过于激烈。学术界也未激烈讨论。令人纳闷的是,像林崇椰这样有声望的经济学家,为何要唱起反调。他本身又曾经担任过好几年工资理事会主席,他为何没有在早些时候提出提醒,没有给低薪工友加薪的危险,而一直要坚持生产力提高的作为加薪的前提。

总之,陈清木也好,林崇椰也好,他们提出预测和建议,总比让在野人士提出,来得好。也只有由他们提出,主流媒体才会以较大的篇幅来报道,相同的建议,或许在野人士有提过,但是,都没有这么受到网上网下媒体的大力注意。

他们把事实的另一面说出来,对行动党政府来说,到底是帮忙还是帮倒忙,现在还言之过早。更或许,行动党早就安排好如何应对,现在只是打听风声,看看民间的反应怎么样罢了。这难道又是另一个已有剧本的大戏吗?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Closing of Rediffusion, Ending of Dialect Generation but Wage Gap remains


Well done bilingualism, well done speak Mandarin campaign.  And finally, let’s pay our last respect to Rediffusion and pay our respect to the dialect generation.  Do you still remember the Hokkien platoons? It had gone long ago and now it is the turn of dialect radio – another lost heritage of Singapore.  As reported in the media, the end of Rediffusion is due to less listeners of the older and dialect speaking generation. 

Is it so simple? Have state control, monopoly and fair competition nothing to do with the fate of Rediffusion?  We leave it to the historians.  However, even the PAP can do away with the dialects; there is still one problem that they cannot solve: low wage workers even they are better educated and English speaking.
   
The bilingualism and the speak Mandarin campaign happened to be coincided with our economic restructure.  Besides pushing English as the common language for all in Singapore, the mastery of English language in theory should also raise the income level for all.  So, we restructure the economy, we restructure the education system and we (over) emphasize the importance of English language.  But have all Singaporeans benefit from the re-structure?   
    
When we had the first wage restructure in the early 1980s, it also signaled the phasing out of low wage workers.  Of course, people or workers who were not proficient in English would suffer because not knowing English is almost equivalent to low skills low wages workers.  With the closing of Nantah and later on with the phasing out of Chinese schools, all young Singaporean workers are supposed to be English educated and command better or good English.  However, this has not solved the wage and income gap problem.

It looked like the wage restructure lasted for only a few years in the early 1980s and then it led to economic recession in 1985 and 1986.  After that, wage increase or restoration was not a welcome word for economic growth. In addition, because of the talent policy, on the one hand, wage increase was restrained but managerial salary and professional compensation were not.  To achieve high growth, these talent individuals and professionals must be highly rewarded so that they can make contributions to Singapore.   

Now, we not only have a worsening rich-poor gap, our better educated, English speaking workers are not better off than their dialect speaking counterparts some 30 years ago.  Why?  Are they not moving fast enough, catching up not quick enough or mastering English not enough?  Therefore, they are becoming money not enough.   


For young Singapore workers and service staff, the improvement achieved in the education level is not proportionally reflected in their wage increase.  This has become a catch up game.  Parents are demanding tuition, more tuition, more poly places, and more university places.   Everyone is looking for better and higher education but can this push up the wage level, close the rich and poor gap, narrow the ‘haves’ and ‘don’t haves’?  Most likely not because there is an oversupply of educated people in Singapore but not enough high paying jobs.

But the government insists there are plenty opportunities for social mobility.  The younger generation with better educated and English proficiency should do better than the dialect generation, the Hokkien platoon generation.  But how come the true picture seems to be different.  Instead of complaining to Rediffusion, they now voice their criticisms, concerns and complaints in social media.   

The situation must be very bad (and sad too) that there is a call for bold action to increase wages for low wage workers, service and administration staff for a continued period of 3 years.  How come we can allow such a worsening situation continuing for 30 years without action?  Has the NWC given a fair deal to our workers and not to mention the NTUC which supposes to fight for the workers?    

Rediffusion will soon lose their voice. Dialect generation will soon follow and disappear. The associated heritages with dialects will also diminish.  Bukit Brown too will be scaled down.  However, the rich-poor problem continues to exist and perhaps becomes more problematic.
   
Is this the worry of the PAP? Or is it the problem of the English speaking younger generation? The dialect generation will bring with them their regret when the time comes.  They have no strength to voice out, no English to write to social media, but the younger English speaking generation will be very different, especially in voting time.

Monday, 9 April 2012

博雅学院 引狼入室? 还是真开放?


博雅学院还未开门开课,耶鲁大学的教授们就发声,要求新加坡学院当局尊重人权,给予言论自由。日前,耶鲁大学教授们通过议决案,要求耶鲁大学在耶鲁大学-国大合办的博雅学院在明年开课后,遵守议决案的内容。这项议决案虽然受到耶鲁大学校长的反对,最终还是以多数票通过。

这对一向不愿开放门户,让自由之声,民主之声,高声播放的新加坡,会是一个怎么样的结局呢?耶鲁大学,美国的自由民主风气,是否能够在新加坡这个一党专政的国家有所作为呢? 这对还没有解除内安法的新加坡,将会有怎么样的冲击呢? 或许,真的是或许,行动党已经明白过去的做法已经过时,现在借着洋人的手,把自由民主的门打开,让国人呼吸新鲜空气,面对新政治常态。

耶鲁大学的教授们为何如此害怕新加坡,为何认为新加坡会压制人权,限制言论自由?因此,也限制了学术自由。难道没有民主自由,国家就不会进步吗?难道美国的制度一定比我们好吗?或许,行动党政府天天日日在高论经济成长的时候,给老外看到听到的都是钱钱钱!而不是优雅的人文素质,而是一大堆数字,以及高压的政治手段。这怎么不叫洋人担心,万一不幸,堂堂教授也变了阶下囚。不久前,有个洋人,不知写了一本什么书,就坐了几个月的牢。这是有历史纪录,有前车之鉴的,不是教授们凭空想象的。

有人欢喜有人愁

洋人政治人物喜欢小红点。洋人投资者,老外管理人员,也热捧新加坡的经济表现,更热爱新加坡给他们发财发富的机会。但是,也有另一批洋人知识分子不买这个帐,认为新加坡所取得的成功,是建立在独裁,政府垄断,限制人身自由的基础上的。因此,新加坡的成功,并不是获得所有的洋人的掌声,就像我国有些政要,在美国受到屁股以对的欢迎一样。

所以,博雅学院是否能延续耶鲁的自由校风,就成了教授们的担忧,他们或许是过度担忧,也或许是有先见之明,先声明,好过将来出现不愉快的事,才来说,就太迟了。在这点上,洋人倒是先跟你说说道理。

引狼入室 假戏真做

但是,对于新加坡政府来说,这也是一项冒险,也很可能是引狼入室。我们要的是通才教育,提高我们的人文素质,在创意上进一步提高,在思维上思想上向上提升。政府要的不是民主自由之风,更加上东西方还是有所差别,大家的政治理想,生活标准也不一样,把美式的民主自由引进来,万一假戏真做,使到新加坡政治出现两党或多党制,这对行动党不是极为不利吗?难道,行动党真的有这个雅量,这个包容心(最近常常听到政府提起和推动),和在野党分享政权吗?愿意受到更多的制衡吗?

耶鲁大学的教授们在议决案中,事实上是否定新加坡过去的民主人权纪录,他们认为新加坡在历史上一路来没有尊重民事和政治权利,因此,他们要求博雅学院在院内以及在(新加坡)社会上不歧视,并尊重,维护各方各照的自由。这是人文教育的核心,不能妥协。以下是议决案的全文:

Full text of the Yale-NUS college resolution:


We, the Yale College Faculty, express our concern regarding the history of lack of respect for civil and political rights in the state of Singapore, host of Yale-National University of Singapore College.


We urge Yale-NUS to respect, protect and further principles of non-discrimination for all, including sexual minorities and migrant workers; and to uphold civil liberty and political freedom on campus and in the broader society. 
These ideals lie at the heart of liberal arts education as well as of our civil sense as citizens, and they ought not to be compromised.
(sg.news.yahoo.com 6 April 2012)

东西方的元素?

不知道是否是害怕洋风太盛,因此,博雅学院所提供的博雅教育將包含東方元素。學生不單接觸西方哲學,還將能接觸中國哲學家孔子和孟子。
【耶魯——新加坡國大學院代執行副校長(學術事務)江莉莉教授說,學院希望創造一種新式的博雅教育,一種既不過於注重,又不完全脫離西方模式的博雅教育,因此他們將特別重視比較和跨文化教育。學院將利用中國與漢學教授基金,聘請來自中國、西方等國家的中國或漢學學者擔任客座或長期教授。江莉莉指出,這名教授將協助學院平衡課程內容,確保課程包括西方和亞洲視角。(星洲日报 201242日)】
因此,新加坡的博雅学院,将和美国的耶鲁大学的博雅教育,有些差别。这个差别的变数,将会随着局势的发展而做出适当的调整,我们拭目以待吧!

希望在东方的元素中,博雅学院除了引进儒家思想外,还更应该知道和尊重百家争鸣?甚至印度的哲学思想。耶鲁大学教授们所要看到和要确保的人权自由,民主思想,似乎更加接近百家争鸣,他们不要一党独大,不要独尊儒术,更不要虚伪的儒家。

博雅学院的东方元素,是不是行动党的另一个借口,万一和教授们有所冲突,可以以东方思维做借口,限制一些民主自由的行动。也或者是另一个借着尊儒而大行法家治国之道的变通之术,继续延续行动党的政权。

还未开学,先来正名,正民主自由之名,看来也适合。只是先让洋人提出,未免让新加坡有点失掉面子。更何况,洋人还说他们没有诬告,因为他们有历史记录,说新加坡有先例,这些都写在他们的议决案里。真想不到花钱让洋人来办博雅学院,洋人就先来跟我们正名,博一博,雅一雅,然后,才能放心的教书和研究。