Saturday, 30 June 2012

领取公积金,马来西亚能,为何新加坡不能?


一个人均收入比新加坡低相当多的马来西亚能够做得到,为何公积金 --- 一个关系民生的大事,我们竟然做不到。到底是哪一个国家的公积金局有钱?哪一个政府有道德勇气来面对,来正视民生问题?真想不到,一向被我们低估的马来西亚,竟然能够从容的让人民在55岁后领取公积金存款。我们呢?只能望着公积金局的大门而兴叹,有钱拿不得。

这或许可以被解读为,是为即将到来的马来西亚大选铺路,纳吉哥想要讨好选民。但是,要做出这个承诺,马来西亚公积金局和政府,总要有些家底吧,才能做出这个承诺。难道,新加坡政府和新加坡公积金局,没有这个家底吗?还是,行动党一贯的说法,政府害怕人民不会理财,没钱养老,因此,要有一笔最低公积金存款,62岁后才发放出来。当然,也有很多人达不到最低存款,只能留下部分存款压在公积金局里。

早报629日的这则新闻《马来西亚人力资源部长:退休年龄延长至60岁后 55岁照样可领全部公积金》应该已经相当清楚说明领取的是全部存款
  “马来西亚人力资源部长苏巴马廉说,2012年最低退休年龄法案生效后,私人企业员工照样可以在55岁时,领取他们所有的公积金存款。  2012年最低退休年龄法案前天在国会下议院三读通过,一旦法案提呈上议院并在宪报颁布后,任何迫使员工在60岁前退休的雇主,可被罚款最高1万令吉(约4200新元)。目前印度尼西亚的退休年龄是60岁、新加坡62岁,而澳大利亚、美国及英国则超越65岁。(早报629)”
这里虽然说受益的人是“私人企业员工“,没有指明公务员的安排如何,他们是否也可以在55岁后领取公积金,则不清楚。但是,在马来西亚,或者是新加坡,私人企业员工还是占就业人口的大部分,公务员只占就业人口的小部分,因此,可以说大部分就业人口和他们的家庭将会受到影响,可以在 55岁后拿回自己的钱。

这项安排和做法,在新加坡政府看来,很可能缺少远见和不会用钱。

首先,迟一年发放公积金存款,政府就可以多用一年这笔钱,以新加坡的7年期(62 -55)来计算,7 x 最低存款 x 公积金会员人数,这笔钱算起来可不少,可以为国家做出不少贡献,建设基金也有着落,即使发债券,也可以获得最高的等级,甚至如果不幸要落到利用来做转手套利的工作,也可以好好地加以利用。奇怪的是,为何马来西亚政府不利用这个5年(60-55)时间和公积金存款,来为国家做出一些事呢?难道马来西亚的退休人士比新加坡退休人士更加会理财吗?相信,很多新加坡朋友都不会同意这个说法,我们是国际金融中心,怎么会连理财都不如他人呢?

其次,谁养55岁到62岁的人?在新加坡,既然拿不到公积金的钱,尤其是低收入的工友,就要继续工作,不然这七年之痒,如何度过?虽然有法律保护可以工作到62岁,但是,生产力大不如前,要看老板的脸色,公积金缴交率也降低了,体力也不如从前,有些家里还有更老的人要照顾,这七年不是政府想象的那样写意的。一方面没有存款的活水,另一方面,工作又不如意,这七年很可能是人生中最苦的日子。有些人迟婚孩子还在上学,有些人等着钱看病,还有一些等着钱开饭。但是,新加坡政府在法令下,不需要为这些人提供公积金存款的方便,你们要自食其力,好好地顶着这七年之痒。

再次,既然退休年龄和领取公积金存款有直接关系,将来随着退休年龄的提高,(以及最低存款数目的提高,)可以领取公积金存款的年限也将更跟着提高。马来西亚政府既然答应55岁可以领取公积金存款,那么,将来如果退休年龄提高,公积金会员还是可以照旧在 55岁时领取公积金。新加坡政府就高明多了,年龄如果再度提高,开始领取公积金存款的年龄也将跟着提高。这样一来,七年之痒,就会变成10年之痒,总之,这是个变数,只有变得比7大,不会变得比7小。

最后,这笔‘七年之痒’的公积金存款,以及55岁之前的公积金存款,是要还利息的,2.5%4%,总之,不是免费的。这就导致淡马锡,政府投资公司继续不断的进行投资活动,好的,坏的,高风险,低风险,如何分得清楚。问题是投资的回报,好像永远是个迷,但是,手上又有这么多现金,不投资又不行,面对这么多的钱,会不会如老子说的五色令人发狂,又面对又是国际大鳄的随时阻击,真是令人心惊胆跳。

到最后,很可能和让人民55岁拿钱一样。道法自然,硬硬逼着公积金会员到退休年龄才可拿钱,硬硬逼着淡马锡,政府投资公司去投资,违反了自然的规律,很可能伤人又不利己,表面的好事,其结果却是坏事连连。

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Racing, hunting and chasing money but this money is not your grandfather’s money.


 $$$
         The five colors blind the eyes of man; 
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man; 
          The five flavors dull the taste of man; 
          Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man; 
         Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.
        Therefore the Sage: 
       Provides for the belly and not the eye. 
       Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.

Chapter 12 The Senses, Dao De Jing translation by Lin Yutang  http://terebess.hu/english/tao/yutang.html$$$

Easy money likes colours; musical notes and flavours can make you lose your senses.  Suddenly there are so many donations, and it makes one feel like winning a lottery and forgetting the source and duty.  The money now becomes their own property and they feel like they can spend it likes their grandfather’s money.    

However, charity money or donation is not your grandfather’s money. When organisations are trusted to collect this money or donation, they have to remind themselves no matter what methods they use, whether racing, hunting or chasing, this money is not their money.  They cannot use the money likes their grandfather’s money.  

Unfortunately, there are too many instances that the charity money and donations have been misused likes the grandfather’s money. And the reason for such a misfortune is always lack of ‘check and balance’, ‘accountability’, ‘transparency’ and ‘"poor corporate governance’, etc.

What do you think? We may have to ask who allows charity bodies or religious groups to use public/members’ money like their grandfather’s money in the first place.  If there is no ‘check and balance’, ‘accountability’, ‘transparency’ and ‘corporate governance’, then how do they get their registration approved?

Perhaps, the PAP government is using the same standard and criteria for themselves. The criticism for the lack of check, accountability, transparency or governance is also applicable to the PAP – the questions of CPF money, reserves, GIC and Temasek.  Have we received any satisfactory answers to these questions?  Even our President has to refer to the Monetary Authority of Singapore whether he has approved a loan to the International Monetary Fund.    

Trust and transfer of duty

Under the no welfare policy, the PAP government has actively promoted charity groups to take up social activities to help the needy, poor and disadvantaged persons. Hence, religion, clan, association and other self-help groups have actively engaged in these activities with encouragement of the government.  

So, you can see donations to charity everyway.  With the support and approval from the government, these groups are trustworthy organisations.  With no threat to the government, in the eyes of the PAP, they are more reliable, more trusted to carry out the duty of caring for the poor, sick and needy citizens.  The government even co-funds the activities or gives tax relief to donations to these organisations.    

No only supporting them in fundraising, in donation campaign, the government even encourages social enterprises - doing business for the good of the society not purely for profit.   
So, there are more monies for ‘racing, hunting and chasing’ from charity to social enterprises.  When the government gives them the ‘trust’ status and transfer the duty of caring to charity organisations and social enterprises, they find the difficulties in checking them.

This is because the PAP finds the same difficulties in checking themselves.   The more money they have, they are more likely to lose their senses of colours, musical notes and flavours in the money world.

The recent cases of breach of trust and abusing trusted money are not isolated incidents.  They are the reflections of our society and our country.   So, how can we find our way of heaven? Chapter 81 of Dao De Jing may provide the answer.  

81.  The Way of Heaven

True words are not fine-sounding;     Fine-sounding words are not true.  A good man does not argue;     he who argues is not a good man.  the wise one does not know many things;     He who knows many things is not wise.The Sage does not accumulate (for himself).     He lives for other people,     And grows richer himself;     He gives to other people,     And has greater abundance.The Tao of Heaven     Blesses, but does not harm.  The Way of the Sage     Accomplishes, but does not contend.

Translation by Lin Yutanghttp://terebess.hu/english/tao/yutang.html

Monday, 25 June 2012

异地养老终于成为事实 这是我们的又一经济成绩

去年大选前,把国人送到新山养老是个热门话题,当时许文远部长还说,他不是这个意思,为何要送国人到国外养老,做这么不孝道的事呢?言犹在耳,异地养老终于成为事实。虽然,我们是世界上最富有的国家之一, 但是,我们还是做不到‘老吾老以及人之老’。

呜呼,我们真的没有其他方法了吗?我们为国人提供养老服务,真的是一个‘钱’字,压倒一切吗?老一辈国人真的有必要客死他乡吗? 如果社会成本一定要拿经济成本来衡量,来计算,那么,人的一生也就像一堆钱,一堆由钱堆积的纸人。但是,再多的钱,也装不进棺材。

难怪,吴作栋在脸书上一发表外来人才为本国人创造就业机会的言论,就受到网民的攻击。他过后纠正说法,他建议专家们研究,如何计算成本代价和收益。不是说,行动党政府是一个有远见,有计划的政府吗?这种计算,不是早早就进行了吗,研究过了吗?为何当时没有算好好,就大事引进人口?或许,从经济的角度上来看,这是完全正确的,回报高,收益高,但是,却没有计算社会成本,因为,根本没有把人民的福利,人会变老,生病,计算在内。

不知道,吴作栋的意思是不是要把社会成本也包括在内,以便计算出一个比较接近民意的结果。而政府愿意不愿意重新启动新的计算方法,把社会成本,把引进人口的非经济因素也考虑在内。我们在等待,在看这是不是又是另一‘说说而已’的事,反正吴作栋已经不在内阁,他的话的‘含金量’已经大不如前了。

不论怎么计算,在新加坡,算到最后,还是要看你的口袋有多少斤两。

这年头,讲孝心还是要讲经济实力和势力的。不然,就只有忍痛把父母送到邻国去养老。怪只怪自己没有本事,钱不够多,只能把父母送到新山去养老,节省开支,也顾不了前总理曾经说过新山这个地方,治安不好,犯罪率高。看着自己的荷包,也只能如此,难道还要到赌场去试一下运气吗?那结局不是更加悲惨吗?

这个事实,也不就是新加坡人生活的写照吗?钱不够用尤其普遍发生在低收入家庭。没钱养老,就到外国去,没钱在新加坡居住,也到邻国去住。没钱买政府组屋,没钱上大学,没钱看病,当然也没钱养老了。钱,钱,钱,没钱真的办不了事。

养老的根本问题

政府到底是真的了解异地养老的根本问题,还是不知道。或者,还在逃避责任。早报625日的报道,真可以说是一绝。人家已经没有钱了,还要再加上法律的制裁。因为,在新加坡,孩子照顾父母是有法令制约的。
《避免父母异地养老法律只是最后途径  社会发展、青年及体育部代部长陈振声昨天在部长访问选区同居民对话时,回答居民关于政府是否会立法限制国人将父母送到邻国疗养院的问题,解释国会已通过《赡养父母法令》来保护失去依靠的年长者。  但是在新加坡社会里,大多数老人在情感上未必会认同这些法律途径,不愿通过这些途径去解决问题。
  我国年长者入住邻国疗养院,过去几年一直是国人关注的课题。我国人口日益老龄化,一些国人基于经济考量,将父母送到邻国收费较低廉的疗养院。最近,也有媒体报道一名本地男子把母亲送到柔佛新山的一家疗养院,还拖欠住院费。》(早报625日)
养老院越迁越远 孝心跟的上吗?

部长回避了异地养老的根本问题,孩子就是要节省金钱,才把父母迁到新山去养老。不止如此,有一天,新山也变得越来越贵,就要往更远的地方移去,到关丹,到怡保去。那个时候,孩子看望父母的机会,就进一步减少,这么一来,想进孝道孝心就变得越来越困难,很可能从新山的一日游,变成关丹,怡保的两,三日游了。

如果我们在计算养老院的成本时,也向给学生提供学校一样的成本计算时,那么,养老院的成本,尤其是建筑成本,就会大大的降低,但是,这却是违反经济成本的计算。政府怎么可能提供廉价建筑给养老院呢?老人们一方面已经没有生产力,不能做出贡献,另一面却要政府资助津贴,这盘帐是怎样都不划算的,越算越亏本,更何况是行动党,斤斤计较,经济利益第一的思维,因此,它就只有把这个责任往孩子身上压。

你看部长怎么说:《他也指出,政府正检讨疗养院的经营模式,特别是人力资源和费用方面,从而降低疗养院成本,减低我国疗养院收费。》当初政府在租金上给予职总平价津贴时,不也是没有考虑经济成本吗?但是,职总毕竟对维护行动党政权有功,养老院啊!好像没有加分的好处。

有关有没有孝心,有没有尽孝道的问题,真的是‘家家有本难念的经’。不要光凭表面就说这个人不孝,没尽孝道。也不可能依据法律来制裁这个人有没有尽孝道。当然,真的不孝的孩子也有,但是,这恐怕不是一个‘钱’字,就能说清楚的。

养老还是要有经济做后盾的,为何公积金最低存款,年年提高,为何有这么多老人,达不到最低存款的标准,他们如何养老,在法律上,这就成了孩子的问题了,孩子的问题,难道不是国家的问题吗?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Why the rational thinking PAP is always not enough for Singapore



Rational and intuition thinking, we need both to be the first world country.

<Rational process is linear. It’s when you are putting your facts in order and looking at them, weighting them, and making a decision based on the importance you assign to each fact. Intuition is looking at the same facts and trying to see a pattern. The patterns aren’t always evident because they are not linear.  That’s where intuition is very valuable. You look at a set of variables, and suddenly it snaps into your mind that there’s a pattern. The ability to recognize patterns is intuitive. Rational and intuitive thinking are not mutually exclusive. The combination of the two, when you are lucky enough to have them both, is extremely powerful and useful.>
Joel Kurtzman.        

 

Chen Show Mao – the calling of intuition duty

 

The ‘Power of We’ as reported in the Straits Times on 22nd June 2012 is an example of intuitive. And the sub-heading tells the intuition process - ‘What Chen Show Mao wants, more than anything, is to be a catalyst to get Singaporeans more engaged in their citizenship and to play their part in fixing what is wrong with society’.

  

Singapore is increasing and urgently needs to have both, the rational PAP and the alternative intuition Oppositions. Chen Show Mao’s reply to why he gave up his career as a corporate lawyer is clearly not a rational and practical answer that the typical members of the PAP will give.


Let’s look at some of his intuition answers:

[To him, the most critical need in Singapore is to make government policies more responsive to people's needs. And he sees building a multiparty parliamentary democracy as the best way to achieve this.'Given our history, our concerns and our reluctance, I thought standing in the last general election was a good thing I could do for us,' he says.His greatest worry remains that Singaporeans 'feel powerless to change things in a meaningful way'. 'We think what we can do is so little. Who's going to listen? What if we get knocked down, slapped around?' he says.]
{Singapore needs to go beyond dollars and cents, not just in tabulating the sum of his foregone opportunities in corporate law, but in measuring national growth.Singapore could use a more comprehensive and accurate growth metric, one that takes in longer-term and broader social and cultural registers of well-being, he says.'Are people at the centre of things, or some measure of gross development or growth, that has over time been taken as a proxy for what's good for Singapore?' he asks.}
['Let's apply our great knowledge and expertise and do serious analysis of our social policies in health care, housing, education, infrastructure and the environment.'Just as we have outfits like Spring, A*Star and the Economic Development Board to calculate the cost and benefit of various investment projects for our economy, let's do likewise for other areas of policy to maximise social returns,' he exhorts.This means not just looking at social outlay as expenses to be minimised over the short term, he suggests, but as investments with economic and other benefits that can be optimised well into the future.]
 {He flatly denies charges that he was a burnt-out corporate escapee seeking new meaning, as some have speculated, as he says he left 'on a series of career highs', or that he was returning opportunistically to seek fame and power after decades of being away from the country he claimed to want to serve. Rather, it was more a matter of him running out of time to 'discharge my obligations', he insists.}
 
Singapore diplomats at Bersih 3 – intuition over rational
“Malaysia has expressed its displeasure to Singapore over the participation of three of its diplomats at the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.” (The Star 23June 2012)

This is another example of intuitive even that it may be not diplomatically correct. It is really a wonder that Singapore diplomatic staff dared to take part in demonstration outside Singapore.  This certainly is not an act of rational process. They must have seen the different pattern in political development in Malaysia that we do not see in Singapore. Is this an intuition thinking process resulting to an unexpected decision making?  

Will they dare to do the same in Singapore?  Why there is a double standard inside and outside Singapore?

Foreign talents and workers – rational over intuition

This policy has some unexpected side effects that the PAP fails to see or refuse to acknowledge.  This is a good example of rational over intuition. In the rational thinking, for economic growth, more inputs will result to more outputs and higher GDP growth.  This is a linear and straight forward calculation. However, without intuition process, the PAP has failed to see the patterns – the unhappiness of the local people, housing, transport, low wage workers etc.  

COI on MRT breakdowns – any intuitive thinking process takes place

It is not sure whether the callings on the technical experts and engineering consultants to find out the breakdowns will really find out the true cause of the breakdowns. Human beings make mistakes but not machines.   How can we ignore the human factors? SMRT needs intuition process to prepare for unexpected accidents.     

There are many more ‘rational over intuition thinking’ in the PAP government. For example, the population policy, the bilingualism policy, the integrated resorts, the reserve and CPF issues, etc.    

The PAP is too rational and lack of intuitive.  Rational thinking process may be good when Singapore is starting from a low base and needs rapid economic development.  However, for Singapore to move forward, the lack of intuitive means the lack of creative, alternative, and out of box thinking.  

It is time we have a balance between rational and intuitive process in our nation building. The more rational we are, the more will be the rich-poor divide, local against foreign, inclusive against exclusive, NS versus non-NS…

Thursday, 21 June 2012

斤斤计较国民服役 挑战凝聚力爱国心

国民服役在新加坡已经进入45个年头了。今年,我们还特意举行展览会,在全国各地庆祝国民服役,希望国人了解和继续支持这个凝聚国人,激发爱国热情的公民责任。然而,就正如行动党政府处理贫富不均的问题,在只注重经济成长的背景下,国人的凝聚力爱国心似乎并没有随着岁月的流逝而加强,反而出现斤斤计较的现象,无形中削弱了国民服役的意义。


当今年国庆,国人向曾经参与国民服役的90万名新加坡公民致敬时,我们是否应该反省为何我们的凝聚力不如以前,为何我们要斤斤计较国民服役的得与失,为何富裕了反而不开心,为何人多了,反而政府觉得国人的竞争力不够。新加坡信约,不是说人人平等,为何人多了,反而觉得不平等,不公平?


当全体国人在国庆日,高声朗读信约时,让我们也一起检讨,这45年来,为何我们的凝聚力爱国心,没有进一步强化,而一支斤斤计较的国民军,即使有着精良的配备,是否能够应对外来的势力。其中,是否又有因为他国的优厚诱惑,而放弃国籍,为他人服务的人。
【新加坡信约】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。
国民服役初期,当年在宣读国家信约时,大家都认为国家的进步是建立在公平平等的基础上,而在建国初期,实在也没有什么好斤斤计较,物质上,贫富上,也没有今天这么富裕和悬殊,大家只有努力的把事情做好,尽一份力,完成任务。

当年的国民服役或许有些斤斤计较地方,但是和今天比较有着天渊之别。当时有些人服役两年,有些多6个月。多读书的,多做半年。上大学的考完高考没到一个月就得‘进兵’了,‘出兵不到一个月,就要往大学报到。吃的,喝的,住的,训练条件都比今天差,但是,斤斤计较的怨气没有今天这么大。还记得吗?当年也有‘白马王子’,当年还有’福建兵‘,我们竟然还依据教育语文把同胞分类。不过,虽然如此,这并没有减弱凝聚力和爱国心。大家只想快快‘出兵’,做自己的事,发展自己的事业或读自己的书。

可见,从‘福建兵’的身上,我们发现凝聚力和爱国心,不关语文问题。过分的强调单一语文并没有办法强化凝聚力和爱国心。只要公平公正的对待国人,不同语言文化宗教的国人,还是能够凝聚在一起的。这点从不同种族的国人在对待外来人才的移民政策上的一致性态度可以看出来,行动党怎么看不出来?或许,行动党看到的只是经济,只是钱,只是(国内外)人才,而忘记了凝聚力是要靠人民群众,爱国心是要从基层做起。

过去45年,国民服役对信约中的《建设公正平等的民主社会》做出什么贡献?行动党政府通过国民服役又如何做到公正平等的民主社会?当父母觉得孩子在工作和求学上受到不公正不平等时,当妻子和女友发现丈夫和男友遇到不公正不平等时,当同学同事间觉得不平等不公正时,这和90万的前和现国民服役人员有关吗?年轻的战备军人,当然最先要发泄怒气,接着就是女友妻子,父母,甚至连祖父母都要发出怨言了。

这下子,不就把过去建立起来的凝聚力,爱国心给冲掉了吗?当然,一有机会,过去支持行动党的一票,也跟着被冲掉了。所以,现在连老年人也加入反对行动党的队伍了。因为,看着自己的孩子,孙子面对不公正不平等的大环境,即使年纪一大把,也要为下一代尽一份力,提醒行动党要照顾国人。过去为打拼这个江山而努力,希望子孙能够有个好日子过,没想到又再一次跌入恶性循环中。这口怨气只能通过手中的一票发挥作用,教训教训一下行动党。

所以,行动党现在告诉国人要有包容心,因为他们现在正在做着‘包容性’的工作,包容性的经济发展。而对外来的新移民,则是希望他们融入我国社会,新旧公民大家互相体谅合作。

但是,为何过去45年不做,不着急,现在却勉为其难的做,逼着做。凝聚力,爱国心,真的这么容易就能培养起来吗?有些东西,过去了,就过去了,失去了,就失去了。难道还有这么多下一次吗?‘福建兵’的凝聚力没有了,南大精神没有了,华校生没有了,这些能找得回来吗?


国民服役45年后,中校是什么都不知道?mypaper 21Jun2012 A4

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Approval ratings drop when accountability takes place in Hong Kong


No wonder the PAP is trying so hard, making use of the media, electoral reforms and other means, to prevent accountability in our parliament. They know too well that there is a heavy price to pay if the government policies and measures are open, transparent and subject to more questionings.

Donald Tsang, his term of office as chief executive of Hong Kong expires end of this month, claims that he is a victim of accountability.  He suffers a big drop in approval ratings, from 72% to 39%. 

[Mr. Tsang's support level has dropped to 39%, his lowest ever, according to a poll taken this month by the University of Hong Kong, compared with a popularity rating of 72% when he first took office in 2005.] (Wsj.com 18 June 2012)

The reasons:

Tsang blames the drop in his approval ratings to his willingness and courage to implement the accountability system in the Hong Kong Legislation Council (Legco). Council members (legislators) are law makers in Hong Kong and work like our members of parliament.     

In his final questions and answers session at Legco, The Standard had the following report on Tsang:

[Tsang admitted expanding the accountability system for principal officials came at a heavy price for him politically.

"When I look back at the changes in my popularity ratings, the watershed is the expansion of the principal officials accountability system in 2008," he said.

"I had underestimated the impacts created in politics and a spate of problems occurred by expanding the system, including how to select political talent, the appropriate terms for recruiting them and how to coordinate relations between principal officials and civil servants. I have paid a heavy cost in my political career," he said.] (The Standard, 15 June 2012)

The Impact:

Tsang’s problems are very similar to the PAP. May be his public service experience has not provided him the political judgement on accountability.  However, the PAP is always a political player and mastermind of electoral reforms.

Tsang had underestimated the impact of accountability but certainly not our PAP. Since taking office in 1959, the PAP has introduced many measures (from ISA, defamation to electoral system) to avoid accountability and transparency.  Unlike Tsang, the PAP has long anticipated the problems of selecting and recruiting talents, coordination (between MP questions and ministers’ replies), and its impact as mentioned above.

This is why until today in our parliament the oppositions are still under represented.  With 40% of votes, only 6 out of 87 MPs are from the oppositions. Just imagine if there are more opposition MPs in the parliament, the approval ratings for the PAP will certainly drop to a new low again.

The Problems: Theory and practice are different

Hong Kong and Singapore are both city state economy. We face quite similar problems, for example, housing, rich and poor gap, exposure to trade and finance etc. 

In his final address to Legco, Tsang pointed out the problem of theory and practice.  He wanted to make a bigger economy cake for Hong Kong and hoped the bigger cake can be shared by all residents there. This is same as Singapore.  Our economy is getting bigger and bigger but the PAP thinks the cake is shared fairly and evenly to all Singaporeans.  But the theory does not equal to practice.  Our low wage workers have not benefited from the bigger economy cake.
The Standard reported:
[Tsang admitted he failed to close the widening wealth gap between rich and poor that has led to widespread social grievances.

"I think that it was crucial to make the economic pie bigger for all, so that once the local economy is boosted, all people from various classes could share in the benefits," he said.

"But it turned out that theory and practice are different."] (The Standard, 15 June 2012)

Perhaps, when you are going out of the office like Tsang, you will then admit your failures and tell the hard truth.

however, in Singapore, it is still a waiting for the PAP to admit there is a difference between theory and practice.  PM Lee in his address to the Economics Society of Singapore still thinks theory and practice is the same thing.

So, when will the PAP admit their mistakes like Tsang? We all know the 'sorry' in GE2011 is not enough.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

专权思维摆脱不了 创新意识只靠麻醉

从一个政治专权的国家,到另一个政治专权的国家,人们的思维还是摆脱不了政治专权的模式,那么,就只有靠药物毒品来麻醉自我,在忘我的神仙境界,才能找到创新之路,造出好像苹果乔布斯那样的产品,名利双收。

中国学者从中国来到新加坡,还是依然留念专权政治下的思维模式。即使像新加坡这样西化的专权加民主的国家,还是无法让中国学者摆脱专权思维的枷锁,一样留念旧的和在中国同样的思维模式,忘记了没有自由的空气,就是想创新也创新不来。乔布斯的创新理念和点子,难道就是依靠麻醉自我就能达到吗?如果是这样简单,人人只要吸上一些毒品,就都成了创新人物了不成。隐君子不就成了创新人的代名词了吗?

看来从中国到新加坡,只不过是从一个专权国家到另一个专权国家,其中的思维模式,创新理念,并没有改变。因为,在这种国家的改变中,创新元素的一个重要条件 – 自由,并没有在考虑之中。在百思不得其解下,就想到麻醉放纵自己,才能达到创新的最高阶段。

美国之所以能够取得今天的地位,就是因为在自由女神之下,全国充满了自由民主的气氛,社会涌现一股朝气。虽然,现在经济前景不是很明朗,美国的经济动力依然不可忽视,创新的源头,创新的底气还在,再加上产权保护的健全,才使到乔布斯这样的人,得以施展创新的理念,在资本主义鼓励消费的背景下,取得个人,企业双双成功。美国作为这个创新原动力的主体,载体,当然也获得国家利益。

那么,是不是没有自由就创新不了呢?中国的‘嫦娥’已经奔月了,新加坡人均收人已经排在世界首几位,难道一定要有自由,才能创新,只有创新,才能为国为民创造财富吗?因此,专权政治还是有其拥护者,为何我们不能牺牲一些自由,换取经济的大饼,让更多的国人富有起来呢?问题是经济大饼在专权政治下有获得公平分配的机会吗?

即使有公平分配,经济的发展,从低度到高度发展,会遇到一个瓶颈,想要再进一步,冲破经济局限,经济枷锁,就要依靠创新。这就是为什么新加坡政府,中国政府现在在注视创新的发展。我国的第四所官立大学,不是有着一个‘设计’在校名里吗?博雅学院不也是想要在人文上有所突破吗?这些跟创新有没有关系?

外来人才的思维问题?

行动党在为引进外来人才提出的一个硬道理就是,这些人才能够为新加坡带来新的活力,新的创新理念,为我国的竞争力加分。但是,如果他们依然没有摆脱专权的思维模式,依然保留专权政治下的创新意识,不追求自由,而认为要靠药物毒品才能有所创新,这么一来,到底是为新加坡加分还是减分呢?

即使从欧美自由国家来的人才,在新加坡特有的专权政治下,能否如愿发挥创新的念头,创新新的思维,创新新的产品和方法?还是,固步自封,依靠着专权政治的保护,行动党的指挥,创新出所谓的创新产品和理念来。

难怪,新加坡人普遍认为,新移民对行动党有利,在投票时,这些人就会投选行动党。因为,他们无法摆脱专权思维,同时,只有专权政治他们才活得踏实,才能施展才华,才能有所创新。这或许是新旧公民的另一个鸿沟,一个要求更多的自由民主,另一个要靠药物来创新。

这么一来,新移民不是变成行动党延续政权的救命仙丹了吗?当选举成绩越接近50对50时,专权思维的投票方式将能起着决定性的作用。看来我们不只要新移民尽快融入我国社会,更要让他们知道了解,新加坡人期望更多的自由,民主,而不是专权。

这是一项很艰难的工作,外来人才当然赞成行动党的政策才来新加坡,当然也知道行动党是个什么样的政府,甚至在利益在上的背景下,他们也不愿意改变。这样一来,2011大选所取得的一点突破,是否还有更大的突破,发展的可能性呢?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Tianjin (Beijing) is not Beijing. Hangzhou (Shanghai) is not Shanghai. Can we get the fact right?


Strange in Singapore, we allow budget airlines and travel agents to promote such misleading information. Tianjin is not part of Beijing and so does Hangzhou not part of Shanghai. Continuing doing so will prove that how ignorance we are in the understanding of China. And the authority allows it and CASE sees nothing wrong about the protection and right ‘to know the fact’ for consumers.

No wonder our tourism board’s Chinese website continues to make mistakes even after few months of ‘repairs’. The latest problem seems to arise from the English-Chinese translation. Now, the Board is considering applying ‘Chinese thinking’ to write the contents rather than based on the translation of their English site.     

Perhaps, they are also thinking Tianjin (Beijing) = Beijing and Hangzhou (Shanghai) = Shanghai is acceptable and there is nothing wrong. So, they choose ‘to close one eye’ and allow budget airlines and travel agents to continue to promote such travels and tours to China.

Tianjin and Beijing are two different autonomous cities in China. (The other two are Shanghai and Chongqing). Hangzhou is the provincial capital of Zhejiang province and is not under the administration of Shanghai. Even in term of distance, in Singapore standard, these cities are far apart, more than one hundred or two hundred kilometres from each other. Landed in different cities is like landed in another country – the way people behave, work attitude and even the application of law.  

Buying a property or doing business in Tianjin or Hangzhou is different from doing the same thing in Beijing or Shanghai.  Shanghai has something like our COE system for cars and Beijing has odd-even number car plates on the road on different days.  No to mention the privilege of residence permits (户口) of Beijing and Shanghai, that some foreign countries give preference to residences of these two cities.   In fact, to many Chinese getting a residence permit in Singapore is easier than getting a 户口 in Beijing and Shanghai.

However, Tianjin and Hangzhou are not small or unknown cities in China. They are among the top 10 most competitive cities in the Greater China. According to a People Daily’s report:
The 10 most competitive Chinese cities last year were in descending order, Hong Kong,Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Qingdao, andChangsha. 
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/7825098.html

Duty to provide right information? Or judge yourself

The government and the tourism board have the duty to provide correct information to Singapore travellers to China. Tianjin is Tianjin not Beijing and Hangzhou is Hangzhou not Shanghai.

Perhaps, in promoting business activities, the government can allow budget airlines and travel agents to provide ‘partially’ correct information. In the opinion of the government, anyway there are transports (or by your own arrangement) to bring you to Beijing or Shanghai even you land in Tianjin or Hangzhou.  But is this the right behavior of a responsible government?  Are we giving the right education and information about China to our people?   

So, the next time, when you read the main stream media and government reports, you must also remind yourself you are likely to read the ‘partially’ correct and ‘partially’ incorrect news and information. For commercial, or even for political reasons, ‘partially’ correct information are given to reflect the whole picture just like many budget airlines, travel agents, money managers, insurance or property brokers do.  

However, the most difficult and challenging task is to differentiate the correct and incorrect information.  Just like what you should prepare yourself when in China – expected the unexpected.  Singaporeans should also prepare for the ‘unexpected’ – so far we already had MRT breakdown, sex corruption, down of a GRC, sorry from PM, etc.

Monday, 11 June 2012

新加坡的未来,属于愤怒青年还是行动党接班人?


国家的未来属于年轻人,那么到底是属于哪一类的青年呢?时下的愤怒青年,还是行动党属意的尖端人才,奖学金得主?尖端人才,奖学金得主会不会也有可能成为愤青呢?把枪头指向行动党呢?

一场大学先修班的研讨会,竟然暴露出行动党领导人在年轻人心目中的地位。让人联想到10几,20年后,当这些年轻人开始成为新加坡接班人的时候,他们很可能对行动党是渐行渐远,看不惯行动党的做法,更有可能的是取而代之。这么一来,行动党不是后继无人吗?行动党接班人接不了班,更可能还把江山给丢了。

另一种乐观说法,就如维文部长说的,年轻时是左派,年纪大一点了,成熟了,就会走中间,甚至右派路线。因此,愤青的表现是可以理解的,也可以容忍的。如果是这样,行动党还是有希望的。因为即使这些年轻人,这些愤怒青年,拿了奖学金成了公共部门的头儿,还是会随着年龄的增长,而改变立场,投向行动党那一边去的。极少部分会像去年大选中的陈如斯等人,投向在野阵营。

看来行动党的如意算盘很可能打错了。2011年的大选,是新加坡历史上第一次有这么多前政府奖学金得主投向在野党。这似乎意味着将来会有更多尖端人才,奖学金得主转向在野党。现在的这批愤青,很可能就是未来在野党的主力,在年轻的时候,他们已经走着不同于行动党的道路,将来一有机会,就带着一股冲劲敢敢和行动党对着干。

这是一股可怕的力量,愤青虽然说话无理,不知天高地厚,但是,年轻是他们的本钱。他们也代表他们这个时代年轻人的想法,如果给予正确的指引,学习机会,将来和行动党钦点的所谓人才候选人对上,胜选的机会很可能高于一点理想都没有,一生只会读书的行动党候选人。

当然。不是所有的愤青,都是未来在野政治的接班人,一些中途而废,一些投向行动党,一些移民他去,一些搞生意,一些搞事业,各种各样的情形都有,但是也不可能完全,全部退出政治,退出在野阵营。这样一来,局面就和以前完全不一样,在野阵营以前没有生力军,现在,却有一股和行动党一样强大,甚至更大的生力军,做后备,就好像国民服役一样,1020年后,这批生力军就是老兵,足够打倒行动党的软脚兵。

在这个起点上,在野阵营在新加坡已经和几十年前相比较有很大的不同。以前即使是愤青也不会表露出来对行动党的不满,害怕被行动党贴上标签,一生的前途受到影响。或许,哪位初院学生和他的父亲还有这个想法和考虑,因此,才向张志贤做出道歉。但是,不要忘了具有愤青这种想法的年轻人可不少,没有说脏话也不少,甚至不同意愤青做出道歉的年轻人也不少。

向不向张志贤道歉在一定意义上,可能已经不重要了,搞的不好,像在演戏,反而对行动党更不好,更不利,更加深年轻人对行动党的不满。总之,张志贤和行动党还是没有给新加坡人一个答案,合理的解释。孔子在和学生讨论人生志向时,也有反问学生,让学生回答,但是,孔子最后还是会指引一条道路让学生参考。张志贤却只能做到反问学生,而不能提供答案给学生做为参考,学生呢! 只好自己找答案,而对行动党最不利的是,学生们自动找上了在野阵营。


拿孔圣人和张志贤相比,真是有点对不起孔圣人。张志贤脑子里只有数目字,经济数据,他怎么知道什么是‘苛政猛于虎’,‘己所不欲,忽施于人’,‘老者安之,朋友信之,少者怀之’。。。。还有什么是‘乡愿’。

在愤青的身上,我们已经看到在年轻人中间,有一股强大的反行动党的气氛,他们或许还不成气候,但是,他们手中有一张选票,这和以前的年轻人相比有很大的不同。他们在愤怒的环境下成长,在不满的心态熏陶下,久而久之,就倾向在野党,不止投票给反对党,更可能出钱出力帮助反对党。

50年代,行动党靠着愤青的一腔怒火,爬上执政后专政的地位。今天,同样一把火,却向这行动党的屁股烧,这种滋味更与何人说!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

From master of everything to master of nothing, what do you think about the PAP?


The PAP has changed from knowing everything to knowing nothing.  They have become humble and so instead of providing a perfect answer, they now ask you ‘what do you think’ and seek you answers rather than giving you answers.

In his speech to the Economic Society of Singapore, PM Lee outlined the challenges of Singapore and the possible directions of Singapore economy and political developments.  There is no right or wrong answer.  What do you think, fast growth or slow growth?  

Perhaps, from PM Lee’s speech we can pinpoint some very interesting ‘what do you think’ answers:

(Below questions are taken from PM Lee’s speech, you can find the full speech in sg.yahoo.com)     

PM Lee: I understand Singaporeans' frustrations and am committed to resolving them.
What do you think? Is it a fair statement? Is he doing enough to solve them?

PM Lee: even thought our per capita GDP is high, our wages are generally lower than in developed countries.
What do you think? Prof. Lim has already provided the answer. Earnings of low wage workers have no real increase for more than 10 years. 

PM Lee: So inequality will grow worldwide, and angst and social pressures will go up.
What do you think? Don’t blame the government. We should accept inequality as we are part of the world. 

PM Lee: Where do we want Singapore to be in 20 years' time?
What do you think? Who is to decide the fate of Singaporeans? The PAP or Singaporeans and see the next question.

PM Lee: A new generation is growing up, brimming with fresh ideas on how to change Singapore for the better.
What do you think? The fresh ideas to change Singapore are from the youths or the new generation of the PAP leaders.

PM Lee: For Singapore, slow growth will mean that new investments will be fewer, good jobs will be scarcer, and unemployment will be higher.
What do you think? Be prepared to face a Singapore of fewer investments, less good jobs and higher unemployment.

PM Lee: If we are content to just be above average in the league of cities, we will fail. That is the greatest danger if we tell ourselves to slow down, enjoy life today and not worry about tomorrow.
What do you think? On the one hand our elites are enjoying life and not worry about tomorrow. On the other hand, average Singaporeans are already struggling for housing, transport, employment and income. What can you do if you are an average Singaporean?   

PM Lee: Our reserves are a valuable buffer against external shocks, and give us the confidence to transform our economy. Not many other countries, or cities, in the world can claim the same.
What do you think? We really do not know how much how big our reserves are.  Some say it may take more than 50 man-years to calculate.  Really, not many other countries can claim the same.

PM Lee: In the past five years, transfers added one-fifth to low-income household earnings. Over a lifetime, a low-income household will receive more than S$500,000 from the government.
What do you think? If you are not a millionaire you must be a half millionaire. I feel so happy looking at the government transfers.  

PM Lee: Therefore to assess the well-being of low-income Singaporeans, we cannot look at just nominal wages.
What do you think?  Shall we look at the hawker’s centres, food courts and restaurants or the cars, houses or holidays?   

PM Lee: At some point - not in this term of government, but surely within the next 20 years - the Government of the day will need new sources of revenue, which means raising taxes.
What do you think? Be prepared to pay more taxes in future.

PM Lee: We will always give Singaporeans the means and the incentives to help themselves, for personal effort and achievement are essential to our sense of dignity and self-worth, and the means to achieve our vision of becoming a leading global city.
What do you think? The means and the incentives are available and always there but you need to look for them.  It may hide somewhere provided you know the way.

PM Lee: Only when citizens accept the political system as legitimate, and economic order as fair, will they give the government of the support and the mandate to run Singapore in their best interests. And only with this mandate can the government do the best for Singapore and all of us.
What do you think? Legitimate, fair, and mandate to the PAP and the government will do the best for Singapore. We have been doing this for the past 50 years and what do we get?

PM Lee: As we venture into the next phase of our development, Singaporeans have to understand what is achievable, what the options are, and what trade-offs we have to make. Only then we can collectively choose an optimal path forward.
What do you think? Is it a collective optimal path for Singaporeans or the PAP? 

PM Lee: The way ahead for Singapore is challenging, but we have reason to be confident.
What do you think? The way ahead for the PAP is challenging but we have confident on the people to vote wisely.

Friday, 8 June 2012

性事重重,走下神台,行动党何去何从?


防备了贪污,防不了色。防备了色之后,不知又会出现什么新花样。真是防不胜防,行动党政府终须要面对一个现实 人性的弱点,不是高薪,不是一党独大的垄断,不是表面的掩饰,也不是制度的制约所能完全克制住的。

行动党政府一直要塑造的完美形象,一直要在国民教育,在道德价值,树立一个国际楷模的神台,也终归要走向人间,做个凡人。我们在经济利益下,在权力发放上,也和其他国家和地区一样,50步笑一百步,以往我们看别人的酒色财气,桃色八卦,现在别人也以同样的目光笑看我们。

但是为何近来特别的多?难道以前没有吗?尤其是,2011年大选过后,这些负面消息,接二连三的出现,行政效率出现问题,道德人品出现问题,社会的贫富不均出现问题,。。

主流媒体开放了,还是新媒体的压力

这是不是说现在的主流媒体比以前开放了呢!可以问心无愧了呢?还可以偶尔爆料,刺激一些销路,卖多几份报纸,提高一下收视率。还或者是新媒体的兴起,有些料,主流媒体不爆的话,新媒体,也可以做到图文并茂,甚至以录像形式出现。

垄断讯息,控制新闻,这个行动党政府的强项,在网络时代,很可能变成一个行动党的负资产。越是像以前那样,报喜不报忧,对行动党不利的新闻就封锁,越是对行动党不利。因为,这将导致行动党在保护下成长,一旦出现变数,就手忙脚乱,应该坚决处理,果敢决断的事,却推三阻四,迟迟没有给人民清楚交代,使到谣言满天飞。当然,人民对政府的信心也就自然大打折扣了。

谁来监督政府?

主流媒体原本的责任就是监督政府,不然为何叫做无冕皇帝。但是,几十年来,主流媒体除了传播政府的讯息外,还为新加坡人民带来什么呢?就是因为自废武功,反而导致政府在缺少外来监督的情形下,自我感觉良好,没有看到政府内部出现问题。政府越是管制媒体,控制媒体,就是自我放弃监督,好的时候,运作正常的时候,当然很好。一旦出现无法细查的问题,私人的问题,性事重重的时候,那就想监督都来不及了。

对高官高管们,因为,根本就没有这意识,还以为主流媒体已已被控制,想发消息,还要过政府这关。但是,人算不如天算,偏偏就是没有这个监督,没有这个警惕,就出事了。

在民主国家,原本在野党就是应该扮演监督政府的角色,但是,在行动党的精心策划下,在选举制度的随意更改下,国会始终没有出现一个有力量制衡行动党政府的在野势力。因此,既没有主流媒体监督,也没有在野党监督,行动党又如何健全的成长。一个收到保护,从小被娇生惯养的新行动党领袖,能够应对新的挑战, 更加复杂的国内外的局势吗?

因此,行动党在性事重重下,没有办法,因为纸包不住火,搞的不好,如果不让事情曝光,万一新媒体,或者是其他外国媒体知道,大大的给予宣传,不是对自己更不利吗?倒不如断尾求生,牺牲几个高官,还能赢得到人们认为行动党已经改变,比以前开放了的美声。

行动党从神降为人的痛苦

行动党的神台没有了,人们现在普遍认为行动党是会出错的,会做错事的。 而且,也会出现效率低,监管不力的情形。行动党终于要走下神台,和普通人一样,一样会出错,一样有效率低的时候,一样也会面对情色的诱惑,一样也有人性的弱点。

走向现实,没有垄断保护,不能利用高压手段压制异己的新政治常态,将会给行动党怎么样的打击,行动党又将何去何从呢?新加坡又将何去何从?这是否意味着我们的黄金时代即将过去,行动党已经变不出什么新把戏,而要靠在野党大力监督,才能奋发图强。更或者,被一个更强大的政党所取代。