Friday, 30 November 2012

Bumbler in a Bubble Home for Retirement


It looks like a Singapore bumbler is in the making or we may already have one.

After reading the Bloomberg’s report “Lee Rues Singapore as Retirement Home Unless Birthrate Rises”, we could find some similarities comparing with another article “Ma the bumbler” by The Economist. 

The Economist has called President Ma a Bumbler recently due to his indecisiveness or inaction. In Taiwan, newspapers there translated the word ‘bumbler’ as ‘stupid’. A check with the web has the following meaning for “bumbler”: 
Someone who makes mistakes because of incompetence http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=bumbler

PM Lee Hsein Loong spoke to Bloomberg about the property market but he took no action even he recognised it was a bubble. He said there were difficult trade-offs to encourage people to have more babies but our birth rate had been declining since 1987. Is he still waiting to see the trade-offs? It proves that economic growth is the always the key in Singapore and only now he realises having more babies is the greatest challenge for the government! 

Here are 2 relevant parts of the article “Ma the Bumbler’ that look very similar to Singapore situation:

“Ordinary people do not find their livelihoods improving. Salaries have stagnated for a decade. The most visible impact of more open ties with China, which include a free-trade agreement, has been property speculation in anticipation of a flood of mainland money. Housing in former working-class areas on the edge of Taipei, the capital, now costs up to 40 times the average annual wage of $15,400. The number of families below the poverty line has leapt. Labour activists have taken to pelting the presidential office with eggs. 
Exports account for 70% of GDP. So some of Taiwan’s problems are down to the dismal state of rich-world economies. Yet Mr Ma’s leadership is also to blame. He has failed to paint a more hopeful future, with sometimes hard measures needed now. Worse, he frequently tweaks policies in response to opposition or media criticism. It suggests indecisiveness.”
http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21566657-former-heart-throb-loses-his-shine-ma-bumbler

PM Lee is lucky as he faces weak oppositions inside and outside parliament.  No wonder he is able to talk about “inclusive politics and decisive government”.  

Retirement Home or not, Singapore is our HOME

However, the most interesting point that he raised during the interview is Singapore should not go down as a retirement home.

Bumbler or not bumbler, most of Singaporeans will have to retire in Singapore and spend the rest of lives here.  Retirement or not, this is our Home – a nation state in building since 1965.  Yes, we have ageing problem, but where can we go for retirement if we have no money?  Even we have money, the bond is here.    

Think deeply, PM Lee is still thinking of money. With no increase of babies, dependency ratio will go up and social expenses will go up too.  So, he prefers some Singaporeans to go overseas for cheaper retirement, for example Malaysia or Indonesia. 

The government is trying very hard at one stage to do this and encourages Singaporeans to go overseas for nursing cares.  But as a bumbler, they keep it a low profile after receiving criticisms from Singaporeans. Now again, PM Lee brings out the idea of retirement home. Is he suggesting old Singaporeans should go overseas so that we can maintain a young Singapore by either having more babies or more foreigners?

In the past 50 years, Singaporeans have slowly building our own identity – singlish, emotionless, kiasu, kiasi, …… And it is why the Singapore Home concept arises – the bonding, the belongingness, etc.

PM Lee may not notice this development that Singaporeans have called the red dot home.  Perhaps, he is thinking spending his retirement elsewhere.  Fortunately or unfortunately, majority of Singaporeans will retire and die here – the lion city, the little dragon. 

To be fair to Ma and Lee, the world is changing and changing rapidly. It seems no world leaders are competent enough to solve the world problems right now.  Perhaps, Obama and Xi Jinping will become the next bumblers.


Some quotes from Lee Hsien Loong from the interview with Bloomberg:

On low birth rate:
“It’s an issue which many countries are dealing with,” Lee said. “None of them have come to any very satisfactory solution because the trade-offs are difficult ones.”

On property bubble
“We have had a property boom, almost a bubble,”
“It’s because liquidity is sloshing around worldwide and real interest rates are negative,” he said. “That’s a difficult problem for us on the overall property market.”

On falling support for the PAP
 “It’s what you would expect to happen as we have a change of generations amongst the population -- you are in a new age, much more open and interconnected,”

For full view, visit  
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-27/lee-rues-singapore-as-retirement-home-without-boosting-birthrate.html

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

罢工暴露了行动党的困境,困惑和僵硬


对于惯于争取自身利益的中国人来说,持续的同工不同酬,当然会演变成地铁公司巴士司机罢工事件。问题是面对这样不对等的待遇,行动党政府明明知道迟早会发生罢工,为何没有及时采取行动,避免事情的发生。难道,政府有意让事情恶化,将人民一将,教训人民。

还是,这就是行动党的现状:在治国路上,出现瓶颈。因此,在国人,世人面前暴露出一幅无所适从的困境,困惑和缺少处事的灵活性。

我们比较相信后者,教训人民的代价很高,万一处理不好,行动党政府就得提早毕业了。

去年大选过后,选民已经向行动党表示应该限制外来人口,增加本地人的就业机会。同时,政府需要区分本地人和外地人的不同贡献,本地人的权利,和提高低收入人士的待遇。贫富的差距扩大,基本生活费用的高涨,屋价的飞扬,世界经济放缓,这些大问题都压向行动党。而要解决这些大问题,过去50年来成功的经济政策,就必须重新思考,甚至还要开倒车,走不一样的路。

什么叫做开倒车?就是以人为本,服务人民。例如:居者有其屋,建屋局的目的已经背离原本的目标很远了,从提供价廉物美的组屋,发展到以盈利为目的。又如教育,大学学位不足,学校为奖学金得奖者而设。但是,行动党政府有可能开倒车吗?为人民提供廉价组屋和大众教育吗?

因为,它整天说没钱,或许已经把钱花在不知道什么地方了 (虽然名义上我们的外汇储备丰富)。如果,要提供高质价廉的组屋,教育,医药等等服务,唯一的方法,就是增加税收。增加税率,在行动党看来,不只是国人不喜欢,外国投资就不会来了,这样一来,新加坡经济就推不动了。

所以,现在我们看到行动党政府的疲态,做得好辛苦。因为,以前一党独大好办事,想怎么做就怎么做,不需要做好好先生,要高经济增长,就高增长,需要人力,就进口。贫富差距没问题,高薪才能留住人才,无能低教育的人理应得低收入,再不好好工作,就用外劳代替。

经济困境
我国低收入人群10几年来一直处于没有 加薪的持续性零增长的状态。行动党政府不以为然。不但认为这么做是对的,甚至,在无法继续协助企业降低工资成本时,还同意让企业引进外劳,进一步降低成本。无形中,进一步把低收入人士的薪金拉低。

这么做,导致一个比一个来得低。本地人收入低,不要做就引进外人。当然,外人的薪金必须比新加坡来得更低。地铁巴士司机就是一个例子。新加坡司机低,马来西亚司机低些,中国司机更低。

http://www.sgpolitics.net/?p=7866

这个情形和美国不一样。美国企业为了降低成本,就把工厂搬到国外。在美国本土,合法的外国工人,当然是受到同工同酬的待遇。这点我们就没有向老美学习。(美国这么做当然有不好的地方,把工作机会给了外人。)但是,企业却不会遇到同工不同酬的情形。

奇怪的是美国地大人不算太多,还是要限制外来人口。新加坡地小人多,却反其道而行。我们还有多少机会通过人口来增加刺激经济增长?

不单是人力成本无法进一步降低,中小型企业还面临租金上涨的压力,人力和租金都上涨,企业老板吃什么?难怪,在新加坡,人人只想打工。但是,世界除了新加坡部长外,还有什么地方,这么容易得到高薪工作。所以,如何提供高质的工作,高薪工作给新加坡人,成了行动党的困惑。

治国困惑
地铁巴士司机不上班,要怎么定义?主流媒体不敢肯定,最后,代人力部长在事发第二天,才说这就是“非法罢工”。而政府绝对不容许这种事情发生。如果没有代人力部长这句话,主流媒体和国人不知还要被折腾到几时。

或许,不关罢工定义的问题,令人疑惑的是,几十年来,新加坡人,低收入人士,竟然能够容忍没有加薪的困境。而中国人,不到几个月,就有意见,就罢工。从中国人的立场来看新加坡,连他们也觉得怪怪的。为何不满意,就可以不发声,难道新加坡的法律比中国还要严,管的更严。

新加坡人也迷惑,我们几十年都可以忍,为什么你们几个月都不可以忍。到底是谁的自我意识高?这点可能连行动党也困惑了。

这说明了什么?为何中国司机知法犯法,遇到不合理的事情,就出声。而新加坡人,竟然无法百忍成金。不只没有加薪,反而可能减薪,或失去工作。难怪,我们可以容忍贫富差距进一步的扩大,中产阶级面临进一步萎缩。

无法进一步降低人力和租金成本,行动党政府怎么办?所以,政府就搞了全国对话,扮演好好先生,聆听国人的诉说。但是,不要忘记李显龙说的:"Inclusive politics, decisive government". 在政治上可以包含你,在决策上绝不手软。

因此,不只是行动党出现困惑,国人也很迷惑。国人投诉外人太多,就马上限制人力进口。国人投诉低收入应该加薪,结果就出现地铁公司的不三不四的同工不同酬的加薪制度。

现在警方涉入调查地铁巴士司机的罢工事件,结果不知道会不会让人更加困惑?

处事僵硬
迷惑的结果,就是拿不出主张。在行动党治理下,我们荣登世界最无感的人。冷漠无感反映在处事上,就出现僵硬的不灵活的处事方法。

政府部门一切照既定程序做事。组屋不够,就建组屋,价格不理,买不买的起是申请者的事。孩子不够,就给些奖励,欠缺人文的鼓励。医药费不够,就叫孩子,亲人补上。会考状元榜,有人不同意,就取消公布名单,这是不是小事情,行动党政府就扮演好好先生,大事情,还是不手软。例如,如果你问国库储备多少,回答总是我们有透明度,管理的很好。

过去50年一路走来,行动党政府都没有遇到阻力。想做什么就做什么。因此,做起事情来,就缺少灵活性。当然,政府会说他们做的都是有透明的,公平的,有监督的。试问,行动党自己监督自己,叫不叫监督?在国会里,设立政府国会理事会,行动党自己监督自己,叫不叫监督?

国会都如此僵硬,政府部门,部长怎么能不僵硬呢?

过去的成功造就了今天的僵局。高速经济增长,高速引进人口,最终出现发展的瓶颈,再发展的僵硬,缺少持续发展的灵活性。

当然,这不只是行动党的挑战,而是新加坡人的挑战。行动党成功背后的问题,要全国人民买单,让人民通过全国对话发发牢骚,这样做就够了吗?

为何不让国会有多一些监督,让部长们在国会真实的回答问题。当然,行动党不是不可取代的,如果它继续僵硬下去,选民就要灵活性的处理,让在野党上台做做看。

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No Blue Or Red In A White Dream of Freak Election


The PAP is getting worry so do PM Lee Hsien Loong.  They begin to see their future either in blue or red and there is no white. So in their dream, there is no snow white but only colourful pictures of blue, red, pink, yellow and others.  Is this possible: a Singapore with no men in white? It must be a freak election as Singaporeans are doing the unthinkable as claimed by Lee senior.

Freak or not freak, we are seeing more colours in Singapore politics.  The PAP is day dreaming if it continues to think Singapore is still a ‘white’ land.

"If Singapore had a blue constituency and a red constituency, I think Singapore will be in trouble," …..
"We have tried to make sure that all our constituencies are about the same colour … because we want all the constituencies to share the same interests. Then we can think together and when you represent Singapore, you represent the whole of Singapore."http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC121124-0000068/Spore-cant-go-down-red-vs-blue-path--PM-Lee
Look like he is trying to create a ‘communist’ state and everyone is dressed up in white.  Everything is the “same”: same colour constituencies, same interest, elites from same schools, poor from same HDB, transport from same company, telecoms from same group, ……

In actual fact, the PAP is doing the opposite. They are paying high salary to themselves. They allow the widening rich-poor gap. Even SMRT, they agree to have different salary for same job. Where is the ‘same’?

But for political reason and their survival, they want the ‘same’. Everyone thinks and dreams only white, no other colours.

However, white is not a good colour, especially for Chinese. White means the past, over and sadness. And we prefer a colourful society, a colourful Singapore. In Chinese, day dream is also a white dream.

If there is no white constituency, who is in trouble? the PAP or the people. Singaporeans have been living in the white dream (白日梦) for too long. They dreams of the PAP’s promise of Swiss standard of living – the same white dream for more than 20 years.  It makes Singaporeans forget they have their own dreams – their colourful dreams.  People have the right to create their own colours that they want.  

The government is promoting creativity but only wants citizens to use white colour to make creative pieces. By using white colour, in the PAP’s analogy we will have an "Inclusive politics, decisive government".

In his white dream, PM Lee is overly confident that he and his PAP are the best.

"I think in Singapore, if the PAP is not able to deliver, I think the politics will malfunction because it's not going to be easy to put together another group to make Singapore work." http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC121124-0000068/Spore-cant-go-down-red-vs-blue-path--PM-Lee

Here, he clearly denies other colours can rule Singapore effectively. It must be white if not more white. Not easy as PM Lee claimed does not mean not possible or not capable. Very soon, Singapore politicians whatever colours they are will have the “same” background – thanks to more than 50 years of PAP white washing education.    

Popular but not middle ground, what is he talking about?

If you are not popularly elected, how do you form the government?  If you are not in government, how do you make ‘middle ground’ responsible decisions? May be in Singapore, by using boundary re-drawing, GRC and main-stream media, the white can cover all colours. As a result, even without popular votes, it can still get elected.

PM Lee: Do the right thing, dont be a populistWhile the right political decision may not be the most popular one, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says for the future good of the country, it is more important for the ruling party to make responsible decisions rather than to make popular ones.http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20121125-385608/3.html 
Anyway, PM Lee does not want to be a ‘Hao Hao Xian Sheng’ (Mr Nice Guy).  He wants people to give him the trust so that he can lead Singaporeans ‘charge’ into the white dream.  

Of course, there is a trade-off. If you believe and trust his white dream, you then let him lead you to the white land. However, you too can opt not to trust him and make you own way to a colourful world.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

面对冷漠无感,选区如何划分?个人信息如何保护?


面对冷漠无感的选民,行动党在选区划分上,如何做到尽善尽美,确保胜选优势?在执行选区划分时,又如何确保个人信息受到保护?个人隐私有所保障?

国会在10月份,已经通过相关法案,因此,个人信息保护法令即将实施,但是这应该不会对选区划分造成任何影响。因为,这个法令只是涉及私人领域,政府部门不受影响#1

所以,信息保护法令不会影响行动党每次大选前的前期工作:单选区和集选区的重新划分。这个由行动党主导的选区划分,次次都被在野党批评,是行动党胜选的准备工作,为行动党铺路,争取好成绩。

看来也的确如此。

以下举19881991,四个单选区的 情形说明一下。为何巴耶利峇单选区在1991年的大选被取消。如果,没有被取消,在野党候选人中选的机会几乎是100%,怪只怪在1988年,巴耶利峇选民强出头,过早的暗示这个选区行动党的优势不再。

19881991年大选四个单选区的在野党战绩:

巴耶利峇
义顺中
武吉甘柏
后港
1988
47.6%
42.4%@
46.5%
41%
1991
取消
50.3%
51.4%
51.4%
1991年中选政党
加入集选区
民主党
民主党
工人党
@三角战 www.singapore-elections.com

同理,友诺士集选区,静山集选区,为何在大选过后被取消呢?我们现在等着看波东巴西,如切单选区,东海岸集选区会不会步上以上这些选区的命运,在 2016年被取消掉。

冷漠无感中划分选区,对行动党更为有利?

行动党要在选区划分中取得好成绩,取得优势,就一定要知道选民的背景,投票的倾向,家庭,个人的资料等等。这些资料在一定程度上,就和个人信息保护法令有关。那么,为何法令不包括政府部门呢?政府的解释是,政府部门和法定机构现有的法律,比个人信息保护法令更为严格,因此,不受到这条法令的影响和限制。#1

这是不是此地无银三百两?这是个玩笑还是借口?

千划分,万划分,行动党政府还是要面对世界上最冷漠无感的新加坡选民。冷漠无感会对选区划分造成压力而错判局势吗?选区划分会不会因为选民城府太深,而做出错误的判断呢?

还是,冷漠无感却能做出最理性的判断。利益的得失,损害的程度,都以功利主义作为衡量的标准,只要对症下药,就能取得佳绩。所以,就有组屋提升计划。

一个不能否定的事实就是,如果没有选区划分,没有集选区的保护,国会就不会出现一面倒的情形。2011年大选,40%反对票,竟然只有不到7%的反对党议员。我们需要反思的是,虽然选民冷漠无感,选区划分和集选区的确让行动党得了甜头,坐了顺风车。

现代数据分析更精准,政府会公器私用吗?

英国广播公司最近有几则报道:电脑的大量数据以及快速的运算,有助私人机构了解客户的消费行为,例如,从妇女在超市的购物(25种产品)中,可以知道这个女人是否是怀孕。人们和餐馆可以预先知道客户当天要吃些什么东西。对于拥有大量数据的政府,当然也可以进行类似的分析,或许选区划分就是根据这些原则来进行工作的。

当然,私人机构也可以为政党服务。只要给他们钱,就可以委托他们做分析,从消费心理看投票心理。欧巴马在竞选连任时,就用了不少这些资料,例如,举办一些演唱会,叫一些选民希望看到的歌手出席,来拉近选民,吸引他们投票。

当然,这是美国,民主党这么做,共和党也能这么做。他们都在公开的做,只要有钱,就有私人机构愿意为你服务。

新加坡的选举不是这样。有钱也不能做(当然,在野党也根本没有这个财力)。因此,政府既然拥有巨大的信息资源,就很有可能被人怀疑公器私用,不单在国家管理上,可以动用这些信息,在选区划分上,在选区拨款上,在对某类选民的政策上,也会有所取舍。

工人党议员陈硕茂在国会辩论个人信息保护法案时,提出政府部门不受个人信息保护法令的影响。
It expressly carves out the application of personal data protection laws to public agencies that collect, use or disclose our personal data:#2

虽然,根据报道#1政府部门对个人信息的保护比个人信息保护法令来得更为严格。但是,从选区划分有利行动党的胜选看来,冷漠无感的新加坡选民,是有理由怀疑行动党在公器私用信息。

我们更加要注意的是,这个不受个人信息保护法令限制的还不包括政府部门。为政府办事的私人机构也可以不在这个法令的管辖之下。 
As an extension, the personal data protection laws will also not apply to private organisations when they act on behalf of a public agency.#2

 我们不能把个人信息保护法令看成是单单几个私人公司,随意发几个短信,几个电邮,甚至为何有人知道我的地产,我的婚姻状况这么简单。法令也有一些预想不到的用处和例外,我们很多人根本就不知道。

在这里,冷漠无感,或许是一个优势。冷漠无感到令人无法捉摸,令选区划分无处下手,令行动党找不到踪迹,这才是最高明,最冷漠无感的新加坡人。

回看2011年,冷漠无感所带出了的理智,才是行动党失掉第一个集选区的真正原因。

#1
The Act covers all private sector organisations engaged in data activities within Singapore.

The public sector is not governed by the new law, as it already has its own data protection rules which are stricter than the new law in some cases.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1231456/1/.html

#2
The Bill allows for various other exemptions. For example, an organization may collect, use or disclose personal data without having to comply with the data protection laws if doing so is “necessary in the national interest”. Or if the collection, use or disclosure of personal data is “necessary to respond to an emergency that threatens the life or safety of that individual or another individual”.  Or if the personal data is “publicly available”.  Or if the use or disclosure of personal data is “necessary for any investigation or proceedings”.
These exemptions would have been helpful in providing some flexibility to organisations, such as government agencies, when dealing with the interests of the public in specific cases. Unfortunately, this Bill will not apply to public agencies.  It expressly carves out the application of personal data protection laws to public agencies that collect, use or disclose our personal data: these include government ministries, tribunals and upon notification by the Minister, statutory boards like the PA and the HDB.  As an extension, the personal data protection laws will also not apply to private organisations when they act on behalf of a public agency.
http://wp.sg/2012/10/speech-on-data-protection-bill-mp-chen-show-mao/

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Will emotionless Singaporeans give Dr Chee Soon Juan a chance in Parliament 2016?


Yes if you are in the cycle of social media. No if you are on the side of main stream media. So, what is the chance of Dr Chee Soon Juan getting your votes in 2016?

By the probability of throwing a coin, it is 50:50. The chance right now is perhaps below 50% as his constituency groundwork has yet to begin. We have to assess his new ‘emotion’ in the next few years and re-rate his chances.

Let’s be very clear that less emotion does not mean less rational.  Singapore voters are calculative and they want to have both economic growth and democracy, just like they want upgrading with government subsidy plus oppositions in the parliament. When they know they can’t have both, they will make the best choice for themselves, for example Aljunied GRC.

Singapore ranks as the most emotionless society in the world, beating out Georgia, Lithuania, and Russia. Singaporeans are unlikely to report feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions. They’re not laughing a lot, either. “If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” says Jon Clifton, a Gallup partner in Washington. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.”http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-20/singapore-confronts-an-emotion-deficit

Best company with no work-life balance

From the above report, we know Singapore is one of the best-run companies in the world but it does not mean a work-life balance is provided in this company.  We look at the figure and pay you based on your performance. You have your compensation and bonus accordingly but be ready to report to work every time you are needed.

With this life style, you are motionless even you have high pay and fat bonus. Unfortunately, if you are not in this class, you become even more emotionless. Going down to the social ladder, you see more emotionless faces as they have to struggle for a living.  

Emotion or emotionless Dr Chee?

Same to Dr Chee, after getting the news of his annulment from bankruptcy, let’s guess he is emotion or less emotion now.  His past action is considered emotion to some or rational for others. And what about the future, especially in GE2016, will his participation as an election candidate lead to a new emotion?

Let us wish him all the best after Friday, 23 Nov 2012.  It is good to see him in parliament and so we can judge him whether he is ‘too emotion or too rational’.

The Government says Singapore opposition leader Chee Soon Juan's bankruptcy has been annulled after an unprecedented concession by two former prime ministers to whom he owed about $400,000.
A government office statement says ex-prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong agreed to accept a reduced amount of S$30,000 from Mr Chee, which will free him from bankruptcy proceedings formally on Friday.http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC121121-0000128/SDP-leader-Chee-Soon-Juans-bankruptcy-annulled

Dr Chee as an MP in 2016?

Based on the SDP percentage of valid votes of 36.8% in GE2011 and its best performance result of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (39.9%), it is really not an easy task for Dr Chee and SDP. You need a 10.11% swing to win.  Is it possible?

And the SDP team in Holland-Bukit Timah was (as claimed in social media) already the best of the best from the oppositions in 2011. There is no doubt the percentage of valid votes of SDP in 2016 will increase from 36.8%, but by how much?

GE % of valid votes

PAP
WP
SDP
NSP
1984
64.8%
41.9%
46.1%
-
1988
63.2%
38.5%
39.5%
34.6%
1991@
61%
41.1%
48.6%
37.9%
1997
65%
37.6%
33.1%
30.1%
2006
66.6%
38.4%
23.3%
32.5%SDA
2011
60.1%
46.6%
36.8%
39.3%
@ By-elections strategySource: www.singapore-elections.com 

23.3% in 2006 for SDP is an unusual low and could be a statistical error due to some unusual and unfavourable campaigns.  Confidentially saying, in 2016, the SDP percentage of valid votes should increase to more than 40%. But will this enough to make a breakthrough?

The SDP before 1991 and after 1991 is a totally different party under different leadership.  If history repeats itself and SDP manages to gain back its glory, then we will see the first SDP MP under the leadership of Dr Chee in 2016.

A better organised SDP with more qualify candidates should have a chance in 2016.  But Singapore voters are the richest in the world, the most emotionless in the world, and as reported above Singaporeans are unlikely to report feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions.”

This makes getting their feelings difficult not to mention their votes. And SDP does not a have National Conversation to talk to the people even it only reaches to a certain group of people.  

Fight to win

We will see a very different picture from the past for future general elections or even by-elections. In the past, especially in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, participation in elections is like playing a game, full of fun.  It is certainly more emotions and many candidates participated in elections just for the fun. And for the PAP candidates it was a fun too, competing with each other to see who had the highest margin!

The future elections will be less emotions and less funs.

You stand as candidate is to win the election, not for fun. There is no room for fun playing candidates unless you want to lose your deposit. Even the PAP candidates have to fight to win and opposition candidates will have to choose a party that gives them a higher chance of winning.

Will all these future emotionless candidates lead to an even less emotion Singapore?  I hope not.  

Monday, 19 November 2012

罚款随物价房价而涨 一流教育如何教这门课?


通货膨胀导致物价房价高涨,政府顺水推舟,从明年三月开始,加重罚款,提高对乱扔垃圾行为的罚款额,其中对首次违规的人处罚从300元提高到500元。

样样东西都起价,从小贩中心到购物中心,从汽车到房子,罚款如果不涨,还真对不起这个资本主义的自由运作程序。但是,在这种背景下,我们要如何打造下一代,要如何教育未来的主人翁?涨价会不会把他们的玩具给挤掉?我们的世界一流教育体系要如何教导孩子而不让他们失去童贞?

罚款涨价增加,一跳就跳了200元。以百分比来说,就是67% (200:300)。以通货膨胀的水准来说,这已经是高度通货膨胀了。这好像组屋,公寓的涨价一样,动不动就是几十巴仙的上涨,如果你是受薪人士,老板会不会给你几十巴仙的加薪?

深一层的想,这个做法是贪财还是公道?法律面前人人平等,犯法要受到同样的处罚。富人罚500元,穷人也一样500元。但是,一个月入不到千元的人,就是他的50%的薪水。而一个月入万元的人,则只不过是5%,最妙的是,在创新会计下,富人还可能把罚款当成成本开支化掉。

因此,有些国家,已经开始以另一种“公平”方式来处罚人们。就是根据你的收入来交罚款。收入高,就交高的罚款,收入低,就交低的罚款。报纸不是曾经报道,在瑞士有富人因为开快车,而要交上万元的罚款。

但是,这样做在新加坡这样讲效率的国家,是很不实际的。法官还要调查触犯法律的背景,收入情形,这样不是很麻烦吗?500元不是简单的多了。

但是,为何收钱不说麻烦,而给钱给以所谓的医药津贴,老人津贴,却要mean testing,要调查家庭背景。既然如此,为了公平起见,看来不管是政府收钱也好,给钱也好,调查一下个人,家庭背景,再给于公平的处罚和津贴,才合乎人人平等的原则。

除非,很不幸的,乱抛垃圾的人就只是集中在低收入的一群人身上。这么一来,我们的教育真的很失败,为何低收入的人就是乱抛垃圾的人,而政府在无法教育好他们后,就只有加重罚款来对付这群不幸的人。这真是法家精神的再现。

利用罚款来对付乱抛垃圾的人,在新加坡已经很久了。不只是乱抛垃圾,其他罚款也很多,因此新加坡早于是世界上闻名的罚款fine国家。到底,我们是以罚款作为一个教育手段,还是警惕兼收入的手段?

一流的教育制度,为何无法提升品德?

新加坡自认和公认有着世界第一流的教育制度。好多国家都向我们学习,如何把数理化教好,但是,就没与听说他们向我们学习如何把品德教好,把传统文化教好。

因此,多年以来,我们乱抛垃圾的国人,没有减少,反而增加。在政府看来,罚款增加有助减少乱抛垃圾的机会。除非,这个罚款的增加,不是对付国人,而是特为不懂我国严厉法律的外人而设的。

据报道,教育部将从2014年起,分阶段在小学及中学推出新的品格与公民教育课程。教育部将灌输六大核心价值:尊重、责任、韧性、正直、关怀及和谐。乱抛垃圾的不良行为,也应该在里面。教育孩子不要乱抛垃圾,在过去几十年都一直在进行,但是,为何成效不大?而其他的学术成绩却一直有所进步。是不是,数理化容易教,又有补习老师协助,所以才有一流的成绩,而品德,个人行为,传统文化,没人帮忙,学校又不重视,所以,每况愈下,乱抛垃圾的人有增无减。

现在的教育工作,还要面对社会上出现的一些现象:贫富的问题,公平公正的问题,民主自由的问题,。。。 教育部2014年推出的新的品格教育,不知如何面对这些问题?还有,富人孩子集中在名校,如何做到和谐和沟通。

我们会不会出现好像中国那样的房价和孩子争玩具的情形。孩子因为父母为了应付高房价而没钱给孩子买玩具(见下文)。这样的发展,对孩子的关爱,给予孩子的家庭时间,当然也会减少。我国教育部在这样的背景下,如何教育孩子不要乱抛垃圾?

新加坡的孩子们,如果面对的是一个贫富差距很大,父母没有时间照顾,只注重学术成绩的大环境,教育部最新的品德教育(尊重、责任、韧性、正直、关怀及和谐),也将会和以前的品格教育课程一样,遭遇到同样的命运,乱抛垃圾恶习照旧,而罚款继续上升。

小记者问房价背后的民生之惑2012111402:30新京报我要评论(406)字号:T|T
时言平 媒体人
 
1112日,一名叫张佳鹤的小学生记者追问住建部部长姜新伟:“现在房子太贵了,很多同学的爸爸妈妈买了房子把钱都花光了,还向银行借了很多钱,都没有钱给孩子买玩具了。”(1113日《长江日报》)小记者的无忌童言,道出了当前的民生之惑。房价高企,已然绑架了大部分民众的生活。“房奴”一词,蕴含了太多的辛酸和无奈;沉重的房贷枷锁,让多少民众的生活难以从容和安稳。
生活资本被房子透支,除了小孩“没钱买玩具”的忧虑,更多成年人也因此留下了不少生活缺憾:如果不是因为房子,年轻人积累的原始资本,无论是用来投资创业,还是学习深造,可能创造更多的财富和更大的价值;如果不是因为房子,更多人可以为老人和孩子提供更加闲适的生活等…… 
有国外媒体曾经这样刻画中国的年轻房奴:“他们本可以朗诵诗歌、结伴旅行、开读书会,现在,年轻人一毕业就成为中年人,为柴米油盐精打细算。”年轻的珍贵资本,被绑架在住房问题上,透支孩子买玩具的钱或许矫情,但透支年轻人创业投资、学习深造、旅游休假的机会,却委实成为不少人的遗憾。 
一个让孩子担忧父母因为买房、透支了家庭经济而没钱买玩具的社会,是令人惭愧的。而一个让更多人的生活和命运,陷于住房这一基本民生所需泥潭里的社会,是令人焦虑的。 
值得欣慰的是,十八大报告提出:到2020年,实现国内生产总值和城乡居民人均收入比2010年翻一番。国民收入大幅提高、福利保障继续完善、房价物价合理调控……当民生改革步入新轨,小记者“害怕房价透支玩具钱”的担忧,也就自然不复存在了http://view.news.qq.com/a/20121114/000003.htm

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Does full retirement of Hu Jintao mean anything to the PAP and our Parliament?


Even Hu Jintao dares to do it, why the PAP old guards still feel the uncertainty? Hu made history in the recently concluded party congress of Chinese Communist Party for leadership renewal. He stepped down from the important posts of party chief and military head - not to forget China is a nuclear power and is modernising its forces.

One important factor of recent Chinese politics has been that even when the Chinese leadership retire, they still exert a phenomenal amount of power. This looks similar to Singapore.  When Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister, he needed a senior minister. When Lee Hsien Loong took over the PM post, he needed two.

Only last year, after the general election, the PAP felt they had to face the reality and decided to let go the SM, MM, and 2 unpopular ministers.  However, is this arrangement a ‘full retirement’ of former ministers?

No. They are still collecting pay checks from the Parliament.  They may not have influences over government policies, however, they are certainly not fully retired from politics and not to forget they can still vote in the Parliament.  

It is time they do the honourable thing to resign from Singapore Parliament and let others make more meaningful contribution to the Parliament. There are at least 5 former ministers (Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong, Raymond Lim, Mah Bow Tan, and Wong Kan Seng) in the current Parliament.  They should not behave like Jiang Zemin or Deng Xiaoping but follow the footstep of Hu Jintao.
    
Setting a precedent from his predecessors, outgoing Communist Party chief and President Hu Jintao has stepped down as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and made a historic full retirement from power.
Unlike late strongman Deng Xiaoping and former president Jiang Zemin who held on to their CMC posts despite retiring as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary, Mr Hu has decided to hand over both hats to Vice-President Xi Jinping, who will also assume the presidency next March.http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/asia/story/hu-jintao-steps-down-chairman-the-central-military-commission-20121115

The PAP should let go of these old guards and calls for mid-term by-elections to replace them. They can use this opportunity to show Singaporeans that the current team is a “new’ team without the influence of the old guards.  It can also prepare new and young ministers to face the reality of elections and their popularity.

Current PAP MPs and cover girl

However, this only involves 5 MPs and few GRCs. If we look at the current PAP MPs, they are (more) behaving very similar to Andrea Yu, an Australian journalist famous for asking ‘soft’ questions during the CCP congress.

AUSTRALIAN journalist Andrea Yu has had the questions turned on her after a series of 'soft questions' at the Chinese Communist Party congress.Yu was later revealed to be an employee of a company owned by the Chinese Government and based in Australia since 2009. 
Many were surprised when the Australian was allowed to ask questions at the Chinese leadership event. That is normally reserved for Chinese journalists who are supportive of the government.Yu has been criticised for failing to ask tougher questions and instead using the floor to quiz China's leadership about Australian-Asian relations and Melbourne's sister-city connection with Tianjin. 
The ABC's China correspondent, Stephen McDonnell, asked Yu if she was called to ask questions because it was known that she works for Global CAMG Media International, a majority Chinese-owned company. CAMG is also affiliated with state-run Chinese radio."I honestly don't believe people in the Chinese Government knew who I was," she said. 
Yu has only worked for CAMG for about a month but admitted that her questioning is influenced by who she works for. 
"I can't ask the hard questions that I might want to ask because of who I work for," she said.http://www.news.com.au/national/who-is-journalist-andrea-yu/story-fndo4eg9-1226517775265


Do the PAP MPs speak like Andrea in the Parliament?  Do the Government Parliamentary Committees really speak for the people or the PAP? Many have described Andrea as a ‘beautiful flower’ in the Congress, but really, does her presence make the Congress a step forward or backward in openness?  

At least, at the end, Andrea Hodgkinson Yu is a cover girl:



And interestingly, she seems to have 2 names, one outside China and one inside China.
So what we have is Andrea Hodgkinson giving her name as Andrea Yu to foreign reporters but who is known in China as Andi. Got it?Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/hu-jintao-to-fully-retire-report-2012-11#ixzz2CM18yRLH

Not sure in our Parliament, our PAP MPs also carry 2 names and 2 characters, one inside the Parliament (for the PAP) and the other outside the Parliament (for the voters).