Monday, 30 September 2013

Trading off PM Lee and/or the PAP in 2016?

Is there any difference between trading off PM Lee or the PAP?  Yes. There is a big difference. If you don’t like Lee Hsien Loong, as what he had suggested choosing between work and life, you can trade him off with another PAP leader. However, if you are not happy with the PM and the PAP, you can choose to trade-off both.  

Alternatively, if you still want the PAP to be in government and hesitate to trade off the PAP but are willing to trade off the PM, then, you may wait and see, and check out other Singaporeans whether they will go ahead to trade off the PAP government in the General Election 2016.

It is interesting to watch whether there will be a trade-off effect in Singapore politics. PM Lee suggests a trade-off in work-life balance. Singaporeans can also do the same trade-off between PM Lee and another person and/or an additional trade-off between political parties. 

So, the PAP has to think very carefully.  Which arrangement is preferred by the party?  Does it want to go along with PM Lee to be a trade-off item?

What is work-life balance or harmony?

In PM Lee’s opinion, work and life can be easily traded off.  There is a price to pay, especially our competitors will steal away our lunch. So, in his mathematical mind, it is a balancing act. You can’t have both and eat them all.

Before we discuss further, let take a look at Ministry of Manpower’s website for a clear explanation on work-life harmony: 

[Providing work-life friendly workplaces will result in a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Work-life friendly workplaces enable employees to balance their personal and work commitments. Employers who proactively support a work-life friendly environment will stand to benefit from having a more engaged and productive workforce. This will also help in attracting and retaining talent, especially in light of the tight labour market.]http://mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/work-life-harmony/Pages/work-life-strategies.aspx

PM Lee seems to suggest there is no win-win situation.  Of course, as Prime Minister, he can overwrite the MOM statement and give each of the three parties (employers, union and government) #1 a slap by promoting work-life balance without deep consideration of lunch box issues.

Is the PAP government serious about work-life harmony?

Has the PM’s position on work-life balance indicated the future work-life direction in Singapore?  How come the Tripartite has not voiced out their concerns?  Or, it is just like the Chinese saying: talking and doing moving into different direction. (讲一套做一套)The PM sees the stealing of lunch and MOM sees the win-win outcome.     
  
Perhaps, these are all usual practices and public policies of the PAP. You can apply the same logic to many other policies, e.g. housing (affordable flats), education (no tuition), transport (COE, ERP), etc.

New business model of inclusiveness – stockholders rather than shareholders

Work-life balance is not a winners-take-all arrangement. In fact, work-life harmony is a better explanation.  All parties involved acting like stockholders in a harmony environment. This is a new business model promoting social responsibility, inclusive society and community.

However, PM Lee looks only at the shareholders’ point of views, or even worst, from the investors’ view point.  It is not surprised he is so concerned about the ‘stealing of lunch’. He sees work-life as a cost factor rather than a social value creation.

Is there any empathy? He claims that he spent 20 years to learn how to be a PM.  After 20 years of learning and tuition he still cannot think out of the lunch box, should we trade him off?

#1
http://www.tripartism.sg/page/Work-Life-Harmony/


Instead of stealing away your lunch, you can get a free pair of shoes! A new business model?


Friday, 27 September 2013

总理培训20年 不为优雅社会

总理自认很幸运,非常幸运能够有20年的时间作为学徒,学习总理的工作#1。哦!原来他一从政,就知道自己是总理人选,那真是特别特别的幸运,有几个人一踏入政治,一中选成为国会议员,就知道自己是总理候选人。除非是皇太子,那就是一出生就是接班人。

回想新加坡过去这几十年的政治,原来是这么一回事。
原来有人一开始就知道是什么回事,而投票的选民,却被认知失调的一直投票支持行动党。我们为什么都成为后知后觉的人,都成了事后孔明。

为什么20年前没有说清楚,害得有些政治人物,有些国外报纸吃上官司。在现代民主政治中,用20年的时间指定安排总理人选,未来的接班人,很可能是一个纪录。尤其是有自由选举的政治社会, 这是非常突出的例子。因此,总理也认为将来的接班人没有他这么幸运。

工匠教育下的总理,可想到优雅社会的理想?
www.straitstime.com
20年的学徒教育最令人失望的不是那有如皇太子的培训,而是:完全的工匠式教育,培养一个继续功利的接班人。而作为今天的总理的李显龙,并没有发扬传承吴作栋的优雅社会理想。他的工匠式培训,就是继续走经济第一的路线。因此,他才会说生活和工作平衡有取舍,权衡的地方,他警告#2

1.   小心竞争者把你的午餐偷走。
2.   这是因特网上的一种风尚,一种流行。
3.   需要看清楚利与弊。

他难道不知道,在欧美国家,甚至亚洲一些先进地区,人们已经开始意识到工作和生活要平衡,生产力才会提高。你上网到人力部的网站看一下就知道是什么回事。很多企业要依靠它才能留住人才。因此,总理的人事管理理念,还是停留在80, 90年代,和他开始接受总理培训的时间刚好配合,这种脱节,脱离人事管理现实的培训,对新加坡有帮忙吗?我们的总理有与时并进吗?

20年的教育培训竟然培养出一个不要优雅,继续功利的总理。他不单不要国人有优雅社会的理想,更要国人提心吊胆,防别人,防自己人,不要跟风,看清楚好与坏,利与弊,高喊工作与生活平衡的结果,最后吃亏的是自己。

那么,对于新加坡来说,总理想要给新加坡人的是个什么理想。看起来。他比吴作栋还不如。吴作栋是有理想,优雅社会的理想,但是,做不到。李显龙呢!他是压根都没有这么想过。是他从未想过,还是不敢想,因为,行动党和他的字典里,根本就没有提升国人素质,提高国人生活条件的理想。

原本,他如果要有所表现,要给国人留下好印象,就要突破吴作栋的做不到,把优雅社会的理想落实下来。但是,他选择逃避,他选择高薪养廉,结果养出一大堆问题,民意下跌,选票流失。

他又再一次说想要担任总理到70岁,想要在离任前,找到接班人。又说这人没有他这么幸运,不可能有这么长的培训时间。令人担心的是这个接班人,是否变本加厉,比他还要远离优雅社会的理想。行动党与民意渐行渐远的结果,当然是选票跟着下降。想到这里,总理似乎要怪年轻人,不把选票投给行动党,跟着社交媒体的风尚流行走,跟着工作与生活平衡走,不知道有好多人要来偷走午餐。

对于一个没有优雅社会理想的总理,一心只要人均第一,不管贫富不均的总理,你想一想,他会培训出什么样的接班人。更何况,这种培养接班人的方式,这种脱离民选机制的总理培训班,如何配合我们社会的要求,国家的发展,甚至于新移民,他们能够接受这种安排吗?
  
#1
"Even if you have a good person and if it is not known where he has come from, you have a problem. I was very, very lucky. I had twenty years apprenticeship before I took over as PM (Prime Minister). I don't think any other PM in Singapore is ever going to be as lucky as me."
"I think Singapore will have to get used to the idea that you have people come in, and you will have a leader who has not been there quite such a long time, so you have to operate in a different sort of way, but he can make it work."

#2
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sought to inject some balance in the national preoccupation with work-life balance, warning Singaporeans that competitors are out to steal their lunch.
At a televised forum last night, he said the idea of work-life balance has become so popular it is now a tag phrase.
"They call it a meme on the Internet," he said, adding that people who used the phrase did not seem quite sure what they meant by it except that they would like more free time and less stress.
It was also not clear if people knew the trade-offs, he said.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Innovation Crisis or Mid-life Crisis for PAP?

[There is nothing wrong about adaptive creativity.  However, to create more values or high values, Singapore needs to have more innovative creativity.]  
Rather than talking about mid-life crisis, why don’t we consider innovation crisis for the People’s Action Party? Or in a wider definition, we, Singaporeans, are facing innovation crisis from education, political elections, employment, housing, health care to CPF and Temasek.

Two MIT Professors #1 think the US economy is facing innovation crisis that leads to slow or no growth. Hence, only real innovation can help to bring back the high growth#2 that will sustain the competitiveness of the USA in the world.

However, for the Singapore case, for easy understanding, I suggest we use another two terms: adaptive creativity (convergent thinking) and innovative creativity (divergent thinking).  We can then extend the term, creativity, to a broader definition which includes creativity, innovation and change. The following familiar examples from Singapore Inc. will help us understand why our mid-life crisis is, in fact, an innovation crisis.

Education vs. tuition

Adaptive creativity:
Our world class education system is in fact an adaptive creativity.  From streaming, PSLE, SAP schools, second language requirements to through train (IP program) and finally polytechnic and university education, all involve adaptive process. This process has helped our education system becomes more productive, efficient, and the final aim is to make every school a (standard) good school. 

Innovative creativity:
There is hardly any innovative creativity. The introduction of IB programs, liberal arts education, and even SUTD can hardly be considered real innovation. These are just copies and adaptive methods. The only innovation we may consider is tuition. This is an unofficial practice outside the official and formal education system.

Our education system is based on a tuition free system.  However, the tuition industry continues to grow, bigger and bigger days by days. The fact is even tuition cannot run away from the mainstream education system. It just adds values to PSLE, O and A Level examinations.

In a very strict definition, tuition is not an innovation.  It is just a by-product of our education system. 

Presidential and General Election

Adaptive creativity:
Our parliament system is not a new democracy process. However, the PAP has cleverly adapted the system to suit its own needs. GRC, non-constituency and nominated MPs, boundary redrawing, etc. are all adaptive creativity to keep the PAP in powers. 

The PAP has almost used up all adaptive creativity in GE to its advantages. However, it has failed to come out with good innovative creativity. SG Conversation, PM live on TV, use of Facebook, and Instagram.... etc. are not innovative ways to approach voters.   

Innovative creativity:
Presidential election can only be considered a half innovation. Every citizen has the right to vote in PE is better than many walkovers in the GE. However, an elected President with limited power is an uncompleted innovation. Perhaps, the PAP has anticipated the PE outcome will be less favourable for its proxy (e.g. PE2011) and so the innovated PE can only stop half way just to please Singaporeans that there is a second key to protect our reserve.  

Central Provident Fund

Adaptive creativity:
Again, CPF is not a new thing. However, the PAP has adapted it very well. So, now we have Ordinary, Special (retirement), and Medisave accounts. You can use these monies under many well-structured (control) schemes for housing, medical, and retirement planning. It is so efficient and productive and yet complicated until not everyone knows the true operations and its meaning.

Innovative creativity:
The only innovation may be is how the PAP moves the CPF monies away from its original purpose and meaning. From 55 to 62 withdrawal age, from its original aim of retirement to fund for housing (investment), MSM, these are all methods to keep the monies in government’s hands.

These are arguable innovations and can be considered as another type of adaptive creativity.  This is a clever way to keep people’s monies (for Temasek and GIC investment) but not an innovative way to help people to maximum returns.


We can continue to expand the examples to housing, health care, transport, etc. In all these examples, there are no real innovations. Almost all of them are adaptive creativity and not innovative creativity.  This is why Singapore is efficient, productive and fine under adaptive creativity. But to go to a higher level (and to help the lower income and disadvantaged), innovative creativity is needed.

Hence, we are now facing the challenge of innovation crisis even though age is catching up with us to the mid-life.

#1
Inside Real Innovation: How the Right Approach Can Move Ideas from R&D to Market - And Get the Economy Moving, written by our instructors Eugene Fitzgerald and Andreas Wankerl, along with Carl Schramm. World Scientific Publishing.

#2
If innovation only leads to high growth and without considering environment, moral, cultural and other factors, will the outcome really brings benefits to human beings?  


Saturday, 21 September 2013

以补习精神来学习母语,或许能。。


搞了这么久,原来我们的教育制度是建立在不需要补习的基础上的。但是,为何,偏偏家长,学生甚至学校当局,都不听话,一直认为补习是对的,有用的,能够改变一个人的命运?

我们通过补习精神打败世界一流的新加坡教育制度,这可是一项大突破。因此,如果,我们改变态度,以补习精神来学习母语,或许,我们真的能够一举克服学习母语的难关, 又再一次取得胜利。

新加坡人的补习精神击倒行动党的教育精神
http://sin.stb.s-msn.com/i/A6/88E9F928A3151C0A96F19B275DED1.jpg


更令人兴奋的应该是,平民式的补习精神,如果能够转到选举上,那么,行动党现在就可以数日子了。这就是行动党认为的胜利,却败在自己建立的胜利上。

母语教育在新加坡是个政治问题,这个政治问题,还是要依靠政治来解决的。行动党对母语是什么态度,结果当然就是政治上要的结果。主流媒体怎么报道,当然也是行动党政府的政治立场。这里不是要谈母语的政治问题,而是想通过补习精神,来看教育。在从教育的母语困境,看看补习如何打败行动党的教育制度。

如果我们的教育制度是不需要补习的,那么,我们的每一所学校,都应该是好的。Every school is a good school. 补习精神的体现,就证明每一所学校不是 a good school。因此,学生和家长希望通过补习来进入他们认为的好学校。

回顾一下过去,我们就知道行动党有没有鼓励补习,人们看在眼里,能够不继续发扬补习精神吗?

*年长人士,或许还记得这么一个场面,过年过节,我们的政治家族,有一桌子补习老师围在一起吃饭,这个场景,看在其他人眼里,他们有何感想。有钱有势有条件的,当然就是跟风,因此,补习就从家教开始了。这个补习市场开张了。

*也是年长人士才能体会到的,就是当时的小六会考。当年除了数理语文外,还要考历史地理。不知从什么时候开始,历史地理退出,只考数理语文,目标少了,同时,数理又有标准答案,因此,补习老师和10年会考指南出现了。目的就是专攻数理,家教之外,会考书籍出版社和补习中心就应运而生了。

*当华校接近尾声的时候,教育分流制度就开始出现了。小三小四分流,一个910岁的小孩,开始为自己的将来害怕,家长更加害怕,怎么能够不提早补习呢!因此,不只补习,甚至把计划提前到学前教育。进入什么样的幼儿园,什么样的小学,就会影响一个孩子的将来。这不单加速补习精神的提升,还把学前教育也给逼到学费贵过小学教育。

*不只如此,父母的背景也很重要。开国总理提出的女大学毕业生的孩子有优先入学的好处,就令很多人不平。怎么办?如果我有钱有条件的话,一定要在补习,学前教育上,给孩子更好的准备。而充分发挥补习精神的就是为孩子找最好的补习,最好的家教,最好的学前教育,只要能力做得到。虽然,这个优先入学的措施最后取消了,但是,却留下后遗症,为补习增加养料,能源动力。


好戏当然不只这些,接着下来,还有双语特选中小学,直通车,IB课程,中学九个等级,初级学院好像只有两所才有奖学金人选。。。

。。。。。。。。。。

行动党政府到了今天才说我们的教育制度不需要补习,那么,为何它一路走来,给国人的信息却不是如此。它说每所学校都是好学校,为何没有人相信。它说不要补习,为何人们还要在主流媒体上大唱反调,高调支持补习的好处。

为何会出现这么样的认知失调?行动党政府说不要补习,补习不重要,不是我国教育的一部分。但是,人们普遍上不这么认为, 还支持补习的正当性,合法性和合理性。到底是行动党认知失调还是我们人民?

从这个认知失调延伸出来,我们就可以理解为何行动党在政治上也认知失调。

# 空置的选票箱,一旦开箱后,就是非管制品,这个认知对吗?

# 内安法不是用来对付政治上的反对者,这个认知对吗?

# 外交事务不应该政治化,应该继续由行动党来主导,这个认知对吗?

# 总理的接班人,由行动党来主导,这个认知你同意吗?

# 新加坡的成就,归功于一个人,这个认知你同意吗?

认知失调当然不只这些,什么双语双文化,什么双语奖学金,什么通商中国,电梯提升,组屋提升,水淹事件,逃马事件,赌城作为娱乐城,烟雾事件。。。

。。。。。。。。。。

因此,当我们看到补习精神的高处,高到打败行动党的不需要补习的教育制度时,我们心里有了希望。行动党是可以被打倒的,行动党的过去和现在的政策,不是完美的,它是有漏洞的。它的漏洞之处在于行动党本身,不认为这是一个认知失调,它和人民的想法,期望,未来美景有一段距离。这个距离越大,行动党失去政权的机会就越大。

那么,行动党有没有可能超越这个认知失调,看清楚人民的真正需求呢?你问我,我问谁呢?不是说行动党现在是处于中年危机吗?认真的说应该是创新危机 如何摆脱过去的旧框框,放弃过去的家天下,过着和老百姓一样的生活,才能渡过危机。

行动党愿意和老百姓一起过着平民生活吗?当我们的母族文化已经消失尽了,我们还会记得行动党吗?



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

From Cake Box to Ballot Box, Everything is Fine?

Yes.  All are fine.

According to Education Minister Heng Swee Kiat the cake box is a ‘total dedication to country’ and we need to emulate it. As for the ballot box, ‘the life of the ballot box ceases when the seal is broken’ based on the reply of Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing in Parliament. #

Everything is fine before the box is open whether it is a box of 90th birthday cake or a ballot box of voting papers.  According to Chan, ‘the life of a box starts once the box is sealed.’  The life of the box ends when it is open.

So, the PAP’s philosophy is not to open the box.  Once you open the PAP’s box either by accident or by voting, the PAP will have to end its life.

When we look at the mainstream reports of Lee Kuan Yew’s 90th birthday, the tribute in the Parliament and a special conference under Lee Kuan Yew etc. is this situation before or after the box is open?  Are we still thinking within the box? And are we afraid to open up the box to prepare a post-LKY era?

No wonder Lee Hsien Loong dared not open the box, he entrusted the duty to Chan to reply on his behalf in Parliament. Chan is not a minister without portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office. And yet he has the honour to reply on behalf of the Prime Minister.  No wonder people call the newly promoted minister a potential future PM.

Let look at the cake box again.  What are inside the box?

Foreign policy cannot be ‘tool of partisan politics’# so only the PAP can touch the foreign affairs. No wonder no foreign visitors call on oppositions in Singapore.

Panelists discuss LKY’s use of defamation lawsuits and ISA.#  After the conference and discussion, the box of defamation lawsuits and ISA still cannot be opened.  These are still useful tools for the PAP in running Singapore.    

Because the box is a total dedication to Singapore, it cannot be opened by relaxing defamation lawsuits, ISA, one man intelligence agency, and even cleaning of toilets. The PAP will fight all the ways to make sure all boxes in a sealed position, not to be opened even after the passing of LKY.

What can Singaporeans do to open the box?

One natural way is by the ballot boxes.

But even that Chan said the police investigation so far shows no related offence.  The most he can suggest is to tighten ballot box handling. This is the standard ‘within the box’ replies of the PAP.   

It is not sure for what reason this important reply in Parliament is not personally given by the Prime Minister while he is not out of Singapore for official duty. He in fact was in Singapore and personally witnessing the cutting of the 90th birthday cake in Parliament. Is he intentionally or unintentionally avoid answering the ballot box question? Has he shown his respect to this very serious matter?  Or is he too afraid that Singaporeans use the ballot box to demand more and demand for change?  

From the 90th birthday books and reports to the explanation of ballot box, all show the unwillingness for change from the PAP side. They want to keep their golden era despite the passing of time.

One wonders how long can it last. The PAP cannot forever stop the opening of the cake box.  The PAP too cannot prevent change by ignoring the demand of the people through ballot boxes.  The right to vote is a duty of citizens and you can make a change and break the box.


# Today, 17 September 2013   

Saturday, 14 September 2013

行动党接班人能否阻止选票流失?

行动党在2011年大选后,把所谓的接班人安排在一些软性部门学习,放弃了以往的贸工财政,改走社会发展的路线,目的是否是要这些年轻的高级政务部长学习如何接近选民,了解选民,进而阻止选票的继续流失?

这样的安排,是否有效?这些年轻的所谓接班人,真的能够阻止行动党选票的进一步流失吗?他们没有直接参与国家经济发展的相关策划,在这一届国会的五年任期,没有学习政府重要部门的运作,到底体现了行动党的怎样的思维,难道,真正的接班人还未出现,现在的这些所谓接班人,只不过是在跑龙套而已?为他人垫底罢了。

这些人之中,担任比较吃重的政治职位应该是教育部,接着是人力部,其他的跟社会发展有关,跟经济财政似乎没有关系,这是否和总理所谓的‘正确政治,然后才有正确经济’有关。因为,以前行动党在社会发展方面做得不好,因此现在的年轻部长要学习如何做人,如何搞好亲民,才能把选票拉回来。把选票拉回来后,就成了正确的政治,有了正确政治的本钱,才可能有正确的经济发展。

这个行动党如意算盘是否真的有效,还是,行动党根本就没有这样的安排,只是我们在瞎猜。还是,行动党根本就不知道如何进一步阻止选票流失。他们在摸索,就像纳吉那样,搞了一马运动,还是无法阻止选票流失。更或许,真正的接班人还没有出现,大家在瞎忙,真命天子还没有出现呢!

不懂经济如何治国

想当年,李显龙的经济报告书,就等于让他学习如何治国,了解新加坡的整个大小环境。这是他的新加坡MBA课程。之后,就连马宝山也有经过另一个经济报告书的经历。当然,尚达曼也有财政策划的报告出来。

新加坡的未来,不论是行动党继续执政还是在野党
有机会上台,都不可能离开经济这个课题。事实上。大家在争的只是经济蛋糕做大后的分配问题。想要给国人有自尊并且体面过活的,就把蛋糕分配的公平一点。不然,就像行动党那样,继续让贫富恶化下去。但是,无论如何,都不能离开经济,经济搞砸了,大家都不好过日子。

因此,行动党这次把年轻部长都分派到社会发展去学习,到底目的是什么?难道就是为了配合全国对话吗?
全国对话由第一进入国会的教育部长王瑞杰带头,然后,其他年轻部长配合社会发展的演出,这样的安排真的的能够拉回人心吗?

但是,正如克林顿说的,‘笨蛋,这是经济问题’的关键。这些新人,虽然说学习做人,但是却远离经济的决策,没有直接参与国家经济的策划,花一任国会任期,做社会发展的工作,是否是国家最好的投资?等他们下一任再来学习,不是白费机会了吗?更何况有些年轻部长,连中选连任的机会都没有,何来再学习?

选容易的课,才能拿高分

这使人想起中学,高中,大学选课的情形。如果要拿高分,要拿一级荣誉学位,有些学生就会修读一些容易的课程,比如英国文学,中华文学,这些没有标准答案的科目,就比较少人问津。

行动党这样的安排,似乎和选读容易的课有异曲同工的地方。九月份升为部长的这位部长,看起来就是选修容易的课而得到部长的最佳例子。我们实在看不出这位部长,在两年的代部长期间,有什么大的建树,对国家做出什么建设?

看来行动党的接班人,已经沦落到要依靠修读容易的课来拿高分的地步。这么做,事实上就是行动党自取灭亡。年轻部长应该投入经济重组的工作,如何更加公平分配国家资源,如何对人民说清楚他们对新加坡的未来的看法。作为接班人,选民要看到他们如何塑造和李显龙不一样的新加坡。如果没有改变,如果看不出他们对未来的想法,又将如何阻止选票的流失。

过时的接班人计划

按部就班的行动党如意算盘式的接班人计划,在过去一党独大的情形下,就是行动党说了算了。现在的局势,不可能再出现这样的机会。这就是刚才说的年轻部长有些在下一届大选未必能够选上。

即使行动党再度连任执政,行动党议员人数将会减少。这就影响部长的人选。(纳吉的例子是,他要依靠委任上议员出任部长来解决问题)将来的部长很可能没有学习的机会,一上来就要负责部长的工作。什么从政务部长做起,从代部长做起,这样的安排很可能是过去式。

如果在野党有这个荣幸获得选民支持,那么,它一上来执政,所有的部长将是第一次,根本没有学习的机会。因此行动党的如意算盘安排接班人的大计划,在一定意义上,似乎在抛烟雾,模糊选民的视线。

没有学习就上任总理和部长的情形,在欧美甚至日本都出现过。澳洲最近工党政府下台,换了新政党上台,这些总理部长根本就没有实习过,但是有选民支持,有没有学习过,有没有经历过,已经是次要的问题了。


只要选民要求改变,只要行动党继续流失选票,行动党的所谓接班人大计,看在选民眼中,那只不过是一场作秀罢了!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Chinese Translation Shows the Ugly Side of the PAP

free and reliable translation?

The problem of Chinese translation gets into another embarrassment and another dilemma for the People’s Action Party again! This time it is the turn of National Heritage Board #1 and its museums. They simply use Google to do the translation and pretend that everything is ok and readable in ‘standard, normal and acceptable’ Chinese.

This is not the first time and will certain not the last time the PAP engaging in this type of embarrassment and dilemma. Instead of blaming NHB for the mistakes, the real root problem in fact is the PAP’s mindset behind the whole issue.

In one way or another, it is a display of the mindsets, attitudes and mentalities of the PAP. Let me explain it with some examples.

Double Standard

If you recall not long ago, there was a clarification of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Lee Hsien Loong’s speech in Tokyo and the ministry even criticized the Chinese media –Global Times#2.  The clarification statement is in both English and Chinese. The readable and understandable Chinese in the statement, of course, is not translated directly from Google.  

Oh! One may conclude the MFA has a fat budget and NHB has no manpower and budget to do the translation.  Furthermore, the MFA statement is a piece of official document and representing the state viewpoint on a particular issue. While the NHB translation is a local issue and perhaps caters only to local and foreign visitors visiting our museums.  So, NHB’s Chinese translation is less important and can be handled lightly.  

Do you see the double standard here? One is official and the target audience is foreign government and the other one is less official and targeting less important people. Foreign against local, foreign is treated better.  

If we cannot handle well and emphasize on small things in the beginning, what will be the consequence later? This is the problem of the Chinese translation and bilingualism education here. From a very small mistake, we allow (and agree) it to happen.  When it becomes a norm, then we say only a small percentage of population can master two languages. Not only that, we further allow the situation to deteriorate and coming out with all kinds of excuses and solutions (e.g. Chinese B).

If we sidetrack a bit to the foreign talents and population issues, we will see this ‘double standard’ clearly display in government publication and the population white paper. The PAP has itself created this ‘double standard’ either intentionally or unintentionally. Singaporeans in general are not anti-foreigners. We know and understand the contribution of foreigners to our economy. However, because of the PAP’s intentional or unintentional ‘double standard’, just like the case of Chinese translation, they are not able to solve small local issues. If they have looked at the issues of lower income groups, housing, health care and education 10 or 20 years ago, then our society will not be so divided and ends up appearing like so anti-immigration.  

Cheap and good value creation

By using Google translation, NHB is showing people they are engaging in cheap and good service. And they believe Google can give them the value, accuracy and even efficiency that they are looking for.    

Unfortunately, this turns out to be a big mistake. This practice in fact works against the PAP meritocracy principle.  The PAP believes in paying high reward high return, not cheap ministers. Now, NHB is saying value creation can be very cheap, even free, and yet good.  Where can we find such a good deal in the world?

Perhaps, this is a general belief in the minds of the PAP. Hence, we can find similar Chinese translation problems in NHB, in some public organizations and services, in some town councils, or even in some university activities in Singapore.  

NHB’s case is not an isolated incident!   

So, this is another type of double standard. We demand cheap goods and services but refuse to pay a little more. This is the case of the stagnation of wages of lower income workers in the past 10 years. We expect them to work harder with no hope of pay increase as their productivity has not improved.  

PAP mentality results to
Lack of competitive and qualified bilingual workers

This mentality of dependence on cheap things has a long term effect. First, we are not able to produce relative cheap and qualified bilingual workers to even edit or verify the Google contents.  Second, even we can import foreign talent to do the job, due to local cultural difference; the translation still needs further editing and improvements.  

Third, the most frightening consequence is we are educating and producing future generations of Singaporeans with no respect of our own culture and value.  Since Google can do the work without a fee, why then should we learn and study mother tongues?

This is the cost we are now paying for the “Right Politics, Right Economics” policy of the PAP. We will have to pay even more in future if these PAP mindsets continue.  

#1

#2

  

Friday, 6 September 2013

生日歌儿谁来听还是幸福歌儿谁来唱


每年九月份是一个消费李光耀的日子。今年也不例外。首先,国大和科技设计大学设立以他命名的基金协助有需要的学生。跟着,通商中国又是出书,又颁发丰功伟绩的终身奖给李光耀。这些生日歌儿到底是唱给谁来听呢?

当然,是唱给爱听生日歌儿的人,大家一面唱着生日歌,一面歌功颂德,进一步肯定李光耀的丰功伟绩,这种场面多么的温馨,多么的幸福。

据说,或者有人说过,有钱人天天都可以过生日。又何必在乎是九月份还是不是九月份呢!的确,有些人是天天都可以过生日,天天都可以这么的幸福,天天都可以有人歌功颂德,天天都会有人高呼丰功伟绩。

因此,这些人都爱听生日歌,当然,也爱唱生日歌。因为,这就是他们的幸福之歌。没有了李光耀,就没有今天的新加坡,没有今天繁荣的新加坡,我们如何幸福起来呢!

只是,当我们为李光耀唱着生日歌时,是否基于幸福分享的原则,也把这个得到的幸福,和比较不幸的人分享。对啊!李光耀的各种基金不是再分享这种幸福吗?的确如此,这些基金的援助,的确协助一些人,让他们有提升的机会。但是,这只不过是一小部分的人收益而已。

我们要如何把这个幸福之歌唱出去,散开来播出去呢!一个最基本的条件就是不要阻挡别人唱他们的幸福歌。
喜欢听李光耀生日歌的人大可高声唱,一起听。但是,千万不要利用媒体管道还是其他借口,来阻止别人唱他们的幸福之歌。

生日歌,幸福歌对唱

今天的新加坡和以前,甚至10年前的新加坡相比,已经大不相同。当然,有人喜欢每年九月份,就唱生日歌给李光耀听。但是,也有一些人喜欢唱自己的幸福歌,自己心目中的幸福新加坡。因此,有人爱听李光耀的生日歌,但是,也有人爱唱自己的幸福新加坡之歌。这两者是否可以共存呢?

不管是否可以共存,我们不可能否定它们的存在,或者,假装听不到,看不到。那么,这么两首歌对唱下去,对新加坡的将来是好还是坏呢?还是要依顺行动党的全国对话,正确政治,正确经济,最后,只让人民听一首生日歌,而忘了,封了别人高唱的幸福之歌。

那么,为何一定要有别人的幸福之歌来衬托,来指引另一条路呢!因为,天有不测之风云,不是人人都可以避过风雨。而行动党政府的态度却是,正如经济学人报说的‘你贫穷是你的错,你要为你自己的将来存钱,同时依靠家人’#1.

所以,当喜欢听生日歌的人集在一起,一起唱,一起听生日歌时,他们的心里,他们的心情,也一样是如此:你贫穷,你的错。他们万万没有想到天有不测之风云。就在他们欢喜的聚在一起的当天,老天真的不给足面子,竟然来个水淹狮城。


爱听生日歌,高唱生日歌,忘了其他人的幸福?




天有不测之风云,我们的幸福如何定义?
  

 https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/q71/s720x720/1174567_10151903127014783_262040367_n.jpg


如何诠释生日歌,幸福歌

我们大家都很想天天唱着生日歌,天天听着别人的歌功颂德,这或许是一种路人心态。一些路人见死不救,一些路人有急事要赶路,有些路人以为别人会救,更有些路人依赖政府,以为政府会出手相救,结果呢!没有人出手救人。最后的结果,很可能像下面的短片一样,是不幸的人救了不幸的人。

因此,我们也有可能会出现小悦悦事件的。



我们很可能基于不同的原因,都会变成冷漠的路人。如果这个社会只有一种声音,一首生日歌,那么,我们成为冷漠路人的机会就会更高。当然,不是说多唱一首幸福歌,就不会出现冷漠的路人。最少,我们可以把这个机会降低,让更少的冷漠路人出现。

我们不反对生日歌,但是,行动党也不应该阻止别人唱幸福歌,为了新加坡的前途,为了新加坡的将来,这两者是可以共存的。最重要的是,当你唱生日歌时,可别忘了别人的幸福啊!虽然,这么做有点大煞风景,但是却可以防止我们的进一步冷漠下去。


#1
The state's attitude can be simply put: being poor here is your own fault. Citizens are obliged to save for the future, rely on their families and not expect any handouts from the government unless they hit rock bottom. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Unique Chinese Dilemma In Singapore

Should English become the mother tongue for Singaporean Chinese? To some, this is not a question. For many young kids growing up in an English environment, perhaps this is a funny question as they are so used to think everything in English and even consider themselves a product of ‘English’.  It is a known secret that some kids hate Chinese in schools.

However, I am not talking about this type of dilemma. This man-made dilemma is of course a product of the People’s Action Party. It certainly shows the effectiveness of our bilingualism education as well as our bi-cultural programs. And in fact, the PAP government only wants the top 10% or 20% of students to be bilingual and bi-cultural. So, the majority of younger generation of local born Singaporeans will need to master English only.  

For the continuation and maintenance of local Chinese language, culture and tradition, the burden has to go to this top 10-20% people plus a few more Singaporeans who are interested on these subjects. The rest of Singaporean Chinese will have less association or contact with their father’s or grandfather’s culture, customs and tradition.   

This is the current dilemma and perhaps a small one comparing to the future one.

Will we be eating more of this in future? 
source: eat.tanspace.com
Will we be eating less of this in future?
source: primasingaporesauces.com

Will Chinese language and culture die off in future Singapore?  The answer is no.  This is why I call it a unique dilemma and perhaps it can only take place in Singapore. We will likely to see a diluted original (Southern Chinese Guangdong and Fujian) Singapore Chinese culture joining an expanded and ‘overall’ Chinese culture from different regions of China.

And this more representative or well represented Chinese culture may be too alien or too foreign to some Singaporeans, not to mention speak-only English Singaporeans.  This is why we hear the comment of ‘we are like staying in a Chinese city’?

Yes, indeed this is emerging.  Even though we don’t have the official figure of non-locally born Chinese in Singapore, it is easy to estimate the figure by just using the racial ratio of 75% Chinese. For 5 million populations, we will have 3.75 million Chinese. For 6.9 million populations, we will have 5.18 million Chinese.  To make up this figure, a lot of them will have to come from China as our birth rate is too low.

The bigger dilemma will be we will have a very different Chinese culture in Singapore - a different culture that even Chinese educated Singaporeans may find it difficult to adjust and adapt.  When the Chinese educated Singaporeans become an extinct, we will then see an even bigger social divide: a speak English only population and a part-bilingual part-Mandarin speaking population.

This is unique because our own Chinese culture (or is there one remaining?) is being transformed by a bigger and more powerful Chinese culture coming from all over China.  The PAP government likes to see this happening as we can have all business connections all over China. But can Singapore as a whole handle the situation well?  The elites may think so in pure economic terms but what about the larger population.   

This is very different from the USA, UK or France. You can find Chinatowns in New York, London or Paris; however, the individual country still maintains their own culture and language even the size of Chinese population grows.   

It is an interesting development and the drama has just begun. The issue goes beyond whether Singaporeans are anti-foreigners or not.  Certainly, it also goes beyond the question of whether we should consider English as our mother’s tongue. When the wise man of bilingualism goes into history, will he also bring along this dilemma with him?

If not, the future generation of Singaporeans whether born or not born in Singapore will have to think a way out to solve this dilemma. Perhaps, this will make us stronger and become a reformed Singapore re-emphasizing our past!

PS

Just some updates on statistics on weibo accounts in Singapore from omy.sg: There are 1.5 million registered accounts and 800,000 daily active members.

据报道,受委负责新加坡微博业务公司Trends Media的Jimmy Li说,新加坡在新浪微博注册用户数排名第四,拥有150万注册用户,每天有80万活跃用户。虽然大部分新加坡人在使用Facebook、Twitter、Instagram,他说该公司并非与这些平台竞争,而是要抢占使用中文者的市场(约三分之一新加坡人口)。新浪微博计划覆盖新加坡三分之一人口,达到200万注册用户和150万日活跃用户。 - See more at: http://gosocial.omy.sg/GoSocial/In-the-Buzz/Xin-Lang-Wei-Bo-Ren-Zheng-Jin-Ru-Xin-Jia-Po-Shi-Chang-201044#sthash.hBIy738p.dpuf