Monday, 31 March 2014

Political Trust = Institutional Trust = Public Trust?

To the PAP these three trusts are the same. You trust the PAP, your also trust the Institutions and so there is a high public trust.  This is the assumption of the PAP which thinks it always remains in power. And all the major institutions, including NTUC, in Singapore are equal to the PAP.

You trust one then you trust all three: the PAP, the public institutions and high public for the government.  There is no such thing as high public trust, high institutions trust and low PAP trust. Why not?

It is time we separate the political trust and institutional trust. The institutions, like the public administration, the Courts, and even the Presidency have to be independent and not related to the PAP.  Otherwise, a bad PAP will result to a bad institution and poor public trust.

The trend and development should not follow this equation. A matured Singapore should see the separation of political and institutional trust. Public trust of institutions shouldn’t be like the past. A successful model cannot guarantee the same success, especially when the economy and reserve grow bigger and bigger.  

However, the PAP still insists on this relevancy and wants to continue to use institutions to push its political agenda:

[….. there are three things policymakers must do to retain public trust and govern well.

They are: to implement policies well and make sure they work on the ground; include the public in working out solutions; and invest in community life and the intangibles that matter to people’s sense of well being.

On implementation, he said policymakers must consult widely when crafting policy, and put themselves in the shoes of the ordinary citizen.

They must also pay attention to details, correct mistakes quickly when they happen, and explain policies in a way that help Singaporeans understand them.]#1
In his speech to civil servants, DPM Tharman stressed the importance of political trust = institution trust. The PAP wants to engage the civil service to push its political cake of ‘The Pioneer Generation Package’ as they see this as a “live case in point” and a “major and complex exercise” (to gain votes).  They seem to forget that to provide common good is the duty of the party. Good policies are the key points to continue to stay in power. But rights and benefits of senior citizens have been neglected for so long and only now because of the coming election, the PAP thinks of this is complex exercise and live case.    

Clearly, the PAP wants to make use of the institutions to score political points even though it thinks it now enjoys broad public confidence.  Perhaps this illusion only happens outside Singapore, like the Singapore Day in London where PM Lee was mobbed#2.  

To gain public trust will be a challenging task for the PAP in years to come. There are more demand to separate the institutions and politics. However, DPM Tharman sees it in another way: today’s environment is more complex with competing interests and rising expectations#1.

But what are the ‘competing interests and rising expectations’? These can be more checks and balances, more transparency, more independent institutions, more academic freedom, and many more.

The 2011 Presidential Election clearly demonstrated this demand. Voters have rejected the equation of Political Trust (PAP) = President Trust (pro-PAP candidate). On the contrary, voters want an independent Presidency as an effective institution to check on the ruling party.

The PAP is facing a dilemma. On the one hand, they want Singaporeans to know the outside world. On the other hand, they don’t want Singaporeans to learn from outside, for example having the same political demand of checks and balances, independent institutions. Hence, PM Lee had this to say in his Facebook: “In Singapore, we are usually caught up with domestic issues, in some sense, I think we somewhat neglect to notice external trends and global developments.”

Does PM Lee really want Singaporeans to notice external trends and global developments? Or what type of trends and developments has he in mind for Singapore youths?  The fact is Singaporeans are moving ahead of the PAP in noticing outside changes.

#1
http://www.singapolitics.sg/news/dpm-tharman-keeping-publics-trust

#2

Monday, 24 March 2014

爱心,快乐指数,行动党的饥饿论。


由于英国广播公司的一篇文章,新加坡人的爱心又浮出水面,让更多人了解到新加坡除了钱多外,爱心却没有跟上,远远落在钱的后面。行动党当然不会承认,治理新加坡50年,竟然没有把爱心给培养出来。而事实上,也真的有些快乐指数#1,说新加坡人是快乐的,而这些指数似乎是建立在行动党的饥饿论上的。

(http://thehearttruths.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/singapore-one-of-the-most-unhappiest-countries-in-the-world4.jpg)

但是,一般上,我们都认为新加坡人不快乐,快乐指数倒数最后。那为什么会有这么大的误差呢? 到底谁对谁错?这很可能和我们对饥饿的定义,有很大的差别,差别到最后,得出不同的结论。

英文里有一句饥饿的话,和容易让人了解什么是饥饿。
【饥饿令人生气。一个饥饿的人就是一个生气的人。】

因此,你饥饿,你生气,你不快乐,你当然表现不出爱心。要解释饥饿论,我们有必要用广义范围来解释饥饿,然后和行动党的饥饿论对比,就知道两者的差别,不同,结果当然也就不同。

不要把饥饿局限在肚子里。饥饿向外扩大,可以引申出很多意思来。这点行动党的饥饿论也是如此说的。

先看看普通老百姓怎么看饥饿的问题:

- 医药费高涨,吃不消,精神上饥饿。
- 组屋等候期太长,心理上饥饿。
- 公交地铁服务出问题,精神出现饥饿。
- 孩子课业赶不上,每所学校不一样,精神饥饿。
- 工作时间长,薪水低,没有加薪,心理不平衡。
- 人口压力大,精神压力大。
- 言论不自由,媒体被控制,国人要忍受这样的饥饿。

而行动党的饥饿论又是什么呢?行动党很喜欢说国人不够饥饿,外国人懂得争取机会,努力往上爬,公司老板也跟着附和,新加坡人不够努力,高薪也请不到人来工作。因此,饥饿问题在行动党看来,是国人的问题:

- 要提高生产力,才有加薪,因此,国人要饥饿一点,快快提升自己。
- 要得到好成绩,就要用功,大学不是开放给每个人的,因此,你们要补习,努力,饥饿的学习。
- 普通病房供应不够,因此,你们要饥饿的等待。
- 地铁拥挤,你们要有饥饿的忍耐,准备。
- 房价高,你们要努力工作,饥饿多一点,存多一点钱。
- 工作机会难创造,你们要珍惜,饥饿忍耐是应该的。
- 低薪工友,十多年没有加薪,谢谢你们的牺牲,感谢你们的饥饿。

一个饥饿,两种解释。行动党当然认为它的饥饿论是对的。甚至,还是真理。国人如果不具备饥饿的精神,就很容易被其他人跟上,赶上,到时,新加坡女孩很可能要出国做女佣,而新加坡男人也很可能要当苦力了。行动党领袖是这么警告国人的。

因此,行动党的饥饿论和国人的饥饿感是不一样的。行动党认为饥饿会创造经济发展,就业机会,人均所得增加,因此,它不需要考虑快乐的问题,爱心的问题,口袋里钱多多才是最重要。因此,在英国广播公司的文章里,就提出这个问题:

钱是衡量一切的标准:个人身份,尊严,快乐,价值。
"The problem here is that we measure everything in dollar bills - personal identity, self-respect, happiness, your sense of worth - it is all linked to how much money you have. But only the top few per cent earn serious cash - so everyone else feels worthless and apathetic." #2

但是,行动党饥饿论的结果是只有少数人口袋满满,多数人口袋空空。在这样的背景下,何来快乐,何来爱心?

当然,国人的饥饿论,饥饿感,钱不够用,一直面对广义定义的饥饿问题,也一样不快乐,不够爱心。

因此,不论是行动党的饥饿论,还是国人的饥饿论,大家都不快乐,不够爱心。所以,当有一位部长说,他老婆怀孕时,在地铁上也遇到类似的问题,也间接承认国人的爱心问题,快乐问题,饥饿问题。只是行动党不会承认这和它的饥饿论有关。

问题是,我们如何正视这个饥饿问题。行动党一味注重经济上的饥饿问题,而国人更加注重精神上的饥饿问题。

行动党提出七百万人口的时候,考虑的就是饥饿论的经济问题。而国人反对这个人口政策,跟有没有反对外国人无关,就像英国广播公司的记者,在搭地铁时,她所面对的国人是本地人,外地人不分的,对她的爱心,没有因为她是外国人而有所敌视。国人考虑的是精神上的饥饿问题。

新加坡的国民所得已经是世界上数一数二了。但是在精神上,在人文上,还是和先进国家有很大的距离。我们虽然引进耶鲁人文教育,但是,这还是根据行动党的饥饿论做基础,要引进人文教育来提高经济发展,而不是要真正提高人文水准,因为耶鲁-国大博雅学院是封闭教育,即使学院有什么成果,也是行动党得到好处,没有分享,尤其是不能学院外,提到政治。

饥饿问题不容易解决,经济上饥饿饿问题也不容易解决,但是难道精神上的饥饿问题就可以不理吗?在下次大选前,国人还有一些时间来考虑这个饥饿问题,它和快乐,爱心有没有关系?



#1
http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/singapore-happiest-nation-asia-un-study

#2
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26546169


Monday, 17 March 2014

Cabinet Records and Maturity of the State

[The unwillingness to share and open information from the Malaysian government leads to a delay or even wrong investigation of the missing MH370.  Now compares it with the case of the PAP government not releasing old cabinet records, how mature is the state of Singapore as a First World country?]
The PAP government is famous in keeping everything confidential even for old records. Even a 30-year old cabinet record, the PAP still wants to keep it for themselves, far away from the public. We are now a First World country and yet we still behave very immature in many ways, especially in transparency and checks and balances.

So, who is immature after nearly 50 years of independence? Is it the PAP government or the People?

The government: It continues to control the press. It finds uncomfortable with the social media. It is acting like a child in information sharing and disclosures.  
The people: With better education, more channels, different viewpoints of getting information, the people of Singapore have become more mature in selecting and trusting the information.
Some may argue both the government and the people are not mature. They may even accept the argument of “(it) is not transparency for transparency’s sake”. #1   No matter how you look at it, the government is far from maturity in handling public information, including old government records.  It still maintains its old position of “Policy papers or cabinet papers may not have complete information or detail because the civil servants writing them know that the reports will be made available.”#1  

This last answer in fact is an insult to history, insult to historians, and insult to national archives.  The PAP government needs to know the importance of history, the correct versions of the events and decision makings. Perhaps, there is an urgent need for the PAP to learn about Si Ma Qian and his famous writing of Shi-ji (The Records of Grand Historian). He made a personal sacrifice to write and record the history for future generations to learn, to study and to correct.

As far as the PAP is in government, the cabinet records and other so-called confidential information will not make public. The official history of Singapore in this case can only be the PAP version of Singapore history. So, the PAP is suggesting to the people unless there is a change of government otherwise all remain the same.

If we look at the Malaysian government’s handling of information in the MH370 case, we see the similarities in PAP too. They are too used to a control press environment, too comfortable with protected working condition, and also group thinking attitude.

Let’s draw a simple conclusion in the Malaysian case. They are now under intense international criticisms and quick actions.   
Limited information sharing or selected information disclosures +
Inexperience or not the best team in charge =
Wrong direction/analysis of investigations
Perhaps, in future the international community will agree to some changes of protocol to allow non-host countries or experts to have more opinions, more information disclosures in air disasters investigation.

Now we compare this to the management of Singapore reserve.   
Limited information sharing or selected information disclosures +
Inexperience or not the best team in charge =
Wrong direction/analysis of investments
The PAP government is not willing to share the information of our reserve. This is in line with the first argument of “(it) is not transparency for transparency’s sake”. Perhaps we should also look at how the records are written. The government’s second argument is if civil servants know the historical records to be made public, they “may not have complete information or detail (for their writings)”.  Why do they not write and record accordingly to the facts?  Why do they not tell the truths if the records are for public consumption?

The PAP claims they are paying top dollars for top talents and we have the best team in charge of our reserve, be it Temasek or GIC. However, the recent case of Olam and many other past investments seem to suggest the team is inexperience in international investment and they always ‘buy high and sell low’.

We are an international financial centre but many top financial positions are not held by Singaporeans. Just like the Malaysian case, there are many top foreign experts helping the investigations to locate the missing flight but the final decision making is still in the hand of Malaysian government. We cannot rule out the possibility of group thinking in the Malaysian government.

Same thing can happen to the management of Singapore reserve. We are paying top money for top talents in the management of our reserve. But we cannot rule out the group thinking of our top decision makers.  The PAP acknowledges that only few people know about our reserve (not even the late President Ong Teng Cheong).

We also cannot rule out despite paying top money to top foreign talents/investment experts, the PAP is not willing to disclose or share information with them, just like the PAP is not willing to share information with Singaporeans. Hence, best investment strategies for our reserve are not materialised or implemented.   

So, we may conclude the investments of our reserve are in the wrong directions and wrong analysis, following the Malaysian pattern.  Of course, no one will know the real answer as old records are not open for public inspections.  

The PAP is not mature enough to share the information, but the people demand to know more.

It is not a question of ‘compassion deficit’ or ‘information deficit’. It is after all a growing ‘deficit between the PAP and Singaporeans’.  The Malaysian lesson reminders us that we may moving towards a wrong direction and time and efforts have been wasted unnecessary due to the lack of transparency, checks and balances.         

#1

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/release-all-past-cabinet-records-may-not-lead-better-outcomes-lawrence-wong 

Friday, 7 March 2014

从英国殖民地到行动党殖民地-生活费世界第一与你无关


走了50多年的自治独立之路,到头来才发现原来这片土地并不属于你的。怎么英国人留下的殖民地思维竟然这么成功的纳入行动党的治国方针,在新加坡这片小红点上,有些东西跟人民无关,事实上,除了生活费可以划分开来,照顾人民的责任,为国人提供教育,住房,交通,国民服役义务等等,都是可以一国两制的,与你无关。既然是‘与你无关’,行动党也就装做‘与它无关’,不需要付上任何责任。不付责任,当然就是把新加坡当成殖民地来管理了。

[尚达曼:经济学人调查别于普通民众消费方式] #1Expatriate living costs survey does not reflect locals' costs: Tharman #2

单单看这个标题,就够让人感觉到新加坡居住了两类人,一种是高消费者,一种是低消费者。而多数新加坡人,就是属于低消费者,管理新加坡超过50年,行动党的目的难道不是为了提高,提升国人的收入和生活水准吗?行动党是否要学习英国管理新加坡这块殖民地那样,故意制造两级的生活水准,两级的收入,两种不同的新加坡居民。一种打苦工,没有机会反身,一种像英国统治者,高高在上,过着极为写意优雅的生活。没有翻身机会的人,当然就要在新加坡养老,终老。而有机会者,则可以周游列国,就像这些寓居本地的expatriates一样,可以来去自如。

怪,人们评论新加坡是一间超星级的酒店。低消费者为高消费者服务。没有高消费者,你们甚至连工作都没有。

加坡真的没有机会吗?行动党是否真的没有制造机会给国人,那也未必,不过前提是政治思想要正确。新加坡不只是生活费排名第一,个人收入也名列前茅,因此,不管是薪金收入还是经商机会,还是有的。不然,部长,政联公司的老总,怎么吃得这么开,他们的收入,已经可以和居住在新加坡的expatriates相比,有过之而无不及。

因此,行动党的确是英国殖民地主的接班人。50年下来,新加坡的贫富悬殊,两级化的现象,越来越明显,不然,行动党怎么可能推出这么多的利好消息来安你的心:国会目前正在辩论的预算案,大家似乎只看到那80亿元的配套。

预算案辩论首日 朝野议员一致肯定建国一代配套包括工人党议员在内的25名发言议员,都认同这项配套的重要意义,并用“慷慨”“非凡”和“意义深远”等字眼加以形容。不少议员赞同相关配套的福利无须经过支付能力调查,让所有建国一代都能从中受惠。 #3

建国一代的生活真的有着落吗?国人的医药保健真的能一劳永逸吗?这是不是殖民地思维的一个权衡,变通的策略和方法呢?为什么在两级化日益严重的背景下才来高喊民主社会主义,才来扶持中下层人民?当然,选票是一个考虑因素,反正预算案的钱,又不是自己手中的钱,今年预算案多花80亿给建国一代,是不会影响部长的薪金,高官,政联公司老总的花红的。

那么,为什么不早一点做呢?难道早一点做,外国投资就会不来,经济成长就无法倍增,生产力就无法提高,创新力就无法提升。搞了50年,生产力创新力还是无法到达目标,但是,经济成长,投资并没有减少,为什么?因为,还是可以依靠进口外劳,输入人才来解决问题,这样一来,就变成殖民地思维了:英国殖民地当局输入劳工,同时也输入白人行政人员,两级化的经济政策,两级化的新加坡生活。

所以说,行动党就是延续英国殖民地当局的做法,输入两种人在新加坡生活,一种无法翻身,一种来去自如。当然,就像英国殖民地当局那样,他们也会培养一些中间人,跟班,作为联系人,在这两种人之间进行沟通工作,为了安抚这种辛苦的中间人工作,就需要给予奖励,因此,高薪,高花红,就出现了,因为,这些人无功也有劳。

这种殖民地的作业方式,一直被行动党连续使用,而且还青出于蓝而胜于蓝。以下的例子,新加坡会觉得很熟悉:

*为了维持政权,为了体现国会民主,就出现了官委议员。这和1959年,以及1965年的国会相比,显然是开了倒车。国会议员为何要官委?这点连英国殖民地当局在权力交接时都没有想到,他们一定认为,新加坡会和英国下议院国会一样,会有反对党议员,怎么会落到官委议员的地步。行动党认为,人既然都要出现两种新加坡人,国会当然也要出现两种议员,如果没有,就来一个创新:官委议员。明白事情的人,当然也清楚,由于选区划分,集选区的出现,行动党事实上,只是要确保一种议员,就是它的白衣人。想想一下,官委议员的出现像不像自治前的立法院,当时的殖民地总督不也委任立法议员吗?这个官委议员的构想,真的可以拿民主倒车奖。
【今日报今天报道,有几个官委议员,不想连任。看到这样的新闻,我们是否是要为他们脸红。】

*赌场是为外国人开的,新加坡人需要付费才能进入。不是说有些消费是有国内国外之分。但是,说到赌场,新加坡人却要高消费才能进入。殖民地政府的双重标准,怎么又落到新加坡人身上了。就像老外打工皇帝那样,我们欢迎外国赌客,外国赌客是有特权不需要交入场费的。财政部长不是说外国人和本地人消费是不同,国人不会像他们那样消费。赌场难道是个例外吗?因此,因为外国人的高消费,所以才造成世界第一的生活费用,但是,为何赌场却是双重标准,新加坡人却成了二等赌客。

*公积金的目的原本的目的就是养老。
As a compulsory savings scheme, CPF ensured that workers could support themselves with dignity in retirement. 】公积金局网站

为何搞了几十年,公积金缴交率增加了,户头越变越多,有普通,有医药,有特别,还有最低存款等等,但是,新加坡人却是钱不够用。住房问题,医药问题,养老问题,似乎没有一样能够获得美满的解决。是不是殖民地思维在作怪,行动党根本就是不想解决这些问题。公积金的钱,在行动党的殖民地思维里是越多越好。但是,如何帮助国人度过难关,这是国人的问题。现在拨出80亿,行动党已经认为是很好的福利了。因为它根本没有想到利用公积金的钱后是要回报人民的。它的思维就像殖民地当局,只有向你拿钱,不用讲回报的。

改造工作,改造企业,改造文化 - 改造殖民地思维

财政部长在国会指出,我国的生产力和先进国家比较差距有缩小。但到最终,生产力的提高还是要依靠改造工作,改造企业,改造文化才能做到。但是,这些改造,如果只是建立在行动党殖民地思维的背景下,是不可能做到改造的目的。几十年来,我们一直在努力的提高生产力,但是为何一直无法跟上。难道不是殖民地思维在作怪吗?

改造工作,改造企业,改造文化,一个比一个难。工作在自然淘汰下,新工作会出来,旧的不再来。不管生产力有多高。企业如果无法生存,也将退出市场,亏本生意是无法经营下去的。

但是,你想改造文化,改造行动党的殖民地文化,这可是难上加难,这个难度,很可能只有换一个政府才能做到。因为这个殖民地思维的治国文化,已经根深蒂固,不单如此,我们的困境是好像没有行动党这个殖民地主人,就寸步难行,而愿意换掉行动党的人,还是不够多。
行动党的殖民地思维就是要创造这样的困境,这样一来,它就能够继续治理新加坡下去。

幸好,行动党里还有部长看到需要改造文化,不知总理看到想到了没有?但是,这些少数领袖,能够改变行动党的殖民地思维吗?

新加坡人如果要摆脱行动党创造出来的殖民地困境,就必须仔细的想一想,为何公积金局的钱越多,生活就越没有办法。为何一个国家要出现两种消费者?而为什么新加坡人一定要做那个低消费者?我们是否还是停留在殖民地文化中,根本没有独立过,没有做过国家真正的主人。新加坡的殖民地文化还在,英国人走了,行动党来了,我们的命运只是从英国政府,转到行动党政府手中,殖民地思维还在。

现在这种局面和困境,是人民的如梦清醒,还是行动党的好梦继续?
【英国智库:新加坡人生活水平 不会像以往迅速提升】#4

我们在过去高提升的时期,已经变成低消费者,如果像英国智库推断的那样,低消费者不是要更进一步的变成更低的消费者。改造文化,改变殖民地思维,已经是一件不可等待的事了。

一万年太久,只争朝夕。

#1

#2
http://www.singapolitics.sg/news/expatriate-living-costs-survey-do-not-reflect-locals-costs-tharman

#3
http://www.zaobao.com.sg/special/report/singapore/budget2014/news/story20140304-316486

#4
http://news.omy.sg/News/Local-News/Ying-Guo-Zhi-Ku-Xin-Jia-Po-Ren-Sheng-Huo-Shui-Ping-Bu-Hui-Xiang-Yi-Wang-Xun-Su-Ti-Sheng-246174