Monday, 28 April 2014

Honeymoon, Low Passing Mark and the Reality of Free Election

It is interesting to note that the oppositions is enjoying honeymoon and low passing mark in a roundtable discussion#1.  To pass the election and being elected, the PAP will need 90 marks and while 60 marks for the oppositions. Ha! Ha! Where got such thing? Are you saying a neighborhood school student needs only 60 marks to get an A and the top school student needs 90 marks to get the same A?  Perhaps, the Examination Board should consider this talented suggestion as an encouragement to weaker students and implement this to help to make 'every school is a good school'.

Honeymoon and low passing mark are indeed an insult to voters, to students, especially to voters in Aljunied GRC. This implies that low quality oppositions candidates are OK as voters only demand 60 marks from them. However, voters demand 90 marks from PAP candidates.

Ask yourself this question: Are the elected PAP candidates in GE2011 scored 90 and above marks?  And the elected WP MPs only manage to score 61 marks. This is an insult to the intelligence of voters. This implies that voters in Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East are double standard and have a very low intelligence in distinguish 60 and 90 marks.

Do you think Lee Hsien Loong score 90 marks in GE2011? If not, by this analogy, he will most likely to lose in the coming general election as no one expects any PAP candidate to score 90 marks.

The one who brings out this issue has failed to tell the history and background of the whole (and true) story. Why do we have this funny honeymoon situation of low passing mark?

[Still honeymoon period for the opposition
The PAP, as the incumbent ruling party, needs to do more to win votes, compared to the opposition. Voters are likely to hold the PAP to a higher standard, said Dr Tan.“I think the opposition will still have an advantage, at least for some time to come. I think they are still in the honeymoon period,” he said. “For now, the passing mark for the PAP is 90 and 60 for the Workers' Party and other opposition groups.”] #1


In basic economics, supply meets demand and then we have equilibrium price and quantity. However, we can intervene through different measures to influence the equilibrium price and quantity, for example, setting new entry requirement, new barriers, new control, even control of free information etc.   

In the past 50 years, there are many examples that we see the changes in market (election) condition shifting the equilibrium price and quantity favoring the PAP.

1. Operations control:
The most famous one is of course the ISA, just names a few, in 1963, we have Operation Cold Storage and in 1987, Operation Spectrum. All these ISA operations result to a new equilibrium that gives honeymoon and low passing mark situation to the PAP. There is less supply of oppositions candidates, especially those capable to score 60 and above marks.

You may consider the legal and court cases against oppositions as another operations control.

2. Information control:
Information needs very little introduction. Our press ranking is one of the lowest in the world. In the past 50 years, oppositions rarely have the opportunity to make their messages pass through the newspapers and televisions.

To make things worse, the mainstream media intentionally mark down the oppositions. Those scored above 60 marks will be the target.  So, the media acts like the teachers, just use their pens to deduce points for any oppositions candidates with a potential to score high marks. On the other hand, the media will add points to the PAP.  Low and poor quality PAP candidates will receive addition marks from the teachers.  As blue eyes boys, all PAP candidates will receive 90 marks and above from the media.  This is the result of getting 60% votes and having 90% and more MP seats in the parliament for the PAP.       
You may consider the short campaign period as another information control. Voters only receive PAP news and election messages from the mainstream media during election time.

3. System control:
Operations and information control are obvious targets for attacks in the world of western democracy. So, in order, to make the election looks more democratic, the PAP introduces system control to fine tune the election market.  They introduce GRC, NCMP, NMP all kinds of sub-democratic measures.

You may consider higher election deposit, minority eligibility etc. as additional system controls.  Remember the case of Tanjong Pagar GRC in GE2011; money does play a role in the walk-over.   

4. Monopoly control
In a free market, in a free competition, there will always be winners and losers. In fact, a long-term equilibrium will bring in equal number of losers and winners for both the PAP and oppositions. 

According to Duverger’s Law, our election system of one winner for a single constituency will result to a 2-party system.   
[In political science, Duverger's law is a principle that asserts that plurality rule elections structured within single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system. This is one of two hypotheses proposed by Duverger, the second stating that "the double ballot majority system and proportional representation tend to multipartism.]#2

In the past 50 years, the PAP has implemented too many measures to make the election market a ‘monopoly’. It has the free will and free hand to decide the election system, the equilibrium point the PAP wants, and the market information they want voters to receive etc.

Voters in Singapore have realized the reality and we now call it the ‘new norm’.  In a normal free market competition there is no honeymoon or low passing mark. The ‘norm’ is just back to market equilibrium with freer and more open competition. It is still a long way to go as the PAP is still a monopoly. (Please note that monopoly will not lose its honeymoon and low passing mark in basic economics).

The PAP has to acknowledge that voters want to deny them the monopoly status and demand a norm and real market equilibrium.

One should ask, despite operations, information and system controls, the PAP, according to Dr. Tan still needs to work harder as the PAP has lost their advantages.  Why do the honeymoon and low passing mark now shift in favor of the oppositions? Is that because the PAP is enjoying above normal profit for too long in the past? Voters only want them to have normal profit and not 60 marks taking more 90% MP seats in the parliament.

Academics, professionals and many others responsible citizens have to tell the true story behind the ‘honeymoon and low passing mark’.  We have to acknowledge the past elections were organized under a control situation with limited competition. Only knowing the past, then, Singapore can move forward.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

否极泰来 Piji Tailai: 一党专政终结,行动党何去何从。

否极泰来 Piji Tailai: 一党专政终结,行动党何去何从。: 新加坡总理李显龙走访一趟英国回来,给人的印象是行动党一党专政的时代,即将结束。不论是 40% 反对选票继续上升,还是联合政府的问题,总理在洋人面前,也只有无奈的承认这个事实 – 想要继续过去 50 年的一党专政,一党独大,似乎是不可能的任务。 因此,我们看到他在洋人面...


新加坡总理李显龙走访一趟英国回来,给人的印象是行动党一党专政的时代,即将结束。不论是40%反对选票继续上升,还是联合政府的问题,总理在洋人面前,也只有无奈的承认这个事实 – 想要继续过去50年的一党专政,一党独大,似乎是不可能的任务。



行动党可能太健忘了,1963年的大选,它的得票只有46.9%就做政府了。因此,风水轮流转,或许别人的运气比你好,根本就没有联合政府这回事。行动党想执政,连门都没有。所以,英国人也没有说错,40% 再加上另一个反对党,行动党总理部长全部可以下课去。

所以,总理在国外不适应国外的政治现实,国外的民主选举,因此一时之间,才会说出一人一票,联合政府的奇怪回答。但是,当他回到新加坡后,如果认可他在国外的言论,那么,他的支持者怎么办,行动党的支持者怎么办,何去何从? 有一天,行动党有可能失去政权,行动党不再一党专政,过去一切好办事的思维,要怎么才能改过来,总理想到这里,心理不能不说联合政府是天真,不可儿戏的大件事。不然,如何叫支持者安心。

这是政治的现实,过去能够利用各种方法,限制,管制在野党势力的扩张,不和西方的民主选举挂钩,一直脱轨,媒体垄断,一党专政的 管理新加坡,这对新加坡这个国际金融中心,国际城市,教育,医疗中心来说,这些动作简直是格格不入,不能成立。经济,教育,已经走到这步,接下来就只有政治的国际接轨,行动党如果不愿意,将是自己找坟墓,可能连联合政府的份儿都没有。







Monday, 14 April 2014

Gracious Society without Social Planning

Goh Chok Tong’s open suggestion of setting up a review committee on social policies is directly admitting that the PAP has no social planning in the past 50 years. They have no social planning of a cohesive society, not to mention a gracious society at all. So, what do they have? They have social engineering for economic planning, at the expense of social unity and cohesion.

During his time as Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong championed for a gracious society and a Swiss standard living for Singaporeans. What he was trying to do then was to promote economic growth without social planning. Otherwise, why did he suggest the social committee out of the blue?  Surely, he and his PAP leadership had not thought of it before, only until recently. 

The PAP is just using the big dream of gracious society as a mean to push for more growth.  Lee Hsien Loong, after Goh, shifts the economy to even higher gear to promote growth without any social consideration.  He admitted the infrastructure has failed to catch up. The truth is not the hardware had failed, the software, like social planning it totally absent or moving at the wrong direction.

So, would you be surprised to read news like: 
[ESM Goh calls for committee to review Singapore's social policies] #1

It proves that all along the PAP has forgotten the social planning. What they have is media control, propaganda and social engineering in support of economic growth and social injustice.

Goh calls for setting up a Social Review Committee that could help identify and provide solutions to the social challenges facing the country. These challenges will weigh more significantly on future governments. #1

Is he implying that when he was PM, there were no social challenges?  Or, even there were social challenges, the media and social engineering will help to neutralize them or ignore them at all.  It is just like Lee Hsien Loong’s attitude towards our very low ranking of press freedom:   
[Responding to a question on Singapore's relatively low ranking by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, Mr Lee said: "I have given up that (Reporters Without Borders’ ranking)... I do not take them seriously."] #2  
The PAP not only underestimates the challenges.  They simply never take them seriously. So, we really don’t know what things the PAP is really serious about besides high economic growth.

Succession planning?  

Lee said the PAP has already put a lot of thought into succession planning, saying that they always make sure to have a new team ready to take charge and move ahead.

We also hear Temasek is looking for a replacement for Ho Ching.

Perhaps, according to Goh’s suggestion of social committee, the PAP will only seriously consider setting up a special committee for succession planning 50 years later.

How many Singaporeans are seriously thinking there is succession planning in the PAP and in Temesak?  

Fair and equitable society

In the interview, Mr Goh said that "what's needed is a coherent framework to pull all the different components together -- to make it a holistic, effective, and sustainable social compact to ensure Singapore remains a fair and equitable society." #1

The framework for a cohesive society in Singapore has already in place longer ago. Maybe the PAP is in power for too long, they have forgotten their own framework: 
[We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion,to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity andprogress for our nation.]
Fair and equitable society as mentioned in Goh’s interview has already clearly highlighted in the National Pledge of Singapore. We pledge it every day when we are in schools.

His suggestion of a social review committee is an acknowledgment that the PAP is moving away from their own original framework – the very original pledge of Singapore independence.

This proves how far the PAP has deviated from the original aim of our independence. 

Will the setting up of social committee bring back the spirit, the commitment of social justice and equality? or it is just another social engineering.  



Monday, 7 April 2014

撒辣椒,在野党玩假的 -- 再论李显龙的饥饿论。




(Well, the odd thing going on is that in Singapore people actually know that the government generally is doing the right thing. But they like somebody to be there to put a bit more chilli on the government’s tail.) #


因此,Chatham House 论坛的主持人Malcom Rifkind 爵士也认为这个发展有些莫名其妙,不可思议。40%反对票,如果继续下去,行动党难道不担心吗?因此,总理只能以玩假球来解释。大多数的新加坡选民还是要行动党做政府,因为,在野党说它们不要做政府,所以,选民才放心的投票给在野党。主持人觉得很纳闷,因为在英国,执政党只获得40%选票就做政府了。为何新加坡与众不同,而获得40%选票的在野党,在国会却获得少过10%的议席?




it’s a very flat political landscape

他不认为,政治环境会一下子做出改变。主持人说,这不是突变,而是渐进式的,(例如:选票一届比一届少)。因此,不能说50年的改变是一下到来。如果渐进式的说法比总理的假球说法和一个行动党的饥饿论说法更为合理的话,那么50年一变,SG50 一变也是有可能的。只要我们相信自己,在野党不是在玩假球,不是不想做政府,只是时机还未到来而已。


是时候推翻总理的50年不变的假设了。是时候认真看待替代政府出现的可能性的时候了。您准备好了吗? 还是给总理说中,大家都在玩假球,不希望改变,要行动党一直执政下去?