Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 国际“迷”


2015是迷惘的一年。世界没有因为数据化而变得更加清晰,更加容易理解。新加坡是迷惘的,而世界也没有例外。

人类似乎迷失了方向?东西文明的冲突,进一步提升到哲学精神层次的冲突。什么是现代和后现代?世界的中心开始从西方发达国家,转向东方,中东,非洲,这是一个怎么样的迷局?精神与物质的冲突?小数和大多数的竞争?


2015年是一个开始。。。新时代的迷局。


1. 法国巴黎的恐怖袭击 – 谜底未解?没有结局。

2. 纳吉自制罗生门 - 自圆其说密未解?好戏在后头。

3. 警惕国民党总统候选人的闹剧 - 自废武功的下场?

4. 马云收购南华早报 – 背后的故事?中国的世界话语权。

5. 共和党川普异军突起 – 令人迷惑?还是理所当然。

6. 纽西兰更换国旗 – 帝国的终结?世界新次序出现,开始重新洗牌?

7. 世界杯的贪污球 – 还有多少龙门未破?天下乌鸦一般黑?

8. 联邦储备局加息 – 美国经济好转?还是,另有乾坤?

9. 人民币进入国际货币组织 - 大家准备好了吗?还有金砖银行和亚投行的加持。

10. 气候大会能够改变世界的污点吗?求同存异的可能性,持续发展的必须路?

Sunday, 27 December 2015

2015: A Year of Illusion



2015 is a year of illusion in Singapore. There are complexities, ambiguities, uncertainties, and unexpected results.

Clearly, we don't have enough information or evidence to understand them. We are either lack of time or lack of information to make an informed judgment. Once we make a decision, we don't know whether it is right or wrong. But we still need to make decisions. The decisions cause illusion.

1. GE2015: illusion result

2. SGH Hep C: illusion reporting system

3. Liu Tuck Yew: illusion minister

4. MRT: illusion maintenance planning

5. Haze: illusion smoke

6. 7 schools without Sec. 1 students: illusion education planning

7. $150000 damage: illusion social media

8. Singapore and Greece: illusion stock index

9. SportsHub: illusion outsource expertise

10. RIP Lee Kuan Yew: perhaps, the biggest illusion of all time?

Friday, 18 December 2015

唯利是图,国家体育场的trade-off。国防部的trade-off。


明年的国庆大典可能无法花落新落成的国家体育场。体育场的业主在PPP公私合作模式下,在企业利益高高在上的经营模式下,很可能不能再像以前那样,让国防部任意的使用体育场,特价的使用体育场。

这是一个trade-off,也是行动党政府喜欢的,鼓励的营运模式。政府的运作讲究效率,而在自由竞争的经济环境里,以利益为前提,每样计算,如何使用体育场,当然要以价格来衡量。Trade-off是一个利益的权衡,效率竞争的取舍,如果自己付不起高价,而别人又付得起,那自然就是价高者得了。

基于这样的考虑,体育场不是国家资产(在PPP期限内),而是投资者,营运者把营业利益作为第一选择。营运总裁必须向投资者确保盈利,高回报,这是他的工作表现的指标。因此,国防部的特价,随意使用体育场,就必须受到限制。

或许,国防部诸公以为可以向过去那样,根本不需要考虑‘商业利益,唯利是图’的体育场营业模式。他们根本没有想到体育场的使用是一个trade-off。要使用,就要付出。体育场的营运者和营运总裁,不是慈善机构,不是国营公司。他们要计算成本,考虑盈利,追求回报,争取最大的利益。

PPP模式,或者类似PPP模式的企业运营,不是现在的体育场才有。地铁和巴士就是一个例子。最近由英国公司标得的巴士外包经营方式,也是一种PPP。国家的资产由私人来经营。他们在经营的过程要讲求效率,回报,盈利等等。。他们也要投入资金,培训员工,负责维护国家资产。

但是,过去地铁和巴士的经营模式,似乎出现问题。他们考虑回报高于维护国家资产,难怪许文远会说,一旦出现严重问题,政府准备接手地铁。目前两家地铁和巴士业者和政府的关系密切,出现问题由政府来买单,并不出奇。

不久,在巴士方面,将出现两家英国的外包公司。和体育场营运者一样,一旦地铁发生问题,需要巴士连接地铁站的工作,这些服务都不可能特价优待,甚至优先处理,他们必须考虑本身的营业范围和商业利益。当然,如果地铁频频发生问题,对这两家公司来说,说不定能够发一笔横财,因为特别和急需的额外巴士服务,在唯利是图下是要付出高价的。

看来,国防部不但要面对trade-off的问题,效率的trade-off也是一个问题。当体育场已经进入一个商业营业模式,国防部在效率上是否也应该跟进。为什么45天的免费使用期还不够,一定要和以前一样,要求多35天的使用期?这样一来,生产力的水平仍然停留在过去,难怪,新加坡生产力一直无法提高,效率跟不上‘唯利是图’的商业模式。

国防部作为财政预算的最大部门,又有先进的电脑和人才,应该带头为新加坡的效率和生产力尽一份力,而不是抱着过去的思维,只要办好国庆庆典,就可以升官发财,其他都是次要的行为准则。是时候考虑trade-off了。

【据《海峡时报》报道,国防部可按现行协议免费使用体育场45天,但由于这不足以让主办单位完成庆典准备工作,国防部因此要求体育城再拨出35天,但所需的场地经费将高达2600万元,这包括关闭体育场停车场和水上运动中心的费用。报道指出,经磋商,这笔费用已减少至1000万元。】www.zoabao.com.sg

Monday, 14 December 2015

Real Reason Behind Discussions On 2-Chamber Parliament And Elected President


Suddenly there is a renew interest on 2-chamber parliament and the elected president system as seen in the Straits Times. Why?

Despite getting nearly 70% endorsement in recent general election, what is the worry for the PAP? As the opinion piece writer suggested, with absolutely control of current one-house parliament, the PAP can easily remove the Elected President if he or she is found not suitable.

This is actually the issue.

With a one-party parliament, voters still want to have checks and balances. The IPS post-GE2015 survey clearly indicates such a trend or demand. If we look back in PE2011, voters were divided in their choice.  And the pro-PAP candidate Tony Tan only won by few thousand votes.

With an even one-sided parliament and stronger ‘mandate’ in 2015, how will it affect the ‘checks and balances’ position? Will they elect a non-PAP endorsed President to check the PAP government? It is highly possible.

Anyway, an independent-minded President under the Constitution can not form the government or even provide a policy direction for the government. Voters will not be so afraid that the PAP is not running the country as the case in GE2015.  With such a guarantee, will voters demand and vote in an independent Elected President.

In the short run, voting a non-PAP Presidential candidate is the only possible way to upset the PAP. Perhaps, it is the only way to have some effective ‘checks and balances’ in Singapore as the EP still holds the second key to reserves and key government assets and appointments.

The discussions on 2-chamber parliament or Elected President issues are smokes to the real problem. The real worry of the government is an independent President, who places people’s interest above the PAP’s interest, will demand transparency, accountability and checks and balances. If this is the case, the productivity of the PAP government will be affected. An independent President can be more powerful than the fixing issue of 'the more than 10 opposition MPs' in parliament.

Monday, 7 December 2015

眼中只有白色 心中常生恐惧

短短不到一分钟的对话,道尽了新加坡政治的现实和苍凉。
…………
CPA:那天在投票站看到你,想不到你竟然会出手帮忙基层工作,监督投票过程。
   O: 不是。你看错了。我是站在另一边,衣服颜色不一样,你没有发现吗?
   CPA:你不怕被BLACKLISTED吗?
O:。。。(无言)
CPA:前几天,他们还来找我,问我要不要做他们的审计。我怎么敢做。市镇会审计有一套游戏规矩,要KPMG那样的公司才能做。
O:他们现在的审计师,也有审计上市公司的记录。
CPA:那间公司很烂。


眼中只有白色:投票的人,眼中只有白色。他们看到的一切都是白色,可以想象投票当然也是一面倒。


心中一片恐惧:不管做什么,选民心中一直有一股白色恐怖,害怕被点名,列入黑名单。


烂字何解?反对党市镇会只能请很烂的审计?好的审计在游戏规则下,不敢为民服务?还是请不起?

白色与恐惧会继续在下一个SG50发扬光大吗?




Sunday, 29 November 2015

IS THE WORLD READY FOR AN EVER BIGGER CHINA?



"" ... when China becomes bigger and bigger, there will be more tensions between China and the rest of the world.…..First, ..., most likely the Chinese economy will face bigger and bigger challenge down the road because economy is becoming more and more complex, and society is becoming more and more multi dimensional.
Second thing, ..., most likely the Chinese economy will not repeat what happened in the US or Japan during their economic emergence
The third thing, ..., is that would the continued emerge of China, the relationship between China and the rest of the world, will be more and more complicated... major conflicts might be avoided.   ""




Sunday, 22 November 2015

新加坡人对缅甸大选的无动于衷和trade-off


缅甸大选的结果,反对派领袖翁山淑枝及其领导的全国民主联盟(民盟)大获全胜。新加坡官方报纸,联合早报说:

【缅甸大选民盟大胜 出乎朝野意料】#1

和新加坡9月份大选一样,成绩也是出乎朝野意料。

为什么会出现如此的落差?行动党对自己大选的成绩感到意外, 缅甸军人政府也同样感到意外。一胜一败, 一起意外。胜利是意外,失败也是意外。这代表了什么?这似乎反映了总理在接受澳大利亚记者访问时,说的行动党不以70%的支持作为底线。这个70%底线的假设如果成立,选举结果就不会出现意外了。不是吗?

这里不是讨论意外不意外的问题,而是要看看,新加坡人对缅甸大选结果的冷漠,无动于衷的反应。说实在的,行动党不可能为缅甸反动派的压倒性胜利而欢呼,这似乎在打自己的嘴巴。它只能承认这个事实。因此,行动党选择无动于衷,不愿多说。而反对党呢?同样的,也没有什么好高兴的,缅甸大选结果的出乎意料之外,似乎只能冷漠以待。行动党政府和缅甸军人政府的政绩,的确有所相差,国际声誉也不可相互比较。

Not fair but free不公平的自由选举

翁山淑枝在接受媒体访问时说,缅甸这次的选举不公平,但是选民却行使了自由权,做出这次‘出乎朝野意料’的选举成绩。缅甸反对党在选举前,的确受到不公平的对待,有些选区,反对党无法进入,宣传活动无法进行。当然,国会里早已内定25%议员归于军方。翁山淑枝在宪法下,也不能出任总统。

选举前的不利因素,不但,没有把选民吓倒,反而出现意料之外的成绩。难怪,翁山淑枝也要认可,虽然不公平,但是,选民的自由选择权,的确导致这次缅甸大选出现出乎意料之外的成绩。

事实上,新加坡的选举,同样是不公平的自由选举。行动党在选前的种种手段,很难说9月份的大选是公平的。不过,选民的投票权确实自由,只要不害怕,选民可以自由选择把票投给反对党。

同样不公平却有自由选择权的选举,却出现两个极端结果。总理在接受澳大利亚记者访问时说,这应该归功于李光耀, 选民的欢乐心情,行动党议员的努力#2。



谁也不敢保证,下一次大选,上面的三个因素,会继续保持下去。尤其是前两个原因。

Trade-off缅甸新加坡的不同

这一两天,总理在谈trade-off,副总理善达曼也在谈trade-off。一个是政治上的取舍,另一个是经济上的选择。不论是取舍,选择,鱼与熊掌不可兼得,选民要多一点好处,就要牺牲其他的好处,不可能所有的好处都一起获得。

行动党告诉选民,所有东西都有代价,选民要多一点福利,就有人要多加税。政治上要多一点自由,就有出现多一点乱。因此,总理认为国会出现10个以上议员,他会很头疼,不知如何才能对付他们。事实上,选民相信这个trade-off。

那么,为何缅甸选民不是这么想。是不是,他们没有什么好取舍?缅甸军人政府把缅甸治理到现在这个程度,已经是取舍的底线了。任何民主政府,都可能做得比军人政府好,这就不是鱼与熊掌的比较了。而是干鱼子与熊掌的比较了。

缅甸选民做出‘出乎朝野意料’的选择,似乎有其逻辑性。而新加坡选民做出‘出乎朝野意料’的同样选择,是不是也是合理和符合逻辑?还是,中了trade-off的毒?如果有一天,行动党无法提供鱼与熊掌的取舍,反风是否会再出现?

一个社会,如果一直是以trade-off来做比较,来做标准,尤其是以数目字,金钱作为准绳,这将是一个怎么样的社会?

#1

#2
TODAY 20 November 2015

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Blue, White and Red for France




http://www.frenchmoments.eu

[In memory of Paris attacks]

The Destruction and Creation Of French Revolution*


French Revolution takes a loop process of 'destruction

and creation' and it is then followed by another 'creation

and destruction'. Its revolutionary spirit continues and

possible to extend into the future.

From the First French Republic formed during French

Revolution until the current Fifth French Republic, the

way of destruction and creation process shows the

revolutionary strength. It is also relevant to the historical

development as shown during Second World War when

France faced her survival challenges.

Can we or can we not rule out a Sixth French Republic?

We don't know. With the integration of European Union,

end of cold war, euro crisis and shift of economic power to

Asia, France and Europe at large will certainly need to

find a new role in the world stage. French Revolution,

perhaps, can add some 'destruction and creation' ideas to

a new France and a new Europe. In particularly, how

French and Europe cope with the revolutionary

movements in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world.

French revolution shows the possibility of mankind, the

destructive and creative power beyond the traditional elite

class (of nobles and priests): the Third Estate, the

women, the slaves, and the new elites(and/or middle

class). In between the destruction and creation process,

we see the emergence of citizen rights, liberty, republic

states and constitutions, new culture and new business

ideas.

We notice the end (destruction) and closing charter of

feudalism and the creation of radicalism. The radical force

can also create negative outcome like the terror in

1793/­94 or positive outcome of anti­slavery and

independent movements outside Europe.

As a country, the French Republic also ended her own

division, the privileges, concentration of land ownership

and dues to nobles/churches. We witness the rise of

nationalism, standard measurement, creation of new

culture and common language, social relationship

(citizens and state) and even new form of business and

capitalist practice.

However, dilemma, conflicts of interest, controversies

and comprises too are the features of French

Revolution.

Women:

We see the large scale participation of women in the

revolution. Never before in history, there are so many

female participants actively joining the revolutionary force

to overthrow the traditional establishment. However, not

all in the revolutionary camp are willing to accept and

recognise women’s contribution and sacrifice and accord

them with equality.

It is controversial enough to see some free black in the

republic enjoy more equal right than women. (A similar

development also occurred earlier during the American

Revolution when black men, who joined the independent

movement, gained rights of votes before women).

Slaves

We also see the controversy and comprises on the issue

of slavery. There were free black as well as black slaves

concurrently, especially in the French colonies. The

unequal status and double standard unavoidably resulted

to another round of ‘destruction and creation’. French

colonies begun to fight for their independence.

We also notice the declaration of equal right before the

total removal of slavery trade. It shows some ‘destruction

and creation’ movements, like women rights, free black,

cannot take effective immediately. There are conflict of

interest among the revolutionary forces. Some agree but

other may not agree. Hence, they need to find a

compromise.

It is quite clear that the job of French Revolution during

the First Republic is not complete. It needs Napoleon

Bonaparte to strengthen it either militarily with a strong

army or civilly with a civil code. It also needs another

Republic to complete the unfinished job and totally

remove the emperor.

Imperial crisis:

The bigger revolutionary impact is the threat and

challenges posed to imperialism. The European powers

whether revolution or anti­revolution had to face the

awakening of rights, liberty, freedom, national assembly

and constitutional government in their colonies. No

imperial powers can stop this movement. Hence,

European colonies in Central and South America begun

to break away from their imperial masters in the 19th

century. It was then followed by European colonies in

Africa and Asia in the 20th century.

However, the destruction and creation process still

continues in some parts of the world. New states emerge

like South Sudan, or states merge to form new state, like

Yemen. However, whether new states or merged states,

they continue to call themselves a Republic with a

constitution and national assembly.

Culture and economics:

With the standardised measurement and legal

administration, new thinking, culture and business

practices begin to take place. Paris was rebuilt in the

middle of 19th century (after revolutionary destruction),

new architecture, new creative thinking and innovation

also emerge. For France, her design and rich cultural

heritage have strengthened ‘soft power’ French products

and service, for example, fashion, cosmetic, arts,

paintings, foods, etc.

Conclusion

The revolutionary of the French Revolution is her spirit of

continued 'destruction and creation'. Revolution has its

bright and dark sides and the consequence can be

unpredictable and even horrific or terrific.

This is why we have different and contradicting comments

about French Revolution. We have the minimalist and

maximalist views. Countries with no impactful revolution,

like United Kingdom or Japan, continue to progress and

practice democracy, national assembly, rights and liberty.

So, one can argue revolutionary is just part of the human

development. It comes naturally to destroy old systems

and build new practice.

From the scientific point of view, it is an evolution. The

old system is discarded due to its uselessness. And new

practice needs to emerge to cope with the new challenges

and environment.

But the revolutionary force behind the big change is

extremely important. We are not sure what are the

revolutionary force behind the big change to transform

human beings into a thinking man. However, without the

revolutionary force, we are no different from other

animals.

So, how should we consider French Revolution? Is it

revolutionary enough to give a new meaning to human

beings? It depends whether you are a minimalist or

maximalist.


*class assignment for "French Revolution" course

Sunday, 8 November 2015

振兴中华(文化) 新加坡何去何从?


新加坡即将设立一个《未来经济委员会》,目的就是要创造价值(creating values), 而不像以往那样只是增加价值(adding values)。 大中华地区即将或者已经成为世界第一经济体了。新加坡在这样的一个格局下,在母语( 华文)掌握日渐式微下背景下,如何可以这个大环境中创造价值?

不论是习近平的复兴中华,还是马英九的振兴中华,这都是同样的一个文化圈。也不论是正体字还是简体字,双方用普通话和国语,在正式场合和社交时,都能顺利沟通,表达各自的立场,想法和理念。习马会是这样,娱乐圈也是如此,网上的课程也没有例外。这个文化圈也随着经济活动的增加而逐渐扩大影响力。

因此,这里面就有创造价值的机会。而不是增加价值的机会而已。人民币国际化,500大的大公司将出现更多中国 企业,更多中国大学挤入世界一流大学,城市人口继续增加,中产阶级人数继续增加,。。。。。

香格里拉酒店提供会场的方便,那是价值增加,而不是创造价值。习马会如果能够确保台海两边的安全,对东北亚的稳定做出贡献,那将会创造出很多经济,文化机会来。这些机会,对于新加坡人来说, 很可能是可望而不可及。

难道,我们只有扮演中间人,增加价值而已吗?而无法利用这个机会,创造价值,为新加坡带来利益?当然,如果你没有一个critcal mass足够的人数,来了解这个文化圈的动向,趋势,分析信息的一群人;自然的,这个创造机会,创造价值的机会也就轮不到你。 新加坡还没有准备好,但是,机会不等你。

新加坡在独立50年后,已经把增加价值的路走了差不多了。《未来经济委员会》,甚至以前的一些委员会,早就已经大力提倡创造价值的重要性。其中包括生产力的增加,创意提升,企业精神等。但是,见效不大。为什么?一党独大?容不下不同的声音?

独立前后,新加坡曾经是东南亚的华文文化中心,也是中台以外一个学习中文的地方。但是,我们的务实政策,走了50 年,走到现在,这个地位也走完了。因此,我们只能提供增加价值的功能,而无法利用有利的大环境创造价值。

习近平为〈中国文化中心〉开幕,这代表了什么?这表示这里的人,和50年相比,急需从新认识中国,从新了解中国,当然包括语言,历史和文化学习。 〈中国文化中心〉是为老外而设立的,目的就是要让老外认识中国。

如果,我们有马来西亚那样的华文根基,〈中国文化中心〉其实应该提供更高层次的哲理,文化探讨, 研究等等的交流。这样才能创造价值,这点龙应台在最近的演讲中也有提到。

事实上,这不只是华文问题而已。新加坡要继续创造价值,整体国力的提升,真的要做出巨大的改变。思维上要改变,更加哲理化,这些东西方思维和哲理改变,要从务实基础提高到接受失败,接受不同意见,接受反向思维,接受无中生有的层次。这当然包括民主,公平,开放, 透明的原则。

《未来经济委员会》在12月成立后,我们拭目以待它如何提出增加价值的建议,是否还是依旧利用老方法,以务实态度,而不以冒险,创业精神来增加价值。是否继续以务实的教育,语言政策来捆绑价值创造?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Future Economy in A Smart City


[The Future Economy 2]

Singapore is marching towards a smart city as well as a digital city. Our Smart Nation Vision declares:

[Singapore is building the World's first Smart Nation by harnessing technology to the fullest with the aim of improving the lives of citizens,creating more opportunities, and building stronger communities.] ^1

Many government departments, for example, URA, HDB, LTA, IDA, etc. have also put forward their proposals for a Smart Nation. Below is just one of the examples.


Our future economy, as a city state, is linked to the digital world. IDA claims we will be the first nation in the world using and ‘harnessing technology’ in developing a smart city (= nation).    

Our future depends on our smart city planning. Mr. Heng Swee Kiat, who will be chairing the Future Economy Committee, indicates that his task is to move from a ‘value-adding’ to a ‘value-creating’ economy. He also points out five future challenges: jobs, companies, resources, technology and markets.^2

In a smart city, how can we create values for jobs, companies, resources, technology and markets? When Minister Heng talks about ‘creating’ rather than ‘adding’ values, it looks like we are doing some things different from the past. But how different?

'Adding values' seem to be an easier job, for example, bringing in foreign workers, building casinos, giving tax incentives to foreign companies, etc. 'Creating values' will need innovations and making things from nothing, more risks, more freedom, transparency and democracy.  Wow!

Can the same old political structure of one-party rule still be relevant in the future economy?

Professor Dominique Boullier of Sciences Po Paris outlines a smart city model which involves certainties and uncertainties; attachment and detachment.  There are four components in the model: Good Old, Smart, Data and Wiki city.

Screenshot 2015-11-03 16.21.07.png

GE2015 suggests Singaporeans prefer to remain in ‘certainties’ - from Good old city to Smart city.  However, we also prepare to move from ‘Attachments’ to ‘Detachment’. ‘Gold old city’ model is very much a colonial model and SG50 is part of it. Singapore still feels comfortable to work under  ‘models’. We will use all the latest technology, research and consultancy to develop our smart city model.

But to create more values to the economy, we will have to move away from ‘certainties’. This means there is no suitable models, or
no model at all under Data City and Wiki City. You create values from big data which has no previous pattern or need to share information in a crowd.  The information and media control in Singapore will pose a challenge in these two sub-components.

Perhaps, we are only happy to achieve 70% coverage of the jobs and market - controlling all components of ‘certainties’ models and some components of ‘uncertainties’ models.  Is this the future economy of Singapore - a smart city flying with 60% or 70% capacity?
^1
https://www.ida.gov.sg/Tech-Scene-News/Smart-Nation-Vision

^2
http://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/committee-to-review-singapore-economy-to-be-set-up-by-december-and-report-year





Monday, 26 October 2015

SG50制止社会精英加入反对党, 但是正义制衡之声春风吹又生。


【SG50先后两轮洗礼华文和英文教育精英,阻止他们加入反对党。表面上,行动党成功制止反对党拥有人才,事实上,从年轻奖学金申请者的反馈看来,认可工人党,要求公平社会和国会制衡,在青年人心中依然是春风吹又生。50年制止工程过后,行动党的噩梦正在开始呢!】

(解读PSC尖子反馈2)

上一篇谈到年轻奖学金申请者认可工人党,作为公共服务委员会顶头上司的行动党政府,当然早早就意识到这个趋势。但是,它又不能像过去那样动不动就出动内安法,也不能随意的告人。只能继续加强媒体监管,也对社交媒体的言论,进行反击和提告。

作为反对党的龙头老大,我们很容易了解行动党为何处处针对工人党。目的很显然,行动党要像过去那样处处制止精英加入反对党,他们一方面不断地制造反对党的负面新闻。另一方面通过各种管道,官方和非官方两方面一起进行阻挡年轻人加入反对党的机会。


短短的竞选期如何传达民权意识,这是任道重远的工程,年轻人的工作。
photo: mothership.sg


工人党2015的竞选宣言,大纲和提出民权的口号,都是年轻候选人主导和面向选民。工人党领袖也一直强调年轻领袖接班的重要性。只是短短9天的竞选时间,真的没有办法让民权的讯息传播开来。和行动党强调第四代接班人不一样,工人党年轻领袖来得更加年轻,更加接近年轻人。这是优点也是缺点。对于行动党来说,如果要一党独大,就要制止工人党和反对党年轻领袖出头,表面看来,似乎行动党成功了 - 工人党无法突破多一个集选区。

民权本来就是很抽象,虚无缥缈的东西。就是再多一个五年的努力,也很可能说不动务实的新加坡选民。更何况,这次大选还出现这样的选民心态:“即使行动党贪污做坏事,还是要投选行动党,因为,它是唯一能够管理新加坡的政党“。在这样的背景下,民权只能轻于鸿毛,而不能重于泰山。

第一轮洗礼:
行动党在1960,70 年代,进行了一系列,逮捕华校精英,消灭华校,消灭方言的措施。因此,一直到1980年, 国会里,连一个反对党议员都没有。在那个年代,行动党候选人,不是自动中选,就是以高票中选,70%, 80%以上的得票率,习以为常。

第二次洗礼:
行动党在1980, 90年代,成功制止华校精英加入反对党后,把矛头指向英文教育者。行动党再次动用内安法逮捕英文教育精英,同时把制止的行动,提升到诽谤官司的层次上。

两轮洗礼其实就是要消灭年轻人,社会精英的正义感,责任感,社会公平,民主制衡的思想。行动党的教育政策也配合演出,尽量模糊民主精神,新加坡真正的历史等等。从行动党的幼儿教育开始,一直到大学,“正确”的政治教育有形无形的一直陪伴新加坡孩子的成长。

很幸运的,新加坡年轻精英,并没有受到行动党SG50两轮洗礼的影响。他们还是关心和愿意为人民服务。

公共服务委员会主席张赞成认为年轻精英继续关心社会分配不均,教育政策,和政治环境。同时,更多年轻人愿意服务社会,协助不幸人士
【Thankfully, the best and brightest who appear before PSC do still think critically and question what is happening in Singapore, including our socio-economic disparities, our educational policy and system, and our political environment. I am especially pleased that more of our young now aspire to work in the social sector, so that they can help the underprivileged.】
http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/what-18-year-olds-tell-us-about-singapores-future

在行动党政治和教育洗礼下,年轻奖学金申请者,竟然出现认可工人党的年轻人。这不仅让人怀疑SG50是否真的成功制止社会精英加入反对党?公共服务委员会当然不会告诉你,这个百分比有多少,但是,它却是一个让行动党不安的讯息,因为,不论行动党怎样洗礼年轻人,还是有些精英,认可制衡的重要性,认可工人党。

这说明,金禧年后行动党是否可以依样画葫芦,继续洗礼年轻人,甚至老年人,然后继续一党独大下去吗?

无论如何,在年轻人心中,要求制衡,民主,民权的声音,依然是春风吹又生,制止不了,阻止不了。行动党因为SG50和2015大选的70%强大委托,就认为能够斩草除根反对党,制止年轻精英加入工人党,这是过于乐观的判断。

摆在我们眼前的现实是,工人党的幼苗真的还太小,不但需要更多志同道合的人协助,更加要有坚强的斗志和耐性。过去50年,行动党无法灭掉人们的正义和制衡的心,将来更加不可能做到。认为只有行动党能够做事,工人党做不了事,反对党管不好国家,这样的谎言,迟早会被打破的。

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Future Economy and Marx’s Theory of Crisis


[The Future Economy 1]

In Marxism, capitalism comes before socialism and communism. Marx thinks after the working class gains class consciousness, they will mount a revolution against the capitalists. However, Marx’s Theory of Crisis failed and interestingly, with the help of government, capitalism survives as seen today.


Singapore is a beneficiary of capitalism.  Our pragmatic model of capitalism has created wealth and progress for Singaporeans. In Marxism, it is an ideal situation for socialism as class aware emerges. In fact, all so-called communist states, past and present, have never experienced (modern) capitalism before calling themselves communists.


Why has communism not happened in western industrial world or authoritarian capitalist economy, like Singapore or China?

Professor Ian Shapiro of Yale University explains the failure of Marx’s Theory of Crisis and thinks government and market reflection/adjustment have helped to prevent the fall of capitalism. (see video below).



The 5 Part Theory of Crisis as described by Prof. Shapiro is:
  1. Money
  2. Declining tendency of rate of profit
  3. Monopoly and the elimination of competition
  4. Under-consumption
  5. Working class consciousness

For Singapore to move forward, it is important to look at the theory of crisis as Singapore is already at the advanced stage of capitalism. Judging from the income per capita, we are already one of the top countries in the world. Marx’s failed theory and experience is a learning curve for Singapore or in another word, to prevent it to happen, political change from authoritarian to democracy does have its role.  

How can we solve current capitalism problems facing Singapore? Can the PAP come out with a solution or alternative for Singapore with “The Future Economy” committee headed by Heng Swee Kiat? Is a strong government necessary a stable government?



We can summarize Prof. Shapiro’s viewpoints into the following table for easy understanding:


Crisis
Problems
Examples
Saved by
1 Money
Liquidity (hoarding)
Financial crisis
Government
2.Declining tendency of rate of profit
Less profit, less incentive
Manufacturing, e.g China
Technology, shift/new industries
3 Monopoly and the elimination of competition
Massive barriers to entry  
Antitrust laws, fair contest,
‘too big to fail’  
Government,
economy of smallness
4 Under-consumption
Overproduction, not enough demand
Great Depression - New Deal
Government, Keynesian economics (countercyclical policies, consumption),  
5 Working class consciousness
Low wage, poverty,
Rich-poor divide,
comparing rich and poor
Psychological assumption - peer comparison



Marx’s Theory of Crisis and Singapore

The above crises have not gone away. These economic and social problems continue to occupy the headlines in the world. And we have to understand the concept of government too. It certainly involves Congress or Parliament.

Below are some examples of the relevant crises in Singapore:



Money
Management of liquidity risk, financial crisis, foreign exchange risk, CPF, foreign reserve and sovereign funds will continue to be challenging issues.   


Declining tendency of rate of profit
The large foreign labour force and increasing property price and rental, and inflation are indicators of falling profit. Lack of creativity and innovation makes shifting or finding new industries difficult.  


Monopoly and the elimination of competition
State monopoly (GLCs) already occupies a big share of our economy. Lack of entrepreneurship and lack 'economy of smallness' activities will make government-led businesses continue to dominate the economy.     


Under-consumption
Super-rich and tourists are attracted to Singapore for consumption. The government wants to increase population to increase consumption. Low birth rate means low consumption too.   


Working class consciousness
Singaporeans are not comparing salary with foreign workers. They are comparing with foreign PMETs. There are also demands for poverty line or minimum wage to be established.
All the above are the challenges for the future economy of Singapore. However, the fundamental problem is still politics.


One may argue Singapore is lucky as we have a strong government. And government as explained by Prof Shapiro is the key saver for capitalism. But can a (narrow definition) government without ‘checks and balances’ able to solve the capitalism crises? Even that, we still need to solve issues like entrepreneurship, technology, economy of smallness, psychological comparison, etc.


Government as a rescuer of capitalism, under the attack of Marx’s Theory of Crisis, may explain why the PAP received strong mandate in GE2015.  However, it does not mean strong mandate with an unchecked government can solve the crises. Whether in USA or Europe, debates in Congress or Parliament are the necessary steps of crisis management. Of course, the PAP government may claim debates are not necessary as they can do self-check and self-debate. And Singapore is an exception.   
   

copyright: Coursera@Yale