Tuesday, 31 March 2015

NTU President Broke My Heart - Foundation Without Nantah


[The issue of Nantah is a challenging controversy for the PAP   The debate will  never end  even with  with  the passing of Lee Kuan Yew.  It will also be  the most  difficult cultural problem that LKY left behind.]


In his email to Nantah graduates announcing the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, NTU President  Bertil Andersson failed to mention Nantah. It saddened me and broke my heart. Nanyang Technological University is sitting on the site of old Nantah. If there is no Nantah, where can NTU find her beautiful campus?


Professor Andersson paid his tribute to Lee Kuan Yew:   “NTU owes much of our success as an engine of progress for Singapore and mankind to Mr Lee’s vision and stewardship of education… “. He also mentioned about Lee’s ‘personal interest’ in NTU development in its early days. The early days  here mean the 1980s/1990s and not 1950s or 1960s.


The email was addressed to Nantah alumnae on 23 March 2015. NTU President either intentionally or purposely omit the history of Nantah. Perhaps, he is ignorance about our past history - the SG50 story. Sucn an ignorance confirms there is no relationship between NTU and Nantah spiritually. It makes one wonder what is the rationale to date back the history of NTU to 1955. The university authority or the government has already had an agenda while for politically reason, they have to make this calculation.        


The omission of Nantah in the email clearly shows the double heads snake of the university/government. It wants to project NTU as a young university.  However, for political reason, it has to try its best to associate NTU with Nantah. We have to admit the fact that NTU is occupying the campus of old Nantah.   Some may even argue the occupation is illegal.


Nantah story must be the most important liberal education for NTU students, perhaps for all students in Singapore. However, the President chooses to ignore the history.  In fact, as a show of megre between Nantah and the University of Singapore, Nantah logo went to NUS and not NTU.  It makes the issue complicated and creates another controversy. Up to today, I continue to receive newsletters from both NTU and NUS.  


Comparing to the pioneering batches of Nantah graduates, I am less attached to Nantah and have less Nantah spirit. Graduated in 1980, the very last batch of Nantah graduates, I was disillusioned by first the setting up of joint campus with the University of Singapore and then the officially announcement of Nantah closure. Helpless, disappointed, confusion, uncertainty and living in fear accompanied my 3-year of study in Nantah. Few people in the world would have this experience: seeing the death of Nantah and voiceless.  NTU President certainly does not have such a compassion as shown in his email.


Ignorance and omission of history is not the right way to solve the controversy.  When we call for a united Singapore and prepare to march forward toward a better Singapore without Lee Kuan Yew, we cannot deny the truth and contribution made by Chinese in Southeast Asia.  The PAP owes them an apology. The current PAP leadership will have to take a right move.   


The establishment of Nanyang University in 1955 was a social engagement and commitment.  It was a kind of citizen engagement among Chinese in Southeast Asia. It went beyond Singapore. Who could predict such a positive citizen engagement and high hope fail to take off later under the PAP government?


The Nantah spirit although hardly mentioned in SG50 is the critical success factor for Singapore. In many ways, LKY had cleverly used it or manipulated it to his political advantage.


Citizen or social engagement like the establishment of Nantah has disappeared under SG50, especially after 1980. We have made economic progress but less so in social and political progress. It is time for the re-emergence of positive citizen engagement and political participation in Singapore.  


xxxxx

Citizen Engagement will move Singapore forward.

The passing of Lee Kuan Yew will result to positive citizen engagement.  Lee is credited for the success of Singapore but is also criticised for his strong rule. The success has come at a price which is ‘fear to speak out’. One can be detained without trial under the Internal Security Act. It creates a voice poverty.

Hence, Singaporeans have to sacrifice social accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and responsiveness due to the closed decision making of the government. Singapore is a one-party state and is now a rich country. However, our press is not free according to Reporters Without Borders.

Therefore, Singaporeans are rich but not happy.  

The ruling party, the People’s Action Party, maintains an elite and closed decision making cabinet. They believes their policymaking is the best. Even people oppose their policies, they will still implement them as they believe these will benefit Singaporeans at the end.

Citizen Engagement has five constitutive elements: State Action, Citizen Action, Information, Civil Mobilization and Citizen-State Interface. The Singapore model only highlights the importance of State Action - the government knows the best. This unhealthy development makes Singapore looks like a developing country.

The mainstream media is controlled by the government. The short route to accountability has no place here. People find no way to express as there is a closed information loop. During the one-week state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew, the only place for public protest at Speakers’ Corner was closed. Hence, free press or free expression as correct feedback channel is absent.

So, RTI (Right to Information) Act in India questing about the uses of fund for constituency is basically not possible here. Even in social media, the government can ask the site owners to register with them.  Hence, social audit is not possible.   

However, as the education system is quite well organised. We don’t have Uwezo Initiative problems. The government is promoting the best education and claims ‘every school is a good school’. However, this produces another problem - lack of creativity.   

Is citizen engagement a game changer?

Yes. The passing of Lee Kuan Yew is a closing chapter for the closed decision making model. Singapore is already well developed and to move forward, citizen engagement can help to add more power to the country. The diversification/feedback will bring in creativity too.
There is a limitation on technology contribution. In fact, Singapore government and Singaporeans know citizen engagement. Social media, NGOs, feedback channels, social audit and participatory budget are not unfamiliar here.  We know the technology and hardware for citizen engagement. We are now demanding the government to relax the game of engagement.

If ‘10% technology 90% politics and institutions’ is an indication, then in the political front, we have seen some changes. In 2011, the ruling party obtained 60% popular votes. However, due to the first past the post system, it still controls 90% of the parliament seats. This unfair power distribution results to more people want to change the system politically, socially and economically.

The PAP government will have to adjust to this demand or to be replaced. We call it a ‘new normal’ which citizen engagement is part of it.

Citizen engagement will have a new future.  Without citizen participation and feedback, the government can implement its ‘own’ best but not the best of the people. This game changer has to take place in Singapore. Otherwise, Singapore’s sustainable growth will be limited by the PAP vision.

To aim higher, Singapore will have to look  beyond the PAP and looks for more political participation and citizen engagement.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

第一世界的经济 第三世界的政治


{李光耀1959年出任总理,往生后,他的建国团队给新加坡带来第一世界的经济,这个事实是大家都吹捧的。同时,新加坡的政治,公民参与却犹如第三世界国家。反思我们的吹捧,这对新加坡的持续发展,国家稳定是否有利?}


李光耀今天从总统府移灵到国会大厦,电视现场传播,万民夹道相送。根据电视报道,迎接他的是国家的三方代表:国会代表立法,行政代表管理,和法庭代表司法。国家的三权和李光耀有密切关系。行政方面,他是总理,是最高的领导。国会方面,他的辩论令人惊骇。法庭方面, 他很可能是世界总理级人物中告人诽谤的记录创造者。

新加坡国会,即使在2011年反对党取得一些突破的情形下,拿下一个集选区背景下,依然无法合理的令人满意的出现议会民主精神。它仍然无法有效的代表人民的意愿。40%的反对票,却获得不到10%的国会议席,这是50多年来,李光耀的创新选举制度的结果。

现在,李光耀躺在国会大厦,受到无数新加坡人的致敬,部分地铁要加开24小时,人龙等候时间长达8小时。致敬的人是为第一世界经济而来,还是为第三世界政治而来?盖棺无法定论,见仁见智,或者,有人认为,新加坡是经济政治都是世界第一。因为,我们今天的繁荣稳定,实在没有什么好批评的,政治的开放和自由虽然有所制约,公民参与虽然不高,但是,这是值得的。

那么,李光耀躺在国会大厦,他又会怎么想呢?是否,政治自由和开放的些许牺牲,是值得的。政治上做不到第一世界的水准,其他方面则处处是世界的领头羊,这个佳绩,已经可以说是世界纪录了。李光耀满意了,他可以安心的走了?听过他的名言:从棺木爬出来,或许,他真的还是不放心的走,他担心政治经济的变数,一个无法预测的将来,一党独大的持续问题,公民参与的欲望越来越高。。。。

如果,他在经济政治两方面都做到世界第一,那该多好。别人也不会说,他在新加坡建立的政治制度,会随他而去,无法保留下来。还有一些人,说他了不起,但是还谈不上伟大。

因为,只有做到经济政治,公民参与等世界第一,新加坡才可能稳定的持续发展下去。李光耀走了,他没有给新加坡留下两个世界第一,因此,评论员说,李光耀走了之后,新加坡会出现不稳地的因素,李显龙无法掌控新加坡,反对人士增加,人心浮动,甚至行动党失去政权。

这些话,这些评论,能否激起李光耀从棺材爬出来?

与其讨论李光耀的名言,不如自我掌控自己的命运。

世界银行集团认为,一个国家,或者一个贷款项目,要取得长期的效益,持续性的增长,公民参与是十分重要的。新加坡在政治上做不到世界第一,当然,公民参与也不理想。这里所谓的公民参与,和李光耀、行动党认为的公民参与是有些出入的。

世界银行认为,公民参与要做到透明,公开,和有效的反应。政府有责任将资讯公开,透明和及时的对公民的诉求做出反应。

但是,在李光耀领导下,行动党自认天下第一,没有人比行动党更加适合管理新加坡,没有其他政党可以取代行动党,没有人可以比行动党做得更加好。行动党政府也不是没有公民参与,或者阻止公民参与。它是通过一个更加高明的手法,放些自己放心的人来领导公民参与的活动。如果,做不到这点,行动党就会阻止,甚至立法阻止。因为,行动党在国会占有绝对的大多数,立法改变行动党眼中不对的发展趋势,李光耀是很乐意的。

行动党对公民参与采取保守的态度,可想而知,行动党对政治和反对党的态度,就更加保守,保守到到赶尽杀绝的地步。我们只要翻看新加坡过去50多年的政治,就可以清楚的看到部分新加坡人为民主做出的牺牲。

这是新加坡经济第一,繁荣背后的牺牲。李光耀留下一个第一,一个第三。政治牺牲取得经济第一,但是,说到最后,在民主社会,政治还是最后的决定,人民的选票,公民的意愿,公民的参与,才是新加坡持续发展,稳定,国泰民安的基石。

当李光耀看到这么多新加坡人,男女老少,不分种族,语言宗教,来向他致敬时,或许,他才开始明白人民的力量,还政于民的重要。

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

SINGAPORE AFTER LEE: LESS IMF, MORE WORLD BANK?


{Less emphasis on economic growth and more emphasis on citizen engagement offer a sustainable option for Singapore. The passing of Lee Kuan Yew is a closing chapter for maximum utilitarianism and an opening for more positive citizen participation.}

The World Bank Group is promoting citizen engagement for world development, especially in developing countries. Being a first world country, Singapore in fact does not need such an advice. However, in the past 50 years, despite economic success, our citizen engagement movements are like our press ranking far from satisfaction.   
It is a voice poverty similar to the asset poverty in developing countries.

Singapore is very proud of her achievement over the past 50 years, naming from third world to first world in one generation. However, after increasing the aggregate utilities (wealth) to the top of the world, Singapore ruling party, the PAP, is now facing huge political pressure. People in Singapore are rethinking this utilitarian approach.

Rich but not happy mean the welfare(well being, utilities) is not increasing anymore, i.e. marginal utilities not increasing. Perhaps, Singapore is now a high income country and people’s happiness will fail to increase when their income has reached a certain level, e.g. US$75000. However, Singapore has a very high Gini index - big rich and poor gap. The continued increase in total income and utilities will add more pressure to the lower and middle income citizens.     

Lee Kuan Yew created a model of ‘PAP knows the best’. Under this model, Singapore pushed for maximum utilities of economic growth.  When comes to citizen engagement and consultation, the PAP only engaged people who can contribute to growth and increase their marginal utilities.  People who disagree or make no contribution will have no say in decision making.

Less IMF, more World Bank
    
Both IMF and World Bank offer mass open online courses over edX and coursera platforms. Singapore’s performance measured by IMF financial programming and policies and debt sustainability analysis is top rate, except perhaps, the issue of high public debt.

However, when we consider the development approach under the World Bank guidelines, Singapore in many ways is a below average student. It is because WB considers risk and opportunity of transparency and accountability in a country. WB also wants developing countries to engage their citizens as a game changer for development.    

IMF considers less about citizen consultation and more about effective policy implementation, for example, an austerity program.  It aims for short term and immediate solution. While WB concerns more about sustainable development, long-term effects. Hence, public participation and citizen engagement are important feedback loop.  WB believes citizen engagement can improve policy making. And it involves social accountability, transparency and responsiveness.  

Citizen engagement under Lee

The PAP government is, in fact, actively engaging citizens but in a wrong way.  It is using a ‘monopoly’ approach as well as ‘fear’ factor (ISA, defamation).  It is very different from the WB model.

The PAP has a monopoly in information. The mainstream media is under the government control. It also controls the labour movements, hardly any true labour/citizen engagement. The government’s feedback unit is collecting pro-government feedback. Almost all civic organisations - sports/trade associations, charity/religion bodies, NGOs, are headed by pro-PAP or government friendly people.      

WB citizen engagement has five constitutive elements.      


However, in Singapore,  there is only one big element: State Action. Civil mobilization, information and citizen action are all under control or manipulation. The once powerful grassroots mechanism in the past has helped to maintain some degrees of citizen-state interface. However, the current grassroots feedback has broken as shown in the drop in popular votes in 2011.

A ‘five constitutive elements’ balance became an unbalance of one super State Action element under Lee. This is not a sustainable situation and bad for the long-term development of Singapore.

If we re-consider the public debt issue mentioned by IMF, it is in fact also a citizen engagement issue. The Monetary Authority of Singapore thinks the high public debts is less of a problem because these are domestic debts, not international debts. The domestic debts are Singapore government’s borrowing of CPF monies (through bonds issuing). CPF monies come from citizens and PRs. Is there a proper citizen engagement in CPF monies, bonds, debts and returns?  This will continue to be a hot topic if the State ignoring engaging Singapore citizens.

Citizen engagement is a dirty word

Citizen engagement is not necessary as the PAP is the best government that knows all the problems in Singapore. In the name of inclusive society, the PAP sets up many feedback channels, either under direct control or through proxy, to show the effectiveness of (false) citizen engagement.   

However, the five constitutive elements in the past 50 years have narrowed down to State Action. We see only the State is in action not the citizens, for example, the State can suddenly revoke the right to speak at Speakers’ Corner. The State can detain a person with trial under ISA.

In the views of the PAP, citizen engagement (e.g. #ReturnmyCPF, Population White Paper etc.) is a dirty word. It prevents the State to achieve higher economic  growth, higher aggregate utilities, and it also prevents the distributive justice that the PAP is championing for, e.g. high medical costs, housing, etc.    

However, for long-term sustainability, Singapore as suggested by WB has to engage her citizens. It is a game changer for development after Lee.


# for more information on citizen engagement, you may visit  https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100419219887402079673

Friday, 20 March 2015

行动党的任性问题,谁来决定?你会让它任性下去吗?


【SG50过后,行动党还有机会任性吗?新加坡选民还会让行动党任性下去吗?】


任性,最近成了中国的一个流行语。习近平说了经济任性的问题。李克强谈了权力任性的问题。柴静更提出环保的任性问题。改革开放,把经济拉上,中国的总体经济量即将成为世界第一位。任性发展的同时,当然也带来了一连串的任性问题。任性的后遗症应该如何处理呢?


中国共产党很明显已经看到了任性的严重后果,因此,不得不自我提出任性问题,提出解决任性问题的方法。任性后遗症如果解决不了,很可能政权也会被任性掉。


在新加坡,人民行动党有没有看到自己的任性问题呢?新加坡人民是否感觉到行动党的任性问题,发现行动党政策任性的后遗症呢?当然,问题的关键和重点更是选民会不会继续给予行动党多一次任性的机会?让它继续任性下去。行动党当然希望能够像SG50那样,再来一次50年的任性,忽悠人民多50年。


50年的行动党任性,我们看到很多后遗症。再来一个50年的连续任性,人民受得了吗?


一党独大是任性问题的根源

新加坡独立50年来,根本就没有人能够对行动党的任性提出制衡,制约。只要发出一点不同的声音,就有倒霉下场。在这种垄断政治的环境下,行动党不任性才怪。但是,行动党任性的结果,就是要付出代价--失去民心,失去选票。


【任性取得高经济成长,任性的贫富差距,任性的践踏民主,任性的部长高薪,任性的选择性透明。。。】


行动党有什么任性的事情,任性的问题,导致新加坡人不满。50年来,追求大蛋糕的经济政策,行动党怎么可能不任性的做了一些对令人民不满的事情。行动党在人口政策上任性,在教育政策上任性,在公积金问题上任性,在储备,淡马锡,政府投资公司的透明度上任性,在媒体开放上任性,在劳资政三方面任性,几乎可以说社会,政治,经济,方方面面都做到任性。


行动党任性了50年,新加坡人已经不能再容忍这些无所不在的,各方各面的任性了。


2011年,大选投票前,行动党放下身段,放下小姐霸气,如果行动党有做得不好的地方,希望选民原谅。但是,说一套,做一套,行动党继续任性,提出人口政策,根本没有体会人民的感受。对于社交媒体的监控也没有放松。对于新闻自由,言论自由,集会权利,也同样的没有放松。


现在,大选即将来临,行动党却搬出另外一套任性。任性的SG50庆祝,任性的叫人国庆长假不要出国,任性的给国人发红包,任性的公积金新政策,任性的医药保健措施,任性的学习基金,任性的罗宾汉,任性的。。。。


总之,国会里面和外面,行动党在一党独大下,可以继续的任性。行动党议员可以任性的出席,也可以任性的不出席国会会议。讨论国家大事的辩论,可以任性的参加,也可以任性的 不参加。国会外赚钱容易,行动党议员可以任性的到国会外面担任董事或者高管,来赚外快。有几次,国会还出现,议员人数没有达到法定人数的任性问题。


归根结蒂就是没有人监督行动党,国会内外的一党独大,导致行动党可以任性的做行动党要做的事情。而主流媒体,对行动党言听计从,放纵放任行动党的任性行为,难怪,新加坡的新闻自由排名,自我放任,任性的和第三世界国家齐名。

行动党任性50年的后果,就是人民要收回行动党任性的权利。任性的权利来至人民,已经有越来越多的人觉得不能够再让行动党任性下去。你认为如何?是否应该让行动党继续任性下去,问一问自己受得了吗?想想,还是快快收回任性的权利,不再放任行动党,还政于民。

Sunday, 15 March 2015

SkillsFuture Is Another Innovative Training Guide, another SOP of the PAP.


SkillsFuture is a continued training.  It is far from the objective of lifelong learning. The PAP is smart in process engineering and SkillsFuture is the latest innovative training guide with additional government funding.

Now, every Singaporean above 25 will have a credit of $500 (in 2016) in their SkillsFuture Credit. It is a job skill training:

The credit can be used for work-skills related courses supported by public agencies.”  
# skillsfuture.sg

SkillsFuture programs, from schools to individual to employers, the funding and support are administrated and initialed by public agencies. It is a guided tour, prearranged, pre-planned process of skill training.

Training is different from learning. SkillsFuture cannot run away from skills, job training, employment enrichment, and study improvement, etc. It has a very high content of value for money, productivity for training, and innovation for process engineering.  Unfortunately, the word ‘skill’ - no matter past, present and future, is job related, root trained, and memory enhanced.

Skill is a mindset training and obedient reinforcement. Passion learning, lifelong learning and non-skill learning are not the key elements here.  

We have edusave for students to enrich their study and guided overseas trips.  These are all approved courses and trips by the Ministry of Education. In term of organisation and planning, these are well planned and trained. It is an innovative process by adding more programs, improving the contents and updating the teaching materials. Students, especially older students can learn more if they can break this process.  For example, they are allowed to organise their own tours and backpack their own bags in a small group without strict supervision.  After the trip, they can then submit a group report as their social studies/project work for their ‘O’ or ‘A’ level. Students will learn more about Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur than a guided tour funded by edusave.

Similarly, public agencies can only fund approved courses and training programs. The PAP government has already pre-approved these ‘useful’ and innovative job related trainings.  They cannot go beyond the guideline. Employees need to mark their attendance so that employers can get the funding grants. This is innovation not creativity.  In fact, this is a kind of group thinking. Employees attend the same training, go through the same process and upgrade their skills without learning creatively.

SkillsFuture is an update of the PAP model of economic development.  It is another way of PAP group thinking in advanced level. It is another systematic organised PAP social engineering. If you disagree, your SkillsFuture Credit remains there, like medisave, it can only be used for approved medical procedures and treatments.    

The most SkillsFuture can achieve is solving the innovation process engineering problems of Singapore. Our economy still needs people providing ‘standard operating procedures’ services. Our banking, tourism, manufacturing, medical, and even legal sectors need SOP workforce. WDA and other public agencies are good at approving and recognising training courses under the SkillsFuture framework.   

In fact, the PAP is a SOP party. They organise Singapore in a system that everything is under their control, from mainstream media, preschool education, university places to general election. Unfortunately, SOP has its weakness and it can only help the PAP 50 years.

Creativity is the missing point in SkillsFuture.  It depends too much on SOP, so do the PAP.

Free Internet access, free press and media, and free political defamation will bring more creativity to Singapore than the innovative-only SOP SkillsFuture.

In the information age, news reporting is no more a SOP editorial board decision. News reporting and coverage have to consider social media, bloggers, Facebook, twitters, weibo, feedback, forums, etc. Major newspaper, like the New York Times, has now given less power to editorial board but more considerations to social media.

However, SkillsFuture is just another SOP product of the PAP.  And the SPH and MediaCorp still prefer to follow the SOP of the PAP. No wonder Singapore press ranking is at the third world level with no creative reporting.

If you visit skillsfuture.sg, you will find the programs will only be introduced or implemented in 2016. SkillsFuture is still waiting for the SOP of the PAP and perhaps, it is part of the PAP’s general election SOP.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

每一个预算案,都是为大选而准备。


每一个预算案,都是为了更美好的明天而准备的。您有听过,不为明天而准备的预算案吗?事实上,每一个预算案,都尽量要做到让每一个人都满意。如果无法做到人人满意,最少都要做到大多数人满意。不然,选民如何愿意在大选时,投你一票,让你继续做下去。只有大多数人满意,这个政党才能继续执政下去。

如果行动党的预算案是为了满足少数人,不为多数人着想,那才是真正的不为大选的预算案,那将是一个自杀式的预算案。那又何必说这是一个左倾的,罗宾汉式的预算案。

问题是,这样的‘好康’是不是来得太迟,无法挽回人民的心?而’好康‘又在哪里?真的是’好康‘吗?

我们从两个方面来看这个问题:行动党的狼来了和对行动党分配不公的处罚。

从2011年大选过后,每一年的预算案,行动党政府都希望考虑到大多数人的利益。希望给多一些利益,让选民高兴一下。因此,从民主社会主义出发,一直到今年的所谓的罗宾汉预算案。从数据上看,的确如此,行动党政府是给了人民一些‘好康’。但是,这算不算是狼来了?

每一次的预算案,都说是为人民好,照顾下层人民多一点,照顾贫穷人士和不幸家庭多一点。但是,每一次,人民的实际所得和行动党报告的‘好康’,以及主流媒体报道的‘好康’相比,就犹如狼来了一样,失望一个接着一个,这种感觉就像是‘祭之丰不如养之薄也’。说的这么好听,实惠却是这么一点点,久而久之,越来越多的人,就不相信狼来了。就正如财政部长尚达曼说,这不是一个为大选准备的预算案,行动党的预算案是为了新加坡的长远利益而准备,又有几个人会相信呢?

行动党的狼来了预算案,已经发生了太多次了。尤其这次,说不是准备大选的预算案,还有几个人相信。虽然尚达曼被认为是行动党的智者,但是,就因为智者的身份,才能再来一次狼来了。他从智者变成脑残,才能成功扮猪吃老虎,再来一次狼来了。我们想一想,自从李显龙出任总理以来,所谓的利益人民的预算案,为新加坡长远的利益的预算案,哪一个不是狼来了 - 人口政策,生育问题,教育提升,组屋交通,一直到今年的所谓福利政策等等。

因此,现在的问题是,到了大选,有多少人相信狼来了,有多少人不相信狼来了。相信狼来了的人是否比2011年来得多,增加的幅度,是否足够改变历史?

认不认同狼来了,其实和预算案的利益分配有关。当人们觉得不公平,越来越多的人认为分配不公正,他们就会觉得反感,任何的好处,即使比以前多一点的 好处,人们都不满意。因此,他们就会对行动党过去和现在分配不公给予行动党处罚。

这是一个心理问题。行动党政府一向都有主动权来分配国家的所得。行动党政府习惯性,自己先把蛋糕分好。例如,开始的时候,行动党政府和人民50:50对分,没有问题,双方满意。经济发展后,进入80年代,行动党政府和人民的分配比例,就成了60:40,(是否记得80年代初,行动党政府给人民涨工资)。到了90年代,就成了70:30,人民开始不满,害得行动党输了4个国会议席。不过,狼来了又一次成功说服人民,但是,所得的分配比例进一步倾向行动党,到了80:20的地步。到了部长薪金位居世界第一位时,本地人才有无有武之地的阶段,这个分配比率,再度上升到90:20或者85:15.

而这个时候,尚达曼却告诉人民,这不是大选预算案,这是长期利益的预算案,人民是否会相信这个狼来了。

新加坡人其实是务实加老实的。 当分配比率从50:50 变成60:40 的时候,人民还是可以容忍的。即使到70:30的比率,老实的新加坡人,还是相信行动党的狼来了。但是,一旦比率上升到80:20的时候,人民的怒火就开始爆发了。人民不单不相信狼来了的预算案,更加要处罚行动党。因为,这关系到一个人的尊严,当行动党欺负人过了头,人民的尊严受到伤害,反映在选票上当然对行动党不利。

行动党政府现在所谓的’好康‘,’福利‘政策,罗宾汉角色,只不过是把分配比例,从90:10 降到85:15或者80:20. 和过去的日子相比,还差得远呢?

最近,有一个调查,问人民,下一辈子是否要做新加坡人。只有50%的人,愿意再做新加坡人。为什么?新加坡的经济现在比过去任何时候都好,人均所得名列前茅,为何不做新加坡人?受访者表示,怀念70,80,90年代的好日子,没有人觉得现在有什么’好康‘。为什么?

狼来了,分配不公,尊严受到伤害,反而认为过去的日子比较好,现在的日子难过。行动党的预算案,如果真的好像尚达曼说的不是大选的预算案,那么,行动党的苦日子将会更加多。因为,行动党即不承认狼来了,也不承认分配不公,更加没有考虑人民的尊严,这样的行动党苦日子还会少吗?

是谁偷走了人民的蛋糕?是谁偷走了人民的尊严?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Political Monopoly And One Party Rule Lead To Uncertain Future

“I can at least say that China is a place full of contradictions and paradoxes.” ....Chinese writer, YuHua


Is CPF your money or not your money?  Is it like the Chinese writer, YuHua, describing today’s China in his interview? Contradictions and paradoxes.    

When the PAP government needs your CPF money, it is not your money. When you use the CPF to pay for your property purchase or medical bills, the deduction is real. A simple question in Singapore, under the magic of the PAP, can be quite contradiction and becomes a paradox.

In the Interview with Yuhua in the HarvardX-ChinaX, YuHua mentioned about the co-existence of a “No Smoking” sign and a cigarette dish side by side. His movie, “To Live”, is censored but as a book, it is allowed to publish. (Video 6)

The monopoly in politics by the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Action Party in Singapore in fact leads to more uncertainties. All the time, we know CPF is our money and now the situation becomes more and more uncertain - e.g. withdrawal age. Even PM Lee agreed that CPF is not your money as choice comes with responsibility. Do you spot the “No Smoking” sign and the cigarette box here?

You may also recall why the documentary, “ To Singapore With Love’, is censored and the web enterprise, “The Real Singapore”, is allowed to publish with editors taking some risks and some profits.  YuHua said the movie “To Live” is censored by civil servants.  Their pay will not increase even they approve the public viewing of the movie. However, book publishers (or “The Real Singapore”) have to take risks for profit taking activities.

In my previous post, four videos of the interview had already been uploaded. This post will upload the remaining three videos. From the interview, we can understand the recent development in China. Why one party state can lead to uncertainty? Contradictions and paradoxes.

When we watch the interview, we will see some similarities between China and Singapore, for example:

Video 1: China’s pain
The pain of the party is different from the people. The party finds pain in how to remain in power and continue political monopoly.  However, people’s pain is daily life and struggle.

Video 2: On Revolution in China
The party is afraid of change (revolution). From a revolution party, the party now does not wish to see people’s power and changes.

Video 3: Anger, Poverty and Human Rights
Human rights is neglect in a fast moving economy. People are less concerns about social justice unless it involves themselves.

Video 4: Money, Politics and the Chinese Dream
China has shifted her focus from economic openness (since 1979) to political control.  Current Chinese government has more restrictions on freedom of speech.
Check what the Chinese dream is.

Video 5: On Fugui (“To Live”)
People like Fugui (“To Live”) are too honest and too kind in a ‘capitalist market’ economy.  YuHua said, “They suffered a lot, they lived by themselves but they still lived pretty well.”
 
Video 6: Artistic Limitations in China
The censorship and private enterprise co-exist in China. YuHua said, “The rules are set by the government,
however, they create ways to break the rule from the bottom up.”  YuHua also talked about how Chinese people use foreign websites to get the latest political development in China, like the case of Bo Xilai.  
Video 7: China’s Future
YuHua talked about his experience as a freeman and the government surveillance of Ai Weiwei. He also said, “Actually no matter if it is top down or bottom up it will change the destiny of this nation.”


You can watch the movie, "To Live", below.


Interview with Yuhua. Official translation by HarvardX ChinaX.

Video 5
On Fugui
Yu Hua, I want to talk about Fugui,
in the movie, in the novel, "To Live"
you have created one of the great characters of modern times.
He's a young man who gambles in the 40s,
he's an artist, he's a performer, he's an actor,
he fights in the war of liberation,
first against the Communists with the Nationalists, then he turns.
In the Great Leap Forward he loses his son
really to industrialization,
and in the Cultural Revolution he loses his daughter
because the Red Guard students
won't let a professional doctor care for her in childbirth.
I want you to imagine Fugui in the market revolution today.
What would he be doing?
What would he be suffering?
What would he be learning?
In my point of view, if Fugui lived until today
he must be a loser in this market transformation
because he is too honest, too kind
In a great transformation like marketization these days
if you don't want to do bad deeds you cannot be successful.
Where would Fugui be living today?
How is his wife?
What is he singing?
What is his mood?
If Fugui lived until today
I don't think he would live in his own home
because he would be a farmer who would have lost his land,
he would be living somewhere in a city
in a tiny apartment somewhere, very likely a forgotten derelict place
in a precarious urban space in China that has been forgotten.
Because I have observed in China in many of our cities we have a lot of abandoned houses
those houses that are unsafe for people to live
but actually a lot of people still live inside
they are not local people they are from rural area, migrants.
I think Fugui would probably live in a place like that
However I do think that Fugui would make his place very clean, very tidy
Are he and his wife happy?
If he and his wife still live together
I think they will be happy.
But their destiny might not necessarily bring them together.
Fugui reminds me a little bit of a
sort of a Chinese Charlie Chaplin.
He suffers, he's brave, he's wise, he doesn't say much,
but his heart is so, so big.
Where did you find the character?
And do you watch Charlie Chaplin movies?
Of course I watch films by Charlie Chaplin, yes.
He doesn't speak that much in his movies
only at the very end did he speak a few words.
Actually characters like Fugui are really prevalent in China,
they, of course this generation I don't know, like those of my little boy's generation maybe there isn't
When I was young, there were several people who lived in my alleyway
who were exactly like Fugui.
They suffered a lot, they lived by themselves
but they still lived pretty well.
So I think Fugui is a character
that can actually represent China of the past.
And what about the present and the future?
Because I thought Fugui comes off as indestructible.
Is Fugui gone from the landscape?
Yes I agree with you.
I do think Fugui will live on and on.
He is such a kind of person that can live on through difficulty.
He is full of life.
But did you say that your son does not know Fugui in his world?
Yes, maybe not now
but if the economic revolution goes on
the generation of my son may see people like Fugui emerging
because China has already gone through economic boom
and now we are actually shouldering the responsibility of this economic revolution.
So in the future, my son might know someone like Fugui.
Where will your son find Fugui in China in his lifetime?
Fugui can appear in any place, any time in China
in the future maybe my son will also become another Fugui.

Video 6
“To Live” the movie and Artistic Limitations in China
This is a little different but
you worked with, Zhang Yimou made the movie,
did you work with him on the movie?
It's one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen.
Yes we cooperated, we talked about scripts for the movie
however when he was shooting the movie I was not there.
How is it that you can read the book "To Live" in China,
but you can't see the movie?
This is a very complicated issue,
this is actually an issue full of Chinese characters.
So, the first thing I wrote about
when I started my column in the New York Times
was the censoring system in China,
about the bureau responsible for movies in China
in the Central Government.
However, the censoring of novels is only controlled
by the publishing houses.
You don't need a person with a position higher than that.
So these two different censoring methods
decided their two different fates [of the film and the book]
They are the same "To Live", the movie is censored, the novel can continue to be published
In reality there is an economic reason. The officials who work in the movie censoring bureau
they get salaries from the country.
If there are 800 movies produced in China in a year,
if they stop them all, it doesn't influence their salary at all.
They can put on American movies in the cinemas.
There is no economic incentive.
However, those publishing houses are individual enterprises
they do not get a penny from the central government,
so they have to make their own money.
He wants to raise his own salary
He wants to raise the salaries of his employees
So when he is considering publishing a book
he wants to take risks,
while the official in the bureau that oversees movies is unwilling because he has no incentive.
while publishing houses must take risk, because only novels that are risky can make them good money.
This is a very strange phenomenon in China.
I don't know if you have noticed
if you stay in many hotels in China
you will notice as you carry your luggage
when you walk into your room you will notice on the table
you will notice a cigarette dish, for when you smoke
and as you look again, you will notice not far away there is a sign that says "no smoking"
This is China. It puts a cigarette dish and a "no smoking" sign side by side.
So the novel is like the cigarette box,
the movie is the non-smoking sign.
That is their relationship, they are both side by side.
We say it's a country of hard rules
and creative rule breaking at the same time.
I can at least say that China is a place full of contradictions and paradoxes.
Why is China full of contradictions? One aspect is as you mentioned
the rules are there but you can violate them anytime you want.
One other reason is
it was like this before.
It is a county where different things just co-exist at the same time.
You sometimes will feel like it is inconceivable, but our society is just this way
I learned in China that of course you can't see Google,
you can't see Facebook on the Internet,
you can also buy inexpensively a service
that will pretend you're in Canada or Venezuela,
and you can see everything.
Somebody said to me,
only in China will they ban the internet
and then invent a way to make money getting around it.
The rules are set by the government,
however, they create ways to break the rule from the bottom up.
I have to say that Chinese people's skills to climb the wall,
the great firewall, are definitely the best in the world.
There is a story, when this incident with Bo Xilai
and his subordinate Wang Lijun ran
to the American embassy in Chengdu
The central government had not decided how to address the Bo Xilai incident
Bo Xilai was in Chongqing
all the local government officers were very nervous
they wanted to find out what was happening
so there was one task for all their secretaries,
to look at overseas websites to find out what was happening.
So you can see that even the very high level cadres
in China do not know Bo Xilai's fate
so you a glimps
of the political life in China.they all had to go through foreign websites, to understand the political situation with China
so that can give

Video 7
China's Future
Yu Hua, you write like a free spirit,
you have the face of an honest man,
is this a dangerous way to live in China?
Or do we exaggerate that?
Does the government threaten you
for your best qualities as an artist?
I was not very clear about this thing
I have not discovered that my freedom has not been violated by the government.
There used to be a New York Times journalist in China
who cautiously reminded me
that he or she had very sure information that I
was under surveillance by the Chinese government.
Afterward I became very careful about everything,
I looked over my shoulder every time I walked
to see if anybody was following me
however I never saw anyone following me
so as far as I know I'm not under
government surveillance in China.
However I know Mr. Ai Weiwei
is under government surveillance
and there is an interesting story.
I own an apartment in the same building
as Mr. Ai Weiwei in Beijing.
One day I walked down the stairs
Suddenly I see Ai coming out of his door with a guy
so I came up to him and say hello
and I thought that might be his friend
and I was chatting with him
about how are things going these days
he responded "Isn't it always the same? I'm pretty much the same as before"
I then said "is the government bothering you these days?"
He hemmed and hawed and said "Let's speak about that later, let's speak about that later."
It was only after he left that I realized that was not his friend
it was an officer from the national security bureau, who was following him.
Was he worried or did he laugh about it?
I think he's worried about me,
he doesn't worry about himself,
he worries that I will also be involved in it
My last question,
the Chinese government tells the world
that if they didn't have a strong hand
on every part of this country and its policy,
we would have chaos.
The government seems to tell the people
that if they're prospering,
if they're getting richer, if the market is working,
they don't need political freedom.
What is the truth of all this?
What is the truth of all this?
I think the government's position is not without reason
I do think there are a lot of problems in China nowadays,
if the government doesn't have a strong hand
China will fall into some kind of chaos.
Although China is a nation that is really fond of revolutions,
however this government is really afraid of revolution.
They know if there is ever a revolution in the future
if there policies are not strong enough
if there is another revolution from the bottom up
that is not from the top down,
Actually no matter if it is top down or bottom up it will change the destiny of this nation.
If there is ever going to be another revolution
it won't be another revolution like the Cultural Revolution
because the Cultural Revolution was totally under control
in the hands of Mao
if there is ever going to be another revolution
it will be like the revolution that
overturned the Qing dynasty in the 1911, the Xinhai revolution.
I think that revolution will end in total freedom and anarchy
maybe there will be two hundred plus parties,
social groups, overnight
and you know we wake up one day
and we belong to a dozen parties we don't even know
because they listed you,
and you don't even know about them.
It would be this sort of situation, a governmentless situation.
And then over time we will decide our path again
will we become a democratic free country
or after a lot of violence and even wars,
will we become another authoritarian country again, I really don't know.
So, sum it up, the Great Leap Forward ended in famine, a disaster,
the Cultural Revolution ended in a sort of disillusion,
it was just abandoned,
the Tiananmen Revolution ended in repression
and violence and death,
how does the market revolution end?
I think the end of the economic revolution
is pretty obvious now
is the destruction of our homeland.
However, what will happen after our homeland is destroyed
we still need time to figure that out.
Is this homeland destroyed?
I think we have already roughly destroyed our homeland,
we have a problem with water, with land, even with air,
what is left for us?
The people?
Our people are losing their health.
How about their minds?
I don't know about their minds.
Today's China is almost an era that
people's minds are most chaotic and schizophrenic,
so I really cannot figure out what is on their mind.
The last resource of China is the Chinese people,
surely they are not destroyed?
I was half joking and half telling the truth.
We end on a Chinese paradox!
Yes, we end on a paradox.
Just like the paradox of the cigarette dish and the no smoking sign.
Yu Hua, it is a joy to meet you
thank you, very, very much.
I am also very happy to see you Christopher, in Shanghai.
After we met in New York, I had not thought that I would see you in Shanghai.