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