Saturday, 27 February 2016

LKY Effect, General Election and Presidential Election

Epsom john key act national banks NZ Politics Daily - Bryce Edwards Otago University liberation blog -

Same voters, different response, different result. Why?

LKY is a key factor for GE2015, even for GE2011. However, LKY has little effect or perhaps, negative effect in the coming Presidential Election if there is one.

Why do Singapore voters react so differently in these two elections?

We may call it certainty vs. uncertainty.

Political background
Voting under uncertainty  
Vote for PAP
Voting under certainty
Vote against PAP proxy

In the GE market, the PAP creates an uncertain political background, for example, the PAP may not return to power. This uncertainty, or fear, or LKY effect, will always give the PAP the benefit of doubt.

In the PE market, the PAP, however, creates a certain background. With supermajority in the Parliament, the PAP can even remove an Elected President.  The fear or the LKY effect has lost its role. When the PAP designed the EP system, they did not play particular attention to the certainty issue.

This is like generals without practical experience. Only when they faced the real challenge: Ong Teng Cheong vs. C Chua Kim Yeow in the first EP election, they realised some things were wrong in the system. As usual practice, they created walk-overs to avoid election, until PE2011.

Now, PE2016, the PAP has to face a real challenge again. However, they cannot remove the built-in certainty in the EP system. Singapore voters know the PAP has more than 90% of seats in the Parliament. The limitation and limited powers of the Elected President even further ensures this certainty.

Who are these voters?

The certainty makes 25% to 35% of Singapore voters free riders.  They had tried it in 1990 and 2011.

In a simple calculation:

% of PAP votes in GE2011 - % of PAP proxy votes in PE2011 = 60%- 35% = 25%
% of PAP votes in GE2015 - % of PAP proxy votes in PE2011 = 70%- 35% = 35%

Even we look back in PE1990, the PAP proxy obtained only 58% of the votes.  However, this percentage cannot be a good indicator anymore.

This is a very uncomfortable position for the PAP. They hope to create some uncertainties in the EP system. They even set up a Constitutional Commission to look into this matter.

No matter the proposals, the changes, if there is a free EP election, the PAP will have to face the challenge. Perhaps, this time they will be the victims of their very own success. They always invent and design the political game in Singapore.
They also create a game suitable for 'kiasu' Singaporeans to try a change - a ‘kiasu’ design making ‘kiasu’ Singaporeans to vote against the PAP.   

Saturday, 20 February 2016

修宪, ‘前进’,团结在行动党的旗帜下?




Untitled drawing.jpg










Saturday, 13 February 2016

Optimal Inequality, Ideal Poverty Level and the Poverty Simulation Exercise

What is the purpose of Poverty Simulation exercise for the rich? It is to let them experience the inequality and poverty level in Singapore. The Channel Newsasia reported, ‘more Singaporeans are signing up to understand first-hand the stress and constraints faced by the less fortunate.’#1

Ironically, Singaporeans have accepted the inequality and poverty level in Singapore, even though Singapore has one of the highest Gini coefficient in the world. And the government has never defined a poverty line. Hence, without guidance, rich people will never have a clear cut idea the inequality and poverty level.

The simulation will provide a guideline and reference point. Poor people’s standard and quality of living is similar to the simulation exercise as claimed. This is the ideal and optimal level. And the PAP government recognizes it, even though an unofficial one.   

Majority of the voters also believes that our current poverty level is at its optimal and agree with this ideal stage. Hence, it is important to let everyone know, especially the rich ones.  Any deviation away from this optimal level will endanger the social cohesiveness. The PAP government wants to maintain this cohesiveness by maintaining this level, this Gini coefficient. Do you agree and support it?

In many ways, Singaporeans also believe the explanation given by the Ministry of Finance.(MOF Occasional Paper August 2015 released before GE 2015)

poverty 3.png
The government also wants you to believe that tax burden is low here. It, of course, has to accompany by low transfers to reduce Gini coefficient as shown below.  
This is the ideal level. The government takes very little from you.  In return, the government also gives you very little (as far as Gini reduction is concerned). This is to tell the rich and majority of Singaporeans that the current simulation exercise is acceptable, perhaps a world model.

If the situation turns bad, like a Gini of 0.5 or 0.6, it will cause social problems. Will it happen? Singapore is projected to have 1-3% growth rate this year. Some sectors are expected to have negative growth. If the world economy is not improving and the prediction of possible financial crisis#3 does happen, there is a high chance the Gini, inequality and poverty situation will get worst.  

Where can the poor get help in a bad economic situation? The government’s position is to ‘take less and give less’.  When you think about the Elected Presidency issue, the government will certainly not agree to use past reserve to help Singaporeans. No one knows about the true picture of our reserve, even the President wants to help, he has no financial means to do that. You need to have ‘out of box’ thinking on the EP issue and later on the Constitutional Commission's commendations. It is not a simple question of 'terms of reference'.    

After all, life will be unpleasant for the poor, for the families, even the middle class.  How to overcome the difficulties when the government is not willing to help?

The PAP claims the current Gini coefficient, inequality and poverty level are ideal and optimal. They try very hard to maintain it. However, it is a flaw of SG50. A real picture is going to emerge, especially, the PAP is running out of economic solutions.  Some even suggest to enlarge the tax base:   

‘To support government spending, EY suggested ways to capture new streams of tax revenue through lowering the GST registration threshold and imposing GST on the digital economy.’#4





Saturday, 6 February 2016

爱 * 回家 * 团圆


香港无线连续剧《爱 回家》第二版,由于缺少爱,缺少家的温情,被逼把马家召回,还为马家添了一个新成员(孙女)-马家好。真的很难想象,一个家,没有爱,会是什么样子?如何团圆?家又如何好起来?


停頓處 你撐住我的感慨

無限暖 最美是這一種愛





在中国,成千上万的普通百姓回家过年,爱和团圆饭融合在一起 - 回家的感觉真好。与此同时,贪官污吏却不把爱带回家,他们把钱,上千上亿的带回家,以财产代替爱,代替团圆。这些非法资产,无法让人有爱得感觉,家的感觉,团圆的感觉。奇怪的是,以‘财’易‘爱’,已经有几千年历史,改也改不了,革命也革不了。爱回家,不是这么简单的一回事!

在台湾,倾向台独的民进党把国民党拉下来。选民倾向相信国民党卖台,出卖台湾的利益,因此,一个对台湾没有爱,即使有爱,也不是出自真心的国民党,不得不下台。这一刻,台湾人根本没有看到国民党的爱,爱回不了家, 国民党的爱到不了台湾人的家,最终的命运就是黯然下台。




我想要有个家 一个不需要华丽的地方
在我疲倦的时候 我会想到它
我想要有个家 一个不需要多大的地方
在我受惊吓的时候 我才不会害怕

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Failed Minister, Failed School, And Failed Press.

The tragedy of Benjamin Lim presents a failure in our state to protect Singaporeans.  In this particular case, the rights of a young student. However, the PAP would claim only a small chance and percentage of people will be so unluckily.

Despite its failure, it is an acceptable norm for majority of Singaporeans.  We have agreed with the PAP government in the way they handle the case and accept the fate that we can’t do much, like  what Benjamin’s father  told The Online Citizen:

[When asked if the family would take action against the police, Mr Lim said, “My family is not so well-to-do so we do not know how far we can pursue the case. But although we are poor, we have our dignity.”] #1

[As Benjamin’s father, it is now my duty to seek justice for my son. We do not know if he has indeed committed the alleged offence of “outrage of modesty” of the 11-year-old girl. Until the coroner hearing, we do not want to speculate whether the offence has indeed taken place.] #2 latest statement from the family

A Failed Home Affairs Minister
A Failed School
A Failed Press

Instead of assuring the public, especially parents, the safety and rights of Singaporeans, the Home Affairs Minister uses the press to attack the Workers’ Party about their position of Non-constituency members of parliament#3. If he wants to voice his views on NCMP, he can easily join the parliament debate. With his minister’s position, he can even find more time to speak in parliament. Why he only gave his comments when the motion had already passed?  He cleverly used the NCMP issue to cover and sidetrack the tragedy.  Up to now, we only hear the Police will review their procedures about interviewing minors.

Interestingly, he also never helps the Lim family to get a lawyer, like the case of cat abuse suspect.#4 Home Affairs Minister,  Mr. K Shanmugam, also gave the following reasons:
[The minister said that he thought about it and decided that it was his duty to help Lee get a lawyer: “The court can then get all the facts and decide on the question of whether he is guilty, as well as the appropriate sentence, if (with emphasis), he is found guilty."

“I believe that Singaporeans (including all those who were angry and appalled by the cruelty done to the cats) are at heart generous people, and will understand why we are helping to get a lawyer to act pro bono for Mr Lee,” Mr Shanmugam added. “I don’t think people will therefore assume that I or the lawyer condone cruelty to animals. Far from it.”]#4

I find his silence a strange act and cannot understand his logic.  However, I think I now have a better understanding of  ‘the PAP political manoeuvring’.   

If you read the TOC report as well as the family statement, the school, likes the Police, is ill prepared to prevent the tragedy. In paper, in standard operation procedures, Education Ministry and the Police can easily claim they are just doing the right things, although without a human touch. We have seen so many incidents that the government is just carrying out the administrative orders and laws passed by the Parliament.   

Above all, we cannot expect the press to do an objective reporting. This tragedy deserves an investigation, rather than a normal (and not so accurate) reporting. The mainstream media once again shows their colour and this is why they deserve to be ranked so low in 153th place in the world.#5

Perhaps, the key question is we have given the government the freehand to interpret the laws. Most of us will not question the basic rights. Only when tragedy happens, we then see noises here and there. Very quickly, it is back to normal again.  

GE2015 shows that majority Singaporeans think our present way of executing laws and orders is at the optimal level. It is not perfect but better than many other poor countries. This optimal level ensures our economic prosperity and gives us (Goh Chok Tong) a gracious society.   

So, most of us are happy with our

Optimal justice and policing as defined by the PAP government.