Sunday, 27 November 2016

何去何从?李显龙?行动党?新加坡?


新加坡经济的未来走向在哪里?贸工部说经济增长放慢,不需要过度担心,还有一位不管部长说,必要时,政府会出手。这些都是内部的评论,而真正影响新加坡经济的是外部因素,我们的外贸,我们的对外服务,对国民所得有着直接的巨大的影响。

国际货币基金组织在衡量一个国家的稳定与否,往往考虑外部震荡对一个国家的冲击。例如:这个国家的外汇储备,外债,汇率,利率,贸易优势,再加上国内的竞争力,就业率,通膨率等因素。从新加坡政府的报告中,经济展望似乎没有出现大问题。因为,我们的外汇丰厚,外债是新加坡的公积金为主,汇率稳定,利率低,金融的贸易有优势,国内的通膨和就业也相对稳定。因此,评论说没有大问题,有着科学和数据支持。

当然,相信这个评论的前提是要相信这些科学和数据是真的,是可靠的。如果,对这些科学数据有所怀疑,可靠性就会降低,对新加坡的将来展望也将会有所保留。

如果我们跨越科学数据,勉强让它过关,我们还是要面对外部震荡的问题。这些外部震荡,很少新加坡人能够真正了解,而要明白其中的道理,又不是一般人的能力范围。因此,大多数新加坡人选择沉默,或者,相信政府的那一套说法。这是似乎跟西方哲学里的爱智慧,求真理背道而驰。

外部震荡,除了国际货币基金组织提到的那些金融名词外,还包括一些看不到,想不到,猜不到的意外。例如: 英国脱欧,川普中选,TPP没了,克拉运河开通,马来西亚/印尼政治变局,一带一路方向变了,等等的可能性。

言归正传。外部震荡和何去何从有何关系?

这当然有着极大的,密切的关系。

李显龙,人民行动党和新加坡政府几十年来都是三位一体。他们都是善于对内,国内出现什么内部震荡,很容易的就可以通过立法,修改宪法,执法,内安法,来完全控制。就像总统选举那样,预期可能出现内部震荡,就可以修改宪法解决。再如预期选民可能会对行动党不满,下次大选可能反对票增加,就以非选区议员人数增加来满足这个内部震荡。

因此,这三位一体无法操控的是---外部震荡。

上几篇博文,都有涉及到新加坡外交出现问题,外交人才出现天窗。简单来说,就是在美国接不上川普的内线,在中国跟不上政治变化,在欧洲英国,没有头绪,在拉美非洲,见不到门。至于马来西亚和印尼,和前朝相比,关系也疏远了。再说一下印度,连我们的外交高材生杨荣文,也误判印度的国内政治,不得不辞去那烂陀大学名誉校长一职。

后李光耀时代,新加坡的外交能力是否能够应付外部震荡的考验?

再举一个例子:新加坡武装部队的泰莱斯轮式装甲车在香港被扣留。这已经不是国防部的事情了。这是外部震荡,而要依靠外交程序来解决。但是,我们看到的报道却是国防部派人到香港,似乎只要解决运输的技术问题,事情就可以解决了。

外部震荡会随着外部的政治变化和三位一体的应变能力而出现不同的变数。我们的所谓美国通,中国通,欧洲通,日本通,都是冷战时代的产物,即使李显龙也可以归纳为这类产物。因此,当新加坡外部出现震荡时,即使三位一体牢牢的控制着国内,如果没有适当的外交人才,最后还是要付出的巨大的代价。

说到这里,我们必须深深的想一想,这三位一体的关系是否应该重新整理,思考:

  • 李显龙是否到了何去何从的地步?
  • 李显龙何去何从是否等于行动党何去何从?
  • 行动党何去何从是否等同新加坡何去何从?

从行动党的立场来看,如果李显龙已经到了何去何从的地步,为了行动党的长期利益是否应该换人做做了?行动党有没有必要一直被所谓的‘接班人’思维困住?外部震荡不会等行动党的接班人问题,更加也不会同情行动党没有接班人。

更深一层的思考是,从新加坡立场出发,如果李显龙和行动党已经到了何去何从的地步,一直没有接班人,为了国家的长期利益是否应该换人换党做做了?我们有必要一直被所谓的‘行动党接班人’困扰住吗?我们有必要一直守着李显龙这棵树,而失去新加坡这座狮子之城吗?

外部震荡已经告诉我们震荡的种种可能性。当然李显龙-行动党-新加坡政府会自我夸耀,只有三位一体才能解决外部震荡。事实证明,希拉里-民主党-美国政府,这三位一体倒了。卡梅伦-保守党-英国政府也倒了。美国人把希拉里和民主党换了,英国人只把卡梅伦换了,这两个国家并没有倒下,为什么?因为,他们并没有缺少外交人才,国会的制衡,法院的独立, 还有政府运作如常。

新加坡人有必要好好的思考,李显龙和行动党在无法面对外部震荡时,是否会要求人民做出更加大的牺牲?对内进一步监控?就正如几十年来,一直要求团结#。事实上,行动党的所作所为,否定制衡,一党独大,任意修改法律,宪法,贫富悬殊,不正是造成社会分化的原因吗?

#
‘总理说英国脱欧公投和美国选举,反映了社会分化。要避免类似现象分裂我国,就必须培养人民的团结意识和认同感。’ (channel8news.sg)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Education of ‘Crisis Mentality’ and the PAP Succession Plan


Do Singaporeans have crisis mentality? In the video below, a young lady from China seems to suggest Singaporeans do not have crisis mentality.  



What is crisis mentality? A Google search gives the following meanings:

#They often cost large amounts of time, money, emotional distress, and even relationships! Soon a lifestyle is created, and your way of thinking turns into what psychologists call a “crisis mentality,” meaning that you can only function from one crisis to another.

#“state of continuous panic when challenged.”

#"crisis mentality" quite means "someone who is always thinking the worst will happen"

    #A combination of danger and opportunity
 
Image result for crisis mentality Chinese meaning

In a unique Singapore education, crisis mentality can also mean fear, ‘kiasu’, ‘kiasi’ as explained below:   

[SINGAPORE: Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Kuik Shiao-Yin on Tuesday (Apr 5) called for the eradication of Singapore’s “kiasu” (Singlish for being afraid to lose) culture, describing it as a national habit of fear that poses a cultural roadblock to transformation and at great cost to the economy.

“Fear has been a favourite motivational tool of many of our parents, teachers, bosses and even politicians,” Ms Kuik told Parliament on the second day of Budget debates. “Managed well, fear is a perfectly healthy kick in the pants to force us out of complacency and into action. Fear compels us to man up, save more, study hard, work long. Fear in that sense is an emotion that does help us take care of our future.”
“But it loses these powerful positive effects when it goes beyond a temporary emotion we feel, to a permanent disposition we live in. When fear becomes part of our emotional and cultural DNA, we lock ourselves into a habit of self-limiting behaviours.”
(http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-should-kill/2667816.html)

In over 50 years, our education system has consistently produced ‘fear’ and ‘kiasu’ mentality to Singaporeans. We are not lacking in crisis mentality. We are having the wrong education of crisis mentality.   We have been educated by the People’s Action Party to have pessimistic crisis mentality - fear, kiasu, kiasi, seeing danger not opportunity.

We fail to see the opportunity, the alternative and the change. This perhaps is what the Chinese lady’s view of Singaporeans. There is no crisis mentality here.   

In actual fact, Singapore is having a wrong kind (pessimistic) of crisis mentality:

#We only know one political party that can govern Singapore. There is no alternative.

#We are so afraid of losing this party.

#We look only at the danger of losing this party and fail to see the opportunity of it.

#Anything or anybody goes against this party is bad or even anti-Singapore.
  

The PAP government, through social engineering, media, education, culture …, has successfully planted the pessimistic crisis mentality into the minds of Singaporeans.

What is the ultimate end of this negative crisis mentality education?

Succession plan and the continued one-party state.

When moving the constitutional amendments of the Elected Presidency, PM Lee explains:

"Since the elected presidency began, I have been operating the mechanism that we designed, and discovering its glitches.
"I helped to refine and amend the scheme as we went along," he said during the debate on the proposed changes to the elected presidency under the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill.
While the institution has been functioning well, he added, the changes made now are in the long-term interests of Singapore and will strengthen the elected presidency, which is an important stabiliser in the political system.
But further changes will still be needed in the future as the system has to be continually refined, he said. (reach.gov.sg)

The explanation on the refinements and changes to EP is a pessimistic crisis mentality. It looks at the negative side (fear, kiasu, kiasi) and warns Singaporeans the danger ahead. Has PM Lee mentioned about the opportunity, the positive of the old system?

Throughout the Chinese history (perhaps also for other civilisations), as explained in my previous post, all capable Chinese emperors had put crisis mentality and succession plan as their top priority. They were afraid the dynasty they built would disappear after their deaths. However, none of them had succeeded in doing so.

Fear, kiasu, kiasi, and prevention succession plan can not sustain a long-live dynasty.  Can the PAP be the odd? And make a difference.  

It is time we educate ourselves with the right and positive crisis mentality as there is no such thing called long-live PAP.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

危机感感召修宪,铺路行动党接班人。


人民行动党在危机感感召下修宪,更改民选总统的选举制度,是为了铺路行动党接班人和既定安排的总统候选人。

Image result for Donald son voting day tweet




美国不按牌理出牌的危机和无需接班人的意识,会不会让美国倒下?选票为何需要印中文?





新加坡国会正在辩论民选总统的修宪问题,根据人民行动党在国会的绝对优势,辩论过后,修宪当然会顺利通过。总统陈庆炎已经表示没有异议,因此,最后他也会签下修宪法案。

行动党每一次修宪,或者修改选举法,都会堂而皇之的说这是未来打算,我们要防患于未然,有必要先做好准备,以免将来出了一位“对新加坡政府做出不利”举动的总统。

其实,我们只要细想一下,就会明白这些修宪的背后,就是要维护行动党的长期执政。当年,推出民选总统,就说害怕政府随意使用储备,因此,需要一个民选总统来手握第二把钥匙,确保新加坡历年来辛苦累积起来的储备,不会被坏政府随意花掉。哪里知道一推出就出现问题。结果利用行政手段,以自动当选的方式,顺利度过两届总统选举。到了2011年,本以为推出陈庆炎这样有份量的候选人,就可以轻易当选,哪里知道却几乎失去这个刻意安排的总统接班人。

民选总统制度的发展,如果没有修改,就会对行动党的接班人制度造成伤害,破坏行动党的既定方程式,导致行动党的最佳总统人选,选情出现变数。

这样一来,对于行动党来说,就是一个危机。在危机感的驱使下,李显龙不得不提出修改民选总统的制度,来确保不论总统选举还是大选,行动党的所谓接班人制度能够顺利走下去。

现在通过民选总统的修宪案,利用2017年轮到马来总统候选人的行政手段,再次为行动党指定的候选人铺路。这对新加坡是好是坏?当然,行动党会说这有利国家的稳定,族群的和谐。

行动党有那一次不是这么说? 反正,国会里拥有绝对大多数,想要怎么做就怎么做,谁能够阻挡李显龙修宪。

总统接班人的设想,如果和行动党第四代接班人的设计相比,是属于比较简单,直接的那种。因为,新加坡总理才是真正握有实权的政治领袖。这点在总统选举的修宪上,也说的很明白。新加坡的权力中心在总理和内阁手中。因此,为行动党接班人铺路才是重中之重。总统既然不是行动党党员,当然不再是权力的中心。

行动党为接班人的问题,在80年代,在还没有推出民选总统的时候,就想出集选区,非选区议员和官委议员的制度。这些妙方,的确顺风顺水,确保行动党次次大赢,接班人也从第一,第二,第三代顺利传承。现在,进入第四代接班人的阶段。

(有关第一,第二,第三和第四代接班人的表面现象,是否如行动党告诉人民的那样,为了国家利益,需要年轻接班人和培养接班人;还是,在搞世袭的接班人制度? 如果我们对这点有所存疑,那么,行动党的所谓接班人的安排,就很可能是一个天大的笑话。当然,这是一个国家机密,我们又怎么会知道真正的内情呢?)

行动党是一个“怕输”,”怕死“的政党,除了集选区,非选区议员和官委议员的制度外,选区的划分,恶搞,还有小鸡跟母鸡,媒体控制,行政优势等等,都是为接班人制度铺路。应该说,法庭和司法制度在立法权控制在国会的背景下,行动党也可以对它们发挥影响力。

【危机感和接班人制度的失败结局】

从汉武帝,唐太宗再到宋元明清的历代君王,那些具有雄才大略的皇帝,一直都有危机感,害怕外部势力的入侵, 也害怕自己的后代腐败,软弱。他们也为接班人的问题烦恼,想尽一切方法,要确保江山永存。甚至,不惜废掉太子。但是,有哪一个朝代做得到长存呢?

行动党的危机意识和接班人制度,会不会比古代的帝王好?行动党通过一系列专制的手段,来达到本身如意算盘下的接班人制度,会不会经受时间的考验,每次都顺利过关。 这种建立在错误危机意识下的不健全接班人制度,对新加坡的长期发展是否百利而无一害呢?

美国选民刚刚不按牌理出牌,在不同的危机意识判断下,和不理会正统的政治管理接班人模式,选出一个非一般的总统。美国会不会就此倒下?

同理,英国脱欧,英国是不是也跟着完蛋?

甚至,我们一直认为国力不强的菲律宾,选了一个非一般总统,国家会不会更加乱?

这些非一般的选举结果,和行动党的危机感,接班人制度,分道扬镳。那么,如果我们遇到同样的情形,我们是否无法应对,而整个新加坡的国运,就此走下坡?

行动党一直以错误的危机意识:没有行动党,新加坡就完蛋; 和没有行动党的接班人制度:新加坡就会面对持续发展危机, 来误导人民。

事实上,英美,日本,澳纽和欧洲国家,有他们本身的一套机制,即使遇到一个非一般的总统,或者遇到脱欧这样的大事,他们还是有法庭,国会上下议会,集思广益来面对挑战。而不是一党独大的单挑。

即使我们看一看,一党专政的中国,表面上,它还是有人民代表大会,和政治协商大会这样的组织,虽然像是橡皮印章,或许以后会发挥作用。而新加坡连这一点橡皮机制都没有。

历史告诉我们,行动党鼓吹的危机意识和刻意设计的接班人制度,只是短期有效,长期就缺乏竞争力。50多年来,我们一直被行动党蒙骗,失去了判断真伪的能力。

和工人党在辩论修宪问题上提出的设立上议院(参议院)的构想#,行动党的建议更加不切实际。难怪,行动党的修宪不敢面对全民公投,只能在国会暗箱操作。

#
http://www.zaobao.com.sg/zpolitics/news/story20161109-687729

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Singapore economy, likes MRT, faces breakdown and disruption uncertainties




Image result for mrt breakdowns
Is MRT breakdown a good physical exercise?

When Singapore Mass Rapid Transit system was first introduced in the 1980s, we could never imagine frequent breakdowns or disruptions. However, this has become a certainty now. No disruption or breakdown has gone and the reality is we have to face and bear this uncertainty or unexpected certainty.

Will our economy also face the same challenge, the uncertainty, likes our MRT system?

While will our government also face the same challenge, the uncertainty, likes our MRT system?

In the past, we were very proud of our MRT, our economy, our government, but now we are not sure when unexpected disruptions and breakdowns will come. This means we will have more uncertainties and more risks.   

Interestingly PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking to union leaders, using a medical analogy, said Singapore economy only needs to do more exercises but no medicine.    

{ "In 2008, 2009, it was a crisis, we were sick, we needed medicine, we took antibiotics. One course of powerful medicine, we recovered. Luckily the germs also stopped coming and we were okay. But this is not that kind of infection that we can take a quick medicine to cure," he said before a closed-door dialogue with participants. "This one you see the doctor, the doctor says, ‘No you don’t need me. You need to see a physical trainer. You need to build up your muscles, you need to build up your skills you need to strengthen yourself. You need to keep at it. Several months, you’ll see a difference. A few years, you’ll be a different person.’" } #1

Perhaps, he is suggesting the frequent MRT breakdowns and disruptions are good for your bodies, so that you can do more physical exercises, running to catch transfer buses or walking in the dark tunnels. And so you become healthier, more fit to face the uncertainties?   

PM Lee also declares there is no economic crisis but go and do more physical exercises. You will be OK after your hard labour and training.

However, if you read Chee Soon Juan’s “After 15 years, the results are in and it is clear that Lee Hsien Loong has failed” , you get confused. Dr Chee reminds us:

{Now that the 15 years is nearly up, it is pertinent to ask what has been achieved. Apparently not much, according to Mr Lee himself. As he confessed this week: “We are feeling the pains of restructuring, but not yet seeing the dividends of our hard work.” } #2
               
So, who is to believe?

Will the delisting of SMRT good for system restructuring or another 15 years of failure?

By next week, we will have to face the first uncertainty - The Trans-Pacific Partnership.  To PM Lee, he is still talking and dreaming about TPP.  But this is already a certainty as both US Presidential hopefuls have said No to TPP. Why does a certainty become an uncertainty in the eyes of PM Lee? What we should study is what next after TPP - the uncertainty of a failed TPP. This is the reality and what will be the disruptions caused by the failure?

Are we putting too much attentions to TPP and distance ourselves to “One Belt, One Road”? TPP and “One Belt, One Road”, which one is carrying more uncertainties and risks?

We are not sure about another financial crisis? In fact, after every crisis, the GINI coefficient index will go up and the rich-poor gap will widen. We may need to use our reserve again.   

Just like the MRT breakdowns, some commuters will be affected.  Those affected commuters will have to do more physical exercise. Others will continue to enjoy their journeys and have a normal life.  Of course, we also have people outside the MRT system. They use another mode of transportation.  Comparatively, they can maintain their productivity while MRT commuters will suffer a drop in productivity due to MRT disruptions.

Will the partial disruptions of MRT spread to the whole MRT system? This means besides physical exercises, we not only need medicine perhaps an operation (economic restructuring) too. The whole economy will be affected, not some industries, by the breakdowns of external economy.

PM Lee thinks Singapore is not facing an economic crisis. He thinks only some industries are having problems, lower down the growth rate and productivity needs to improve. Hence, he suggests doing exercises to improve the productivity.

If we look at the MRT problems, is it a productivity problem or cultural, maintenance or other problems? By delisting SMRT, will the productivity increase or decrease? There are many unknowns, for example, the signalling problems, power problems, integration problems…

Like the MRT system, Singapore economy is also adding more lines, more industries. It has become so complicated and sophisticated, so much so we do not have advance notice of the illegal banking of 1MDB.

If we only need to do exercises to overcome the temporary economic problems as suggested by PM Lee, we may fail to understand the sophistication and complexity of Singapore economic structure. Today’s MRT system and economy have different structure as compared to even 5 years ago. Different individuals, families, and companies will face different issues. Some individuals, families and companies will have a very difficult time ahead even there is no economic crisis.  Is this just a simple exercise problem?



#1  http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/spore-not-crisis-long-term-strategy-structural-problem-place-pm-lee

#2
(http://www.cheesoonjuan.com/home/after-15-years-the-results-are-in-and-it-is-clear-that-lee-hsien-loong-has-failed)