Saturday, 25 February 2017

In the name of Environment, the PAP government finds a ‘smart’ way to increase revenues.



It is difficult to increase Goods and Services Tax (GST) in an uncertain economic environment. But the government needs money, instead of rising GST, water tax and carbon tax can generate the same effect and revenue. They will do it in two phases. First they collect the increased water tax in 2107 and 2018, then followed by carbon tax.

GST is a dirty word. People don’t like sales or value added tax as they think it applies to everyone, especially low-income families. GST also has a psychological effect, especially for businesses. The destruction created by GST to the economy is huge and so GST is a weapon of last resort.

GST increase is aso bad for election.  Hence, the PAP government will try not to raise GST before the next election. In the meantime, they have to depend on water tax and carbon tax to generate revenue. They have already tried very best to make money from ERP, road tax, COEs, car parks fees, tobacco tax, liquor tax etc. (and indirectly through increased town council fees).  

Furthermore, in a slow growth economy, due to lower business activities, the growth rate for GST collection will also be lower than before. In fact, in an uncertain investment environment, the return of state assets will also be lower.  

For those who argue Singapore has a low water price and we should match price to production cost, it is important they understand WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT.  

governments-leo-heller-un-special-rapporteur-on-the-human-right-to-wash-16th-januaryun-water-zaragoza-conference-2015-1-638.jpg

screenshot-www.un.org-2017-02-25-18-56-59.png

Singapore has a very high GINI index and the rich-poor gap will create problems for lower income families despite the government HDB subsidy.    

Certainly, matching price to production cost is a pure economic decision. It certainly never considers water is a human right. It is also against United Nation resolution of providing affordable drinking water to the people.  
100% up water.png
This is a typical PAP solution to social problems.

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While water tax and carbon tax are environment friendly. We are against waste of natural resources, global warming, air-pollution, etc. By introducing these two taxes, Singaporeans can show the world we are engaging in environment protection strategies.

In paper, these taxes are to adjust social ill - bad habit for water consumption, driving car, etc, like tobacco and liquor taxes.

However, tobacco tax has resulted to many low income and foreign workers smoking very low grade of cigarettes. And so do the lower quality of liquor products. This will lead to social costs (health issues). Our GDP per capita increases, but those, who cannot catch up with the price increase, will have to end up with lower quality of life.

Perhaps, we all forget about the UN resolution: water is a human right. And the PAP government is famous for human rights violation.  

Saturday, 18 February 2017

以“昭南”的道德标准,度李显龙的“总理心”。


【低价、低消费昭南大肃清、大屠杀的结局将是树倒猢狲散。不论是人民行动党,还是新加坡,李显龙的昭南道德标准,将会把党和国带入死胡同。】

闹了几天的“昭南展览馆”的命名事件,最终以“日据时期:战争与史迹”作为结束。看起来,这似乎是茶杯里的风波,部长已经出来道歉,我们就不应该再追究下去。真的如此吗?这里面有什么特别的意涵,而作为一国总理的李显龙,为何如此的忽视“昭南”的实际意义和更高层次上的道德标准。甚至,在开始命名的时候,默许和赞成“昭南展览馆”的命名。还是,他根本就不关心“昭南展览馆”,而任由手下的部长自行决定。

从“昭南”的道德标准,我们是否可以判断、评估李显龙是否适合担任国家最高的领导?以“昭南”道德标准治国,以“昭南”的道德标准教育年轻人,后果是否是树倒猢狲散?而人民行动党是否会因为这样的道德低度,而找不到接班人?

正如通讯及新闻部长雅国博士发表“部长(道歉)声明”指出:

【不过,过去两天,我收到了不少各族同胞的来信,也对大家的观点和看法有所了解。有部分国人认为该名称能够帮助年轻国人更了解日据时期的黑暗历史。但他们也表示,“昭南”这个词汇勾起了自己以及一些国人的惨痛回忆。对于我们无意间造成的伤害,我深感抱歉。

经过一番深思熟虑,我认为我们必须尊重在日据时期受苦的民众和当年失去家人的受害者的感受。因此,我们决定不再用“昭南展览馆”这个名称,而把展览称为“日据时期:战争与史迹”。】

“有部分国人认为该名称能够帮助年轻国人更了解日据时期的黑暗历史。这个说法,似乎很民粹。因为,“有部分国人”就可以被当成大多数国人。而他们这一部分国人,就可以左右昭南大屠杀的黑暗历史背景,甚至道德标准。

"有部分国人"当然就是指有权决定命名,或者能够影响命名的人.这些人有些是政府高官,有些是委员会成员,甚至是社会上有头有脸的人,他们对于昭南的道德标准,为何与非民粹的大多数国人和受害者家属不同?

这显示行动党政府和以李显龙为首的内阁,也是以这种"昭南"道德标准来治理国家.日本以军国主义,霸权主义侵略其他亚洲国家的行为,(和日本今天的经济文化成就相比),对于这些国家和人民造成严重的伤害,是可以被默许和认可的. 难怪,行动党一直鼓吹一党专政,只有一党专政,才可以(像军国主义的日本那样)为所欲为的治理国家和控制人民的一举一动.  这就是昭南岛的黑暗历史,发生在我们和我们先辈们身上的真实故事.却被李显龙和行动党政府利用“昭南展览馆”的命名美化了。

昭南1.png



而李显龙作为总理,不闻不问?“昭南展览馆”命名可能带来的影响,就是忽视本身担任总理的责任。如果,他还默许甚至赞成这个命名,那么他的“昭南”道德标准,就有必要加以研究和指责了。新加坡人应该问一问自己,我们能够接受李显龙的“昭南”道德标准吗?这样的总理,能够为新加坡人的利益作为出发点吗?这样的道德低度,能够找到什么样的接班人?

总理的心是要依据“有部分国人”的民粹走,还是大部分新加坡人的意愿?

李显龙和行动党在相信“部分国人”的民粹意见后,“经过一番深思熟虑,我认为我们必须尊重在日据时期受苦的民众和当年失去家人的受害者的感受。”李显龙和行动党政府在伤口撒盐后,才知道受害者的感受. 你能够接受这样的解释吗?

一个以追求"昭南"道德标准为目标的政府,一个鼓吹"昭南"道德的国家,最后,将会自我走向绝路 - 树倒猢狲散.因为,它将会步上日本军国主义,纳粹主义的后路.

当然,日本军国主义的命运比纳粹主义要好得多了.日本神社一直还在拜祭着这些军魂.或许,行动党政府想到的是化"昭南展览馆"为"昭南神社",即使失败了,后人还是会祭拜他们.

【年轻人的历史观】

当初取名“昭南展览馆”的时候,“认为该名称能够帮助年轻国人更了解日据时期的黑暗历史。” 因为一部分人误解昭南的历史,不明白昭南的历史意义,不知道昭南的道德标准,所以,错误的认为“昭南展览馆”是适合作为帮助年轻人了解日据时期的痛苦、伤害。

这显示这部分有话语权,有权力命名的人,同意和接受这种昭南道德标准。即使是低度的,只要能够协助年轻人看清历史,了解日本军国主义的黑暗面,他们也愿意这么做,这样的命名。

这里面就出现了一个很严重的问题:这一部分的人,有部分国人,他们的错误判断,他们对于日本军国主义的了解,以及他们对于二战时期在昭南岛发生的大屠杀事件,和大部分新加坡人的看法,判断,道德标准有着很大的距离。

而偏偏这些人,却有权力做出最后的判断。他们可以借助官方的管道,媒体,大力的宣扬,他们的民粹解读。

IMG_20170216_131837.jpg
昭南.png

screenshot-www.zaobao.com.sg-2017-02-18-13-00-27.png


年轻人到底有没有在这次“昭南展览馆”风波中学习到二战的大屠杀和伤害?命名风波是否能够激起年轻人对于追求真实黑暗历史的兴趣?

很显然的,这次的昭南道德风波,不是短时间教育造成的。那些“有部分国人”,已经完成了他们的教育,现在已经能够利用自己的权力做出命名决定,或者,向有关当局提出命名建议。他们已经有着本身的一套历史观,本身的昭南道德标准。他们是行动党政府50,60年来教育下的结晶。

我们从台湾最近对于二战问题的了解,或许可以看出一些问题。台湾行政院长说,有些慰安妇或许是自愿的。而新竹的一所高中,也推出纳粹的军棋和坦克,作为学生的课业表现。

台湾的例子,不也就是我们的写照吗?看来,行动党越来越像民进党了。搞民粹是可以带来选票的。

新加坡的教育,过去和现在,是很可能教育和培养出”有部分国人“对昭南道德产生好感,不但不抗拒,反而有意无意间,鼓吹昭南精神,大东亚共荣圈。而偏偏这些少数人,却是位高权重,拥有命名权。

【第四代接班人】

可以想象李显龙所谓的第四代接班人,当然也是”有部分国人“中的一部分的重中之重。这一部分人,既然是接班人,就当然要接受李显龙的昭南思维和精神。

”昭南展览馆“不是一个单独的历史事件,它牵涉到一个国家领导人对二战,对于新加坡人的伤害的历史判断和道德选择问题。

而偏偏行动党却选择民粹作为”昭南展览馆“的指导方针。在取名”昭南展览馆“前,民间已经有所反应,华社也表示不满。而作为监督政府的《联合早报》,不但失去了《南洋商报》和《星洲日报》报魂,还加入”有部分国人“的队伍中,为民粹给力。这是华社和华文报的悲哀和有心无力。

在这样的背景下,我们很难想象行动党是否会脱离民粹治国。因为,在大多数人不认可的情形下,行动党政府还是可以一意孤行,把”昭南展览馆“挂上后又撤掉。事实上,”昭南展览馆“换名,是否如部长的道歉声明所说的那样,不要伤害国人,还是有更加大的压力,甚至国际压力。这就不得而知了。

作为新加坡人,我们担心的是,第三代的李显龙在选择接班人的时候,是否会考虑接班人的昭南道德标准。因为,昭南道德也就意味着一党专政的持续和坚持。这对党和国的将来发展都不利。

对于行动党本身来说,继续坚持一党专政的昭南精神,最终会导致树倒猢狲散。昭南道德在无利益可图的情形下,是不可能做到全民防卫的。反而变成”夫妻本是同林鸟,大难来时各自飞“。

行动党的最佳考虑,或许是把李显龙换掉,另外找一个开明领袖取而代之。这或许能够确保行动党继续取得70%的选票。但是,在昭南道德的驱使下,行动党是不可能做出这种正确的选择,拿出正确的道德勇气。

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Future Economy of A One-Party State


{It is a Future Economy with Comprised Democracy, Freedom of Speech, Checks and Balances.}



The recently released ‘Report on The Committee on The Future Economy’ is just another (updated) blueprint of a one-party developmental state.  

It is a state-led macroeconomic planning from first generation PAP leaders to the fourth generation PAP leaders.  They want to continue direct and control the economy as before.

It is the future plan of the People’s Action Party, a present value of the discounted cashflow of future Singapore economy as defined by the PAP standard and monopoly.

The discounted cashflow comes from 7 strategies:

1.      Deepen and diversify our international connections
2.      Acquire and utilise deep skills
3.      Strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up
4.      Build strong digital capabilities
5.      Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity
6.      Develop and implement Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs)
7.      Partner each other to enable innovation and growth

The Committee also agrees we may not get cashflow as planned because there are risks and uncertainties. The risks are also the yields of the strategies.

The most the Report represents 60% or 70% Singaporeans who support the PAP, even it has consulted more than 9,000 stakeholders.  Alternative views are not consulted, as usual, as in all previous PAP government economic committees reports.

Due to one-party rule, additional risks and uncertainties (it can also be opportunities for some) are present in this ‘exclusive’ exercise where 30% or 40% of Singaporeans are not welcome or invited for feedback.  

In any portfolio structure, when we fail to consider 30%/40% of the total risks, you cannot claim your portfolio is an ideal one.    

Even within the 60%/70% PAP supporters, only the top elites are concerned about the issues and thinking of how their future (and their families future) are tied to the Future Economy. And perhaps, they can share their views freely, in a democratic closed arrangement.      

The Report in its conclusion says:

[Our people and enterprises will be the key agents of change and the drivers of value-creation. Our people must have that curiosity to seek out challenges to address and problems to solve. And our enterprises must have the ambition and drive to create fresh concepts and bring them to market, striving always to stay ahead.]

In a developmental state, the change agent is still the government. How can people and (private) enterprises create value in a PAP government-led monopoly?  How can they generate curiosity and promote fresh concepts in a controlled society, like Singapore?

future economy.jpg


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Reading ‘A series of unfortunate events’ about Yale-NUS’s Halcyon Days#1 makes me compare it with The Future Economy Report. The unfortunate events refer to administrative decision:

[We stand at a crucial moment in our College’s history, where our core traditions—those of academic freedom, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a shared commitment to community-building—are being eroded.] #1  

Even students from the most liberal college in Singapore also feel there are new administrative controls. They worry a period of peace and happiness (Halcyon Days) may be over. Not to mention other higher institutions of learning in Singapore, how free can they be as they are less liberal?  

Maybe, the Future Economy Committee is like the liberal college - free to think about the future of Singapore.  However, from time to time, under the one-party rule, the PAP can always change the game play and appoint PAP approved change agents.     

From another perspective, to many Singaporeans, the PAP is giving a moderate version - from unfortunate events to troubling developments:

Yale-NUS holds townhall over concerns about ‘troubling’ developments#2

[a Yale-NUS spokesperson said: “Our model of education at Yale-NUS College is founded on the basis of free exchange of ideas”. The college supports “respectful sharing” and has a “thriving culture of open discussion and debate”, the spokesperson added.]

The media is projecting an image of ‘ the one-party rule is open and they are giving townhall discussion.’

Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are not elites like Yale-NUS College, not even other university students in Singapore. They don’t have townhall. There is no “respectful sharing”.  



#1

#2

Saturday, 4 February 2017

鸡年杀鸡的民粹 - 人民行动党的‘一党专政’文化论



Untitled drawing.jpg

为了搞清楚尚穆根部长在新春团拜上说什么,一口气看了六篇中英文报道。他的言论,像学生的应酬报告,认真的看没有实际内容,空谈之外,更像是鼓吹人民行动党的文化论-一种延续行动党’一党独大‘的文化论。

尚穆根谈话过后不久,新加坡就出现鸡年杀鸡的民粹事件。新加坡政府的效率很高,一旦接获投诉,即使是大吉大利的鸡年,也是毫不留情。从华族文化来看,这是吉利还是不吉利?反正,在一党独大的文化思维下,行动党完全正确的文化政策下,吉利不吉利,已经不重要了。

鸡年杀鸡不正表示了人民行动党的唯我独尊的文化思维吗?

尚穆根并没有提出具体的方案 - 新加坡政府的文化发展策略。他倒是为新加坡政府花了纳税人1亿1千万元建立的华族文化中心圆场,认为这个中心能够在5000年(中华民族的)历史基础上,让我们创造出新加坡文化。当然,他也不敢忘记’根‘,一个有文化根的民族,将会更加自信的面对未来,自然而然,他就可以顺口的强调文化可以作为一个‘抗衡力量’, 在面对不稳定的将来,文化就是一股力量。

从头到尾,我们看到的是行动党再次的务实主义的出现。它的文化论,不是为了丰富人民的生活素养,而是有一个隐藏着的目的 - 文化作为一种力量来继续行动党的一党专政。

华族文化中心还没有正式开幕,再过几个月才开幕。尚穆根似乎在为行动党‘抛砖引玉’,借华人新年的机会,把消息传开,行动党又重视华族文化了,花了纳税人一大笔钱,然后,经过几个月的整理,开幕的时候,就可以‘反映’民意,甚至搬出什么大政策来。

无论如何,说到底,华族文化中心,只不过是行动党继续‘一党独大’的手段。事实上,我们大家都知道,传统的华人社团,商会,宗乡团体,甚至华人的宗教团体,已经越来越不‘给力’行动党了。一方面,这些团体,已经不能像50,60 年前那样,能够号召华社。另一方面,由于语言问题,华族的主要语言已经不是华文的事实,那么怎样才能利用华族这个新加坡主要的族群来‘一党独大’下去?

因此,在传统华人组织、团体渐渐失效的背景下,行动党必须另外找一条出路, 来巩固‘一党独大’的地位。同时,华族文化中心,也可以多多利用新加坡的主流语言-英文,来发挥影响力,吸引更多的华族精英加入他们的活动。这点,尚穆根在谈话中已经透露出玄机:

华族文化中心的目的远远超过文化活动的组织(工作)。
"has a purpose far beyond just the organisation of cultural activities"

华族文化中心,对于新加坡这个多元文化、多元种族的国家来说,似乎不对称。这么一来,印度和马来是否应该有他们的文化中心?就像族群的援助计划那样,有华社自助中心,也有马来和印度自助中心。或许,一旦华族文化中心有些给力,同样的马来和印度文化中心也会跟着设立。

如果把华族文化中心的设立,单纯的看做行动党政府在维护和推广华族文化,那就是太天真了。行动党做的一切,从人民协会开始,建屋局,自助中心,公积金,政府关联公司,修改媒体、总统选举法令等等,不都是为了行动党的一党专政吗?

而行动党在执行这些一党专政的政策的时候,不也像鸡年杀鸡那样,不是从文化层面来考虑,而是从务实的,对本身有利的一党独大的层面来考虑。

文化多元性vs一党独大?
文化是一种多元的交流。但是,新加坡的文化活动,处处离不开行动党’无形的手‘。目的就是持续一党专政。

‘根’的问题?
新加坡多元种族的根在哪里?我们找不回50、60年前的根,如何利用5000年文化传统的根?我们只有务实的钱根。

文化作为抗衡力量?
经济将面对挑战,行动党的民粹将面对挑战。行动党通过媒体,不停的宣传本身的一党独大民粹。利用这种一党专政的民粹来压倒其他的言论,就是行动党的文化力量。因此,行动党认定这是一股可以抗衡不利行动党的文化力量。对于行动党外的人,这的确是一股不容忽视的抗衡力量,因为,我们已经看到、亲身体验到行动党的造神力量。

*****
除了华族文化中心外,新加坡还有一个‘中国文化中心’。
或许,在中国文化中心才能找到5000年前的根,50年前华社的抗衡力量?


而华族文化中心,很可能无法像特兰普的孙女那样,懂得唐诗,说谢谢,和新年快乐。



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAnxaQP67Po

如果有时间的话,不妨看一下‘57金钱爆’,听一听语言,文化还有中国人民银行不同于国际的金融工具。


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8QjGEZh4cg

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尚穆根:文化是抗衡负面浪潮的重要力量


尚穆根: 全球正面临浪潮般压力 文化是能与之抗衡力量


尚穆根:文化是抗衡意识形态冲突的重要元素



Mr Shanmugam said the centre "has a purpose far beyond just the organisation of cultural activities".

'FUSE TOGETHER'

"It has to become a centre for our people to fuse together and build our own culture, taking and drawing from 5,000 years of history. That is what will make us strong," he added.


"To have the courage and conviction, you need to be strongly rooted, and rooting comes from culture. (If) we forget that, I think Singapore will not be Singapore, and we will be buffeted and turned over at the first big wave."

"It has to become a centre for our people to fuse together and build our own culture, taking and drawing from 5,000 years of history,"
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/new-chinese-cultural-centre-essential-to-singapores-success-says-k-shanmugam

A society that is rooted in culture will face the world with confidence.
“There will be ups and downs but to have the courage of conviction, you need to be strongly rooted and rooting comes from language and culture. We forget that, I think Singapore will not be Singapore and we will be buffeted and turned over by the first big wave,”



“There’ll be ups and downs, but to have the courage of conviction, you need to be strongly rooted. And rooting comes from language and culture,” - See more at: https://www.gov.sg/news/content/today-online-sense-of-rootedness-will-help-spore-in-face-of-global-headwinds#sthash.zzS3u8ZI.dpuf