Thursday, 31 March 2011

Why so mean? Here’s why

Abstracted From :-
Why so mean? Here’s why [onesingaporean Blog]
The New Paper’s front page on 31 March 2011 asks: “Why so mean?”. The question relates to the attacks on new PAP candidate, 27-year old Tin Pei Ling.
The answer to the question is manifold. But I will stick to one which I thinks is relevant.....
So, what Tin Pei Ling is going through is nothing compared to what the PAP itself – read: Lee Kuan Yew – did to those he hated.
The point here is this: The PAP needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask if it has become a party full of arrogance, complacency, and high-handedness.
A people subjugated and ridiculed by its own leaders must give vent in some ways.
And the Internet provides this now.....


Or maybe the reason is simpler: Like me, perhaps many are aghast that someone of Tin Pei Ling’s “calibre” can just simply waltz into Parliament – perhaps without even a contest – while others like Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Vincent Wijeysingha, Tony Tan, Hazel Poa, Jeanette Aruldoss – all of whom are more mature and qualified than her – may not.
And if the reason for the attacks is this, then it is a valid anger, is it not – though the expression of that anger may not be? It is anger directed, really, not at Tin Pei Ling, but at a GRC system which truly needs to be abandoned.....

Tin Pei Ling's baptism of fire: Should bloggers have lit the match?

Maid carry NSman’s backpack, Chok Tong carry general

Abstract From :-
Maid carry NSman’s backpack, Chok Tong carry general [onesingaporean Blog].

Then I realised this simple thing: BG Tan is an SAF general – you know, that kind who is suppose to lead from the front in a battle. The kind who is expected to face the devil, so to speak, face to face. The kind who is suppose to lay down his life.
The kind, you know, which is a perfect candidate to put in an SMC.
But here, our dear BG Tan – a “strong candidate” – is hiding behind SM Goh’s coattails. In fact, SM Goh is as good as carrying the little paper general into Parliament, given that Marine Parade GRC will most likely go uncontested.
A SAF general who is, apparently, seen as unfit to lead in his maiden battle in politics.
And maybe he could be your fourth PM too.....
And another question, even more pertinent in my opinion: Why should I respect someone who is shooed in from the back door, especially when he is a general in the army – the very same army with which I am suppose to lay down my life, and the army which he is suppose to lead?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Will Tin Pei Lin backfire?

Abstract from TOC Editorial / TOC Election 2011

* Ms Tin and the continuing debacle of the shallow talent pool.
Querying how Ms Tin’s candidacy relates to her husband’s position at the right hand of the Prime Minister is legitimate. In fact, it’s so legitimate that even the pro-government Straits Times broached the subject.....
This question goes directly to the heart of the issue plaguing the candidates the PAP has unveiled so far: a remarkably shallow talent pool comprising of relatives of famous people or connected in some way or another to the PAP’s inner circle.....
Desmond Choo, the nephew of former PAP MP Choo Wee Kiang. Desmond Lee, son of former Cabinet Minister Lee Yock Suan. Mr Ong Ye Kung, the Prime Minister’s former PPS. And several more loyalists to come.....
Asked by RazorTV “if there was one PAP policy you would change, what would it be”, she answered: “to be honest I don’t have any specific policies I feel strongly against” before speaking vaguely about creating opportunities for the young children of Singapore and encouraging Singaporeans to care for their grandparents more without giving specifics......

* Highlighting the GRC’s failing
Ms Tin’s candidacy might prove to be the strongest argument for the death of the GRC system......
One online commentator pithily summed up the travesty the GRC might be shown up as by posing the simple thought experiment: imagine Ms Tin entering Parliament through a walkover in Marine Parade GRC, but eminently more experienced and qualified opposition candidates like the Worker’s Party Mr Low Thia Kiang, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Chen Show Mao failing to make it through.....

* Patronizing? 

Ms Tin’s first lengthy video appearance on RazorTV has drawn critical reviews and derision from her peers.....
When asked what her greatest regret was, Ms Tin said that it was not being able to take her parents to Universal Studios before electioneering got into gear. In another clip on the Young PAP website, she’s seen stamping her feet petulantly..... 

This is not what I want Singapore politics to be like

This is not what I want Singapore politics to be like  [Siew Kum Hong's Blog].

"The PAP recently unveiled 27-year-old Tin Pei Ling as a potential candidate in the upcoming elections. What has been happening on the Internet (especially Facebook) since has been nothing short of disgusting" .....

A handbag and a pack of wolves

A handbag and a pack of wolves - onesingaporean [Blog]

The attacks on Tin Pei Ling are of course unwarranted, especially those directed at her personal life. But before we go being all self-righteous and condemn these attacks, lets pause.....After all, isn’t that how the PAP itself behaves? ..... One cruel deed begets another.....

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sugar Coating of New PAP Candidates Part 2 - What questions would you like to ask them most?

THE People's Action Party (PAP) chairman Lim Boon Heng said at the unveiling of the party's third batch of candidates that a key issue the party will fight on in the coming election is "the kind of future" Singaporeans want for themselves and their children. He said,

"Given the environment surrounding Singapore and the competition it faces, what kind of future do we want?"

He sounded as if he was speaking as the Chairman of an Opposition Party. The kind of future Singaporeans want for themselves and their children should have arrived for Singaporeans and already there in the minds of all  PAP Ministers, MPs and members first of all, with the PAP fully in control all these years. It was not something for the Opposition to provide, but the ruling party had or has to. However, it is something for the Opposition, as well as an intelligent Electorate, to fight for Singaporeans generally. We had a confused DPM Wong in the second introductory session and now we are seeing a confused PAP Chairman.

The headlines screamed "PAP will fight for Singaporeans' future". But it seems PAP has no clear imminent answers to issues the new media is crying about - affordable housing, foreigners and cost of living issues with income stagnation. Unless these issues are promptly addressed, the PAP is just hiding under the "Singaporeans' future" banner. Whom are the PAP fighting to solve all these problems? Is there a division within the PAP?

Or is Mr Lim pinning the blame for the lack of stratgey to help the common people as the fault of the 2 lonely opposition MP plus 1 NCMP? Is Mr Lim admitting PAP's current economic and social polices are failures, and waiting for the 2 lone-ranger opposition MPs to increase to 20, before it would think out a strategy? Or is the PAP counting on the creativity of these young innocent politicians Mr Lim had just introduced to come out with new solutions to "fight for Singaporeans' future"?

While the common Singaporeans are feeling the pain of inflation with stagnant income, the PAP Govt had not forgotten to hike its own salaries and bonuses. We hit the issue of "sustainability". The PAP leaders know how to sustain its own immediate party interests with higher salaries and bonuses, GRC system with or without gerrymandering, etc. But does it know how to sustain the interests of the common Singaporeans with or without and against the huge influx of foreigners (individuals plus corporates) ?

Presumbably, the economy will then be sustainable. But the PAP Govt is asking for Singaporeans to slave for the next 10 years in order to push up their income by 30%, that is; if they could boost productivity by 2~3 annually.

PM Lee said "I think if we had known how quickly the pace of change would accelerate and how much our people would be under pressure from globalisation, we would have prepared them for it earlier," said PM Lee, in reply to CNN International Asia-Pacific managing editor Ellana Lee's question on whether he would have done anything differently on hindsight for the past decade during a dialogue session as part of CNN's 30th anniversary celebrations. If the common people’s welfare and aspirations could be missed out in a New Millennium Dream for our country, especially if more cheaper foreign workers are then imported in to spur and sustain our economy, it is "BACKLOG" and not "what kind of future do we want"?.

But with the Election fever rising, PAP's new candidate such as NTUC's Mr Ong Ye Kung (Assistant Secretary-General NTUC) could do miracles or cast magic with "McDelivery 24/7" [trademark ©2007 McDonald's Corporation] on productivity issues for Uncle McDonald and crews' salaries could "upsize" by  at least 20% from $900 to S$1100.  Mr Ong Ye Kung should ask the former Labour Chief and his party Chairman Lim Boon Heng how gross monthly salaries for crews could have stagnated at McDonald at $900 per month for the past years to shoot up by 20% now? Was it mechanisation or human productivity first of all? No wonder he was placed in the first introduction press conference and not when Mr Lim was present (LOL)..... and I hope he had not breached McDonald's Corporation 's trademark for franchising for this "re'engineering" feat through appearing on national TV.

To be "sustainable" for ordinary workers and other Singaporeans, workers are concerned how much money they have to spent (cost of living). And so the general public is concerned how much the price of Big Mac would be, not how well if new PAP candidate Mr Ong Ye Kung  had contributed to this feat.

And this is how issues on the ground such as affordable housing, foreigners and cost of living issues with income stagnantion are manifesting and affecting Singaporeans. Nobody would seem to be bothered if Uncle Mac would make more money and McDonald's Corporation would be sustainable. Could Mr Ong Ye Kung ensure Big Mac will stay cheap and affordable, say just for his immediate term as MP to be.

I wonder how long would a YP Leader like Ms Tin Pei Ling take to fully appreciate and understand these "confused" mechanics her PAP leaders are trying to convince Singaporeans, in order to earn their precious votes. If she visits the Singapore Hardware Zone. Com site and the NTUC site, she will understand what this mess the PAP has created is all about to perfect what seems like "sugar-coating" over "Big-Mac", which nobody wants to eat. And then PAP Ministers' salaries still have to be make "sustainable" for themselves (probably Ms Tin Pei Ling future MP allowance too, as she takes a ride on our GRC System) despite the mess.

Too much sugar-coating isn't healthy !

Hence for all the following new PAP candidates introduced so far, and those to come; my own question for them is < What and how are they going to "fight for Singaporeans' future"? >. Just 2 of the 5 Ws. What about you ? What questions would you like to ask them or the PAP in order to "secure" your own future?

* Mr Ong Ye Kung

* Dr Janil Puthucheary

* Mr Desmond Choo

* Mr Steve Tan Peng Hoe

Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng

* Ms Foo Mee Har

* Ms Tin Pei Ling

* Mr Zainal Supari

* Mr Gan Thiam Poh

Monday, 28 March 2011

Yes to Evolution, No to Revolution?

While introducing the second batch of PAP new candidates, DPM Wong Kan Seng said, “We don’t bring new people here to conduct a revolution,” and that a revolution might have its place in other countries, it is not suitable for Singapore.

"I think Singaporeans, too will not welcome a revolution that will shake up everything and get them completely disrupted," Mr Wong said in response to a reporter’s query on how the new PAP candidates can make a difference.

"DPM Wong throws down gauntlet to Opposition" [24 Mar 2011 – TODAY] by questioning their motivation to contest and win a GRC. He added: "But what is this election about? Is it about the interests and ambitions of political parties and individual interest to create a legacy and make history? That is what voters should ask themselves."

His controversial statements seemed to be ‘out-of-sync’ with DPM Teo Chee Hean’s earlier opening conference, all with foremost intention to showcase the calibre of PAP new candidates. [Sugar Coating of New PAP Candidates Part 1]. His first salvo against the Opposition spiked a flurry of adverse comments in the blogosphere against himself rather than the PAP novice he was introducing. [Wong Kan Seng fires salvo at Opposition; 23 Mar 2011 – ST Online].

First it prompted a commenter on TODAY’s article to say, “DPM Wong shouldn't be throwing down the gauntlet. He should be throwing in the towel.”…“This country is in a terrible mess now because of so many wrong policies. However, when I see DPM Wong, the only thing that comes to my mind is how could you let Mas Selamat escape?” A blogger said “DPM Wong is firing blanks” [24 Mar 2011 – Temasek Review]. Another blogger coaxed, “Mr Wong Kan Seng, please don't score your own goal!” [24 Mar 2011 – FOOD fuels me to talk] , referring to the story of Dr Seet Ai Mee washing her hands on the eve of the 1991 general election and SM Goh’s ‘own goal’ which was re-visited in the MSM the previous weekend.

DPM Wong’s flurry of words was certainly enough to cause a “revolution” and not “evolution”. His pathetic response, so to say; must be a letter through his press secretary to say, “DPM Wong: Headline could have been clearer” [25 Mar 2011 - ST Forum] on the comments to a question on the PAP's Chinese-educated Members of Parliament who may be retiring.

Next, let’s pay some close attention to the PAP novices he had introduced. Had DPM Wong not caused a stir, the greatest attention must have been on the first female PAP candidate introduced, who is also a new citizen – Ms Foo Mee Har.

"Ms Foo’s CV shows an impressive array of local and overseas experience at the top rungs of the corporate ladder….. Unfortunately for the PAP, the rest of the candidates put forward so far pale in comparison." [Foo Mee Har's strength highlights PAP's weakness; 24 Mar 2011 – TOC].

Another blogger said, Not Another New Citizen Please!!!” [24 Mar 2011 – Personal thoughts of Singapore Political, Social and Immigration issues].

Will the Electorate judge a ‘new citizen’ candidate differently? We would not know as they are given a ride on our GRC system, especially if a heavy-weight Minister is tagged along. So is the young politically innocent Young PAP likely candidate Ms Tin Pei Ling who is very likely to contest. [Young PAP learning the ropes in MacPherson; 28 Mar 2011 – TODAY]. Should Parliament then become a training ground for PAP young candidates riding the GRC free ticket while experienced Opposition leaders are forced into NCMP seats? This is not evolution but retrogression.

DPM Wong had caused a stir. PM Lee now says that Singaporeans should ‘Think about long-term future’ and vote calmly [Think about long-term future; 28 Mar 2011 – TODAY]. In response to a reporter's question on whether there had been too much hype over the elections, Mr Lee noted that some newspapers were "getting a bit breathless" in their coverage. Are newspapers really getting “breathless” or is it a sign that the new media and the blogosphere are exerting great pressure to ‘spur’ on our state-managed MSM?

In our political system with the GRC as its anchor-weight, which already deprives many of a chance to vote, can Singaporeans really vote calmly with what PAP can simply wish to inject into our political system, such as new citizens and young immature candidates? Should we vote for the imaginary “long-term future” when the PAP is unable to deliver short-term goals, such as lowering the cost of living and to alleviate income stagnation? [Middle income worry over cost of living; 28 Mar 2011 – TODAY].

If this Election is not about “revolution” but “evolution” as what DPM Wong had said, should Singaporeans then vote calmly for “Revolutionary CHANGE” as called for by the Opposition [An Open Letter To Singaporeans; 28 Mar 2011 – Political Parties] and this worried citizen [PM Lee - Think of the future; 28 Mar 2011 – Letter to SGEP] or else would the PAP be 'short-changing' the Electorate?

THE People's Action Party (PAP) chairman Lim Boon Heng said today when introducing more new candidates that a key issue that the party will fight the coming election on is the kind of future Singaporeans want for themselves and their children. The headlines screamed "PAP will fight for Singaporeans' future". But it seems PAP has no clear imminent answers to issues the new media is crying about - affordable housing, foreigners and cost of living issues with income stagnantion. Unless these issues are promptly addressed, the PAP is just hiding under the "Singaporeans' future" banner.

To vote wisely and calmly visit SGEP for more good reads about GE 2011.

Maid for the Army

I completed my 13-year Reservist more than 10 years ago. In those days, we were talking about Army 2000. To kill the stress and boredom during Reservist Training, one way was to "joke".

These were incredible jokes then. (1) We joked about having the comfort of a portable air-conditioner. (2) We joked above having a maid to help us cope with Reservist Training chores such as carrying the PRC 77 signal set. (Must be extinct by now and found only in the SAFTI Museum).

All these "jokes" have become a reality now for our 4G Army. Enjoy this posting from No wonder our Finance Minister rolled out a $10,000 gratuity for our current reservists. Perhaps, it is meant for for maid's allowance? Including for ironing uniforms No 1 ~ 4. LOL.

(Source :

How do you think our 4G army Generals would be like when converted into tomorrow's 4G leaders in politics?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Nanjing's plum blossom festival

Just a train ride away from Shanghai, Nanjing's plum blossoms go from strength to strength.

It's China's answer to Japan's tourist-magnet cherry blossom festival; but the relatively scant crowds beneath Nanjing's plum blossoms mean you get more time and space to smell the flowers.

Stretching over a month in early spring each year, the festival showcases 35,000 plum blossom trees in 120 varieties -- including China's oldest -- scattered in a 250-acre park on Purple Mountain.

Nanjing : The festival showcases 35,000 plum blossom trees in 120 varieties -- including China's oldest -- scattered in a 250-acre park on Purple Mountain. [Source : Yahoo Travel]

Earth Hour returns on 26 March 11

This photo was taken in the Private Enclosed Space of an apartment in China, Nanjing Hexi.

Why President's pay seems jarring now and not before

Letter to ST Forum by Cheng Shoong Tat - Mar 26, 2011

Why President's pay seems jarring now and not before

Friday, 25 March 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sugar Coating of New PAP Candidates Part I - What questions would you like to ask them most?

Introducing the first 3 new candidates from the PAP, DPM Teo Chee Hean said they “represent Singaporeans and have lived the Singapore story”. [PAP introduces first batch of new faces; 22 Mar 2011 – TODAY]. What does this really mean? Do they represent Singapreans and lived the Singapore story or the PAP's own self-centred story?

Among the 3 new faces, 2 are the sons of former Opposition members. Beneath all the sugar coating demonstrated by the PAP new candidates, what would you really want to ask them?

Here are my own questions for each of them. What about you?

Mr Ong Ye Kung

The son of a former Barisan Sosialis MP, he said; “We are living in momentous times, with major forces changing the world we are in. I will try my best to play a part, however small, to shape Singapore’s future.” [It was an offer he could not refuse; 22 Mar 2011 – TODAY].

It was also reported in Mypaper 22 Mar 2011 on why he changed his mind on the IRs. He said: “I told the PM I was against the IRs. But after visiting some resorts, I was surprised they weren’t just casinos and had different facilities that could create many jobs. Considering the long-term benefits, I decided to support the PM on the IRs.”

But considering long-term adverse social ills from the IRs, perhaps we should get his long term views on this "true test of our social fabric" (My Blog Posting - 21 Mar 2011) since he seems to share same views of our PM, not forgeting PM Lee also has long-term plans to go 'nuclear" as alternative energy.

Dr Janil Puthucheary

The son of a PAP founding member and defector to Barisan Sosialis - was borned in Malaysia and came to Singapore in 2001, and took up citizenship only in 2008 at the age of 36. He broke a promise to his wife in entering politics and said, “The question is not where we come from. It’s who will be prepared to stay and fight … I’m that person. I am staying and fighting. I’m fully invested.” [He broke a promise to his wife in entering politics; 22 Mar 2011 – TODAY].

His father was among those detained under the ISA in 1963 and was exiled from Singapore until 1990. Considering his background, perhaps we would like to see the true depth to his logics for “contemplating a path of conflict”. While his father had “defected” from the PAP to Barisan Sosialis, and then stayed in exile from Singapore until 1990, Dr Puthucheary had “defected” from his country of natural birth which he had chosen not to ‘stay and fight’ on. What is it that he could not ‘invest’ on in his country of natural birth to contemplate this “path of conflict”?

DPM Teo Chee Hean said these PAP candidates “represent Singaporeans and have lived the Singapore story”, but in what ways; although Dr Puthucheary might have saved a few lives in his profession? Are we on the retrograde path back to Singaporean ‘quitters’? Imagine the average Singaporean male voter had fully invested at least 2 years on NSF and another 13 years in Reservist training cycles. Perhaps Dr Puthucheary would like to clarify what he had “fully invested” in Singapore. It would be honourable if he had taken this new route so as to avoid a 'collapsible' course similar to that in Dr Susan Lim’s case.

For someone who has never served National Service, it is hard to imagine the real feeling of a Singaporean who does. Imagine in an extreme real battle condition, the feeling could be as bad but true as if in the shoes of this accidental nuclear samurai  in The Fukushima Fifty when the top leaders go MIA or KIA. I wonder if he has even been put through a week of crashed course in our army's National Education programme. So what has he "fully invested" ?. Certainly not his youth for National Service.

DPM Wong Kan Seng said during the introduction of the second batch of PAP new faces, "But what is this election about? Is it about the interests and ambitions of political parties and individual interest to create a legacy and make history? That is what voters should ask themselves." Obviously, Mr Wong forgot about his young new comrade Dr Puthucheary and made him an instant 'accidental political samurai' even if Dr Puthucheary may not die under 'friendly fire' but may grace through under the 'support fire' of our GRC system.

If the first batch of new PAP candidates announced were not about the  "the interests and ambitions of political parties and individual interest to create a legacy and make history", what else is? Imagine DPM Wong is our Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and he could not even coordinate with his fellow DPM Teo Chee Hean who is also the Minister for Defence in their Election strategy to introduce the new PAP candidates.

No wonder Mas Selamat could escape without 'all round defence' just because another Minister had not served National Service. I pray he would not escape again to return and work under disguise as a 'nuclear samurai' in future nuclear power stations to be built under PM Lee and the new cabinet, like the amateur Tobacco Farmer in The Fukushima Fifty.

What has Dr Puthucheary "fully invested" that he is "staying and fighting" ?

Mr Desmond Choo

At age 33; he must be the chosen in PAP’s long-term strategy to re-capture Hougang SMC due to his young age. Current WP MP Low had admitted that there is a need for political renewal even in the opposition camp. [Leadership renewal comes under the spotlight; 21 Mar 2011 – TODAY].

Mr Choo has chosen the PAP political route to alleviate himself from further “poverty”. The poverty trap is not for him. For the average poor Singaporeans, it concerns their daily upkeep with ever-rising cost of living. [“How the Poor cope with rising food prices in Singapore; 8 Mar 2011 - Diary of A Singaporean Mind and “Bring back medical fee guidelines”; 22 Mar 2011 – TODAY]. Perhaps, he should tell the voters in what ways he would provide for the poor, so as to answer his senior comrade Dr Vivian Balakrishnan’s multiple choice question on food choices – hawker centre, food-court or restaurant?

In contrast to these new PAP high-flying candidates, the Electorate must be amazed by how the “Old Guards” are campaigning. They are not sugar coating but had contemplated whether to burn more sugar.

The PAP veteran, MM Lee;  had chosen to 'burn less sugar' by touring to showcase the wetlands at Alexandra Canal as upgrading election “carrots” in a buggy [Tanjong Pagar GRC launches five-year masterplan; 19 Mar 2011 – CNA], while Chiam See Tong had chosen to  burn more sugar by climbing up a 30-step flight of stairs in an anticipated fight for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. [Chiam all geared up for GRC fight; 21 Mar 2011 – ST Online].

I hope to hear your own questions for these PAP new faces.

Visit the SGEP portal for more interesting links to Election articles and updates.

Monday, 21 March 2011

PM Lee : The true test of the social fabric will be a crisis ...

PM Lee said he is convinced that over the last 10 years, Singaporeans' sense of shared identity and cohesion has strenthened. He added that Singaporeans need to go through a crisis before they receive their 'report card' on social integration.

MM Lee had just admitted that he "stand corrected" on the integration issue of the Malay community in Singapore.

Perhaps PM Lee should also look at how major  fissures are already developing on our social fabric, due to bad policies and failures of the existing Govt., which Singaporeans had noted; as I mentioned in my earlier article "The Digital Warfare in Electoral Battle" (Contributed to SGEP).

These "deep fissures" are threatening to melt down the core of our social fabric, just like radioactive rods at the reactors of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Would you take this true test of the social fabric?
Can the PAP Govt. wait for a real crisis to happen to receive our 'report card' on social integration? By then he would have to declare like Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan - "we will rebuild Japan from scratch". Obviously, PM Lee does not see the needs for "cooling systems" within the PAP's social softwares although he spoke about building nuclear plants for Singapore during the last N-day Rally and the Singapore International Energy Week.

Would you like to re-visit now what the IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in a public lecture at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy?
"There is not such a rule in the IAEA that a nuclear power plant should be constructed some distance from a populated area," said Mr Amano.
He cited two examples of nuclear power plants built close to urban areas in Japan to illustrate his point. One is the Shimane plant, located just 10km from built-up areas in the town of Kashima-chou in Matsue city in Shimane prefecture. The other, Tokai No.2, sits 15km from populated areas in the town of Tokai.
Addressing safety concerns, Mr Amano said that although it was not possible to eliminate risks of accidents completely, these should be contained in three ways to give “credible assurance of safety”.
Firstly, the design of reactors is much safer now and more advanced than it was, reducing the risk of a Chernobyl-like disaster in Ukraine, which killed 56 and caused thousands more cancer deaths.
The second measure is to have well-trained people maintaining the plants and third, having good construction work.
"It is like a house: even though the design is nice, if the construction work is sloppy, then the plant is not good," he explained.
What, then, of the disposal of dangerous nuclear waste?

Having worked in the construction industry for over 20 years, and seen how both the Japanese and Korean construction industries worked,  I do not believe our construction standards here can measure up to such high expectations, especially if it means having to "squeeze every cent" out of the contractor. Moreover, the worst is that although our Govt has a Leviathan mindset to control daily lives, it does not ready itself to answer for any consequences of its own misadventures.  I doubt our leaders can do what the Japanese could not even do. The most obvious being its PM did not even visit the tsunami-hit sites, the way China's leaders had done so during the Sichuan 2008 quake.

Would you "ready yourself" to trust our PM Lee to take a bet on this "true test of our social fabric", just like the way the 2 casino projects were pushed through?

Reference # 01
Straits Times Online Mar 20, 2011

THE Prime Minister is convinced that over the last 10 years, Singaporeans' sense of shared identity and cohesion has strengthened.

But the true test of the social fabric will be a crisis, such as one caused by a terror attack, which Mr Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday said 'would be like a tsunami hitting our society'.

Speaking to 800 grassroots leaders at the National Community Engagement Programme (CEP) Dialogue at Raffles City, Mr Lee asked if Singaporeans would be as calm and resilient as many Japanese have proven to be in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit their country on March 11.

He showed a photograph of the Japanese queueing outside a supermarket after the tsunami and said: 'There is no scrambling, no jostling, no fighting. They passed the test.'

Singapore, though, has a shorter history than Japan and lacks experience with emergencies, he said.

Singaporeans need to go through a crisis before they receive their 'report card' on social integration, he added.

Reference #02
AsiaOne News Mar 18, 2011      

Reference #03
Yahoo News FTP Aug 3, 2010

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Ministers look away as Sylvia Lim spoke on Ministerial salaries

The Online Citizen  - A recent video clip of Worker Party Chairman and Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim’s 2007 speech on the ministerial salary had been circulating in Facebook.

You can watch the video here.

Earth Hour returns on 26 March 11

Don't Just Let Them Perish From the Earth !
Reference #01 :-
Channel NewsAsia 25 Jan 11
Evelyn Choo
Earth Hour returns on 26 March

SINGAPORE: Earth Hour, the annual "lights out" event, will be back for the third time.

There will be live concerts and carnivals - all fuelled by recycled cooking oil - at the Promontory at Marina Bay in the early evening of 26 March.

And as the lights go out, participants will be going the extra mile for the cause - quite literally.

For S$15, they can sign up for a walk - as a sign of support for the fight against climate change.

The 3.5-kilometre route will take participants to Marina Bay Sands, The Float@Marina Bay, The Esplanade, One Fullerton, Clifford Pier and then back at the Promontory.

- CNA/ir

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Election Watch Part IX - Will we stay a “kintaro-ame” nation, SM Goh?

A response to "SM Goh to S’poreans: Learn from Japan disaster".
Mr Goh said, “How many of you followed the latest tragic events in Japan with the tsunami… and then put into context our floods in Singapore against that kind of disaster.”

 "I am not saying we shouldn’t do anything about the flood. But the amount of noise you made with just sporadic flood compared to the Japanese. I saw them on TV. Very stoic-looking. You don’t see them crying. This has happened, just get on, that’s the kind of spirit you want to have and you call it nation-building."

In my early days with the construction industry, I had opportunities to meet several Japanese friends; whom I had lost contact after I switched to a Korean employer. I fear and pray for their safety in Japan as the earthquake and tsunami disaster worsen. At their invitation, I had visited Tokyo and Yokohama in Nov 1989. As the Singapore construction industry was very much in its "infant" stage then, it was an opportunity for me to appreciate first-hand what construction safety, workmanship, quality and productivity was all about in Japan. It was also "technology transfer", in a way; under our previous MNC economic growth model.
Project brief at the Hirakawacho Kyodo Building (Nov 1989)

The Japanese Project Manager explaining the construction of the Nikki-Sony Building in Tokyo (Nov 1989). Looking on (in black suit) was our Japanese delegation leader.

During that short trip to Japan, what impressed me was not only the high standard of construction project management in Japan, it was also about the many aspects of the Japanese culture. I recall one specific small incident which touched my heart deeply. The whole Singapore delegation was visiting a showflat. I remember vividly that as we entered the showflat, all of us just took off our shoes; left them at the entrance randomly and walked straight in. That must be courtesy by our standard especially for "rough" construction guys like us.  The project host then gave us a brief. When we left after the visit, we noticed all our shoes were arranged in pairs in neat rows and all facing outwards at the main entrance. We were shocked and shy to discover that the Japanese leader of our delegation who accompanied us for the trip had arranged our shoes in that orderly manner while waiting for the talk to be over. Would you expect the same here?

I feel SM Goh was wrong to draw conclusions due to the 2 totally different cultures. He has been taking potshots recently at lecturing Singaporeans, including his "chilli crab" analogy; to gain some political capital for the coming General Election.

While comparing on a wrong basis the "magnitude" of the Acts of Gods in these 2 events, which seemed totally different in context, does SM Goh actually understand Japanese culture? He could not blame Singaporeans for this lack of "culture". Only top leaders can influence "culture-building" and the PAP Govt is too concerned about economic development, GDP growth and survival. I am sure in Japanese culture he should take the blame for this failure as he was PM.

Bloggers and critics had commented if Japanese ministers were to make similar mistakes like the Great Orchard Road Flood and the Mas Selamat Great Escape, they would probably have to "bow and resign". Traditionally, they would have to "kamikaze"Certainly, PAP ministers would not "bow and resign" but just ask Singaporeans to "move on". I tend to agree with them. I think the Nicoll Highway Collapse incident would testify to it. The Japanese project managers had to "bow and leave", notwithstanding they would take  direct responsibilities to answer to our legal proceedings. With due respect to our legal procedures, if any one higher up on our side were to be responsible, in terms of organisational hierarchy; I doubt the same standard of responsibility would have been demanded.

So it is very unfair for SM Goh to expect the same cultural standards to be demanded and applied for Singaporeans generally. Should we then allow "double standards"? - A higher standard applicable demanded for Singaporeans generally and a more conducive and forgiving one for our political leaders?

But more important, who to call for a cultural change? What Singapore really wanted was only a transfer of technology and the infrastructures which the PAP often promised as election carrots.

Next, I like to share another perspective on Japanese's thinking about Singapore politics. In Nov 2008, I wrote to TODAY (Democracy a question of maturity?) about PM Lee's speech on "Adversarial two-party system not for Singapore". It attracted the attention of a Japanese interpreter who was working and staying here in Singapore then. He commented on the 2 articles in TODAY in his Blog, "In Vino Veritas Depressed Dog Journal". The other article, "What if PAP should falter?"; was written by Gerald Giam who is contesting in the coming Election.

This Japanese interpreter wrote:

Today’s “Today” printed two letters on the one-party system in its “Voices” section. One of them, from a ..... , says, “If the PAP ever becomes corrupt, there will be absolutely no time for a viable alternative party to suddenly “spring up,” since political organisations take years to build up credibility… [A] corrupt government with a firm control on the levers of power will tend to use that power to entrench itself, stifling any potential opposition from arising…"
"Another, a ..... , writes that “[the] very preaching in favour of a one-party system contradicts the basic principles and the real beauty of democracy – that such a decision should be left to a politically mature electrate to decide…"
"Quite true. But, a government will stifle any potential opposition from emerging? It’s not “will.” It’s been this way here for so many years by manipulating the drawing of constituencies, including the introduction of package-deal ones, and forcing serious and ernest but disobedient guys to bankruptcy. Being corrupt or not is not a fundamental issue. At the same time, those elite people seem to deplore a lack of talent. Why? That’s exactly because they, clean or corrupt, are stifling spontenious creativity and different perspectives. This lack of talent, imaginary or real, is their own creation. Nurturing of talent requires a “politically mature” electorate. This is just a “kintaro-ame” nation."

I had tried to look up the meaning of “kintaro-ame” nation. I found one explanation here. It means :

A kind of candy with a cylinder shape:
Wherever you cut it, you will see "Kintaro" face in the cross section (See the photo).
From this feature, there is a famous "figure of speech".

"Just like a Kintaro-ame"

means "no personality, therefore not attractive".

This Japanese interpreter must have attended lots of meetings and assignments. I note his latest postings are "Kesenmuma Being Engulfed Now!!" and "Nuke Concern: Possible Meltdown and Any Water to Wash away Radioactive Materials". He must be OK! Do pay his blog, "In Vino Veritas Depressed Dog Journal"; a visit. There is also another interesting recent posting "Japan's Mr. Clean Prime Minister Sleeps through Summit".

To him and other old Japanese friends, I wish they are well, but will Singapore stay a “kintaro-ame” nation, SM Goh?

Reference #01

Yahoo News  Mon, Mar 14
By Ewen Boey

Speaking to local media at the annual REACH Contributors Forum on Saturday, he encouraged Singaporeans to consider the flash floods that plagued Singapore last year and put them into proper context.

Mr Goh said, “How many of you followed the latest tragic events in Japan with the tsunami… and then put into context our floods in Singapore against that kind of disaster.”

"I am not saying we shouldn’t do anything about the flood. But the amount of noise you made with just sporadic flood compared to the Japanese. I saw them on TV. Very stoic-looking. You don’t see them crying. This has happened, just get on, that’s the kind of spirit you want to have and you call it nation-building."

His comments have since triggered a flurry of comments from Singaporeans online. Most criticised the Minister for comparing the Japan tsunami, a natural disaster, to Singapore’s flash floods.....

Reference #02
Blogger "In Vino Veritas Depressed Dog Journal"
On the "Adversarial two-party system not for S’pore"

These two articles are available in this blog : Little People Press

Democracy a question of maturity?

What if PAP should falter?

Friday, 11 March 2011

This Should Make You Puke

While the whole wide world braces for the impact of price increases in oil, food and commodities, Parliament has quietly moved to increase the selected president's salary to $4,267,500, a hefty 20.8% quantum jump of $890,700. That's double the percentage increase of the financial assistance package for the poor, which was recently adjusted from $360 to $400 per month.....

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Election Watch Part VIII - The Digital Warfare in Electoral Battle

The following article is contributed to the Singapore General Election Portal (SGEP). The articles refered to herein can be found in the SGEP.

The Digital Warfare in Electoral Battle

The Editorial , “The Electoral Battle Is Shaping Up” [Editorials (In Focus) – Archives]; highlighted an article in The Star Online, “PAP enters the digital warfare” [5 Mar 2011 – Malaysia Media].

While both the Incumbent and Opposition parties are adopting the new media to varying extent in their electoral battle, how is the external environment influencing this media to shape the electoral battle ground? To what extent will the final outcome be influenced by “digital warfare”?

The Singapore Social Media Training Blog [Government & Social Media; 7 Mar 2011] said:

“For the past few years, The Singapore Government has been trying to get on social media. However, they do not welcome feedback and censor comments”..... “if any nation, company or individuals is interested in Social Media, they need to be prepared to engage -- accept both positive and negative feedback, and willingly resolve the issues transparently”….. “With the coming elections, there are more ministers with blogs and Facebook pages, but the engagement is heavily moderated, and the types of posts do not seem genuine and engaging as well.”

It also quoted a deputy director of LTA to have said in a different context:

“The Singapore government, as a whole, is not averse to using new media. We’re not ruling out the opportunities it presents us. But we’re not completely sure how to use it yet.”

If this is so, will the new media be restricted only to the few MPs and Ministers who are familiar but are still afraid to engage or have heavily moderated their postings? The adverse publicity of the YPAP in some past events could be a deterrent.

If we judge the Blogosphere, it looks certain the PAP will continue to use the mainstream media (MSM) to anchor its campaign and leave the MSM to decide whether to adopt the new media. Hence, the outcome will be left more to conventional campaigning and rally.

Too much reliance on the MSM would tilt the playing ground if they were managed by the incumbent PAP Govt. The new media is now looked upon as the better tool and place for “freedom of expression”, as demonstrated by Netizens craving to flood the Blogosphere with a never-ending stream of opinions.

Although the new media is freer for expressing opinions, it becomes pertinent to interpret “opinions” to see the logics within.

The TODAY newspaper published a commentary captioned “Deep fissures behind Opposition bravado” [7 Mar 2011- Local Media] by Mr. Eugene Tan, an SMU Assistant Professor of Law. Let’s take a closer look at the choice of words.

While first part of the article provides a good analytical review of the Electorate in general, the second part of the critical review with a sub-title “STALEMATE AND DISARRAY” together the main caption “Deep fissures behind Opposition bravado” would have casted doubts, or even aspersions; to put the Opposition in deeper waters. Why is it so?

Firstly, “deep fissures” would suggest “irreparable damage” within the Opposition parties. An intelligent Electorate must look deeper, wider and even beyond what an analyst has to say. Are the signals really “deep fissures” or are they just “superficial hairline cracks”? His commentary was written after the second pow-wow last Saturday (5 Mar 2011) evening [Opposition Inter-Party Conference 2; 3 Mar 2011 - Events]

As pointed out in the last posting of In Focus, the interesting thing is whether a sequel will develop further to the initial infighting. But just look at the relative ease the SDA had given up a 3-cornered fight at Potong Pasir out of "goodwill basis" and “doing it for the purpose of opposition unity and also to give due respect to Chiam See Tong." The “disarray” might look irreconcilable to an analyst, but its final resolution was so “organic” and this is probably the way how our Opposition Parties work. [SPP to fight PAP 'one-to-one' in Potong Pasir SMC; 7 Mar 2011 – Local Media]

SPP Walkabout [Source : TODAY]
A layman understanding the basics about strategy will know what “element of surprise” is all about, having seen enough war movies. While PAP can play “wild cards” by not declaring the Election date or their new candidates earlier, the Opposition is not new to this game of “element of surprise”. There is no need to parade their traded horses. Nobody knows what are up their sleeves until Nomination Day. [Potential roadblock for SPP-RP alliance?; 5 Mar 2011 – Local Media]. The basic fact remains that as long as they do not belong to the same party, they have chosen to compete with each other. While it is good to avoid 3 cornered fights, the heavier responsibility now may rest on the Electorate.

Strangely, while political analysts might make “deep fissures” out of “hairline cracks” and disagreements between Opposition Parties, they are less willing to criticize “deep fissures” identifiable with our existing social fabric for fear of offending the Govt. These are great issues of concern to the Electorate, especially for voters who were never given a chance to vote in past Elections, due to marginalization by our GRC system.

Just when many had never vote before, the new media is abuzz with critics on major “deep fissures” observable on our social fabric, due to bad policies and failures of the existing Govt. Take for examples:-

(a) “Shocking revelation from Dr. Susan Lim's case” [27 Feb 2011- Letter to SGEP],

(b) “Ex-MOE scholar taught at school despite child porn charge” [11 Dec 2010 – Local Media],

(c) “Youth Violence and Gangsterism: one reason why” [18 Nov 2010 – Local Media],

(e) Elect Them? [7 Mar 2011 – Blogs ],

The above (not a comprehensive listing) are not problems due to our economic standing or affluence which asked for more or less spending on Budget goodies, GST at 7% GST or lower rate, etc.; they are problems showing failures of our “SOFTWARES” resulting in “deep fissures” under our nation’s social fabric.

Just as the Kent Ridge Common Blog said, [Enough of political opinions from Eugene Tan? 8 Mar 2011 – Blogs]; “is there danger in repeatedly soliciting viewpoints from a single source in a news coverage on any issue? Common wisdom teaches us that the more diverse sources of opinion we seek, the more balanced our perspective on an issue, whatever it is, will tend to be.”

“Despite the prevalence of a wealth of opinions elsewhere, on what grounds should the media only solicit the viewpoints of a few select individuals, no matter how brilliant they may be?”….. “‘Expert’ opinion on a particular issue should always be balanced by yet another ‘expert’ opinion on the other side to avoid potential myopia.”.

If the Govt sought to avoid the new media, and if some daring engagement by PAP MPs and Ministers is heavily moderated, and if ‘expert’ opinions are only sought from preferred sources, this will accelerate the further deepening of “deep fissures” in our community.

Now, let’s re-visit this article, “Facebook Democracy” cited in the Editorial on 18 Feb 2011. [ In Search of the Older Voters and The Impact of Facebook (FB) Democracy; Editorials (In Focus) – Archives]

“To have a functioning democracy, you need a functioning civic community. And community is all about the small things. It’s about the incremental increases in trust when you help someone out; the sharing of new ideas with new people; the building of a collective identity. Community helps a democratic society work out its shared values, and through this process, to ratify rules (and rulers) as legitimate. That process of communal affirmation is what democracy is all about, and while guns are an important part of all this (as coercion power), the process is ultimately discursive and imagined — which is to say, it happens through the sharing of information.”

What SGEP attempts to do as an aggregator in “a functioning civic community”, is to present voters a mix of “balanced” news, as in “sharing of new ideas” for “the building of a collective identity”. It facilitates voters to see alternative discerning views to allow them a wise informed decision later on when they cast your votes. In this way, the playing field is more leveled.

Ultimately, logics must kill arrogance; be it in the electoral battle or reality in life. And Hard Truths must “stand corrected” [MM Lee: "I stand corrected"; 8 Mar 2011 – Blogs], for a desirable outcome we see fair in the Election process.

More links to interesting articles are available at SGEP.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Budget gives more than required - Ministers' Pay?

In March 2007 while the Budget was debated, I wrote to TODAY regarding benchmarking of top civil servants and Ministers' salaries. That was several months after the 2006 Election and then our Govt increased the pay of top civil servants and Ministers.

Specifically in the conclusion of my letter (Reference #01), I wrote :-

"Perhaps, a new benchmark should have another factor linked to how much the average Singaporeans' real income and quality of living has improved. Thus, if the life of the average Singaporean improves, so will the pay of ministers and top Government servants."

On Monday, Opposition leader Low Thia Khiang also referred to the salaries of political leaders during the Budget Debate. Mr Low noted a 30-per-cent increase in FY2010 in the estimated salary for political appointments.

"Unfortunately, the incomes of Singaporeans do not grow 30 per cent just like that," Mr Low added.

In contrast, just imagine the Govt now trying to "increase real income by 30% over the next 10 years" for Singaporeans by boosting national productivity by 2~3% annually. Let me repeat, it is over "10 years" not in "1" year.  Is our real income improving and our quaility of life any better?

Now just because productivity rose by 10.7% last year on the back of our stellar economic recovery, the senior government officers are entitled to "GDP-based" Bonus equivalent to 30% more salary. The DPM explained :

"GDP bonus is zero if GDP growth is 2 per cent or below, but accounts for a maximum of about 1/4 of the annual salary of senior officers, or 8 months, when the GDP growth exceeds 10 per cent. This links the annual salary automatically to GDP growth, which makes it more responsive to actual market rises and falls than having the salary relatively fixed."

I am not sure if nearly half of the $1 billion in National Productivity Fund disbursed so far has helped to boost productivity by 10.7% last year. Even given benefit of the doubt, I doubt its impact is so fast and great when its "ripple effect" is yet to materialise and with more than half the Productivity Fund still not yet disbursed.

Imagine S$1 billion of taxpayers' monies is used to boost productivity leading to GDP growth which then help the PAP Govt to be paid as much as 8 months of GDP Bonus when the ordinary Singaporeans have to slave for 10 years to enjoy a 30% increase in real income. This is notwithstanding that our Ministers' salaries are already the highest in the world.

Imagine the further shock when Mr Low asked if gambling revenue could be used to reduce reliance on GST revenue, the Finance Minister echoed Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua's call against an addiction on betting taxes, and I quoted :

"Don't bank on large casino revenue forever and base your fiscal policies on that, and make permanent changes that assume casino revenue will continue to roll back."

Why Govt's bonus is directly linked to revenue from the 2 casinos which contributes to GDP?
All Singaporeans would know that the stellar GDP growth last year must be significantly due to the opening of the 2 casinos, so why is the PAP Govt banking on the casino revenue to determine and pay its own BONUS and pay hikes which are linked to our fiscal policies?

Ironically, TODAY's article is captioned "Tharman : Budget gives more than required." He certainly did.

It is no wonder that Harvard management guru, Professor Michael Porter; commented in 2006 that :

"the era in which Singapore's Government could drive its economic development was passe" and that "top-down from the Government is not working any more".

Hence, will the "top-down" approach work for boosting productivity and then real income?

When the private sector is usually more hard-driving, is it then fair for top civil servants' and Ministers' salaries to be benchmarked to the private sector's top earners. Imagine also the extremity in the current court case involving Dr Susan Lim who is also amongst our top earners?

Visit the Singapore General Election Portal (SGEP) for more interesting reads.

Reference #01:-
My Letter to TODAY
Wednesday • March 28, 2007
Ministers' pay should be performance-based

I REFER to the commentary, "One missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of civil service pay" (March 26), and Mr Tan Kin Lian's letter, "Try different benchmark for ministers' pay" on the same day. I tend to agree with Mr Tan's comments that the Government should search for a good benchmark.

I recall with interest an article in this newspaper last year, "Bigger strides on smaller legs" (Nov 29), in which Professor Michael Porter from Harvard University commented that "the era in which Singapore's Government could drive its economic development was passe" and that "top-down from the Government is not working any more". The professor saw the increasing need for "a mobilisation of the private sector itself".

Losing a few bright sparks from the civil service to the private sector may well see Singapore's economy performing better to sustain growth as this brain drain is necessary to ignite this new "mobilisation" in the private sector. When ministers retire from politics and join big corporations, the private sector gains.

But who will initiate this transformation for a breakthrough in our economic action plan?

In light of what the learned professor said, it is hard to reconcile the latest proposal for another revision of civil service pay to match more closely that of the private sector.

The Government has advocated that pay should be "performance-based". The civil service should also follow this maxim. Hence, there is a need for a new benchmark based on transparent key performance indicators. Basing it on the median of the top eight earners from the private sector would be ambiguous.

Within the private sector, there are differences in wage levels between different industries. One sector's pay can never be effectively linked to another sector. Similarly, civil service pay should be de-linked from the private sector unless new key performance indicators and a new transparent benchmark can be identified.

Why should civil service pay be directly linked to an external factor that is not truly reflective of its actual performance?

The top management staff in the private sector are directly answerable not just to the board but also their stakeholders. The civil service has the primary function to serve the public.

Perhaps, a new benchmark should have another factor linked to how much the average Singaporeans' real income and quality of living has improved. Thus, if the life of the average Singaporean improves, so will the pay of ministers and top Government servants.

Reference #02:-
TODAY Mar 03, 2011
Low supported benchmarking and variable pay for Civil Service

Reference #03:-
TODAY Mar 03, 2011
Tharman : Budget gives more than required

Visit the SGEP for more interesting reads.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Singapore Notes: Real World Salaries

Singapore Notes: Real World Salaries

Election Watch Part VII - Chilli Crab Recipe Tailored For Cooking Productivity

In my posting on Feb 24 on the Election Budget 2011, I expressed my reservation how the Govt. can increase personal income by 30% over the next 10 years, even in my capacity as a working PMET. I am not seeing income being increased to cover inflationary figures for the last few years, not to say cover further increase due to productivity.

My reservation is mooted by my own experience in the construction industry, having worked as a professional quantity surveyor for more than 23 years and gone through multi-miilion mega-sized private and public projects. Over all these years, I have seen how my own profession has "evolved", if not "eroded"; with the bringing of "foreign talents" while pay was marginalised. It is also the sector which is still most reliant on foreign labour. But most of all it is because "productivity" is an abstract word, people often look at its costs of implementation first, before looking at its fruits, and calling it off.

The Govt announced in Parliament that nearly half of the $1 billion in productivity fund had been disbursed, a year since a raft of measures were taken to cure the economy's Achilles Heel. The construction indutsry is one of the 12 sectors chosen to benefit from the National Productivity Fund. Together with the Retail, Electronics and F and B sectors, the Govt had given its nod for these 4 sectors which account for a quarter of our total GDP and one third of our country's workforce.

DPM Teo Chee Hian reported in Parliament that productivity rose by 10.7% last year on the back of our stellar economic recovery. WOW so "impressive, spectacular and easy" that it makes the 2%~3% annual productivity target Singapore is driving look ridiculously low, silly but easy to achieve. But honestly from my own heart, not a drip from this normous fund has touched my heart to see anything optimistic to link it for a pay increase.

Yardstick #1
Half of S$ one billion has been disbursed and if the construction industry has taken a quarter of that, I have not yet seen where it is buttered to make this industry look more productive. Personally, I do not see my job as a PMET in this industry as honourable a job to ever dream to command the same pay as the profession in the highly profiled case of Dr Susan Lim, less to say of our world-class politicians.

What measures have visibly been taken with half of the
National Productivity Fund already disbursed?

Yardstick #2
Next, is my personal yardstick for assessing productivity on our public service. Several months back, I had written this letter of complaint to one of our highest public office about the lack of responsibility and poor service provided by one of the lower governmental body. Months passed but it is still not given a deserving coherent reply, although the responsible party had written to push away his responsibility. I believe it must have ended up as a successful  "covering-up" attempt, well known since my own NS days.

Just by using these 2 yardsticks, I am already confused how productivity could have risen 10.7% as cited in Parliament and would continue to rise further, with half a dosage of the National Productivity Fund as initial medicine for our "low" productivity when most are already working the longest working hours in the world. Are you frustrated now to hear DPM Teo again asking for a pay increase for the public sector, after this year's budget had allowed a 30% increase in the estimated salary for political appointments, because this is a result of GDP linked bonus payments which include Ministers and was due to last year's "exceptionally high" GDP growth?

Next in last year's Budget, S$4 billion was borrowed from our  RESERVES to save jobs and keep us STAY EMPLOYED. Plus half of S$ 1 billion to bring us 10.7% productivity. So why does the Govt not just lend and rolled out the same $4 billion from the reserves for another year and then release the the balance of $1 billion National Productivity Fund for another year to realise another year of 10.7% productivity growth and the same low unemployment?

By now many must have read or heard about SM Goh's "Chilli Crab" recipe for giving Singaporeans a chance to vote for a "good candidate" from a "good party" because "it is the quality of candidates and the reputation of the political party that counts in an Election". While we may contend whether to vote for "No Sign Board" or "Big Sign Board" chilli crabs, his "recipe" still does not ensure that good policies would be crafted and implemented by our expensive political and civil service machinery.

As the PAP and Opposition members “crossed swords” on TV, the Reform Party Chief had claimed that "the Govt had plagiarised its stance on productivity”.

PAP MP Indranee Rajah rebutted by saying “I thought that back in the ‘70s, we had launched the productivity movement; we had the productivity and standards board. That was something like a good 30 years or more ago … before the RP came up with its recent statement.” Well said, but why had that productivity movement been stopped, and if not; why has it failed to deliver in the hands of the PAP Govt? That we now have to catch up annual productivity by 2~3% in order to increase real income by 30% over the next 10 years, what had our Govt been doing?

With nearly half the National Productivity Fund disbursed, are we still "muddling through" what "productivity" really is? Will increasing annual productivity by 2~3% really help to increase our pay by 30% in ten years? Certainly not optimistic as I see it. But we have just heard that the civil service will get 30% more bonus for last year's spectacular economic performance. If the construction indutsry has contributed towards that, I am not even seeing a direct link to a jump in my own salary. Perhaps, what we really need to know and do is to "re-engineer" our own "profession" like turning the medical profession into a subcontracting business in the construction industry to claim the highest fees in the world as in the "SMC vs Dr Susan Lim" case, and in this; we certainly would need a "Chilli Crab Recipe Tailored For Cooking Productivity". And this is sad as for a country or even just a city.

Meanwhile, would you like to "join me" to appreciate this simple home-cooked  HAIRY CRAB meal which costed me RMB 25 or S$5.00 for this portion?

Home Cooked Hairy Crab Meal !
Reference # 01
TODAY 28 Feb 2011
PAP, Opposition members cross swords on TV

Reference # 02

TODAY 28 Feb 2011

Quality of candidates is what matters: SM Goh

Reference # 03

TODAY 3 Mar 2011
DPM Teo on salary issue