Different Frame of Reference
"Where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it...." -- Sesame Street Song, that teaches children that small things can look big if you put it closer to your eye.When it was revealed that Durai's pay was $600K per annnum, the 1st reaction from one of our elites was "$600K is peanuts". The 2nd reaction was from Ho Ching in a long open letter to the Straits Times explaining why Singaporeans should not begrudge Durai's pay which would have been higher had he chosen to be a career lawyer. She must have felt very strongly that she is correct about Durai's pay to take time off from her busy schedule to write this long letter. The reaction from the ground was nothing less than outrage - if you make $3000 a month, there is no way anyone in the world can't convince you that $600K is not an ridiculous paycheck for someone running a charity. It seems that salaries of hundreds of thousands $ per year is no big deal among our elites and it is common belief among them that such high salaries is acceptable even in jobs that require an extraordinary sense of duty towards the people of Singapore.
Other PAP beliefs were expressed in the past few weeks - "you have to pay people high salaries to prevent corruption", "you have to pay high salaries to people who are suppose to have a strong sense of duty not to job hop to better opportunities", "you have to pay high salaries otherwise Singapore will collapse" and "you have to pay high salaries or else you wife and mom will become maids". All sound and reasonable beliefs from our elites but to get Singaporeans to understand it is another matter. It seems the more the PAP tries to explain their beliefs, the stronger the fury of the ordinary people. It is just beyond their small limited minds to understand and appreciate the great value of their elite leaders.
Two Stories & a whole lot of morals
Story 1 : About Values
Several years ago a young lady joined my company as an engineer - the starting pay at that time was $2500. Her performance was exceptional, she was very hardworking and helpful. She ate at the same canteen as everyone else and took the public transport (bus/MRT) to work. I was on the same 'sardine packed' bus as her on numerous occasionals. ...I once asked her if she considered getting a car. she replied that she was used to the buses because she took the bus everyday when she studied in NUS (where she graduated top of her class).
One day after a company organised BBQ which ended at about 1 am, those who had cars volunteered to drive the others home as there was no more public transport and taxis were few and far between. An manager (Peter) gave her and a few others staying in the West a ride back.
The next day, Peter came to me and said, "Lucky, you know all those nice things you said about the PAP govt during lunch, I think you better stop". You know why? When Peter dropped off the girl that night, her father came to open the door. Peter recognised the old man who was his ex-MP!! The girl's father is an old guard MP who was in parliament for almost 2 decades. The ex-MP was a successful businessman and is probably worth millions.
For the next few months nobody wanted to ask her about her family background sensing that it might be a little awkward. One day one of the engineers casually asked her why she took the bus everyday? wasn't she thinking of getting a car? She replied that she had to work for a living just like everyone else and she would buy a car when she can afford it.
When Philip Yeo spoke about values he said, "If you have no value system, there will be no future". What were the values he was talking about? A deep sense of duty, no overdeveloped sense of entitlement and no exaggerated sense of importance. The ex-MP brought up his daughter with all the right values. Values that elitism would quickly destroy as resources are generously allocated to the elites to creating an exaggerated sense of importance. We are told without them Singapore will collapse, hence no price to too high to pay to prevent the collapse of Singapore. Go back to what Mrs Goh, Ho Ching and Wee Shu Min said and you will understand what kind of future lies ahead for the rest of us.
Story 2 : Nurses and Sacrifice
"....they should not be expected to make 'unreasonable financial sacrifices' to be in public service"-PM Lee
Before 2003, there was an acute shortage of nurses so the did the usual of increasing pay ...and when that didn't work they recruited from Philipines and China. After 2003, the problem of a shortage of nurses disappeared....you know why?
In 2003 Singapore was struck by the deadly SARS virus, I can still remember the strained look on Minister Lim's face as the virus proved more infectious than many had expected. In the frontline risking their lives to care for the sick were the nurses - both local and foreign. The fight against SARS was broadcasted everyday on TV and people could see the courage and dedication of the nurses. 2 nurses, Jonnel Pabuayon Pinera and Hamidah Ismail lost their lives while carrying out their duty. You think that fewer Singaporeans would be willing to become nurses after seeing the risk of infection but the reverse happened. The fight against SARS gave the whole country a glimpse of the nursing profession and we found out that it was not just a job in the health care industry but about saving lives and compassionate care of the sick.
When there is real sacrifice involved, good dedicated people will step forward. If it is about upholding the ideas set forth in our pledge, I'm sure people will step forward even if they have to risk everything and end up bankrupt. If it is about protecting the interest of Singaporeans, making sure the sick is taken care of, the poor have enough for 3 meals a day, I'm sure good men will step forward to serve. However, if a nation or govt is turned into a corporation it is just like any other corporation out to make money, you have to pay people to join it. Also, some able people simply don't like to join parties that use defamation lawsuit to silence critics, propaganda to fool the people it is suppose to serve and unfair tactics to win elections.
What is good govt?
"The cure to all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government" - MM Lee
"In democratic countries, incompetent leaders are simply removed, but in Singapore..?" - Lucky Tan
Many of you think that good govt is about electing honest sincere people who will work for the interest of the people and iimproving the democratic system by enhancing transparency, accountability and putting in the check and balance so that the citizens' interests are protected. Well that works for other countries, in Singapore it is different. Our system involves selecting people to office while elections are meant to show support for estate upgrading. Once selected to office, he is protected by secrecy laws like Official Secrets Act and 'check and balance' such as strong probing opposition and an objective media is absent. Power is concentrated in a handful of super elites, helped by agencies such as ISD etc. That is why we have to pay so much for good govt because we don't have anything in place to protect us against a rogue govt!!
So Singaporeans, PLEASE JUST PAY UP. If you don't, you risk your wife and mother turning into maids. You risk having incompetent leaders that CANNOT BE REMOVED.