Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An extraordinary year for our extraordinary leaders....

More happened this year to make Singaporeans understand the type of leaders they have than any other year I can remember. Leadership was put to the test with events like Mas Selamat's escape, investments in trouble banks, price hikes and the grand finale - the minibonds saga. We were told that we have to pay our ministers the highest salaries in the world because they are estraordinary. Any doubt that our leaders are extraordinary should all disappear if we look back at what happened in 2008......


First I would like to start off with an extraordinary solution that was put in place early part of this year. With the rising cost of living, stagnant wages and the 2nd highest electricity tariffs in the world, a large number of Singaporeans defaulted on their electricity bills. After much thought an ingenius solution called PAYU was implemented. Poor Singaporeans now have to accumulated enough cash to top up their cash cards to have access to electricity. To me this solution embodies many principles that the PAP govt operates on - the GLC (in this case, Singapore Power) cannot be put at risk of making less profits, the problem is viewed as one caused by poor Singaporeans using too much electricity and the solution put in place forces them to on electricity usage. The relentless increase in tariffs that resulted in Singapore's electricity costing 62% more than Hong Kong and govt policies that resulted in incomes of the poor being depressed are not to be blame - the poor have to be blamed because they are using too much electricity ...more than they can afford so the solution was designed to force them not to use electricity unless they have money. Yes, the problem is always caused by people who are paid less than $1200 a month and never by those who are paid millions a year supposedly to take care of Singaporeans.

Mas Selamat's escape gave a further understanding of what accountability means to this govt. Accountability for this govt means being able to blame the people down the line for deficiencies in processes for which the people on top are responsible. Also, notable was the actions of the govt after his escape - the couldn't decide if he was really dangerous ...he was dangerous enough to be locked up without trial but posed no danger to the population when he escaped. I really wonder where Mas Selamat will be celebrating the New Year tomorrow. Any idea?

Throughout the year we had numerous issues about the transport system. The solution was always the same - congestion? Raise ERP. MRT service no good? Raise fares. Whatever the problem was, the solution always involved Singaporeans paying more. You wonder what the Minister is for when all the solution is so mechanical. We discovered what the minister is for towards the end of the year - he is there to explain why the fall in price of oil cannot result in fare reduction even though the rise in oil price caused much of the increase. Don't understand? You probably need a Phd to figure that one out that is why they chose a Dr. to be the Transport Minister.

The highlight of the year for me was the minibond saga. The govt deregulated the financial sector allowed structured products that can only be understood by financial engineers to be missold by relationship managers whose main motivation for selling was commissions. When these products imploded causing 10,000 Singaporeans to lose their life savings, the 1st reaction of this govt is to act like nothing happened. When it became apparent the victims would not remain silent MAS hammered a deal with the banks to put in place a process to handle the compliants without ever meeting the vi. Unlike the authorities of other countries who spoke to the victims to see what can be done to help them, MAS kept its distance. MAS refuses to conduct direct investigations into the complaints letting the banks handle the complaints from the people were supposed to have victimised. Our leaders stepped forward to blame the victims for their plight blaming their desire for better returns for those losses. This incident showed how extraordinary our leaders are for they acted differently from the leaders of every other country where the problem occurred. This incident shows clearly where our leaders will stand when Singaporeans suffer from misfortune.

While 2008 has been an extraordinary year, I'm sure that our understanding of our govt will be further deepened in 2009 as the effects of the current crisis start to bite and the govt has to make the type of choices it had to make during the minibond saga and Mas Selamat's escape again and again throughout the coming year. Our govt is indeed extraordinary - that is why this blog exists ...if the PAP is like any other govt, there will be nothing to write about.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

please don't mention Mas Selamat's name again...think about the grievances of his family. anyway, it is ridiculous to still believing that he is missing when he is already dead. Singapore is a tiny island remember?

Dog said...

This island is too small to accommodate the growing poor pop.. So this extraordinary govt is systematically replacing them with foreigners who are even poorer. Like this the new Singaporeans would increase in numbers and they are invaluable to the country because they are used to lower wages. Besides they kpkb less as their English not very good. Most of them would be happy to live in a socialist-democracy because they were born in communism.

old horse said...

We have so many MPs, Minister and Deputy PMs running this small little country.Each of the public officers is paid million of dollars. Some of the MPs are managing HDB estates earning many times the salary of the HDB estates officer they have replaced.All these public officers are sitting on the sedan chair carried by the general populace.

Anonymous said...

Our leaders are idiots who don't know shit from sugar.

Goes to show that our scholar selection process to pick out the elites is highly flawed.

Our leaders are horribly detached from reality. They live in their ivory towers and truly believe that if we have no bread, then we should go eat cake instead.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned, "You probably need a Phd to figure that one out that is why they chose a Dr. to be the Transport Minister."

For your information, the minister for transport- Raymond Lim does not have a doctorate degree.

Anonymous said...

"Our govt is indeed extraordinary - that is why this blog exists ...if the PAP is like any other govt, there will be nothing to write about."

YOu really make me LOL !

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/31/obama.leadership.poll/index.html

Wow, a flash in the pan with a strong American support base.

I wonder how Mr Lee Hsien Loong will stand up to scrutiny by a democratic vote in Singapore. Is he only good at fixing votes hehehehe

Long Live the Singapore System. I have 100% confidence you shall FAIL

Anonymous said...

Raymond Lim does not need a Dr or PhD lah.

Aiya, all that is required is to
1) Wag the finger at the ordinary Singaporean
2) Wag the tail on seeing LKY & LHL.

yamizi said...

"Our govt is indeed extraordinary - that is why this blog exists ...if the PAP is like any other govt, there will be nothing to write about."

YOu really make me LOL !

<---second that!

Anonymous said...

In good times even a buffoon can look good and competent. Only in bad times will incompetence and cracks start to show up.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday,a reformer Rayond Lim waging a big campaign,shouting:

"Government has no bloody business doing business

Any biz activity listed in Yellow Page should be banned to GLCs."

That was before,you know what happened when he kena the jinx of S$3,000,000.00 per year

Anonymous said...

don't have to do anything other than getting the father and son tact team out of office and the rest will just fall into their proper system, the faith and power is in your own hand to cast the vote coming GE so do your part.

Clear eyed said...

Lucky

I agree wholeheartedly with you that "our govt is indeed extraordinary". They are so extraordinary that they are aliens and live in a world far removed from the ordinary Singaporeans' world. They consume the freshest of airflown food, branded bread and water and other stuff that we can only dream about while we survive on frozen food, unbranded bread and newater. Personally I don't give two hoots for their being extraordinary, except that we peasant Singaporeans have to foot the bill for their XXX-extraordinary paycheck and carry the burden of their similarly XXX-extraordinary incompetence. And to top it all, stomach their arrogance and disdain for us.

MadHatter said...

Well said, Lucky. Only one thought came up while reading your latest blog - why do the high-ups behave that way and treat the masses in the way they do? Is it because they know, with some "freebies" prior to the next round of voting they can get away with whatever nonsense they tell us?

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