Monday, November 02, 2009

To PAP : You need better MPs...

The letter below did not make it to the Straits Times forum. It appeared briefly on Today's website. A grieving father who lost his son in a naval accident one month earlier went to a meet-the-people to seek help from an MP to delay the enlistment of his 2nd son was shocked to hear these words from the MP:


“What traumatic? After two months, you won’t be traumatic.” - MP

With the next elections coming, you will begin to hear about PAP's new candidates. Typically they pick people with successful careers in the civil service, GLCs, SAF, universities and occasionally high flyers in the private sector. These are 'safe selections' who are part of the establishment and the best people to preserve the status quo. These are also very busy people with high positions in their corporations and little time for the MP role. If they get elected, they usually serve as part-time MPs. In a number of interviews with the media, PM Lee also said that these people are 'reluctant' and had to be persuaded to join politics. The MP allowance had to be raised to $20+K a month to make it worth their while. But I suspect many would rather not serve as MPs given their successful careers elsewhere and the financial rewards they get from their full time jobs. Is the ability to climb the corporate ladder a good measure of their ability to serve the people and bring about change and progress in Singapore? With the elections coming, many people that the PAP likes to select are keeping their fingers crossed that they won't be called up for those tea sessions. It is hard to say 'no' when they pick you and if you decide to go ahead, you'll have to squeeze the MP job into your busy schedule. Many of these MPs who have been parachuted into parliament via GRCs may feel little passion and energy for their MP job.

What makes a good MP? ...hmm...someone who really wants the job. Someone who really wants to serve - his MP role must be the number one priority in life not some big profitable contract at his corporation. I want to show you this clip of Low Thia Kiang speaking during the debate on the critical issue of CPF reform in Singapore.


I put up this clip not to show the standout performance of MP Low on the issue of CPF reform but the empty seats behind him. I don't know who those MPs are but they were too busy to turn up when such an important issue was discussed in parliament.

Lawrence Loh is right to point out that a good MP needs to be caring, have good EQ and interpersonal skills. Above all that he must be willing to put in the time and effort into his work - all that takes passion and requires an MP to prioritise his MP role above everything else. If the PAP can't find people with the right qualities and continues to give us part time MPs busy with their own careers, Singaporeans may have to consider voting for people from somewhere else ...to up the quality with competition.
----------------------------------------------------
VIOLENCE AT MEET-THE-PEOPLE SESSIONS
By Lawrence Loh
It started with MP Seng Han Thong being set on fire. Then came MP Denise Phua who was threatened by a rag-and-bone man. Now it is MP Cynthia Phua who was subjected to a display of violence by a constituent.
.
Although these incidents are disturbing and a cause for concern, I wonder whether the constituents are solely to be blamed. Allow me to relate my personal experience. In February 2001, my older son died in a naval accident whilst serving National Service. In that year, my younger son was due for enlistment. A friend, a very active grassroots member, suggested that I approach my MP, for help in exploring the possibility of getting an exemption for my younger son. I was reluctant but he went ahead to fix an appointment for me at the Meet-The-People Session (MPS). I subsequently relented and he accompanied me there.
..
It was in March 2001. That was my first appearance at a MPS, and it was to be my last.I waited until midnight before I could meet the MP. Prior to this, he was given the case paper which detailed the objective of the meeting and the circumstances of my case.When I entered the room, his first remark was “Yes, what can I do for you?”. There was no attempt at offering a word of sympathy or condolence. I then related my situation and said that both my wife and I were very traumatised. His next remark was:“What traumatic? After two months, you won’t be traumatic.”. With that, I decided to end the meeting. And with that, my respect for him hit ground zero. I was too stunned and grief-stricken to react.

Someone who was less-controlled and less-measured than me could have flown into a rage and become violent.MPs are elected or appointed to serve the constituents. People who attend the MPS are those who have real problems and need help. In a lot of instances, they are stressed, distressed and troubled. What they need is a caring soul, a helping hand, a gentle voice, and words of hope and encouragement. To dispense these, MPs need good interpersonal skills and a high EQ. Arrogance, a patronizing, chiding and belittling attitude, aloofness and lack of empathy will only trigger acts of rashness and violence. Many of our politicians have a high IQ, some are scholars. However, a high IQ is not the only attribute needed in a political career. A high EQ is equally, if not more critical, especially when it comes to dealing with the constituents.In my case, I would have felt good if my MP could have been a warm and caring person. If he could have been empathetic, consoling and helpful. All these qualities can only come from the heart, not from the mind. How many of our MPs can stand up and be counted for this?

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps PAP doesn't see anything wrong with leaders with low or no EQ. It is the IQ that counts. We live in a knowledge economy. EQ is the touchy feely stuff that only slows down our nation's progress. It is one of those nice to have luxury. PAP stands for quick and proven result. Investing in EQ takes too long with uncertain result. Sure the people may be happy but will that translate to a more productive workforce? Or will they be so pampered they will start asking for more. PAP believes in tough love. I beat you up so you grow up strong. If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger. We don't want a nation of sissies. We want people who can endure and overcome hardship on their own without government handout. That, I believe is the PAP philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Why are we paying over $10k a month for part-time MPs?

Is being an MP just like being a director in a company, where each director probably holds yet another 3-4 directorships in other corporations?

Can we just get a guy who will be a full-time MP for half the pay?

Anonymous said...

You know, I think all these MPs have high EQ.

To climb so high, they must be expert cock suckers. The thing is they can't be bothered to be nice to the little man. I dun think they even think of us as people.

Anonymous said...

The electorate and the opposition are so wonderful in Singapore.

They are the dream of other countries' govts. But here it is a reality. And for a long time too, maybe forever.

Anonymous said...

I hope LHL visit your blog on a daily basis!

greyfox said...

Honestly, do you think it will make a difference if LHL reads Lucky's blogs? I seriously doubt that.

Anonymous said...

Singaporean voters better not wish or hope too much from the PAP Candidates.

If an incumbent MP, namely Mohd Zaqy does not understands the meaning of accountable and or accountability(bertanggung jawab in Malay) meaning each and everyone is responsible for ones' failure in duty. What else can we expect? MP Zaqy has claimed that civil servants are not responsible to the people. What does that mean?

patriot

Lim Leng Hiong said...

"The MP allowance had to be raised to $20+K a month to make it worth their while. But I suspect many would rather not serve as MPs given their successful careers elsewhere and the financial rewards they get from their full time jobs. Is the ability to climb the corporate ladder a good measure of their ability to serve the people and bring about change and progress in Singapore?"

From the perspective of leadership succession, this is one of the most worrying aspects.

An MP may not be expected to "love" his/her role, but they should not be reluctant or resistant to it. Perhaps they feel this way because the electorate are growing tired of one party rule for over 40 years and are increasingly venting their frustrations at the MPs.

Hence, to compensate for their "sacrifice" the allowance has to go up. This can become a vicious cycle because future MP candidates will have less and less motivation to accept their appointment and so the allowance has be on the up and up.

In addition, there is something that is even more serious. I recall an Anon (in Lucky's "social divide inevitable" post) saying this:

"Only losers envy ministers' salaries...if you think you can do a better job..go convince the voters and get into power. Then you will thank the PAP for creating those Million dollar jobs for you."

Turning a political appointment into a road to riches rather than a position of power and responsibility; representing the people may become a minor, secondary aspect of the politicking.

What if one day not only the ruling party candidates, but also opposition party candidates and independents EXPECT to be highly paid for their "sacrifice"?

This attitude should not be allowed to spread.

Anonymous said...

Yes Yes Yes.
But opposition is unable to field sufficient number of candidates, nvm those of your(you Lucky Singaporean) calibre.

What to do?

PS: STI flat, Dow futures green

Anonymous said...

Dear 2/11/09 08:14

Yes. Many MPs hold directorships in several listed companies.

otherwise how ot get Eric Low and the other loser to contest against opposition (relative) heavyweights?

Xtrocious said...

You know, I think all these MPs have high EQ.

To climb so high, they must be expert cock suckers. The thing is they can't be bothered to be nice to the little man. I dun think they even think of us as people.

2/11/09 10:16

I absolutely agree with this statement...

They don't get to the top of the corporate ladder by being Mr Nice Guy...

What EQ - some of these guys are quite ruthless in achieving their goals...

Anonymous said...

Good PAP candidate:

Mr Bryan Ngoi Kok Ann.

if not selected by Lee Kuan Yew, he will go to KTV and fuck openly.

if selected by Lee Kuan Yew, he will go to KTV and fuck discreetly (more often given the PAP perks).

Either way, he fucks. Apply above logic to all other PAP candidates and existing ministers.

Loop ends

Anonymous said...

I read this post with interest.
The letter did not mention who that MP who made that terrible comment.

It would be good to expose this MP, and see what he has to say about his callous attitude as a servant of the people.

Starbucks said...

Yes, reveal the name of the heartless MP. I will bring it up personally to my relative who is a cabinet minister.

Anonymous said...

'We don't want a nation of sissies. We want people who can endure and overcome hardship on their own without government handout. That, I believe is the PAP philosophy.'

THIS IS NOT WHAT WE, THE PEOPLE, WANT. SORRY TO SAY THAT BUT THE PEOPLE OF SINGAPORE SHOULD DICTATE, NOT THE PAP REGIME.

Anonymous said...

'What if one day not only the ruling party candidates, but also opposition party candidates and independents EXPECT to be highly paid for their "sacrifice"?'

THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED, IN THE FIRST PLACE. HIGH SALARY IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENT DOOM TO FAIL.

Anonymous said...

--You know, I think all these MPs have high EQ.

To climb so high, they must be expert cock suckers. The thing is they can't be bothered to be nice to the little man. I dun think they even think of us as people.--

===================================

This is not high EQ, this is "snobbishness." Good to people when there is benefits to be gained. Snobbish to those who are perceived as inferior and need helps.

Look at LKY, LHL and other ministers and PAP MPs. Snobbishness is all over their faces.

Can anyone tell me were they ever genuinely humble when talking to Singaporeans? Just one ocassion will do.

Very Hsien

Anonymous said...

eq does not mean the guy must be nice. It means he can appear nice and can manipulate your own and his emotions.

DGE said...

In Most instances, the government is for the people. But in ours, it is the reverse, the people are for the government. I sympathise with the author and what he went through with this MP but is this very different from the corporate culture here to begin with? Such elitist and uncaring behaviour is often demonstrated across the board in government agencies. It is a culture that is stiffling and should be ended. Then perhaps we will be a step closer to a "gracious" society instead of one that is known for complaining behind the scenes. Kudos to the author for the article!

Anonymous said...

I'm not interested in how "successful" a MP is(director what). The purpose of a MP is to attend to the needs of the people, and if he can't do that and with sensitivity, then he gets a F and should be voted out. I think none of the PAP people should be in the government, because there's not what a government is for. If they're so damn good, they should start their own private company and see if they can succeed. Already you see them getting "eaten" by China (think Suzhou industrial park) and the weatern banks and then running tail in between their legs back to manipulate the CPF to make up for their losses. They are the most pathetic bunch of "paper tiger" bullies I've ever seen. They bully the weak singaporeans and the most pathetic thing is they are the least toughest and worst performers of the lot. I respect the ordinary singaporean who stoicly (stupidly) plods on despite getting screwed by the government. If you exchange positions, you''ll see sissy Lee crying and running back to his daddy to complain.

Anonymous said...

PAP needs greater mortals...

1 2 3
3 2 1
PAP number 1!!!

Long live the great matrix master!!!

sgcynic said...

"In a number of interviews with the media, PM Lee also said that these people are 'reluctant' and had to be persuaded to join politics." The msm has quoted Lee as saying that these newcomers are "committed"!? Even the party members are questioning the policy of parachuting in these committed new comrades!

Anonymous said...

Please stop all the chatters and show some action during the election.

I wouldn't want to talk much now till election time... need to conserve all my firepower (frustrations) to fire up barrages.

The election result will show what Singaporeans really want. No point telling them you know, want to be froga or lesser mortals, or what. Think very very carefully.

Anonymous said...

Please stop all the chatters and show some action during the election.

I wouldn't want to talk much now till election time... need to conserve all my firepower (frustrations) to fire up barrages.

The election result will show what Singaporeans really want. No point telling them you know, want to be froga or lesser mortals, or what. Think very very carefully.

sgcynic said...

On the contrary, we need to talk now, not just during elections. Then we would gather the support to give them an election that they will not forget. Remember how many new, grateful cityzens that they have imported since the previous elections. We need to be united to make our votes count against this import of pro-pap votes.

Anonymous said...

The singapore leaders are bully like the lky. they get bully overseas by the chinese from china and the america from US. Then they bully the native singaporeans.

this is the type of spineless leader we have elected.

Need to vote them out!

LuckySingaporean said...

sgcynic,

This is transcript of one of PM Lee's interview during which he was asked if it is difficult to get people to join politics:

PM Lee: I think that I'm reluctant to say it's more difficult because we've been able to get good people to come in. But I would say that the last time there were a few people whom we asked to come in, who were not ready to come in yet, and eventually we didn't field them. It doesn't mean we've given up trying. We will continue trying but I think that with many more opportunities in the private sector now, the talent will be much more scattered and it will be harder for us to gather them in order to try and start persuading them. As I explained to you, they are in more different places. So if you become a brilliant scientist or a researcher and I decide that I need a minister, I've to try and extrapolate, will he fit - from test-tubes and laboratories to kissing babies and running ministries? It's a huge jump and it's risky. So if I ask him to come in because I want him to take the risk, he will ask, will I succeed? If I come in, if I don't do well, can I come back and be a scientist again? It's a risky business, so that makes it harder. I think it's harder for people to decide to say yes.

http://www.pmo.gov.sg/News/Speeche
s/Prime+Minister/Transcript+of+
Press+Conference+on+Cabinet+
Reshuffle.htm

sgcynic said...

LuckySingaporean,
I note how the surgeon managed to implement CPF Life like a botched surgery. Patched the patient up and proclaim the patient cured. I would settle for a leader who may not be the best in his field but who's heart is in the right place anytime. The committed elites who are "invited" and parachuted in? Do they think they are ZhuGeLiang? Have to plead with you to come lord over us lesser mortals?

Gerald Giam said...

Yes please reveal who this uncaring MP is.

Clear eyed said...

Lucky, have you forgotten that this is Singapore Inc? MPs in Singapore Inc are the equivalent of company directors and they are paid (exorbitantly I must say)to put in an occasional appearance at board, sorry, Parliament meetings. Their role is not that of serving their constituents.

Anonymous said...

yeh, I think LKY is missing the point. In fact the entire argument that he bases it on is the reason why we have a culture of cronyism, poor performance, uncaring, overpaid MPs that are out of touch with the people. The principle is very simple - if I need a toothbrush, I'll get a toothbrush. I don't need a gold-plated titanium diamond-encrusted piece of stick. So if those "high-class" idiots can't do their jobs as MP and be what a government should be, then out they go.

Anonymous said...

Who is Mr Bryan Ngoi Kok Ann?

But I wouldn't mind Ann Kok becoming a PAP MP. ;-)


Hey Lucky

U are missing the point.
PAP MPs are only rubber-stampers.
Good or bad; they hardly matter.
If they are any good(in the moral sense), they will swiftly go the way of the late President Ong.


Btw u ever decide to leave the country and need somewhere to park your money

http://dealbreaker.com/2009/11/-its-beaches-dont-compare.php

moses said...

Given the official attitude towards national service and the level of patriotism expected of citizens, it's not surprising that the authorities are not going to just let the other son off. Singaporeans are also to blame for this, really, since they are often happy to play along (look at national day parades every year, for example).

As for how nice the MP was about it, come on - when has 'niceness' played such an important part in Singapore? Everywhere, in various organisations one could be part of since one is young, there's a culture of 'tekan'. Someone said something about tough love. I think that's right. Besides, ruthless efficiency is the name of the game. Got lots of work to do? Stay back in the office for no extra pay, let alone overtime pay. That's what we need to compete in the global economy. Apparently.

Nothing will change until we change our culture.

J said...

Can you please give me some explains about why HDB lose 2 billion SGD? It is hard for me to understand why they can lose money when selling the flats very expensive.

Anonymous said...

HDB does not actually lose money, the "loss" is just an accounting one arising from transfer pricing so don't get fooled. Actual loss is when Temasick or GIC buy high sell low, or when PAP Town Councils lose millions in toxic investments, those are actual losses.

Anonymous said...

Loss happens only when price sold is lower than total costs incurred.

How can HDB be making a loss when it is selling flats at $350k a piece?

I bet HDB is claiming the difference between HDB price and resale market price as a 'loss'.

Seriously, how many people really believe HDB is in the red? Very likely to be some election ploy, to convince us that we are getting a real steal by paying $350k for a 4-room flat.

Do you actually believe HDB is losing money, or making tons of money year after year?

Do you really believe the govt is losing money by using the land acquisition act to acquire kampung land at rock bottom prices, so that they can build expensive flats and sell it to us at even higher prices??

Anonymous said...

Well if HDB is claiming losses through massive subsidies to the people, then may I ask why we still need to fork out more than 300K through 30 years loan for a small unit. Oh something must be wrong here right? or are we already in a HIGH INCOME ECONOMY NOW and those people finding it unafforable are only a small minority? Hey how many of us are earning more than 3K per month? I am and I dare to proclaim I am poor. (EVERYTHING IS SOOOOOO EXPENSIVE UP UP UP IS THE WAY TO GO)

So may I ask the HDB to scrap all subsidies and we see how much a flat really cost?

Alternatively, HDB can carry out numerous MASSIVE RESTRUCTURE by axing all the EXPENSIVE STAFF, starting from the very top management. All we need is thing to be CHEAPER BETTER AND FASTER.

Anonymous said...

I suggest to up the price we pay for our drinking newater. It is the best in the world, and compared to distill water we are having a STEAL at the price....


just another way to create revenue and boost my KPI for million salary. haha

Anonymous said...

Lose 2 billions is peanut...

But if they reduce the flow of FT here, they lose even more BILLION$$$$$ through levy paid. You know each of them working here pay hundreds of dollars to the state each month. Good business.

We must be grateful to them for this sacrifice. They are the most unique.

Anonymous said...

our PM talked about Operation Babarossa during the last election.

Well perhaps what is needed now is Operation Citadel - To achieve a DECISIVE VICTORY. Just hope stomach don;t turn upside down.

Anonymous said...

can some accountant guy, please spare some of ur time to explain HDB 2 billion loss....it is really baffling....issit becos of the wages or what..there must be something in there in balance sheet..though they oredi said it is a 2 billion loss...that is alot.....mayb lucky will have some insight....

Anonymous said...

hdb has to buy its land from the govt. Hence the loss.

Anonymous said...

Does that means HDB is a REAL private entity. Come on, just roll money from one hand and scalp everything from the other.

I suggest HDB be a listed company lah. Sure $$$$$ dividends. haha

Anonymous said...

ohhhh now I know the real increase in HDB prices is the government lah...ohoh that is business transaction.

Anonymous said...

HDB has NEVER NEVER subsidized HDB flats that it sold to us. NEVER!

A real subsidy which hurts the bottom line is given by this formula: Cost price - discount.

In the case of HDB, subsidy is re-defined by this formula: Market price - discount.

HDB is still making a handsome profit selling us flats. But HDB is sneakily booking the sale as a 'loss', by equatin the 'grant' or 'subsidy' as a loss.

HDB has never made a real loss selling flats at $300k to us, when a HDB flat only cost $100k to build, inclusive of infrastructure.

sgcynic said...

Recall that Ez-link is a company that loses more money with more sales (ezlink cards). That's why they had to charge $5 per card to recover costs. It must be painful to the company to have hundreds of thousands of ezlink cards not exchanged for the new CEPAS ezlink card. Think of the refundanble deposits and card balances forfeited. Unqiuely Singapore.

Similarly HDB is a "company" that has to make losses to make the government look good. These are uniquely Singapore inc entities.

Sunfleur said...

Just a wild guess: Could the unsympathatic MP in question be the father of that Wee Shu-min (of the infamous RJC elitist saga blog) back in 2006? If it was, I hope he didn't say "please, get out of my elite uncaring face"...

If the writer wrote is account of what happened at MPS accurately, the tone set (i.e. "What traumatic? After two months, you won’t be traumatic.") is almost exactly the same as the blog.

To reiterate, this is only a WILD GUESS. But yes, we are all curious who this MP was.

Anonymous said...

http://sgblogs.com/entry/online-letter-empathy/342232

joo chiat mp?

Kaffein said...

Not all are like that. But then after a couple of incidents including slapping and setting alight the MP, one wonders if there smoke without fire.

I do not think this is an isolated incident. And because these people are put on pedestal and in ivory white towers, I don't blame them. I only blame those who vote them in. As a father I feel sorry for the writer. What this world needs is a gentle and soothing voice in the rough chaos of life.

Kaffein

Anonymous said...

What a joke!

PAP does not stand for proven result.

It stands for exploitation.

If it doesn't kill you makes you stronger?

Try drinking dish washing deterent 20ml for every 10 minutes.

I am sure it will kill you in less than an hour.