Monday, July 12, 2010

Without Vision or Purpose...

The other day Minister Tharman said the PAP govt has set for itself a goal of raising the median income from $2400 to $3100 (real income) by 2020. When I first heard of it I wrote on my blog that this goal isn't so meaningful because it says nothing about what our quality of life will be like and that matters much more than a numeric target. What is the point if price of housing, medical care, and COE goes up even faster, and buses become more crowded and stress levels go up further. Even as a numeric target the rise represents a mere 2.5% increase per year - given our GDP growth is set to exceed China's this year...and if grows by 6-7% a year, this type of median income increase can only widen our income gap. Despite my negativity about this whole target thing, I actually found out that I've been far less cynical than other Singaporeans. The other day while talking to a couple of friends, I now understand that many Singaporeans believe the govt will achieve this target simply by handing out PRs and citizenship to richer foreigners to push up the median income...the income of current Singaporeans can remain stagnant or sink and this target can still be achieved. The govt has not articulated how it intends to achieve this target and the means is more important than the ends in this case. When SM Goh became PM, he at least had a plan that can be considered a vision - Swiss standard of living. We all laugh at where we are today relative to the goal of his govt but at least the target setting was very clear so that we know how far off we have wondered. Without a clear vision of how life will be for Singaporeans, the current PAP govt muddles along telling you that housing is still affordable, your public transport system is world class and we have good affordable heathcare. 10 years from now where-ever today's Singaporeans end up, success can be declared....$3100? No even sure if it is enough today for a man to start a small family with 2 kids and be able to retire.

A few days ago, the Swiss President came to Singapore and said this about the Swiss vandal Fricker case:

"It's your decision, but the perception in our country is not a positive one because for a long time, we have moved from such penalties to other than physical punishment" - Swiss President[Link]

Do you know why we have to cane people for graffiti? Do Singaporeans have such deep hatred for graffiti that we have to punish people more for graffiti? Does graffiti cause us so much harm that Fricker deserves physical punishment?

Our Vandalism Act was written in 1966 before graffiti became fashionable yet it contains an interesting law that says you will get mandatory caning if you use 'indelible ink' vs erasable ink. If Fricker has drawn his graffiti with non-permanent markers, he would be in less trouble than he is today. So he is being punished for the difficulty of cleaning up the graffiti - it which case, a fairer punishment for him would be to clean or pay for the cleaning of the trains. Why the cane?

"The Vandalism Act 1966 was originally passed to curb the spread of communist graffiti in Singapore during the period following Singaporean independence.
Destroying or damaging any
public property without the written authority of government officials, statutory boards or armed forces lawfully present in Singapore are in violation of the terms of the Act. " - Serving History[Link]

Our Vandalism Act is so harsh because the communists defaced public property to spread propaganda and there was a political purpose to suppress them with this harsh act. 44 years later, with the fall of communism we still keep the act and use it on mischievious foreigners with too much time on their hands. Yes, the laws have been kept unchanged and harsh when it no longer serves the same purpose.

Recently, the NSP got into some trouble for selling newsletters[Link]. The purpose of the illegal hawking law is to prevent unlicensed hawkers from selling food because it is potentially unhygenic or illegal hawking of goods without paying rent thereby competing unfairly against shopowners who pay tax and rent or cluttering public spaces. The NSP violated nobe of these and was fined for not having a license to sell its newsletters. Licenses are only granted to people 45 years or older and are jobless. So unless our opposition parties recruit people who are jobless and above 45, they cannot sell newsletters to the public. This is an interesting use of a law created for some other purpose.

If we are just perserving the status quo and we accept things as they are, we will never progress very far from where we are today - the examples I give are related to the laws of the land but there are many aspects of the our socio-economic and political system we are told to accept that we shouldn't if we want to better our lives. There is no bold vision to look forward and no desire to improve the current system. 10 years from now what change can you expect?...

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The PAP has no vision, its cadres clueless and more concerned with personal agenda.

The PAP has no political ideology, unless you count greed and hegemony as one.

The PAP has no legitimacy and mandate. The rot inside is just waiting to burst forth.

In summary the PAP is a dead party. It has to be so when you have someone who already has one leg up the lorry still calling the shots.

Anonymous said...

Plans that did not materilize are either lip services, imaginations or building castles in the air and worse they may even be plain hot airs.

patriot

Anonymous said...

Because Singapore is so reliant on attracting foreign investment to grow its economy, Singaporean wages must be kept lower than their MNCs home countries. With USD and Euro falling rapidly, a series of wage raises would just send theses MNC packing home. That partially explains the stagnant wages for the past decade.

Anonymous said...

What does it mean Swiss Standard of Living? Obviously Peanuts Woody did not say Swiss Cost of Living. Moreover, he lamented the fact that ours is not a gracious society. So to get back to the point, we should analyse the meaning of Swiss Standard and amend or make whatever is necessary to achieve it. The Swiss President has made that distinction between Switzerland and Singapore. During Peanuts Woody's 2 terms as PM, hardly anything was done to get Singapore any nearer to his promise of a Swiss Standard of Living for all citizens. We are no nearer to it than when he became the PM. Whatever Tarredman did promised, no man can predict the outcome of what will happen 10 years in the future, and $3100.00 is a ludicrous figure even by today's COL for a family of 4.

Anonymous said...

$3100 per month median income in 2020 is measured at today's dollar value, hence it is termed real income.

But I don't understand how the govt can achieve this goal unless they also can control the rising cost of living, housing and doing business. On this aspect, their track record so far is no good, and many Singaporeans are worse off now compared to the past, when wages were much lower then.

It may end up like the Swiss standard of living promised decades ago but look at where are we now. Maybe Swiss standard or even better for certain class of people, which is a fact.

C H Yak said...

Leviathan mindset and system at work.

Visit :-

http://de-leviathan.blogspot.com/2009/12/framework-for-thinking-about-civil.html

http://de-leviathan.blogspot.com/2010/06/leviathan-at-work-at-smrt.html

Anonymous said...

We need Goh Meng Seng to bring down everything!
Vote wisely, vote to go back to 1970s where everything is cheap cheap cheap!

Anonymous said...

The papists will never changed anything that is not to their advantage. All those old and antiquited laws and regulations will be kept for as long as it served to entrench the papist in power. Singapore is known as a country of contradictions and that is the way LKY wanted it as it served their purposes very well. Always remember, in Singapore the papist interests over-ride those of the average Singaporeans. If Singaporeans had not realise that after 50 years, then they deserved to be screwed by the papist for life.

Anonymous said...

They raped the Citizenry and proclaimed they provided the fun, joy and ecstasy. And the irony is the older leaders are mostly the ones that made the empty promises and proclaimed their abilities which were impotent for all to see.

Jokers!!!

collected cpf said...

Lucky, I will be lying through my teeth and doing a great disservice using the PAP leaders as inspiration to my students.

It will defy all logic if a dumb PM with 80 stooges can have vision and purpose.......for the country.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Lucky Tan is always a gentleman, that was why he was taken aback by what others believe about that S$3K+ Median wage !

I have always wondered, why we need a Law Ministry when, every other Ministries seem to be responsible for their "Laws/regulations". I actually believed long ago, that this "Law Ministry", was the one to review and recommend changes.
Am just as blur after all these years ! Any one care to enlighten me ?

Lye Khuen Way said...

Lucky Tan is always a gentleman, that was why he was taken aback by what others believe about that S$3K+ Median wage !

I have always wondered, why we need a Law Ministry when, every other Ministries seem to be responsible for their "Laws/regulations". I actually believed long ago, that this "Law Ministry", was the one to review and recommend changes.
Am just as blur after all these years ! Any one care to enlighten me ?

Happy Singaporean said...

whine whine whine...its not getting you guys anywhere. you still cant afford to live in st regis and drive a flying spur....

Anonymous said...

$3100, sure, let's say they achieve it.

But 3 room hdb flat would cost $2million then, and chicken rice would cost $10 a plate.

I don't get why the ministers would want to waste time at such a topic.

They might as well compare the wages 50 years ago and say, YEAH, most of us now are earning Xtimes of what people were earning back then in the 1950s!

These che-by-s always leave the inflation factor out, which is the most critical information, whenever they talk about wages!

Anonymous said...

It does not matter if they can achieve it because in 10 years time 2/3 of population will have forgotten. They can promise what they want and they have nothing to fear.

Anonymous said...

You people are incorrigible. They are working so hard, till their heads went bald, grey and their skins creased, their views and sights fade, just to provide you the good life and in return, they got screwed with senseless criticism. If it was not for your sakes, the leaders would have just live in Sentosa Cove and enjoy their lives like Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities and leave you to die, it is your business, not theirs. Be grateful singaporeans, without them, female singaporeans will have to be maids or hookers. Dont forget they were elected by you with your eyes open wide wide and big big leh.

Anonymous said...

They are so cunning, so good at being evasive when they try to justify their policies.

When we complain about too many foreigners, they want us to look at long-term and the "big picture."

Medical care, education, public housing will always be "affordable."

Price hike in public utilities: the usual excuse is that "we have not revised the price for so many years...."

Security laps, floods, investment failure: nobody is held responsible.

And mass media carry reports of ministers talking nonsense telling us to make sacrifices, donate and volunteer.

It is so frustrating to think that all these may remain unchanged until the sadistic dictator goes to hell!

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg just reported that Singapore's 2nd quarter annualised GDP growth will be around 20%. Official announcement tomorrow. PAPpies will be crowing about the figures and loudly proclaim how their "wise leadership" is leading Singapore into a Golden Age. This will be a prelude to General Elections in September.

But you want to know the truth?
The truth is that of the 20% GDP growth:
10% goes to MNCs and GLCs;
8% goes to the top 10% richest in Singapore;
2% goes to you.

VOTE FOR CHANGE, VOTE OPPOSITION!

Anonymous said...

Yes, vote for GMS to bring the house down!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lucky

Do you realise that you are bashing the only minister that is anywhere near competent?

Tar-man has no control what his master or his master's daughter-in-law does. And despite this handicap, SG's employment rate and economy is holding up as well as any. Better than what your precious Obama is doing.

While you are at it, why not continue bashing the dumb religionists, esp the Christians, who form the majority of volunteers actually helping the poor.

jamesneo said...

We will be lucky if our standard of living do not decrease let alone reach 3100 median income. First, the whole credit/debt system will be slowly unraveling from the west to east and Austerity will hit us if we are not careful in keeping the public debt low. Our government bond/debt is sustained because our cpf, banks, GLCs itself contributes significantly in buying it. However, if we suffer a severe recession in the future with high unemployment rate and with a stagnant salary contributing an ever decreasing amount to the cpf, eventually we will be unable to buy our own government bonds/debts. We will be like Japan and stimulus aka money printing will be the only choice then with devastating results on the savers in Singapore.

There are so many pitfalls that the pap have dug that can ignite this big recession: property bubbles that will blow within 2-5yrs, over-reliance on MNCs that might leave if the liquidity in the whole world drys up and a middle class with stagnant or decreasing salary that has significant personal debt especially for the 80/90s people and thus cannot be taxed too much without affecting their political base.

Anonymous said...

I still waiting for vision of Singapore Football Team in World Cup 2010 to come to fruition. LOL