Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lim Zi Rui : I don't know what I'm defending anymore....

When Lim Zi Rui brought up this issue during a Ministerial Forum dialog between SM Goh and NTU students, SM Goh must have been caught 'off guard' because he gave a very poor response. As an SM and PM for more than a decade, we expect him to have a good answer to this question because as a high ranking leader of this country and it is his responsibility to preserve the sense of belonging among Singaporeans - it is something he has to foster among the people he leads.

“When I was younger, I was very proud of being a Singaporean. But that was about five, ten years ago. Five years later, with all the changes in policies and the influx of foreign talent, I really don’t know what I’m defending any more.."
- NTU Student, Lim Rui Zi


“You want to have a home. Who’s going to build your HDB flat?”
- SM Goh Chok Tong

I'm really surprised at the answer given by SM Goh. Singaporeans have never taken issue with the construction workers brought here by the construction industry. They don't take up citizenship or permanent residency here and they fill jobs Singaporeans have moved away from. They have been here for almost 3 decades since the early 80s and they stay at temporary housing at the construction sites and dorms. This is different from the recent influx of the past 10 years that intensified competition for jobs and housing....and it is this extension of the policy that brought in workers at all levels for jobs that are normally filled by Singaporeans that is the issue.

“This is your country,” SM Goh replied. “What do you want me to do to make you feel you belong?”

“For my part, don’t worry about me,” Mr Lim said. “I will definitely do something, if I can, for Singapore. But I can tell you honestly that the sentiment on the ground is a bit different.”

“If this is happening, it is very serious,” said SM Goh.

“If the majority feel they don’t belong here, then we have a fundamental problem. Then I would ask myself: What am I doing here? Why should I be working for people who don’t feel they belong over here?” asked SM Goh
.
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In the above exchange, SM Goh asked Mr. Lim what he can do to make him feel that he belongs. That is strange isn't it? As a leader, isn't he suppose to articulate a common vision and create a sense of purpose for the people he leads? Mr. Lim had already explained clearly earlier in the dialogue why he felt the the sense of belonging has disappeared....yet SM Goh denied Mr. Lim's explanation (high foreign influx) and asked him what has to be done.

Earlier on during the dialogue session, the Minister made the point that the next General Elections, due to be held by February 2012, would be a “watershed” for the future of Singapore from which a “fourth Prime Minister and a core team of younger ministers will emerge”.
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I agree with SM Goh that the coming elections will be a 'watershed' but not for the reasons he gave. Many Singaporeans have woken up and begun to see the outcome of the PAP policies and its form of govt. For many ordinary Singaporeans, the PAP govt is taking us to a place we don't want to go with their lopsided unbalanced policies. Singaporeans also understand that nothing is going to change if the PAP is again swept into power with an overwhelming majority - it will just take the people's support for granted and dish out more of the same unbalanced policies. As long as the one-man-one vote system is in place, there is a way out of this vicious cycle for ordinary Singaporeans...and this election will be a watershed because more people than ever before are willing to support positive change and it will come only when they exercise their vote wisely.
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‘I don’t know what I’m defending anymore’[Link]
By Ewen Boey – October 30th, 2010

Young Singaporeans like Lim Zi Rui are becoming increasingly disillusioned and they’re not afraid to let it show.

The 23-year-old final-year aerospace engineering student was among a 1,000-strong crowd who attended a Ministerial Forum organised on Friday by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Students’ Union.

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was the guest-of-honour.

During a dialogue session after SM Goh’s main address, Lim stood up and asked if the Minister was aware that many young people no longer felt a sense of ownership in Singapore.

“When I was younger, I was very proud of being a Singaporean,” said Lim as reported in The Straits Times.

“But that was about five, ten years ago. Five years later, with all the changes in policies and the influx of foreign talent, I really don’t know what I’m defending any more.”

He said this was a view that many of the men he served with during National Service also held.

“I feel that there is a dilution of the Singapore spirit in youth… We don’t really feel comfortable in our country any more,” he said.

Mr Goh replied, “‘This is one early sign of danger… If this is happening, it is very serious.” He went on to ask Mr Lim why he felt disconnected.

Mr Lim told SM Goh, ”‘I’m still serving as an officer and I definitely would love to defend Singapore.”

But he said the key difference between him and his foreign friends was, “I tell them, this is my country. I can’t just leave here whenever I want to. You can come and play and work here, but I have to stay here.”

SM Goh responded by defending the government’s policy of welcoming foreigners.

“You want to have a home. Who’s going to build your HDB flat?” said the Minister.

Lim replied that due to the inability to afford the sky-high public housing prices, his brother had to call off his engagement.

“My brother got engaged, but lost his engagement because he could not afford an HDB flat,” said Lim, who went on to state that his question was not about “integrating foreigners”.

“My question was, how are we going to help the younger generation feel a sense of belonging to Singapore? I don’t think it’s about integrating foreigners,” said Lim.

“This is your country,” SM Goh replied. “What do you want me to do to make you feel you belong?”

“For my part, don’t worry about me,” Mr Lim said. “I will definitely do something, if I can, for Singapore. But I can tell you honestly that the sentiment on the ground is a bit different.”

“If this is happening, it is very serious,” said SM Goh.

“If the majority feel they don’t belong here, then we have a fundamental problem. Then I would ask myself: What am I doing here? Why should I be working for people who don’t feel they belong over here?” asked SM Goh.

Earlier on during the dialogue session, the Minister made the point that the next General Elections, due to be held by February 2012, would be a “watershed” for the future of Singapore from which a “fourth Prime Minister and a core team of younger ministers will emerge”.

SM Goh also challenged the young undergrads in his audience to “make a difference to Singapore” by joining local politics.

132 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brave young man but well said and reflect the sentiment on the ground.

HS said...

He is speaking the truth. I too feel the same thing when I did my NS 4 years back. The sentiment on the ground is bad esp amongst the young. He is spot on.

I really think that the ruling party no longer can convince the young anymore.

i want to join PAP too said...

Farking attention seeker Lim Zi Rui. people like this are doing it for their own benefit. they hope to get the attention of PAP and eventually join them in a cushy post. look what happen to Vivian bala. open loud mouth critic with a hidden agenda to join the pap. now he is enjoying his millions.

only fools cant see through this snake of a man.

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

Many Singaporean are not aware that wage suppression, debt loading is what PAP needs in order to sustain a super elitist system which eventually reduce the peasants to serf.

The rich in Singapore must continue to sacrifice the poor in suppressing their wage, else there would be inflation in general goods. That sort of inflation, would eventually erode their wealth.

On the other hand, the elite would need the peasants to take up high leverage of debts to spurs asset inflation which they desire.

All the rest of the policies such as FT, high HDB price, low interest rate, high medical cost are merely tools to suppress wage and force debt upon us.

Singaporean need to wake up to the fact that PAP actually desire to throw Singapore back to feudalism. Nevertheless,

I think such system would eventually blown up someday, at great pain to Singaporean if they continue to vote for PAP in order to increase their property value.

Anonymous said...

The 'young' are made up of males and females. My observation is the females do not share the sentiments of the males as they (females) do not do NS. So half of the young will still be quite happy with the status quo.

Anonymous said...

I think in Singapore, especially politics, things won't change drastically.

Yes things may change, but slowly and may even take years, if at all.

Yes people may be angry and fed up but it may take years before this group become a majority.

Just like the opposition parties. It seems they take years to grow, if at all.

And if the opposition parties does not drastically change to become very strong or stronger than the PAP, then of course don't expect other related things to change drastically and they may just change like the way of our opposition, that is very slowly, if at all.

So just watch how the opposition changes.

Anonymous said...

i agree that the female portion of the young do not share what the sentiments of the males

i think status quo can be what females are looking for

Anonymous said...

In fact, the young females like the open-legs policy to allow foreign trash. Coz can get to hook up with more ang-mohs. Ang moh tua kee. Their impression is that the ang mohs are rich, and they want to be Mrs Ang Moh and live in big mansion in ang moh land.

The reality is that nowadays many ang-mohs are on local wage terms, and forced to rent HDB, or share with buddies to rent condo. But they're free-spending --- earn $6000 and it's all gone within 2-3 weeks, the rest of the month use credit cards. Their mentality is have fun, be loud, be arrogant, live for the moment. Worse case scenario just run back home or to another Asian city, leaving behind unpaid rentals, unpaid credit card bills, pregnant girlfriends etc.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the above comment that the female Singaporeans are passive and don't feel as strongly as the males bcos they don't have to serve NS. On the contrary, we feel even stronger as mothers (unless you choose not to marry or not to have kids in SG). Who on earth would want their sons to serve NS and protect the interest of 'aliens' who can just pop into SG and study in NUS, NTU or SMU under the disguise of a SG scholarship without having to sweat and toil for 2 years of NS? And after their graduation, these 'aliens' are being offered citizenship by PAP without having to prove their loyalty to Singapore!

What is more, there are tens of thousands of Malaysian PRs who conveniently refused to let their sons take up Singapore citizenship, yet they earn singapore dollars and bear malaysian expenses back home. They can afford to buy detached houses or bungalows back in MY and retire there, problem is we can't !

Amused said...

I have no doubt that PAP believes its policies are in Singapore's best interests. I also believe many average Singaporeans disagree with these policies.

This is similar to the current American politics. The Democrats believes in their unpopular policies and will continue their agenda as long as they are in power.

We will witness soon enough the outcome in Tuesday's midterm election in the US. Shortly after that, the Singapore GE.

Anonymous said...

If there were no foreign workers, whether highly paid foreign talents or low wage workers, any country, not just Singapore, would have a Bell shaped work force. 90 percent of the workers would be in the middle, leaving 10% at both ends - those who are highly paid and those low wage workers.

So if we really want to compensate our work force, it should be done at both ends of the Bell curve. The foreign workers are certainly needed to take jobs that Singaporeans shunt, and the foreign talents are needed to take jobs so high calibre, or that which requires so rare a talent, to fill the top end of the Bell curve. In that way, we boost out work force and keep jobs for 90% of the Singaporean workers.

In my humble opinion, the so called foreign talent should be restricted by a minimum salary. That will force companies to hire only the best of the best - Directors, CEOs, highly specialized professionals like specialist doctors, researchers, performers etc. Then these people will truely achieve the objectives of creating more jobs for Singaporeans, and lifting the standard/quality of the work force. Of course, companies will decide between scouting these highly paid talents from abroad or promoting from within. The point is they are rare. Not where you can easily find qualified workers within any society.

So between a salary range of say $1000 to $8000, there should NOT be any foreign talents/workers allowed into Singapore. The absolute values of these limits may vary but it's a general idea. This may sound radical to some but think about it, it is sound and logical.

ex rsm said...

Lucky,
when a young officer has no qualms saying 'I don't know what I'm defending any more' and this also reflects the sentiments on the ground, then it is not unreasonable to conclude we have numbskulls running Singapore and they are slowly but surely turning it into a tragedy.

having said that, can anyone recall young citizens of Malaysia or Indonesia, expressing similar sentiments about their country ?

however i do recall former defence minister Tony Tan proclaiming 'you do not own something that you cannot defend'

HDB is making Young Singaporeans impossible to meet 20% Deposit said...

The HDB situation is a serious one.

Many young couples can't afford to buy a four-room flat because they don't have enough cash in their CPF to meet the 20% deposit required by HDB to purchase a flat.

This is because the price of built-to-order flats have gone up to approx. $400 000, that one would need $80 000 in CPF to buy a flat. How are they going to do so when they have just graduated and are still in debt?

A new scenario has also gotten into gear. Many male Singaporeans are taking on partners who are not Singaporean as more and more male Singaporeans are posted overseas for work and meet their partners there and those who are not posted overseas are taking on partners who are non-Singaporeans in Singapore. Other male and female Singaporeans are meeting their partners via the internet or on marriage or singles websites.

This has led to a serious problem of home ownership for these increasing number of Singaporeans. They are not able to meet the minimum deposit as they do not receive CPF when they are working abroad and those who take on foreign partners have problems meeting the minimum deposit as they can't use their partners CPF to combine to make for the HDB deposit. This is because their non-Singaporean spouses or husbands do not have CPF.

HDB public housing policy is the real cause of falling birth rates in Singapore. As the prices of flats continue to rise, more and more young couples are experiencing the problems of meeting HDB's minimum 20% deposit as the deposit actually increases along with the increasing prices of these flats.

HDB should lower the minimum deposit for first-time buyers so that they can start a family soon.

Mah Bow Tan has lost touch with the predicament and difficulties that young couples are experiencing today as a result of the incompetence and greedy profiteering policies that he introduced for something we all call PUBLIC housing.

runroad said...

Goh is a shallow fellow. His remarks are invariably trite and despite his decades in the public eye, unconvincingly delivered. The student poses a direct question, "I feel a sense of alienation that I didn't feel 6 years ago, why?" And what does Goh, holder of the exalted title of Senior Minister reply? He answers the question with another question, a lame rhetorical, "What do you want me to do about it?" WTF? Hey buddy don't ask me! WE have been paying YOU the thick end of $3m for the last decade or more to come up with the fricken answers, not bloody vice versa!

Such is his divorce from reality that his first instinct is to equate foreign workers with the construction industry and hope to God no one presses him further. He either has no clue or pretends not to know that the people's angst isn't directed at this sector but at the staggering flood of FTs infesting mid-level and lower jobs which is dashing the rice bowl from the helpless hands of Singaporeans who cannot possibly survive on the wages FTs are willing to accept. Some great leader.

The whole damn lot of them are now like rusting hulks drifting aimlessly about on a stormy sea, directionless, engines dead, no idea what to do next but repeat what they did yesteryear. Twenty years past their sell-by date. What a waste of space and taxpayer's money.

Anonymous said...

to anon 1/11/10 01:45

you can retire also in msia. it depends you got balls or not lar, buy your landed property that you dream of, i intend to do that

just got to get out of the comfort zone...and stop thinking that everywhere else is not safe other than sg, can you do that?

if not, just stick with LKYpore

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

Many people claim that PAP has lost touch or caught off guard but I do not think thats the case.

In fact, I believe PAP is covertly engineering some sort of financial enslavement. LKY's extended family(the kwa) is closely related to the financial sector.

The Kwa family is a prominent banking family who started off in Ho Hong bank and later in OCBC. The kwa family is related in marriage to other prominent banking families such as Tan Chin Tuan..etc. One of the cadet member of Tan Chin Tuan's family is Tony Tan Keng Yam.

If you think Goldman Sachs create shit for USA, the bankster colluding with PAP create 10x more shit for Singaporean. We do not have sub prime trouble is because our citizen are hardworking, responsible and have high saving rate.

The greedy financial capitalist device a plan to enslave Singaporean, so that they could rent seek and earn money without working.

They force us to take up 30 years loan, meanwhile depress our wages. They tried to sell us that anything good for PAP or elite is good for Singaporean

Anonymous said...

The older ones also are facing a lot of problems nowsadays.
Many older "PMETs" with diploma and/or degress who had been etrenched in their 40s can't even find a job that pays them $1,000.
If they have not paid up their HDB by now, they would be in big trouble.

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

Is there alternative to free Singapore from banksters?

I am going to elaborate Nazi economy. (Dont accuse me of racist, I would like to state some fact)

Nazi came to power after the economy has totally collaspsed and inflation more than billionth times. Old couples commit suicide, people out of jobs and starving.

By 1938, Germany is not only on her feet, besides, her citizen are well fed, her industries are roaring with productions, she added monuments like autobahn which are still marvels today.

What Nazi did in 5 years was more impressive than Rosevelt's new deal.

How did Nazi did it? (long stories), to make things short, the Nazi actually enlist the help of patriotic industrialist and bankers, implemented policies that free the German from price speculation and financial slavery.

If Singaporean was properly taught the economic history of Germany 1933-1938, we would have well aware that PAP are colluding with banking thieves, to rip off honest citizen.

Usury is always a sin condemn by churches.

The FT policies, wages suppression are merely tools. More such policies will be coming if Singaporean has not been reduced to serf.

Anonymous said...

I watched CNBC last Saturday and saw a rubbish collector following a rubbish truck in New York giving an interview. That chap said he earns usd70k pa + pension and company benefits! And usd 100+k with overtime thrown in. If we pay our rubbish collectors a quarter of that, many Singaporeans would do that job and all those FTs doing this can be sent back. But alas, our ministars said we'll be "uncompetitive" if we up these rubbish collectors' salaries. Wonder what are rubbish collectors paid in japan, Australia and Swissaland. dt

Anonymous said...

It is not just the young who are disillusioned with the PAP garment. Amongst the pre 65 generation, many have also come to the conclusion that the party is no longer what it was...a caring one dedicated to the well being of all Singaporeans. It may be that the top honchos still think that they are doing good for Singapore but they have become seriously out of touch with the ground because unlike in the past current leaders are mostly from the elite class and have never had to overcome mundane struggles for existence...their only contact and experience with the plebians is during their NS and even then it is an artificial environment.

Total Defence said...

Answer to Lim Zi Rui:
You are defending this and this.


They are called TOTAL DEFENCE. And there is a competition on TOTAL DEFENCE every year. The above two links are the submissions for 2009 and 2010 respectively. Go watch them and you will know what you're defending!

Pro Alien Party said...

Dear Lim Zi Rui,
I know what I'm defending. I am defending Singapore against PAP traitors! And I am doing this because I, a Singaporean, deserve the best! Nothing but the best!

But of course, some of our balls-licking countrymen prefer PAP - the Pro Alien Party. This is the PAP 2010 election advertisement, specially for such ball-lickers. Go watch it. After watching, you will vote for the Pro Alien Party too :)

Kojakbt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kojakbt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kojakbt said...

You guys might want to read this on TR too: SM Goh: Why should I be working for people who don’t feel they belong over here?

There is a big heated response towards SM Goh's comments. Looks like SM Goh hits a raw nerve...

Ghost said...

There's a good reason why SM Goh was caught 'off guard'. Anyone who being to one of these Ministerial Forum dialog session knows that only softballs are thrown at the ministers. SM Goh would not have expected this from a brave (and stupid) young man.

Anonymous said...

The papist pigs have grown fat and complacent. They have degenerated to no idea-kids. They have lost their way. They are so disconnected from the lives of ordinary Singaporeans. Time for CHANGE. Time to kick out the papist pigs.

Anonymous said...

Pretty obvious GCT directed question back to Lim Zi Rui shows up that GCT "primary" priority is working for "non-singaporeans" and "remaining" priorities for him-self and his "peanuts" wife.

It is happening...question is...what are we [excepting those lonw-lifes who are pro-pap and who always like to compare singapore with 3rd world countries to justify these real losers existence] going to do about it...

What can we do...

The closed pot is boiling...at the rate we are going...when it blows...it is gonna be really bad.

Sad.

Anonymous said...

Well you can defend Sentosa Cove where the rich Indonesian,China,Indians etc leeches live in their multi million home.......

Kojakbt said...

>> Well you can defend Sentosa Cove where the rich Indonesian,China,Indians etc leeches live in their multi million home.......

And sometimes with dead PRCs there too...

Anonymous said...

@ 1st nov 9.54:
When I came back from Shenzhen 5 years ago and between jobs, saw my white horse MP at Pioneer to see what he can do for me. He and his assistants basically told me to "be realistic" and take on any jobs which include cleaning for his Town Council. I dun mind a cleaner's job, but how to support 3 school going children with sgd 900? They depressed the wages too low for a typical Singaporean to be able to do that and remain financially independant of those gov $ assistance. And then we were told we are too picky. Aern't our landlords contributing to our "uncompetitiveness"? dt

Anonymous said...

Poor response from SM Goh. He must be shocked to hear that our young are not willing to defend foreigners anymore.

Anonymous said...

I completed my NS liabilities. So did my son. We did not have any agreement to defend FTs. We will defend Singapore and Singaporeans. Even if it is against FTs and flawed policies which are against Singaporeans. dt

Anonymous said...

@Von Hayek 1/11/10 09:47
We do not have sub prime trouble is because our citizen are hardworking, responsible and have high saving rate.
----------------------------------

Actually Singapore HAS sub-prime. It is called CPF. Unlike the sub-prime mortgage loans in the west, the creditors of CPF are not big banks or big countries, but instead ordinary Sinkies. That's why PAPies can simply flip us the bird and continue with the CPF sub-prime ponzi scheme. Becoz PAPies can suka suka change the terms & conditions and take their own sweet time to return CPF money to us, if they ever return anything at all. That's why PAPies keep changing the goal posts for CPF withdrawal, becoz it is a freaking black hole, dunno got enough money or not!

The figures you see in your CPF statement is just like the bank statements that investors got for their minibonds, pinnacle notes and high notes. Look nice on paper only. They are just empty numbers stored on computer harddisks. Just auto-generate statement every 6 months to make you happy.

In a few years time, CPF will impose the following goal posts if you want to withdraw your CPF money:-
1. You must be over 70 yrs old.
2. You must keep $300,000 in the CPF. This $300K is the minimum sum and will be used for CPF Life. You only can take out the portion above this $300K.

Every year, PAPies are actually increasing #1 and #2 above.

Anonymous said...

SM Goh: Just think of NET happiness...hahahah

Anonymous said...

Goh Chok Tong asked why should he be working 'working for the people'?

Me never came across any Singaporeans who ever said GCT was/is working for them. In fact, it is quite common to hear SINGAPOREANS ASKING GCT TO QUIT NOT JUST HIS POST, TO QUIT SINGAPORE AS WELL. So, was he ever needed? The Answer WAS obvious whence Singaporeans called him 'seat warmer' decade ago.

Singaporeans not only felt that GCT was overpriced, all his cabinet colleagues too are costing Singaporeans too much.

Our Leaders liked to intimidate those that dared query them unrehearsed, in the hope that others will not dare to probe further, me thinks. Those were the days of Confusious, my frens!

To cut it short, it is not too late for Goh Chok Tong to retire and stay in Sin to see for himself if Singapore will sink without him.

Is he willing to test himself?

patriot

Anonymous said...

Regarding the $70K New York rubbish collector, when I was staying in the UK in some freaking small one-horse town, my local town council rubbish collector was earning about S$3000/mth basic pay + pension + free medical benefits. Those working in big cities like London earn about 50% more.
I actually wanted to join up, join their guild, sign up for their local ITE courses (which can be quite cheap after bursaries etc). But too bad, the guild told me quite frankly that they prioritise for their true-blue citizens, especially those with lower education.

Jezebella said...

“This is your country,” SM Goh replied. “What do you want me to do to make you feel you belong?”

-----------

Should have replied: "That's what your $2 million annual salary is for - coming out with solutions to solve our problems."

Anonymous said...

I think SM Goh just flung his appraisal by all his potential voters. If voters don't feel where they belong, you aint'g gonna get elected! And the best part, he is disinterested in his job, so resign!!!

DanielXX said...

people who don't understand the CPF system should just stop yakking about it. in my view CPF system is exactly like how a bank operates. you have depositors with long-term deposits, these deposits are used to invest for higher rates of return. the system is as good as the confidence people have in its working. if people start to doubt it, you will then have a bank run because assets held are illiquid and can only handle small withdrawals at any one time.

the problem will come when the investments made are poor and fail to yield good returns. but to claim it is insolvent is bordering on trying to spread rumours to spark a bank run.

you can be imprisoned for it.

Anonymous said...

When you place money with a bank or some financial institution e.g. insurance company, you expect to be able to take out your money according to the original terms & conditions. E.g. for liquid current account it should be anytime as long got ATM. For less liquid money such as fixed deposit, you expect to get your money at the agreed time period e.g. 1 year later, and with X% as compensation. Imagine your bank telling you, sorry cannot pay back, need another 1 more year can? And with less interest also can?

With CPF, you have constant changing in the terms & conditions. So far all the changes are designed to make it harder & harder for you to withdraw your CPF money when you are old. E.g. you can only take out the amount that is more than the minimum sum (currently $123K). Or if you're 55 and above, if you sell your property, you need to deposit back into CPF your property sales to make up the minimum sum.

In the real world, if a bank or a country wants to change the terms & conditions to pay back creditors money, this is an actual occurence of financial default, and creditors are empowered to declare the bank or country bankrupt to force repayment of assets. Most recently this was seen with Dubai and with Greece. Both Dubai and Greece had to restructure their loans and repayment timelines, with higher interest rates. Most creditors luckily agreed in order not to cause additional world-wide financial credit shock and worsen the situation.

In CPF case, how come they keep pushing away the drawdown age and other criteria to take out CPF? You ask yourself, who put in more money into CPF --- you or your parents? You right?!? So by right, CPF should have much more & more money over the years as the next generation earns more and contributes more CPF. But how come your parents can easily withdraw their rightful CPF money, while you will have damn hard time?

Govt say now people live longer. So all your parents who can withdraw their CPF all live short life, all die before 70 yr old?!? Bullshit right? Anyway, how long you think your current generation can live? 100 yrs old? 110 yrs old?

Before you act yahyah and put people into jail, you better get CPF to openly show all their books and accounts, their liabilities, their investments, their projected returns and actual performance vetted by independent 3rd parties.

Anonymous said...

You can't have a bank run because you simply can't take out your CPF monies.

How to run?!

CPF is an empty shell. Period. That's why they keep devising schemes to let you take money from right hand to put to left hand. As long as it doesn' get out, you can't say money is not there.

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

What if all our CPF investment make lotsa monies?

I bet it will only make Singaporean more miserable. People like Liew Mun Leong or other bosses of GLC, sovereign fund will get to brag that they are talent. Hence, they will then raise their salary to billions.

Not 1 cent will benefit us.

What if our CPF lost all their monies? Then Singaporean will lost their pension, while those cronies still get a fat pay check.

In short, head I win, tail I win, head Singaporean lose their pants, tail Singaporean lost their pants.

Anonymous said...

daniel xx

cpf and bank got diff

bank got various counter parties, creditors, and the bank most of the time cannot impose conditions to disallow withdrawal

whereas this CPF, its creditors are you, me, and ah kong, ah ma, gov can do all magiks in so that you cannot withdraw

to you CPF works like a bank

i think otherwise, it looks more like a ponzi scheme

basically, you have very limitted access to the money you owned

they need not to be accountable, need not to disclose on how they manage your $$$, need not show thier liabilities, they can simply defer payment to the creditors anytime, and this is not a bank how a bank works

frustrated

Kojakbt said...

When Goh Chok Tong was still a kid studying in school, his teacher one day asked him in class:

Teacher: Chok Tong, please stand up. Answer me. What is 1 + 1?

Goh Chok Tong: Sir, but 1 - 1 is zero.

Teacher: WTF !!?

Anonymous said...

when i went around looking for a resale flat near my mom flat, sellers are mostly PRs from developing world, not Sg Citizens.

Anonymous said...

To better reflect PAP's core value it might be more appropriate for them to rename the party to 移民行动党!

Anonymous said...

To better reflect PAP's core value it might be more appropriate for them to rename the party to
移民行动党!

moses said...

I have to applaud some of the replies made by SM Goh. In fact, they surprise me coming from someone within the establishment, especially the things about home and a sense of belonging.

Firstly, I don't think he meant building your home in a sense that only has to do with the construction industry. I think it's stupid that Singaporeans aren't able to see what made their home that which they recognise today. Can you conceive of Singapore without its housing blocks, shopping malls and infrastructure? SM Goh just offered a good critique of Singapore's fundamentally materialistic social identity - it is derived from continuous economic expansion, for which the importing of foreign talent is necessary in the PAP's eyes. The PAP may be mistaken, but we aren't exactly debating the its economic policies. We're just whining that the nanny state is not as attentively feeding us as it used to.

Ditto about our individual identities as Singaporeans. Why you are looking to the government to create a sense of identity for you? We should be fighting the imposition of identity that has been done over the years with things like NS and NDP!

No, my friends, don't be deluded. We are not standing up for ourselves here. We are merely crying because the PAP is not fully treating us like children anymore. Instead of crying about the good old days and evil foreigners coming to ruin our social contract, maybe we should be looking to reform our social contract. We should be tearing down the paternalistic structures so that we can fully assume our position as citizens. But, no, we whine cluelessly about things like this on the blogosphere. No wonder the politicians look down on us.

Anonymous said...

talking about liew mun leong and many other GLC bosses, i don't think they are worth what shareholders are paying them. I mean, what's so risky sitting on the ceo throne when all the deals are sealed with GTG nego and host country's G's blessing. It is carzy to pay liew mun leong 20 million bonus.

We are Singapore. We are not Morgan stanley or goldman sachs.

Anonymous said...

many people already cannot find job a job when they r in their 40s, and u ask them to work until 60?
Is it out of touch?
Do u think the older people would hv the sense of belonging?

DanielXX said...

my suggestion to some of you is to go play Civilization and then understand why society has evolved the way it has. sometimes it is about reconciling limited resources and the unlimited needs of people.

Anonymous said...

To give credit to the 66% of the voters, how about:
禺民行动党

Anonymous said...

My suggestion to DanielXX is to stop playing computer games and childishly thinking that the game applies to real life. Get into the real world - the real SINGAPORE world, where it is about reconciling VAST govt resources (sg has one of the highest reserves per capita in the world) with BASIC needs of citizens (such as basic unemployment and health welfare needs). Did your computer game tell you those real life things in parenthesis that I wrote above? Clearly not. So, wake up from your computer game's virtual world and get real. If you don't know the reality of Singapore politics, you should go back to playing computer games instead of talking cock here.

Anonymous said...

Moses,
Treating citizens first before foreigners is NOT "treating us like children".

Treating citizens first before foreigners is NOT "crying about the good old days".

We do NOT need to reform our social contract to one which treat citizens last, after giving preferential treatment to foreigners.

Treating citizens first before foreigners is NOT "paternalistic structures".

You want us to "fully assume our position as citizens" and yet claimed that expecting citizens to be treated first before foreigners is behaving like children...

Stop talking cock.
All citizens of all countries have the right to expect to be treated first before foreigners and that's not behaving like children...

Go talk cock to yourself. ZZZz

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is called Pro Alien Party, aka 捧外党

见人厌
不聊生
若狗彘
荡不安
邪陷正

Anonymous said...

@ Moses:
I read the PAP, SDP, WP and other alternative media sites as well as some articulate bloggers like Yawning Bread, MB, etc. Suggest you find some time to do the same. Netizens and citizens are not clueless whinners. And they certainly are NOT daft. If the PAP maintains its rigid stand, it is very likely that some MPs may lose their seats in the next election. Even GRCs with twin ministars may not carry through. In fact, I would hazard a guess that some ministars will actually become a liability to the team. So better to put them in single wards. Dun take my word for it, watch the next GE and see for yourself if Singaporeans are as what u think. dt

Anonymous said...

Moses is a nice kid,that is all I have to say,but grow up man!

Anonymous said...

@15:22:
You got it right on. Why are we having FWs doing these cleaning work? We simply refuse to admit that it IS because of depressed wages. Any road sweeper paid half of usd 70 can live a decent live in Singapore. And I wouldn't mind too. But we were told we have to keep it low at sgd 800 to 1k. Can I decently raise a family of wife and 3 kids with this pay? Why can't we pay our cleaners like the new yorker, Australia, Japan, Brunei, Hong Kong cleaners? What does Lim Swee Say mean when he said we'll become "uncompetitive"? Are our politician's pay, Liew Mun Leong's pay competitive? Let's not begrudge them of their millions, but lets not deprive our own local born Singaporeans of their right to a decent life simply because they are powerless and not as articulate. I advocate top dollars for top talents, a minimun decent wage for local Singaporeans doing these "lower end" jobs and a cessation to the influx of cheaper foreigners replacing us. dt

Anonymous said...

DanielXX is talking cock about the CPF being like a bank.
What a morron.

Anonymous said...

If you bothered to check out that shithead Moses' website called cogni-sans, you will quickly find that he's one of those PAP highfalutin scholars in UK who has a blog full of ridiculously theoretical, pedantically unrealistic musings.

Judging from the rubbish he spouts, he's a kid in Oxford reading PPE. I know, because I did the same (without PAP sucking Sinkies' blood to pay for it).

This guy will never grow up. He will come back and be praised as a mini-god (civil servant scholar). He will live in a world of his own, commuting between his workplace and his parents' GCB and the CSC (Civil Service Club) in Dempsey.

Anonymous said...

If you bothered to check out that shithead Moses' website called cogni-sans, you will quickly find that he's one of those PAP highfalutin scholars in UK who has a blog full of ridiculously theoretical, pedantically unrealistic musings.


YES I READ THE BLOG. IT GIVES ME A BIG HEADACHE, JUST LIKE WHEN I READ STRAITS TIME. MOST ARE JUST POSION COATED CANDIES..YES PAP NEED THIS TALENT TO NUMB THE LESSER MORTALS AND INNOCENTS.

Anonymous said...

Mr Goh is no fool, no doubt about that. I think Lim Zi Rui is a softball too but even softballs ask this type of questions, it just show the sentiment among singaporeans

Anonymous said...

MediaCorp likes to subject Singaporeans to full video recordings of LKY or Lee Hsien Loong's foreign interviews or public forums with young Singaporeans. Why not do the same with Goh Chok Tong? Let Singaporeans see for themselves how Goh handles the NTU students' questions, so that they know what type of a person Goh is. MediaCorp can play this video twice a day for one week.....

Anonymous said...

"It is carzy to pay liew mun leong 20 million bonus.

We are Singapore. We are not Morgan stanley or goldman sachs."

It is the same as selling liverpool to an ah beng billionaire made in sg. right time, right place, right connection in which plenty of easy money keep coming in do not make an English duke out of you.

moses said...

Guys, you are really missing the point. And have you heard of ad hominem attacks? They're not a good sign of the strength of your position.

Whatever is in my blog does not matter at all here. I'm just saying that all these complaints belie the real issue of our need to take back our agency and stop looking to the government to create our home for us. I'm also saying that we shouldn't get sidetracked into a pseudo-xenophobic discussion about immigration. Many European countries (yeah, I'm there so I know, right?) are getting mired in this precise situation and it basically only allows the disaffected to expend their energy on something that won't help them. They can restrict immigration, but it won't solve the fundamental problems in their society.

Anyway, it's funny that one of those who profess to be anti-PAP here is parroting the very criticism that LKY made of some dissenter a while ago - that he is "highfalutin". Irony? I don't think so. I think it shows what kind strategies are employed in political debate in the Singaporean public sphere - it's a back-and-forth smear campaign.

Essentially, the root of the problem is not immigration. It's the fact that we have been patronised all along by the government. How are you even going to debate the issue of immigration or of social safety nets properly when the government holds all the cards? And our own culture, mentality and method of opposition are contributing to this. We ourselves are guilty for letting this continue.

Anonymous said...

Moses,

What then is the root of the problem that we are facing? Or is there any problem at all?

Sometimes, in life, it is difficult to analyse things so discreetly and separately. To a certain extent, I think the world actually runs on emotions, intuition and gut feel.

The guy said 'sentiments' and many of us, ordinary folks, have no access to so called evidence or data or statistics to make informed or objective decisions. In the business world, a lot of decisions are made on intuition and gut feel because by the time you have the information to make the decision, most probably it will be lost or some other circumstances would have occured.

I concurred with the young man. I cannot explain or back up my sentiments with data and statistics. But as mentioned in this blog before, life is full of alternative solutions and therefore results in different outcomes. There is no best outcome in the sense the yardstick for comparison will be different. Thus, the only way to assess most of the time is how we feel.

Anonymous said...

Immigration is not the root of the problem, but is still is part of the problem, and this is just going to grow bigger like a cyst, and a bad one as it is not taken care of.

Anonymous said...

Lim needs to get married and apply for HDB then maybe there is something for him to defend.

Anonymous said...

If some of you can go back when polis wore kakis, you would have recognized a miracle.

moses said...

I did mention the root of the problem. Basically, I believe what many Singaporeans also believe - that our democracy is dysfunctional. You know why the government never listens to you? Because it never really had to.

I think the reason might be that we are engaging in politics of wish-fulfilment. We look to the government to fulfil our wants and needs, and we give it pretty much a free hand as long as it can do this. That may sound pretty normal, but that's also why we're so easily duped. By 2012 the PAP would've come up with some bones to toss our way. And I think the majority of us would lap it all up and vote them back in as always. Who really holds the power (whether it's bureaucrats, politicians or the people) never really mattered to us. And what if the opposition takes power but fails to deliver? Do we just go running back to the PAP?

Another probable cause is our method of opposition. I think that those of us who are seriously opposed to the system are always being set back by the black sheep, the people who choose to get into mudslinging contests with the PAP. You won't ever win and that's a good way to ensure that you don't get much respect. Adults who can't engage with others like adults will be treated like children.

To be fair, it's not entirely our fault. Our mentality is the product of the system. But that's all in the past. In the past, the government justified all the controls because of the need to develop. Now that we have developed to a large extent, pretty much the same system is still kept around in the name of continued economic growth. When will this stop? That is the question today, and only we can come up with the answer.

Anonymous said...

The old LCP argues on "what" he is "fighting" for.
U may "win" the arguments with all kinds of "excuses", but u may eventually loss even more hearts!!

What a Waste of People's Money said...

"SM Goh just offered a good critique of Singapore's fundamentally materialistic social identity - it is derived from continuous economic expansion, for which the importing of foreign talent is necessary in the PAP's eyes."

Aw, dear Moses, you do try so hard to apply a sugar coating over GCT's words. GCT had thot he cld throw that kind of lame excuse and win the argument with a kid. There were plenty of chances for GCT to further explain along your fake lines if he really meant like you said.

Moses, you read too much. Go and put in an honest day's of work as a road sweeper/construction worker and you will see why these people are exploited in Singapore but not in truly First-World countries.

Hum Yee Fan Sang said...

http://humyeefansang.blogspot.com/2010/11/open-letter-to-lim-rui-zi-singaporean.html

Anonymous said...

RE Hum Yee Fan Sang

Below is from Hum Yee Fan Sang's blog
//////////////
Dear Mr. Lim,(Zi Rui)

You are a university student right? Here's a quote for you.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

You have no fucking idea what is it like to live in another country worse off than Singapore.

You are one of those lazy Singapore morons I meet every day. Yes, I AM an FT. And if Singapore is in peril, I will defend it, ON YOUR BEHALF. How's that sound?

You fucking piece of shit. Even Nigeria doesn't want you.
//////////////

While PAP keeps accusing Singaporean of xenophobic, I think the truth is the other way round. The foreign talent has been discriminating Singaporean.

That FT serve not 1 day in SAF, has the guts to accuse Lim Zi Rui (an officer in army) being lazy and moron.

Why has such things happened? Its because PAP wants it to happen. PAP wants the eventually enslavement of Singaporean by foreigners.

Anonymous said...

"SM Goh just offered a good critique of Singapore's fundamentally materialistic social identity - it is derived from continuous economic expansion, for which the importing of foreign talent is necessary in the PAP's eyes."

So if we didn't have the economic expansion, and by derivative, we don't have a "materialistic social identity", then you would be happy?

"Why has such things happened? Its because PAP wants it to happen. PAP wants the eventually enslavement of Singaporean by foreigners."

If that happens, foreign masters enslaving all Singaporeans, wouldn't that mean the end of PAP government? Or you mean the government colludes with all these foreigners to enslave Singaporeans? But the government, according to some, are already doing a good job, why need the help of foreigners?

Anonymous said...

Why are PAP and their cronies importing foreigners in masses?

Very simple.

GIC Losses about 50 billion http://www.asiaone.com/Business/News/My%2BMoney/Story/A1Story20090217-122672.html

2 Years of Temasek Growth Wiped out in Months
http://www.asiaone.com/Business/News/My%2BMoney/Story/A1Story20090211-121201.html

I dunno how much 1 billion is until I checked the internet. fyi, 1 billion is equal to 1000 million. In other words GIC has lost 50,000 times 1 million of our money. Since we already have 5 million people (nevermind the proportion of foreigners to locals, PAP just want workhorses to pay off their debts), each person has to shoulder SGD 50,000 that GIC has burnt during the US subprime crisis.

When exactly was the floodgate open to foreigners? I believe it was in end 2008 or early 2009, about the same time that they got their fingers burnt. SO they decided to use brute force to mass import foreigners to increase GDP quickly. LHL has the 'foresight' to commission the building of 2 casinos back a few years back (in 2004??) so the 2 casinos fall quickly into place and start to become revenue-generating machines.

But that is still not enough to fill up the gaping hole of the losses incurred by GIC. So they tightened the supply of public housing, created a make-believe phenomenon of increasing property value, and lured everybody into believing that SG is so prosperous that investing in a 700k HDB flat is the best investment that one could ever make. So they are trying all means to fill up the gaping black hole of GIC, whether it is through HDB, ERP or CPF. Whatever it is, it will take years and years before they could recoup their losses.

Our CPF is not in safe hands, it is just on paper. You see it, but it is not there. At least 2 years of our hard-earned money has already been squandered by PAP. Get it???

Anonymous said...

Sorry, 50 billion divide by 5 million, that should be SGD10,000 to be shouldered for every single person who is now breathing Singapore air.

Bear in mind if you deduct school-going kids, old folks, maids, bangla workers and all others who dun work and pay tax, maybe its around 2.5 million, that means by hook or by crook, PAP has to fleece at least SGD20,000 from each one of us to make good its losses from GIC.

Just my humble hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

"Our CPF is not in safe hands, it is just on paper. You see it, but it is not there. At least 2 years of our hard-earned money has already been squandered by PAP. Get it???"

Give up your citizenship and ask for your CPF. If they have nothing to offer you then come back here.

Anonymous said...

"Just my humble hypothesis."

Source? Heresay doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

Hey the one above, cannot read english huh? he already said hypothesis, u still ask for source??

Btw, its not all hearsay lar, the 50Billion and 2 years wealth squandered is in Straits Times link lar!

moses said...

Um, Anon, the point is if we weren't so materialistic maybe we wouldn't be so entranced by the PAP's perpetual dangling of economic incentives in exchange for our acquiescence to the system.

And if we do want to continue selling our souls for new shopping malls, then at least we should argue why importing lots of foreign talent is not necessary for continued economic expansion under the present socio-economic structure. Don't simply complain that the PAP doesn't care about citizens' rights or something. You don't really have rights without a functioning democracy.

Anonymous said...

"Hey the one above, cannot read english huh? he already said hypothesis, u still ask for source??"

A hypothesis is a proposition based on something. If it is based on what you hear in your local kopi tiam, it has less value, say, then for sound, logical reasoning based on some facts.

I am asking for those facts.

"Btw, its not all hearsay lar, the 50Billion and 2 years wealth squandered is in Straits Times link lar!"

Squandered as in, they have written off those losses or were they still on their books currently and has market come back in their favor?

Kojakbt said...

>> I am asking for those facts.

Fact is, Lee Kuan Yew's daughter-in-law has lost large amount of our money through Temasek Holding's investment and she is still the CEO there. Nobody ever takes responsibility.

Contrast this with fund managers in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

"Fact is, Lee Kuan Yew's daughter-in-law has lost large amount of our money through Temasek Holding's investment and she is still the CEO there. Nobody ever takes responsibility."

You have to define 'lost'. If you are saying there should have been stop-losses. There must be some triggers to prevent such steep paper losses from occurring in the first place, then yes, it was not only her, it is the entire senior management who has to answer.

But those were paper losses. Guess where is Temasek's book value today?

"Contrast this with fund managers in the private sector."

What do you know about fund managers in the private sector? Many are non performing, and they are still in business.

Anonymous said...

"Um, Anon, the point is if we weren't so materialistic maybe we wouldn't be so entranced by the PAP's perpetual dangling of economic incentives in exchange for our acquiescence to the system."

Wanting to live better is a legit aim. Question is, is that aim driving government towards quality or as you suggested, government is using a legit aim to bait the public for some assumed agenda.

"And if we do want to continue selling our souls for new shopping malls, then at least we should argue why importing lots of foreign talent is not necessary for continued economic expansion under the present socio-economic structure."

I struggle to understand why you need to put the two together. Why is there a need to say things like wanting newer or bigger malls has anything to do with having to sell one's soul?

The policy of importing foreigners or recruiting foreigners has its own arguments. If we cannot replace ourselves sufficiently, and we then cannot grow the economy and increase our standard of living quickly enough, then you will shoot the govt for under performing? Or, in our globalized world, if we maintain at 3.2million people and don't engage in getting talent, then what sort of benefits and deficiencies do you foresee?

"Don't simply complain that the PAP doesn't care about citizens' rights or something. You don't really have rights without a functioning democracy."

Who was more democratic? David Marshall or LKY? Where would we be today if a very ‘democratic’ leader had been elected in the 50s?

What do you want from a 'functioning democracy'? Is there any true democracy at all? Elitism exist side by side in democratic countries. They too have their shining beacons on white horses. They have a class of royal/blue blood. They can say what they want but they can't be more significant than the lobbies funded by rich selfish interests.

At the very least, differentiate. It’s an opinion, that we won’t be here today without a benevolent emperor. Going forward, we won’t be the same without another benevolent emperor. Would ‘true democracy’, if there is ever one, work for a city state like ours? What if the rich has a bigger say through their lobby, and their views contradicts yours. And you can’t be heard, would you still embrace ‘true democracy’?

Anonymous said...

"Um, Anon, the point is if we weren't so materialistic maybe we wouldn't be so entranced by the PAP's perpetual dangling of economic incentives in exchange for our acquiescence to the system."

Wanting to live better is a legit aim. Question is, is that aim driving government towards quality or as you suggested, government is using a legit aim to bait the public for some assumed agenda.

"And if we do want to continue selling our souls for new shopping malls, then at least we should argue why importing lots of foreign talent is not necessary for continued economic expansion under the present socio-economic structure."

I struggle to understand why you need to put the two together. Why is there a need to say things like wanting newer or bigger malls has anything to do with having to sell one's soul?

The policy of importing foreigners or recruiting foreigners has its own arguments. If we cannot replace ourselves sufficiently, and we then cannot grow the economy and increase our standard of living quickly enough, then you will shoot the govt for under performing? Or, in our globalized world, if we maintain at 3.2million people and don't engage in getting talent, then what sort of benefits and deficiencies do you foresee?

"Don't simply complain that the PAP doesn't care about citizens' rights or something. You don't really have rights without a functioning democracy."

Who was more democratic? David Marshall or LKY? Where would we be today if a very ‘democratic’ leader had been elected in the 50s?

What do you want from a 'functioning democracy'? Is there any true democracy at all? Elitism exist side by side in democratic countries. They too have their shining beacons on white horses. They have a class of royal/blue blood. They can say what they want but they can't be more significant than the lobbies funded by rich selfish interests.

Anonymous said...

Moses

'You don't really have rights without a functioning democracy.'

ermm...You don't have f***ing rights with a DEMON-cracy like the Lee Dynasty.

moses said...

Read what I said about the politics of wish-fulfilment. It's precisely my point that democracy cannot guarantee that you meet your desired material goals, especially those that perpetually set higher bars to reach. However, what it does guarantee is that we have a say and that we as a people run our country. It's strange that the PAP promotes home ownership, knowing what it means (helping us BUY OUR OWN living space as a base for building our households), but not national ownership. Well, actually it's not that strange - the PAP wants us to be tied to the land but not in control of the country.

The kind of view that the Anon before the last has is what makes us captives of the system. You want rights and you want to be heard, but you won't take the necessary risks to make your country your own. Democracy is too materially risky, you say, we need a "benevolent emperor". What this, the Qing Dynasty?

No democracy in this world is perfect, but there are those that far better than ours, if it could be called democracy at all. No matter what evasive answers you give about the necessity of democracy, nothing changes the fact that it is what enables the people to govern themselves. If you don't want it, then you can't really cry when you are ignored by the ruling power. You only have yourselves to blame.

Material interests are legitimate interests, but not when you run away with them and forget everything else. Now that times are not so good people are complaining about being squeezed. That's perfectly valid. But what about when times were good? Did we care about how things are done? I don't think so. And so when times get tough, the PAP has every reason to call us out on our fickle-mindedness if we moan and weep. Either we give the PAP a free hand or we don't. A period relative hardship is not going to cause the party to lose its ironclad mandate. Basically, since we don't want democracy, we just have to suck it up now.

Anonymous said...

"However, what it does guarantee is that we have a say and that we as a people run our country. It's strange that the PAP promotes home ownership, knowing what it means (helping us BUY OUR OWN living space as a base for building our households), but not national ownership. Well, actually it's not that strange - the PAP wants us to be tied to the land but not in control of the country."

Are you making some kinda assumption that we have ‘OUR OWN’ living space to begin with?

"The kind of view that the Anon before the last has is what makes us captives of the system. You want rights and you want to be heard, but you won't take the necessary risks to make your country your own."

You’re making a lot of assumptions. ‘Captives of the system’ is catchy, but what do you mean precisely? If one accepts the status quo and have no complaints, and the fella don’t necessary subscribe to the western ideal of ‘democracy’, he wouldn’t be a ‘captive’, would he? And what ‘risks’ are necessary if you don’t feel you have the country in your pocket?

"Democracy is too materially risky, you say, we need a "benevolent emperor". What this, the Qing Dynasty?"

Please show me where did I say we 'need' a benevolent emperor? Where did I even suggest that ‘democracy is too materially risky’?

For better or worse, the Chinese dynasties have lasted thousands of years, a lot more than current state of democracy. Both have their pros and cons.

You may also use ‘what this, democracy?’ to every so-called democratic country on the planet.

"No democracy in this world is perfect, but there are those that far better than ours, if it could be called democracy at all."

When you make comparisons, calling it 'better', then you must have a benchmark.

What is it?

"No matter what evasive answers you give about the necessity of democracy, nothing changes the fact that it is what enables the people to govern themselves."

I don't give 'evasive answers'. I make my statements quite clear. We are been governed by ourselves, you just don't count those who voted PAP as 'people'. Think about this one for a sec.

"If you don't want it, then you can't really cry when you are ignored by the ruling power. You only have yourselves to blame."

So-called democratic govts do ignore the outcries of the public. They attempt at cover ups. They muzzle info. They have water-boarding. The have spies. They have nuclear weapons. They have the ability to tell smaller countries what to do.

Btw, there is no need to go crying to any govt if you don't make the mistake of tying your future and outcomes to the govt. All you need to do is to take personal responsibility a bit more seriously.

"Material interests are legitimate interests, but not when you run away with them and forget everything else."

That is just one of the many assumptions you make, the part following 'but'.

"Now that times are not so good people are complaining about being squeezed. That's perfectly valid. But what about when times were good? Did we care about how things are done? I don't think so.
And so when times get tough, the PAP has every reason to call us out on our fickle-mindedness if we moan and weep. Either we give the PAP a free hand or we don't. A period relative hardship is not going to cause the party to lose its ironclad mandate. Basically, since we don't want democracy, we just have to suck it up now."

Glad you used the word 'mandate'. Hope you respect the choices behind it.

evelyn said...

When GCT said "This is your country,” , “What do you want me to do to make you feel you belong?”

He is not literally or merely asking then what he should do ,he is probing perhaps rest of singapore esp young s'poreans, maybe we ourselves need questions ourselves, and to play a part to do something abt being part of singapore . We are taking things for granted.

moses said...

So, Anon. There's plenty more that I could say in response to you, and there are indeed benchmarks for democracy. It's not all a blur as you try to make it out to be in your attempt to justify authoritarianism. I recommend reading Amartya Sen, for one, to get some insights on that.

However, I don't think there's much point in me discussing it here with someone so obviously steeped in the PAP ideology. Why would you believe a commenter on the blogosphere? It's perfectly understandable, and which is why I recommend that you read Sen.

Nevertheless, let me just leave you with one more comment. If what you're saying is that we should respect the near-unconditional mandate given by the people to the PAP, then you just eliminated most reasons for many of the same people to be complaining now. It will simply come down to the 2012 election, and I don't think it's at all a bold claim to say that PAP will win a vast majority of the seats. Basically, the cycle continues. We don't make choices without consequences, and obvious consequences are obvious.

Anonymous said...

"So, Anon. There's plenty more that I could say in response to you, and there are indeed benchmarks for democracy."

If you can't begin to name one, you're just making motherhood statements.

"It's not all a blur as you try to make it out to be in your attempt to justify authoritarianism."

You keep making all these unjustified statements. I make what things blur? I made statements. I ask questions that go unanswered.

I do not attempt to justify authoritarianism. I am firstly stating a fact that we have a benvolent emperor. It is an empirical observation. I am thankful that it worked. Going forward, due to the nature of the system, we cannot survive without another benevolent emperor. Do I want the current system to continue? Actually no, since it is inherently risky to expect another clever, benevolent emperor.

What about the alternatives? Can western democracy work? To which, you can't even name a single benchmark. All you did was to unreasonably assume many positions that I've taken without you even attempting to justify why you think democracy will work.

"I recommend reading Amartya Sen, for one, to get some insights on that."

I have read excerpts of Sen many years ago. He offered some stats on how democracies do not go hungry or something. But let's not go there, you can log on and view all the British parliamentary debates in the House of Commons and tell me what good has it done in avoiding it's current economic malaise.

"However, I don't think there's much point in me discussing it here with someone so obviously steeped in the PAP ideology."

Again another assumption. Yes I admire LKY. I lived in a little wooden hut that baked me by day and froze me by night. Over a single generation, we are reasonably at peace and prosperous. There is enough grounds to be thankful to LKY and his team.

If that is what you mean by PAP ideology than I stand guilty as charged.

But what is PAP ideology anyway?

"Why would you believe a commenter on the blogosphere? It's perfectly understandable, and which is why I recommend that you read Sen."

It doesn't matter if you're a blogger, just try not to make so many assumptions.

"Nevertheless, let me just leave you with one more comment. If what you're saying is that we should respect the near-unconditional mandate given by the people to the PAP, then you just eliminated most reasons for many of the same people to be complaining now."

If you don't respect the mandate, then you just shot yourself in the foot since the majority voted for this government. Unless of course you're saying there is no democracy and that the majority participated in a farce. Now what happens if the next election sees big gains by the opposition at the polls, would you then still say there is no democracy? Or there is only democracy if the current govt is voted out?

And you're wrong to suggest somehow that accepting mandate necessitates that one stops complaining.

If you are careful, I am asking the reasons, the rationale, the basis of your complaints. We can all be partisan and make motherhood statements. Or try to palm the responsibility to some authors. But that would save you from articulating the facts of the case?

Anonymous said...

""It will simply come down to the 2012 election, and I don't think it's at all a bold claim to say that PAP will win a vast majority of the seats. Basically, the cycle continues. We don't make choices without consequences, and obvious consequences are obvious."

Do we really know the consequences of our choices? When Obama was running for prez, it was as lobsided as it could get as Bush was vilified and denigrated. The Democrats were looking for decades in power. Things were going to change in Washington. There was audacity in the air. An intelligent man was going to upset the status quo and restore dignity and justice to the system.

So what happened?

moses said...

Anon, I don't think you know what 'assumption' means, judging by how you are consistently using the word.

Also, instead of asking for some kind of quantification for everything, which is naturally difficult to do given this particular medium and the time one can reasonably be expected to spend on it, why don't you try and refute my argument through reasoning? Trying to reduce everything to empirical questions is not only boring, it turns debate into a virtually directionless exercise in research work.

I've already given you a source you can peruse for more details on benchmarks for democracy. Now tell me why I'm wrong in stating that in a system with a near-unconditional mandate, where hardly any room is therefore left for dissent, people would naturally be often ignored by the government. And tell me why I'm mistaken to say that the only way to change this is to have a more democratic system, regardless of the demonstrable merits of democracy in the West. I don't even need to make a normative assertion there. The basic argument is a plain logical one.

Anonymous said...

That, by itself, is another assumption. I don’t just make motherhood statements:
1. When you said “helping us BUY OUR OWN living space as a base for building our households”, is there an assumption that we have OUR OWN living space to begin with?
2. “The kind of view that the Anon before the last has is what makes us captives of the system. You want rights and you want to be heard, but you won't take the necessary risks to make your country your own.” What kind of view do I have that is holding me ‘captive’? How do you even begin to say I won’t take risks or that I feel the country is not my own? Do I even want to own this country?
3. “Democracy is too materially risky, you say, we need a “benevolent emperor”. “Where did I say any of the above?
4. “No matter what evasive answers you give about the necessity of democracy, nothing changes the fact that it is what enables the people to govern themselves.” Which part of my answer is ‘evasive’? How is it possible to be evasive when you can’t name one country that is practicing democracy to your liking? And we are been governed by ourselves. You just don’t count those who voted PAP as ‘people’.
5. “It’s not all a blur as you try to make it out to be in your attempt to justify authoritarianism.” When did I ‘justify’ authoritarianism?
6. “However, I don't think there’s much point in me discussing it here with someone so obviously steeped in the PAP ideology.” To suggest that your grounds of criticism is suspect necessarily mean that I’m pro govt and pro PAP? Isn’t that a simplistic assumption? Or are you suggesting that all that opposes the govt has to agree with one another and that there is absolutely no disagreements among rank and file or that any disagreements will straight away mean you’re pro govt?

“Also, instead of asking for some kind of quantification for everything, which is naturally difficult to do given this particular medium and the time one can reasonably be expected to spend on it, why don't you try and refute my argument through reasoning?”

For the first part, it seems that you’re saying, making motherhood statements is sufficient, let’s just not get into the details? And for the second part, can you tell me which argument I have not responded para by para? And what exactly is your argument? That democracy is the only way the people can rule themselves but you can’t name one single democracy that is working according to book nor that those who voted PAP are ‘people’?

“Trying to reduce everything to empirical questions is not only boring, it turns debate into a virtually directionless exercise in research work.”

That seems to be a major peeve with the current scholastic class.. that they sit in their ivory towers and manage us by statistics. They don’t necessarily walk the grounds or feel the bottom 20%. I mean if you just want to sound scholarly and use catchy phrases that you don’t have to then fill in the details, that’s fine with me. But I don’t for one second believe in research work that has no useful application. And for that to happen, there is a ton of details to fill in. Or to borrow a phrase, the devil is always in the details.

Anonymous said...

“I've already given you a source you can peruse for more details on benchmarks for democracy.”

Frankly, if I remember correctly, he said a functioning democracy does not go hungry. He is Indian. I looked at India then, I stopped reading. Don’t shoot me.

“Now tell me why I'm wrong in stating that in a system with a near-unconditional mandate, where hardly any room is therefore left for dissent, people would naturally be often ignored by the government.”

There are three parts to your assertion in just one sentence. Near-unconditional or not, I look at the execution. If they can execute accordingly, I deem that better than a 55-45 mandate and you can’t execute. Or worse, if its near-unconditional and you can’t execute. At the very least, if the people want to give them near-conditional mandate, who am I to argue otherwise?

I don’t think the second part follows, and you need to define ‘dissent’. If dissent is just opposing govt because you hate the PAP, then I don’t need it simply because the brain doesn’t process information efficiently in that state. If dissent is offering constructive feedback, offering alternative solutions, offering diverse views, then yes, it is most welcome. It is your prerogative to argue if the govt feels the same.

The third part I can only say, governing is always trying to benefit the most &/or inconveniencing the fewest. Thousands of people pour through govt portals each day. Try emailing ministers, and thus far, I have replies or got redirected to the relevant heads. Sure, I may not be happy with the response but I can’t say I’m ignored.

But I kinda sense what you mean by ignored is that your views don’t gain traction. But wouldn’t that be the same under any democracy? The ‘little people’ is way down the line behind vested interests?

“And tell me why I'm mistaken to say that the only way to change this is to have a more democratic system, regardless of the demonstrable merits of democracy in the West.”

You want to stake 5 million lives on a more democratic something based on one Indian? Where you can’t indicate a single empirical example that it works as advertised?

“I don't even need to make a normative assertion there. The basic argument is a plain logical one.”

Truth is often stranger than fiction. You can make all these assertions that it is plain, that it is logical, but until the day you fill in the details, I still have to say they are just motherhood statements.

Sorry.

moses said...

Well, Anon, I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that you chose to take a condescending angle about Indians and what they have to say about democracy. I'm sorry that you are not able to digest someone's view just because he is an Indian national. At least that tells me that you're not a serious debater. Or are you going to tell me that I'm making an "assumption" again?

I thought you had some valid points to raise, but it seems I was a little too positive. If the Singapore system is working so well, if there is indeed sufficient room for constructive (which also implies effective) debate in matters of governance, why do we even have blog posts like this one? Why is there a sizeable group of people who are unhappy that they are not really being heard?

It seems that your basic position is to deny that there is a real problem. Or at least you justify the current system by pointing out that other systems have problems too. Yes, there is an empirical basis for saying so. But does that mean that everyone is simply stuck with their own set of problems? That is what you're implying. On the other hand, I'm saying that there is a possible way forward through changing the system. And systemic change is worth looking at because the problems being raised here are structural. They have to do with mechanisms of feedback and control.

There is no panacea for all problems, but we can choose to do something about them. If we don't, then we have no reason to complain about the fact that they persist.

I don't think you've understood this line of argument, and I doubt you will as long as you choose to regard it as yet another normative point of view in a relativist political paradigm. Incidentally, the PAP gives people who criticise the system precisely this treatment. They don't recognise that advocates of democracy have valid points to make about issues of power and participation. It's not just about a clash of civilisations or a subjective choice of political/moral values. We have something concrete to bring to the table of discussion. But under a system that clearly favours one particular brand of hegemonic discourse, I guess it's not surprising that we are not really being heard. Just like many of those who have simpler grievances.

Anonymous said...

“Well, Anon, I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that you chose to take a condescending angle about Indians and what they have to say about democracy.”

I have not read Sen regarding democracy, therefore it is impossible for me to take any sort of angle.

Sen is a social economist. One of his seminal works was to say famine isn’t just a shortage of food, but the problems associated with distribution. If I remember correctly, there was then an attempt (in his work or assumed by my opponents then) that if there is democracy, famines don’t exist.

Now I observed that he is an Indian. (I hope you do look at your authors of your papers and reflect on their background and where they come from). I know then that India has a poverty problem, of mal and under nutrition. How then, can I take that association seriously?

How does that make me racist?

“I'm sorry that you are not able to digest someone's view just because he is an Indian national. At least that tells me that you're not a serious debater. Or are you going to tell me that I'm making an "assumption" again?”

I can’t accept that association. It has nothing to do with his race.

And what do you expect me to say even if I were to somehow accept Sen’s VIEW. Do you think we should stake 5million lives, including our children and grand children on one individual’s VIEW?

If you tell me Sen has built a city, a country, a system of governance that lasted 3-4 decades, then I might be forced to reflect. Why is this so difficult for you to see in plain sight?

“I thought you had some valid points to raise, but it seems I was a little too positive. If the Singapore system is working so well, if there is indeed sufficient room for constructive (which also implies effective) debate in matters of governance, why do we even have blog posts like this one?

There are a lot of unhappy bloggers in democracies. What is your point?

“Why is there a sizeable group of people who are unhappy that they are not really being heard?”

There are sizeable groups of people who are unhappy in democracies, and they are either been heard and ignored or not heard behind vested interests. What is your point?

“It seems that your basic position is to deny that there is a real problem. Or at least you justify the current system by pointing out that other systems have problems too.”

We prospered under a benevolent emperor. The system is inherently risky since it requires another clever benevolent emperor. You don’t see the problem?

Anonymous said...

You maintain that some undefined democracy is the answer. It is a fact that actual democracies have the same problems like ours. Why do we need to exchange one set of governance for some undefined system that will produce the same set of problems?

“Yes, there is an empirical basis for saying so. But does that mean that everyone is simply stuck with their own set of problems? That is what you're implying. On the other hand, I'm saying that there is a possible way forward through changing the system. And systemic change is worth looking at because the problems being raised here are structural. They have to do with mechanisms of feedback and control.”

Change to what? Can you define what you want to change to? What are the benefits and shortcomings?

“There is no panacea for all problems, but we can choose to do something about them. If we don't, then we have no reason to complain about the fact that they persist.”

And over the years, the majority of your country men and women had chosen to deal with these problems within the system instead of mounting systemic change. Do you know why?

“I don't think you've understood this line of argument, and I doubt you will as long as you choose to regard it as yet another normative point of view in a relativist political paradigm.”

It will always be the case when you make motherhood statements and refuse to fill in the blanks.

“Incidentally, the PAP gives people who criticise the system precisely this treatment. They don't recognise that advocates of democracy have valid points to make about issues of power and participation.”

And the majority who voted PAP aren’t advocates of democracy?

“It's not just about a clash of civilisations or a subjective choice of political/moral values. We have something concrete to bring to the table of discussion. But under a system that clearly favours one particular brand of hegemonic discourse, I guess it's not surprising that we are not really being heard. Just like many of those who have simpler grievances.”

Can I offer you a clue? Try not to use big words you don’t really understand. After making motherhood statements, when people ask you to clarify and explain, do so. Of course you can keep ignoring the need to explain what you mean and define where you want to go to, then turn around and say things like you aren’t being heard. When in fact you are merely refusing to be understood.

moses said...

There are plenty of data and studies out there on levels of democracy and participation, Anon, which you can easily find if you weren't simply stopping your ears and closing your eyes in an attempt to convince yourself that democracy is simply an undefined "big word".

But I'll point you to some resources where you can learn what democracy and participation mean and how they can be measured. First you can take a look at an Economist report at http://graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy%20Index%202008.pdf. You can also take a look at a seminal article about participation that is based on a survey of community action programmes in the United States in the 60s, which can be found at http://lithgow-schmidt.dk/sherry-arnstein/ladder-of-citizen-participation.html.

Look at those resources and reflect on the conditions in Singapore. You should be able to see that there are concrete ways in which democracy and participation in Singapore can be improved. It's plainly disingenuous to claim that it is all undefined. That's merely the rhetoric of the power-holders, as Arnstein pointed out.

As to your normative argument about the merits of democracy in nation-building, you have simply fallen back to the position that democracy is materially risky, that it does not guarantee economic success. I've already addressed that. Also, Amartya Sen's argument is much more sophisticated than you make it out to be, and indeed he often has India in mind when discussing democracy and development. I suggest you look further into it before making simplistic assertions about the merit of a scholarly work.

On the ubiquitousness of unhappy bloggers who feel ignored, it's no longer a valid point when you consider the context in which Singaporean bloggers are speaking, a context that becomes evident if you just take a look at the resources I've pointed you to. The reality is that there is relatively limited participation in the political process in Singapore. It's something that has been brought up again and again in various studies, and the PAP's response is to simply label them as rubbish. I'd hazard that it is what you're probably inclined to do as well.

As I said, your basic position is to deny that there is a real problem. I think increasing numbers of Singaporeans are going to disagree with your assessment, although it will probably take some time before such sentiment will result in any real social and cultural transformation.

You point to an uncertain future as a problem, but so does the PAP. And the proposed solution is to band together under its banner to work for the common good, to continue the 'good work' that we've done. But there is an alternative, one that neither you nor the PAP are willing to entertain. Advocates of democracy simply want to bring their case to light. Your reaction is to try and discredit them. Well, I guess we can always expect some reactionaries.

Anonymous said...

“There are plenty of data and studies out there on levels of democracy and participation, Anon, which you can easily find if you weren't simply stopping your ears and closing your eyes in an attempt to convince yourself that democracy is simply an undefined "big word".”

What you have been trying to do is to keep making motherhood statements and preaching ‘democracy’. It is very easy to dump papers and models of what it should be like in a perfect world. But in our context, in our history, how would it have been if a very democratic leader had led the way? Would mere ideas and models triumph over adversity and competing ideology had not one man with balls stood up and assumed leadership?

How am I wrong to then conclude that we were lucky to have a benevolent emperor? Yes, there will always be room for improvement. But you have not stated why a different undefined system would be better than the current one given the fact you can’t refute that it will inherit the same types of problems. Can you?

“But I'll point you to some resources where you can learn what democracy and participation mean and how they can be measured. First you can take a look at an Economist report at http://graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy%20Index%202008.pdf. You can also take a look at a seminal article about participation that is based on a survey of community action programmes in the United States in the 60s, which can be found at http://lithgow-schmidt.dk/sherry-arnstein/ladder-of-citizen-participation.html.”

Firstly, you quoted Sen. When in fact Sen was just a great social economist. As I’ve pointed out, he hasn’t built a city, a country or a system of governance that has worked for the last 3-4 decades. Without following up on that, you dump another load of ideals on the table.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If you can’t stand up to scrutiny, you don’t have the right to keep driving on having made a wrong turn, coz from then on, regardless, you’re already headed to nowhere. You don’t have to right to quote someone, when challenged, you don’t reflect and then dump more materials on the table. Without any credibility, why on earth should I carry on reading? Deal with Sen, and then we can proceed.

“Look at those resources and reflect on the conditions in Singapore. You should be able to see that there are concrete ways in which democracy and participation in Singapore can be improved. It's plainly disingenuous to claim that it is all undefined. That's merely the rhetoric of the power-holders, as Arnstein pointed out.”

When you say ‘improved’, it can be done within the system? Why is there a need to change to an undefined system for improvement? And why am I disingenuous? It is a fact you can’t define what system you want to change to. Because, as I suspect, regardless of what system you change to, you will inherit the same kind of problems and more. You said you can’t be heard under the present system. I have said, under a democratic system, you can also be heard and ignored, or not heard behind vested interests. To which you have disingenuously kept silent.

“As to your normative argument about the merits of democracy in nation-building, you have simply fallen back to the position that democracy is materially risky, that it does not guarantee economic success.”

I said no such thing and you once again make assumptions without grounds.

I’ve never said democracy is materially risky. That is a plain outright lie. Proof, you can’t even define what kind of benchmark of democracy you have in mind, how on earth then can you sit judge and jury over what I think democracy is or is not?

And I’ve never said democracy will not guarantee economic success. That is another outright lie. I merely said, in relation to you been heard and others, that you will inherit the same set of problems. Please tell me where did I mention anything about the economy?

Anonymous said...

“Advocates of democracy simply want to bring their case to light. Your reaction is to try and discredit them. Well, I guess we can always expect some reactionaries.”

You make the mistake of assuming you’re the only advocates of democracy. That those who voted PAP doesn’t figure as ‘people’. I don’t discredit ‘them’. I discredit you. Many I know can articulate the problem alot better, but same will struggle to find an answer in context, and not try to talk ideas that looks good on paper but produces very different results in the real world.

Let me repeat, since you keep ignoring the obvious. Regardless of what system there is, there will be problems. I bet my last dollar that in some future date, if a ‘democratic’ govt comes to power, there will still be unhappy bloggers pointing out what is wrong. Coz they exist in US of A, UK and China. Democratic ideals are great, but pretty useless if it can’t be executed. How then? Perhaps you need a benevolent emperor to grab the bull by the horn and push through unpopular ideas. Is it possible that the ‘ideal’ could be somewhere in between?

But I digress. The older folks will know that regardless how good an idea is on paper, there is an even chance you will lose money on the deal. Look at US of A, many ideas are great ideas at the start, but as it winds its way through Congress, there will be so many compromises and unforeseen objections that the final bill will usually look a pale shadow of its former self, but hey, that is democracy.

If we are being honest, when you’re managing the lives of 5 million people, companies and competing interests, we can only deal in probabilities. We try to make decision that should benefit the majority. If you want to insist that you have a good idea but you won’t fill in the blanks, and you want me to stake the lives of my family on that? Never in a million freaking years!

Anonymous said...

"Farking attention seeker Lim Zi Rui. people like this are doing it for their own benefit. they hope to get the attention of PAP and eventually join them in a cushy post. look what happen to Vivian bala. open loud mouth critic with a hidden agenda to join the pap. now he is enjoying his millions.

only fools cant see through this snake of a man. "


I think you FARKING smart sia. You must be a FARKING china man.

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